Ok so this is a real beauty!

I wanted to make something *really* nice in Titus 4ply over summer (2021). This yarn (along with most of them!) has had a little bit of an improvement in the merino wool fibre content, making it slightly more plump and even softer (as if it wasn't already!). It's stunning. And then after a big update of it went live I had this batch of strong powdery blue which I had thought would sell and it just didn't. I have since posted about the colour blue on social media and had a fascinating response but that's a different blog post. What it meant for me was .. that's the batch I should make a sample with. 😁

After absolutely ages mulling over which pattern to use I eventually settled on one called Catechu by a new-to-me designer Audrey Borrego (@yarnflakes on instagram). Her website is here: https://payhip.com/Yarnflakes

I loved the look of this pattern as it has that stunning lace hem, but it had a stocking stitch body which I could hook up to the knitting machine to do (that's a big help for me). It's different to my usual plain boxy jumpers but can still be worn in a similar style if I picked a slightly too big size. So I went for it.

The lace hem was an absolute pleasure to knit, and it was so nice doing that but knowing that I wouldn't then have to plough through acres of stocking stitch by hand (I have RSI issues). It meant I could really enjoy the process. I then hooked it up to the machine - first the back then the front - making sure to cast on extra stitches at each end so that I'd be able to do the mattress stitch seam without creating a pucker (have made that mistake before!) and followed the pattern on the machine. I've learned to do short rows on it which is really useful.

It's not relaxing using the knitting machine by the way; it's physically tiring, and my machine is *really* fussy and easily drops stitches and things, so it's quite mentally challenging too! But it's very satisfying when it does work out. And I love mattress stitch! 

Anyway. All that done, all that remained was to do the finishing - stitching, shoulders (three needle bind off - great for me as I have short round shoulders and the structure of the seam means things sit well), and sleeve cuffs. I did machine knit the sleeves somewhat short by accident, so I thought I'd just do longer ribbing. It took absolutely bloody ages, but it does look very cool, thankfully! 😆

Finally. The interesting bit - or so I think. This jumper is a little short on me. I'm not going to lie - I completely guessed at the number of rows to machine knit in the body. And it came up a bit short. It's the risk I decided to take! I could definitely wear it as it is but I'm not really into cropped tops and I knew it would be really annoying to cut out a row, knit more length, then graft it back together. So I mulled it over for a while. This is how it looked:

I had what I like to think was a stroke of inspiration (that might be pushing it!). I could turn it into a layered piece! So I opted for Titus Lace so that it wouldn't be too weighty (although I think 4ply would have worked fine), and colourway Charcoal so that it would be fairly subtle. I knew that if I wore a vest-top under this I'd go for dark grey so it followed that making the underskirt for it in that colour would make sense.

It took me ages to get around to doing it but eventually I hooked the stitches above the lace pattern onto the knitting machine and I made a front and a back panel, which I then seamed, and did an I-cord cast off.
So that's the story of this jumper! It was an absolute pleasure to make though; and I know that once the weather is warmer this will get a lot of wear because it's SO perfect over a vest top and I just adore it so much. It's perfect with leggings, which I live in. 
Yarn - Titus 4ply (75% superwash extrafine merino/25% silk - 400m per 100g) in colourway Larkspur
Needles - 3mm for the handknitted parts
Gauge - 24.5 stitches and 29 rows = 10 cm in stocking stitch


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