the bark sweater story
I’d wanted to make this crocheted jumper for a while, its the bark sweater from Sidsel Sangild, but as with all the things I want to make, it got favourited on Ravelry and mostly forgotten about.
Then I was clearing out some yarn that has been sitting in stash for ages and found these four skeins of Madelinetosh Merino Light in the colour Thunderstorm. Four skeins? Just asking to be made into a jumper, right?
I think I had bought years ago with the intention of making a boxy jumper but I quickly fell out of love with that particular pattern, only because of all that knitting with 4ply yarn! Crikey, nope, nope, never again!
The bark sweater pattern recommends using two yarns held together; semilla fino and kid mohair from bc garn, but I knew that I didn’t want anything itchy next to my skin and goaty mohair makes me itch like crazy so I scrapped that idea and just used the merino light on its own.
I used a 5mm hook, the pattern recommends anything from 5 - 7mm, and I made the smaller of the two sizes (small or large). The pattern is entirely made up of front post trebles (or front post doubles as the pattern, which is in US terminology, states), and chains and is super clever in construction with the front posts creating an geometric pattern which looks difficult but is in fact incredibly easy and very satisfying.
The pattern is easy to read, with written instructions and charts, and I had no problems getting into it. But it does do that ‘continue in established pattern’ thing that I really bloody hate, because you have to sit and work out the pattern for yourself.
This often isn’t too difficult but it is incredibly time consuming, especially for this pattern as every row is different and you have to work out the formula for each and every row. I think it could potentially trip up or put off a less experienced crocheter (it put me off and I’m a seasoned old crochet hag), and I honestly think that this is something the designer should do. Because let’s face it, sometimes you just want the pleasure of sitting back and hooking, knowing that you’ve paid for someone else to work out all the difficult bits for you.
I altered the pattern slightly by adding a number of additional rows. I wasn’t sure if I was making a mistake reading the pattern because it looked way too short after the given number of rows and I kept doing that thing where I would read the pattern, look at the jumper, not compute and shove it all in a bag to look at again the next day. This went on for quite a while.
I also worked the bottom ribbing differently because the pattern called for front post half trebles (doubles in US) and whilst these looked nice, they didn’t have any stretch, no stretch at all, so I couldn’t get the jumper over my bleeding head! I ripped the ribbing back and did it in the much stretchier front post trebles instead, which I think actually looks nicer.
All that being said I still absolutely loved making this jumper, it's one of those patterns that is such a pleasure to work on, it feels intuitive and the modern design is so original and I really I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that there is nothing else quite like this in the crochet garment world right now. A bloody triumph.
It is however being frogged.
I know, I know, WHAT THE ACTUAL WHAT?
The reasons are entirely personal and totally my fault.
Firstly, the skein I used for the arms is a totally different colour to the body. If you look at the image of the four skeins above you can see quite clearly that one of them is a much darker black than the others. I’m not sure why I didn’t pick up on this or see this or have a bit more bloody sense but anyhow, it looks terrible. I thought that if I soaked it for long enough the dye would settle the colour difference but nope, still looks like a blue/black jumper with black sleeves. Ha! Make sure you alternate your skeins kids.
Secondly, it just doesn’t suit me. The photos in this post were the best from a very large amount taken, most of which make me look like a melon smuggler (so much boob) and/or an american football player, an american football player in his padded kit. Seriously. I don’t know why but it makes me look super wide at my already super wide shoulders and super narrow at my waist and it is not a good look. I think the pattern would definitely suit someone with narrower shoulders and a smaller frame though and I think I always knew this was going to be the case but still wanted to make it anyway.
I’m sad that it didn’t work out, but not as sad as I thought I would be because I still enjoyed making it and I think that’s what’s nice about a good pattern and some lovely yarn, if it fills you with joy and good feelings whilst you’re making it then it doesn’t matter if you frog it and start all over again with something new, does it?