I have become very interested in Faroese patterns, wool and knitting history over the last couple of years so I decided that this year I would knit a Faroese design using Faroese wool. I am particularly fortunate that my wonderful friend Fiona is the co-owner of Island Wool who import Faroese wool to the UK. Fiona kindly allowed me to choose the yarn for any pattern I wanted to knit. Fiona also speaks Faroese and translates the patterns of Faroese yarn company, Navia, into English for them.
And so I chose Model 6 - Woman's jumper in Orange from Navia pattern book 17. This gorgeous pattern features an all-over traditional pattern on the lower body followed by a fabulous floral yoke. The body is knitted in the round from the bottom up, the sleeves are then also knitted in the round then all joined together so that the yoke can then also finally be knitted in the round.
The pattern uses Navia Duo, a pure wool blend of Faroese wool, Shetland wool and Australian lambswool. Navia is a family run business based in Toftir which is located on the island of Eysturoy. Navia use Faroese designers to create their supporting pattern range. The yarn is crisp yet soft, very warm and a pleasure to knit with. The Duo has a recommended tension of 22 sts to 10cm but is approximately a thick 4 ply weight. My pattern uses 4.5mm needles to obtain this gauge creating a reasonably loose tension ensuring your stranded knitting doesn't pull too tightly and gives the wool room to bloom when it is washed. Many Faroese designs are created in this way, deliberately creating a loosely knit fabric which will fill up when washed. Traditionally much Faroese knitwear was felted to provide a warmer, more hard wearing fabric which requires an open knit in the first instance.
I decided to stay true to the colour palette picked by designer, Malan Steinholm, as it is the contemporary colour scheme that particularly appealed to me. The very strong orange did have me a bit nervous but I was prepared to give it a go.
Unfortunately the pattern only comes in three sizes with the largest size having a finished chest measurement of 37.5 inches (95cm). Even allowing for some negative ease this was too small for me. So a little bit of simple maths was needed to increase the circumference of the body to 42 inches (106.5cm) to accommodate my boobs. I then made the body the same length as the largest size. You can probably see I created a more fitted shape than on the model in the pattern book. This was deliberate as I really don't suit jumpers that cut across the top of my thighs. Likewise a neater fit seems to flatter me more than a loose one.
Above my boobs my upper body is quite small so on the very first row of the yoke I reduced the stitch count back to that of the pattern's largest size and was able to follow the pattern as written from there. I also reduced the length of the sleeves significantly as I have particularly short arms. I could actually have made them another 2 inches shorter in fact as I still need to turn the cuffs back! Even though I had made the body wider, by virtue of shortening the arms I still only used 5 balls of Orange and 2 each of Navy Blue and Light Grey.
Moving onto the yoke itself there are only two rounds where 3 colours are used and these are very straight forward. Can you spot them?
The only change I made on the yoke was to cast off using a very stretchy cast off as the neck is quite tight otherwise.
I am delighted with the finished results. The jumper fits me perfectly and the colour choice actually works. I know grey and navy both work on me, but the strong orange really was a bit of a shot in the dark. However I think it looks great. I don't think it would have worked next to my face but that is the skill of the designer, who has used the grey as the main colour on the yoke, keeping a distance between such a bold colour and the complexion. In my case red hair and usually rosy cheeks are probably not the ideal combination for orange but yes I think I've got away with it.
The pattern is translated excellently by Fiona but it is briefer than the patterns some of us have become used to and a little prior knowledge of knitting a yoked jumper in the round would probably be best if you would like to knit this jumper. I would think you would only need to have knitted one circular yoked jumper before to be able to cope comfortably but I think it would be advisable. Other than that it is a very easy pattern to follow, fits beautifully and is exactly what I hoped for. I will be wearing it an awful lot! I can't wait for next Christmas when I can knit another Faroese pattern.
Images taken by Gavin Crawford at Monkley Ghyll. Copyright Susan Crawford ©2015