The Domestic Soundscape making, listening, thinking+44(0)7835136201
f.ford@brookes.ac.uk

blanket3
Wovember Postscript #2: FO: Jiggit

Thank you everyone for your amazing comments on The Slow Wardrobe. I really appreciated everyone weighing in on the issues I raised with my criticisms of High Street Knits, and my thoughts regarding how to clothe myself in a way that feels right to me. Your comments were thoughtful and considered, and the whole discussion made me think about how emotional and complicated the issue of clothing the self is.

The discussion about clothing children and wool was especially interesting to me – and especially apposite – because this week I finished knitting the Christening Blanket which I designed and knit throughout Wovember for Mark’s nephew, Ben.


Ben: The recipient of the blanket


‘Jiggit’: The Blanket

I have called this design ‘Jiggit’ because in one of my favourite series of books, (the Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett) ‘Jiggit’ is the name given to the infant Tiffany by her much beloved shepherdess Grandmother – ususally in the context of “my little jiggit.” The word feels to me very affectionate and a little bit boisterous, which is what I had in mind when I started designing an Aran-weight blanket with lots of springy garter-stitch involved. I also feel that ‘jigget’ evokes the jig-jag effect created by the lace pattern, which is ‘Tilting Block’ from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.


Tilting Block from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns

Finally – because I love WORDS – ‘Jiggit’ is also one of the Cumbrian counting words used by shepherds. It means ’20,’ which is the number of years I hope the blanket will last for.

I am going to offer to dye it if the glowing white of the organic shetland yarn of which ‘Jiggit’ is comprised ceases to be practical, and my care recommendations are to soak it in SOAK, bung it on a spin cycle to dry it out, and block it gently on a towel on a bed or big table. That is what I did, and it took not a lot of time, and it worked just fine.

As long as the moths do not find it very tasty, I hope it will be soft and useful and warm for some time.

I chose Garthenor organic Aran-weight Shetland for this project, because I have knit with this yarn before and find it characterful, soft, warm and lofty. The white shetland in particular has a luxurious creaminess about it, which I felt was appropriate for the ceremonial feeling of something to be used at a Christening. However I also wanted the blanket to have a useful, workaday life after its special appearance in Church, and it felt to me that Garthenor yarn could provide all of these things, being at once magical and earthy enough to fulfil religious and practical functions. I hope Ben and his parents will agree.


The back of ‘Jiggit’

The softness is owed to the meticulous sorting skills of Chris King, AKA MR GARTHENOR. Here is Mr Garthenor at his Woolfest stall in 2009.


Chris King, AKA MR GARTHENOR at Woolfest

Woolfest can be an overwhelming place. Sheep are baaing, knitters are rummaging, venders are selling and wool excitement is everywhere. It was all threatening to be a bit much for me when I went in 2009, but I was becalmed when I met Chris, and we had a lovely, long conversation in which he shared his penchant for the Herdwick sheep, and talked with me about sorting and grading fleeces. I have found that there is a meticulousness and attention to detail amongst folk who are passionate about wool, and I was entranced by the way that Chris described his work. I was reminded of Chris’s words on wool when I read Ooey Ollie’s guest post for Wovember. I am only just beginning to learn how a fleece is graded and sorted, and it is always wonderful to learn from experienced folk how something from an animal’s back becomes something you can knit with.


Shetland (I think) at Woolfest, 2009

I purchased enough DK weight at Woolfest to make a Baby Surprise Jacket back in July 2009 and found the experience of knitting with the Garthenor Yarn so pleasing that when it became apparent that Ben needed a Christening Blanket, I knew at once what I should knit it with.


Garthenor Stall at Woolfest, 2009

The design process was a bit harder for me, as maths is by no mean my forte, and I kept on making errors which meant many false starts and much ripping back. The Shetland is strong, woollen-spun, and well able to handle such treatment, so we pressed on together; me and the yarn and my charts and a pen. After a fashion it all started to make sense and I found myself racing along on those rows of tilted blocks on trains between jobs and for half an hour every night, and in between all the work I have been doing on other things it was completed on Thursday night in time for the Christening. It is quite a simple design; a moss stitch and garter stitch border; a row of eyelets around the edge; and a central block of springy lace.


