I'm going to start early with my top tip.... Don't enter into a speed knitting competition. It'll only break your heart when you lose/you fingers when you can't stop.
So, let me set the scene. Toni has started covering the shop on Wednesday morning for an hour or two whilst I have a regularly scheduled appointment. So far, every single time she's covered, for one reason or another she's ended up staying all day. One of those days somebody came in looking for interesting baby patterns and ended up with a onesie type suit. Toni speculated that it might be bloody brill for her to have a onesie and started looking on Ravelry. I started wondering whether it might be reasonable for me to have one too. She found the Union Suit. I couldn't resist and we both cast on that evening. The photos that really set this in our minds were these:
Look how much fun he's having chopping wood!
And this one:
We got over excited and started talking about pockets and hoods and detachable feet but we were both very definite on there having a fairisle bumflap.
The pattern is fantastic. Fan-bloody-tastic. This is not for the faint of heart. This is a lot of knitting, knitting in the round, knitting flat, fancy increases, fancy decreases, picking up stitches, short rows, counting rows, knitted all in one, button holes.... Anybody who's made a jumper confidently should be fine but be warned. It is really well explained and all the way through there are options for short or longer or wider or thinner or curvier or less curvy bodies. Both me and Toni made adjustments, some of which worked and some of which didn't. I'd definitely do my legs shorter next time and Toni would definitely make hers a little baggier. Overall though, we felt pretty well supported throughout the pattern but I think it helped that we were doing it together so you know when you don't read the pattern right? Well, the other one would. And to be honest, once I got down and finished the legs I didn't touch the pattern again.
At some point, the knit-a-long turned into a competition. I think it turned seriously when Jean offered Toni £50 to beat me. Toni was in front for most of the way and then, somehow, when she went away for the weekend, I got ahead. AND THEN AT THE LADY MINUTE SHE BLOODY FINISHED! But have you seen the side of her compared to me?
Although that photo makes her look almost as tall as me I'm about a good 6 to 7 inches taller, and to give you some idea of sizing.... my thigh is two inches smaller than her chest... Haha. I believe, even though my knitting finished the day after hers, that I won. Also, she never got a single pocket on hers.
The bumflaps were dead fun. For some reason I got it in my head that I should definitely have my name on mine. I roughly worked out how many rows I'd have to work and split that into seven sections which, give or take, gave me seven rows per letter. So I spent a bus journey working that out meticulously...
As meticulously as I get anyway... If you can't make that out (and I barely can) it's a series of scribbled grids with letters blacked out. It's all I needed anyway. And it ended up looking like this:
You can probably tell that I spent very little time centering the patterning, just went with it. I'm of the passionate belief that fairisle really should be done in the round and steeked where you want it flat, so every row of doing this made me cringe. Better than leaving this though...
Toni's not so bothered about how to make fairisle though so she just ploughed ahead with the cutest bunnies ever in the world.
I think she roughly took the pattern for a monster eighties jumper, but basically looked at it and made it up from there. Each bunny is separated by a line of fairisle jamming and there was a little bit of heartache about whether she could fit another bunny and another line of fairisle in. Especially seeing as she decided on having a useable bumflap. I was convinced I wouldn't use mine so I sewed it up (forgot to put buttonholes in anyway....) but Toni assures me that it is useable!
Which leads me to. I'VE GOT TO MAKE ANOTHER ONE! I decided to put a zip up the front of mine - no idea why seeing as I hate sewing - but I did. Only, I decided this on a day when I knew that I wouldn't be able to get to a sewing shop before I had to wear it at the party so I had to send Chris in. Good old Chris. Only, I couldn't decide on the colour, seeing as they didn't have burnt orange in a 30" zip. (You mean not everybody is making burnt orange plus size onesies around here!?!?!?) so I got him to pick up a red and a black. But then I didn't want to take the black back because I want another onesie. I was tempted to make an all black onesie. I have a beautiful long black velvet dressing gown that I wear all the time and it almost makes me feel classy in my sleepwear. Surely I would feel classy in an all black onesie - perhaps with some crystal beading detail around the yoke??? But then Steph from Nettynot suggested a multi coloured onesie and it all came into focus because a loooooong time ago I got a bag of all of my aran bits together fancying making a big oversize sweater for me and never got round to it. Add a few full balls in there and I have enough for an all over mental onesie! IMAGINE THAT!
Anyway, for these original onesies, knitted in three weeks and one/two days respectively if you must know, we both used the big balls of aran. Everybody loves a big ball don't they? Toni used the Grousemoor Aran in Pink Mix (marked 'Pine Mix' on the internet.... how have I missed that?! It's on the list of stuff to fix. It's a very long list...), three balls of it. And I used the King Cole Fashion Aran in Mull, three and a bit balls of it. Note the difference in metreage - the Cygnet Grousemoor has 660m and the Fashion Aran has 800m so even though I only used half a ball more, I used a good 600m more. We shared a ball of Cygnet Grousemoor Aran in cream for the contrast and used most of that although there's some left over that might make it into my next onesie seeing as I don't have that much cream.... not usually my thing... It's knitted on a 4mm needle and I think a 3.75mm for the ribbing and we both ended up using a circular all the way through even though some of it's back and forth. It's just much better for your wrists this way because the extra weight is not being supported by your arms or wrists but laying on your lap as you knit (or under your arm if you knit whilst waiting for the bus like I do). This might seem like too small a needle, and technically it is, and parts can be hard going to be honest but you really don't want a loose gauge on something like this. You'll be wearing it when it's cold and probably without a bra and can you imagine a nipple peeping out of your loose weave? Nobody wants that.
And I think that's all I've got to say! I really, genuinely recommend this. It's one of those projects that you really regret casting on when you're half way through but we've both worn these to death since we made them and they so impressive and technically interesting that I say just bloody go for it! £30 for a woolly onesie made by oneself? Boom.
One last proper photo:
Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxx
P.s. Just to help her our a bit, here's the pattern again - Union Suit by Megan Grewal.