If you ever take a 106 bus north up Cambridge Heath road towards Clapton you’ll know to expect a little delay when the bus pulls into the stop after the bridge over Regent’s Canal.
“This bus will wait for a short time for a change of drivers to take place” says London Transport’s disembodied voice over the tannoy. The door opens, a new driver gets on, the two drivers have a little chat and the one clocks off his shift and the new one starts his. It’s not really any wait at all, but it’s a reminder that the journey is all made possible by the intersection of these 2 working days.
On Thursday evening, I took out my box file of needles, put away my 3.5mms and leafed forward to take out some 6.5s. I smiled inwardly and put the file back into the cupboard and I could have sworn I heard that familiar London Transport voice again…
“This Knitter will wait for a short time for a change of needles to take place.”
I’d finished my Azor sweater the night before. The skinny needles and the remains of a ball of navy Mondim and lime green Exmoor Sock yarn as well as a dog-eared pattern were still in my project bag on the sofa (the Azor meanwhile was happily buttoned up over my dress). I tipped everything out of the bag, added the yarns to some similarly deflated balls of sock wool in a ziplock stash bag, put the pattern in the recycling bin and finally it was time for the needle changeover.
I loved the Azor, it’s shape, it’s construction, but I can’t lie – that last stretch of plain stocking stitch worked at a 27 stitch gauge had begun to feel like it would never end. However much of a speedy rhythm my needles picked up, the fabric grew at more of a sloth-like rate. So I had many reasons to feel good about finally finishing it: I didn’t have anymore acres of tiny stitches to knit, I absolutely love the cardigan that I’m now wearing and I get to cast on a new sweater on 6.5mm needles which I fully intend casting off before the 8th Hannuka candle has melted away in a couple of weeks’ time.
Caidree’s Aran Gallant sweater has been a twinkle in this knitter’s eye ever since the arrival last February, of Rosa Pomar’s new shades of Zagal, the chunkier, cuddlier, squeezier sibling of her better known Joāo yarn. At the time I wrote on Instagram, ‘I see that navy marl and can’t help imagining a big chunky square shaped sweater with a raw edge at the neck left to roll a little.’
These are big balls of slightly felty soft Portuguese merino, wrapped in another of Rosa’s enchanting ball bands. The Zagal band features a guy who appears to be the Marlboro man’s less well known younger brother – the one who rode a sheep instead of a stallion and chewed some grass instead of dragging on a cigarette, and knitted great big raw-edged sweaters, while his more famous brother was in therapy for his toxic masculinity issues.
In the event, navy marl stock levels were against me and I’ve had to settle for the cream, but I think it’s going to be pefect for the curly haired, freckle faced guy (who I also made), who I’m knitting it for. And Caidree’s pattern is turning out to be every inch the chunky raw-edged jumper I imagined the wool working for.
It’s one evening since I cast on and I’m slipping markers, left-lifting my increases along the raglans and cruising nicely down the yoke. It may be a bold forecast, but I’m thinking I could be separating for the sleeves by tomorrow evening.
This knitting is big, crowd-pleasing, and uncomplicated: Most of the time it’s not what I’m up for at all. But right now it feels like the knitting equivalent of eating fish and chips outside the chippie at the end of long cycle ride when your fingers are cold. I’m knitting my heart out and I love it!