Some of you may remember that this time last year, I launched LAYTER, a garter-stitch jacket inspired by SHEEP in multiple ways… it’s constructed to resemble the way a fleece comes off a sheep all in one piece, and the colours are all derived from different sheep breeds and their tasty wool. Today, in celebration of this, Kate has posted a Q&A about Layter on her blog. THANK YOU, KATE!
Blayter is a baby jacket knit in garter stitch, with pure Shetland wool. It is knit vertically in 2 pieces from front to back over the shoulders, and to finish, it is grafted together at the sides and centre back. Finally, a neckband is added, which provides shaping and an opportunity to add buttonholes and buttons!
When I was invited to act as guest patron for Shetland Wool Week, I really wanted to fit sheepy Layter to the context of Shetland; Layter celebrates the natural palette of shades that can be found among myriad sheep breeds here in the UK while Blayter celebrates the impressive natural range of sheepy shades that can be found within the Shetland breed.
I really loved working with Jamieson & Smith Shetland Supreme; it has a light, bouncy hand, is soft, blooms beautifully when blocked, and allows one to make very subtle transitions through silvery creams and greys and ivory shades…
…I tinkered plenty with the colours whilst developing Blayter, and experimented with different ways of giving the design THE SHEEP FACTOR! In the end, I settled on a very subtle blend of Shaela, Katmollet, Mooskit and Gaulmogot, however I still might make a bold, mint-humbug edition featuring Moorit, Yuglet, & Shetland Black and White…
…and that’s one of the things that is lovely about this diminutive design; it can be a small canvas for experimenting with different colour ideas. Liz test-knitted the pattern in a very jolly palette of berry shades of Jamieson & Smith 2-ply. Liz also tech-edited the pattern and made some very practical suggestions about sizing garments for babies! I think her version of Blayter is beautiful.
Sandra and Ella at Jamieson & Smith suggested that I make a version in Jamieson & Smith Heritage Yarn held double, to introduce subtle colour transitions across the reddish shades of Madder, Berry Wine & Peat. How could I resist trying that out?
…and after designing Blayter in Shetland Supreme, I was drawn back to the idea of the same multi-breed sheepiness that inspired the original, adult pattern… I love that Layter celebrates different sheep breeds, and Sue Blacker’s amazing tables of information in “Pure Wool” have been very informative in allowing me to select appropriately soft 100% WOOL yarns for knitting baby garments…
I will therefore be knitting two Blayters this WOVEMBER and sharing my experiences of knitting Blayter in Jamieson & Smith Shetland Supreme and Heritage Yarns plus a selection of Blacker Yarns in 4-ply on the WOVEMBER blog later in the month. I am interested to explore the properties of these different, distinctive, 100% WOOL yarns, and this is how I am intending to participate in the WAL! What, you don’t know about the WAL? It’s our WOVEMBER WOOL ALONG!
For a chance to win a copy of Blayter + enough Jamieson & Smith Heritage Yarn or enough Blacker Yarns 4-ply to knit your own version, do send your photos in to the WOVEMBER photo competition. There will also be a Foula Wool prize!
Finally – as if this post didn’t contain enough celebratory news – I am delighted to say that there will be a recipient for one of my many editions of Blayter, because I am now officially an Aunt! Little baby Toby was born to my brother Fergus and sister-in-law Sian just a few days ago; the whole family is thrilled, and some exuberant baby-knitting is just what is called for.