Yesterday, I showed you my latest design, Tian, a pair of fairisle mittens that (to my great excitement, as this is a first for me) made the front cover of Let’s Knit! magazine:
At the end of the post I mentioned that Marvin might be involved in the rather daft design story behind these mittens. Perplexed? Well, prepare to be less perplexed (and quite possibly think I’m completely mad).
Marvin, for those of you who might be new to this blog, is a rather dapper little meerkat:
I made him about a year ago, after my brother bought me a particularly amusing knitting book for Christmas called ‘Knitted Meerkats’ by Sue Stratford (if you click that link and look at the projects on Ravelry you’ll see that Marvin has many little knitted cousins around the world). Anyway, meerkats are desert creatures, used to warmer climes than chilly, wet and generally dismal Britain in winter, so Marvin was clearly going to need something to wear.
The book has a section of different meerkats that you can make, each with it’s own outfit, some of with are separate and some sewn on. One of these is the skiing meerkat who wears a sweater and bobble hat along with his knitted skis. In the book, the sweater is a fairly simple affair, striped with a small band of fairisle dots in white mohair yarn against a pale blue background, but I had a different picture in my head of the sweater I wanted to make. To be a true skier, Marvin needed a proper, Nordic style fairisle sweater:
I wanted to put a snowflake on the front, but the area to play with was too small, so I charted out the size of the original sweater and fiddled about with the stitches until I had something I liked. I had to alter the shape of the sweater quite a lot to make it fit, as the stranded pattern changed the tension compared to the original.
It’s so cosy, Marvin even went out in the snow last March:
After I’d finished the sweater, my Mum mentioned that she liked the motif, and did I think it would work as an all over pattern? Never one to refuse a challenge, I started charting, and after a few alterations I knitted a swatch:
Once I’d knitted this, especially after adding the folded picot hem at the top and the corrugated ribbing at the bottom edge, it was clear to me that the swatch wanted to be mittens. So it was time to sketch:
I sent it off to Sarah at Let’s Knit and she liked it! Before I knew it my first choice of yarn (and a personal favourite), Manos Del Uruguay Fino (70% wool, 30% silk) in #2440 Lapis and #2800 Cream had arrived, so last summer I got started and knitted them up!
The pattern goes right the way round the mittens, even on the palms, and the thumbs have their own smaller complementary pattern (I love the thumbs on these!):
(You can tell this was in August from the flowers in the background!) Then, yesterday, the best bit, seeing them in print:
…. and on the front cover of the magazine, something I certainly never dreamed of when I set out to make Marvin the meerkat a silly, overcomplicated fairisle sweater and wrote this:
Marvin has a sweater, but as I decided to make up a fairisle pattern for it, as the sweater in the book was too simple (i.e. perfectly adequate for anyone without a burning and unnecesary desire for fairisle) – and Marvin deserves only the best
Basically I made a small stuffed meerkat an overcomplicated fairisle sweater (sanity anyone?), which turned into an idea for an overall repeating pattern (which I am swatching), I can’t show it to you, because it might become a design. *sigh*
Yes, I am still doing a happy dance.
No you can’t see.
It’s not very dignified.
Happy Knitting lovely blog followers!
(P.S. Is it wrong for me to be just a little bit chuffed at being in the same magazine as Pauline McLynn, who played Mrs Doyle in Father Ted? She knits too!)