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How has it become nearly the middle of April already? The last few weeks have been taken up with the “Heliopath Vest KAL” [on Instagram and Ravelry], reading 11.22.63 [Stephen King] and the secret thing I mentioned in my previous blog which I am still waiting information on.

Today’s blog is about the Heliopath Vest. There are a few things I need to mention about the Vest:

–          The pattern is from an American magazine and not available in the UK – but I had to have it, and the lovely UnapologeticKnitter hooked me up with a digital copy of the magazine, and I also was able to get a physical copy from a friend in the US [I am greedy like that].

–          The UnapologeticKnitter is quite possibly the most amazing [and maybe intimidating] knitter I have come across. She has CRAZY maths skills that I’m not sure I could ever hope to understand. But she is awesome and I am glad that I have “met” her.

–          The KAL has run from the beginning of March through to the end of this week

–          It has been largely on Instagram – and I discovered a whole new community of wonderful knitters and will definitely use this medium more in the future.

–          The pattern is AWESOME!

When I first started participating in the KAL I was planning on blogging or writing about more than the one casual mention towards the end of March – that didn’t happen because things have been a bit crazy the past few weeks.

I used Hayfield Aran yarn for this project which is an acrylic and wool blend yarn, one that I have used before and enjoyed using – it means that I’ll be able to just throw it in the wash as and when and not have to worry too much about destroying that beautiful work. This yarns colourway – had it existed/ been available in my local HobbyCraft when I was making Nuri’s Ravenclaw scarf is totally what I would have used. It would have been the perfect bronze colour to match the book colours rather than the grey I used for the film colours.

Heliopath Heliopath

When I first got the pattern I did my usual – what the heck have I got myself into? – routine. It looks complicated, and worse it was CHARTED. I don’t think I’ve ever worked from a chart set out in a way like that, however, taking my time with the patter and reading through it several times before it was time to cast one helped a lot. I had to look up in the only knitting magazine I collect the essence of charts and how to read them – and to also remember that I was knitting flat, not in the round – unlike the other project I had started before the Heliopath KAL came along.

Breaking the pattern down into bite-size chunks was a huge help. There was a schedule to aim for completion by the end of this week, and took to dividing the pattern into sections – and approaching the pattern in the same way certainly helped me get my mind around it. Of course, the pattern was written in American knitting language so there was a mild amount of translating – not a huge problem as a lot of patterns I’ve used are from the US.

Things I have learnt with this pattern:

–          Trust my tension – I used 4.0mm needles instead of 4.5mm as I am a quite tight knitter. Trying it on even though it’s not been blocked yet it fits well, and blocking will relax the rest of the tension.

–          Three needle bind off. This is amazing – If I happen to make a garment that needs to be seemed I will use this to seem the sides and shoulder as it is easy – although I did drop a few stitches on one side before I really got the hang of it.

–          Dropping stitches as a technique – it looks amazing in this vest.

–          My picking up stitches has neatened up in this garment compared to the last one I made that required it, even though I picked up far more stitches on the ribbing than was asked for in the pattern it still looks pretty sweet.

I will be making this pattern again in the future, at least once more for my Ma, and possible for Nuri too as she expressed an interest in the pattern when I first mentioned it back in March. The time frame for those both does depend on the super secret thing I have been doing though.

Thanks again to those hosting the KAL and allowing me to join in by sourcing the pattern for me,

Carry on crafting folks,