Vanilla knitting

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In stark contrast to last week’s flamboyant efforts, this week’s work-in-progress is much more sober. Last Saturday I took Katie to one of our local yarn shops, The Cheap Shop in Tiptree, to choose yarn for a sweater. Alongside some of the other projects I’m working on I fancied some undemanding TV knitting, so I planned to work up a copy of her favourite H&M jumper in a different colour scheme.

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As you can see, it’s a simple raglan with minimal shaping, so easy enough to duplicate. The tough part, however, was finding a yarn we both liked! Our choices weren’t limited; The Cheap Shop stocks a wide and appealing range of yarns, including Rowan, Sublime, Debbie Bliss, Louisa Harding, Rico, Bergere, Colinette, Noro and King Cole. So many lush fibres! So many contemporary colours! Possibilities abounded. Unfortunately, Katie doesn’t really like strong colours, so all those delicious modern palettes from the likes of Sublime and Rowan, with their mustard yellows and deep teals, were immediately rejected. Neither is she keen on fuss, so anything textured or mottled – eagerly suggested by me as an easy way to add interest – was also no go.¬†Instead, her yarns of choice were insipid baby acrylics costing roughly a penny a gram, in shades of pink and blue. She thought the colours were pretty and couldn’t understand my dismayed reaction at the thought of knitting a garment in a cheap and squeaky baby yarn.

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Bergere de France Eclipse had already been rejected on account of its two-tone shade and crinkly appearance, but then Katie spied a swatch of the Venus shade, one of many usefully knitted up by the shop to properly showcase the yarns. This is a great service as it’s often so hard to visualise the effect of a yarn from just looking at the ball. Another example of the value of bricks and mortar shops! Katie was sold, wanting not stripes but a whole sweater entirely in that one colour. The shop also helped me again when I had a minor mental block over how much I would need for a 1o-year-old’s sweater, the lady at the counter helpfully looking up a few patterns to confirm that six balls would probably be about right. My commitment to our 2014 Love Your Yarn Shop campaign was very much reinforced!

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Given that we’re using only one colour I have asked Katie if she’d like me to add some lacy bits, or perhaps a little cable on the front, but no, she wants it pure vanilla. So, pure vanilla it is!

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