‘Jiggit’ detail

I wanted to take elements of the lace pattern and repeat them in the borders, and for the blanket to have straight edges that wouldn’t snag on things. The yarn relaxes and fulls magnificently when blocked and I’m really pleased with the stitch definition on those nice blocks. Alas I have no before/after pictures to show you the difference…

I am slightly displeased with my FO photos; does anyone have good tips for how best to photograph a 28″ x 40″ rectangle of knitting?


Edge detail

My favourite thing about ‘Jiggit’ is that I can explain to Ben and his Mum and Dad where the blanket has come from, I know the wool has no airmiles on it, I believe in the mission of the company which I purchased the yarn from, and I can explain the skills which were involved in turning the stuff which grew on the back of an animal into the thing which lies on the lap of a child. Colleen pointed out on Kate’s Cabbages and Roses post that the words ‘to clothe’ and ‘investment’ share a root; I love thinking about that fact, because for me knitting this blanket was not just about making a blanket, but also thinking about the things I want to keep alive in the world; the things I want to invest in for the future in an extremely tiny, stitch-by-stitch way.

And what are Christenings for, if not to consider such things? I am not religious in any organised-religion-way, but I believe in love, I believe in the Earth, and I do believe in wool.

Pattern Specs:

Pattern design: ‘Jiggit’ by Felicity Ford
Yarn: Aran-weight shetland from Garthenor
Needles: 5.5mm 80cm circular
Ravelled: here

6 Responses to Wovember Postscript #2: FO: Jiggit

  1. Joanna says:

    That is gorgeous. And the *perfect* name. I would never have thought to describe a stitch pattern as ‘fun’ but that is what Tilting Block looks like on this blanket. How apposite for a baby. And I can hardly believe that ‘jiggit’ is also part of the Cumbrian shepherds’ counting words! Just a perfect present all round.

  2. tinebeest says:

    “I believe in wool”
    Has ever a creed started with a more down-to-earth yet lofty (and sproingy) statement?

    Great design, will you publish it? Willing to pay!

  3. colleen says:

    Just reading this gave me goosebumps. I hope young Ben will read this himself one day so he knows just how much thought and love was invested in his blanket.

  4. Danielle says:

    Lusting so hard after that wool.

  5. Leora says:

    Beautiful! Blanket & writing both. I am reminded by this post & the previous about a conversation with my father, a wine-lover, about how wool properly shares with wine the attributes of terroir, a combination of physical and mystical rootedness in a place. Sometimes I feel as if I am knitting not so much for fun as for dear life, and I am baffled if I try to explain–even to myself–why: it’s just a sweater! But you’ve given me lots of ideas about what it means to me that I am looking forward to mulling over further.

  6. Annie says:

    How did I miss this post! The blanket and the messages it carries – love of craft, of tradition, of wool, of doing things the right way, and of new life – are very special indeed. And ‘jigget’ … I’m a Pratchett fan too but I swear he must have known my Grandpa, he called me Jigget :D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Copyright statement

You may transmit content found on this website (excluding my knitting patterns which are protected under International copyright law) under the following conditions:

- You always attribute my work to me, Felicity Ford, (with a link back to this site or felicityford.co.uk)
- You do not alter my work
- You do not use my work for commercial purposes

To discuss any other uses of my work, please contact me directly on the telephone number and email address provided at the top of this blog.

Creative Commons License
All the work shown here by Felicity Ford is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

From time to time I feature images, sounds or words on this blog which are not my own: in all such cases the original copyright owner is named. International copyright law requires that in order to republish their content, you must seek out their permission.

Thank you for respecting these terms and conditions.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 55 other subscribers

find me on soundcloud
Search Form