The First of Many: Clare’s Hay Sweater

May is here and people all across the making community are celebrating their handmade wardrobes, both big and small, as part of Me-Made-May.

This wardrobe challenge was created by Zoe of the So Zo, What do you know? blog nearly 10 years ago and it has now been embraced by thousands of makers as a way of wearing and loving their handmade clothing more.

As enthusiastic knitters, we are joining the conversation this month by sharing some of our favourite pieces from our own handmade wardrobes. This week, we have Clare, who is our brand marketing manager. She will be sharing how a chance meeting at a Christmas party led to designing a sweater in her new favourite yarn. Here’s Clare!

I’d been living in London for a few years, but hadn’t gotten involved in the city’s knitting community yet. After longing for some friends to talk yarn, patterns and making with, I decided to take the plunge and go along to the Pom Pom Christmas party alone, hoping that I’d meet some lovely knitting folk whilst I was there.

I turned up and awkwardly wandered around the room, admiring everyone’s knitwear and the beautiful yarn on sale. I was particularly drawn to The Fibre Co.’s booth. Kate and Alex smiled welcomingly at me, as I approached them and talked enthusiastically about the yarns they were selling.

I remember admiring a particularly beautiful hank of blue Cumbria that was calling my name – I am rather predictable in my colour choices. However, I wanted to knit my sister something special for Christmas and I knew that she would prefer a neutral colourway.

As soon as I spotted Road to China Light in Riverstone, it was love at first sight! And of course, when I gave it a squish, I couldn’t get my money out fast enough. This yarn would be perfect to make my sister a simple, luxurious hat.

Anyone who has knitted with Road to China Light before will tell you that it is a wonderful knitting experience. Soft and light; it simply flies through your hands! The hat was beautiful and completed in plenty of time for Christmas.In the time that it sat on my desk, waiting to be gifted, I often wondered whether I should just keep it for myself and purchase her a different gift. But in the end, I held back and come Christmas morning, my sister had a lovely new hat.

When Inspiration Strikes

It was around that time that Laine magazine opened a design submission call for their upcoming issue. I took a look at their moodboard and almost immediately knew that I wanted to design something in Road to China Light.

I grabbed the yarn leftover from my sister’s hat and swatched up a stitch pattern that had been bouncing around in my head for a while. It was the perfect match – light and drapey and wonderfully luxurious. Even the colour was spot on!

I pulled together my submission and hit send on my email, crossing my fingers that they’d pick my design – the Hay sweater. Not long after, my submission was accepted! Many happy dances ensued.

Knitting my Hay Sweater

As with my sister’s hat, knitting my Hay sweater was pure luxury. I couldn’t put it down: the fabric felt like magic! In fact, I think my knitting might have slowed down due to having to stop and stroke it every couple of rounds.

I was almost disappointed when I finally finished knitting my sample. I didn’t want it to end. But it did have to end and within the week, it was packaged up and winging its way to the Laine team in Finland.

I’ve since received the sample back and it takes a lot of restraint to stop myself from wearing it ALL THE TIME. It’s my favourite sweater that I have ever knitted, but because it’s a sample, I can’t wear it very often. I have to keep it in pristine condition so that it can go to yarn festivals and trunk shows.

However, whenever I want to look extra special at a knitting event, this is the sample I reach for. It never fails to make me feel good. I’d like to make another one, just for me, so that I can wear it whenever I want to. There are a few Road to China Light colours that I am considering: Emerald, Abalone, Ruby and Hemanite… Which one should I choose?

Hay Sweater Kits

Hay is a boxy, slightly cropped sweater with drop shoulders that’s knit in the round from the bottom up.

Available in 21 colours, Hay is now available as a kit to knit your own – Shipping Worldwide.

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