I bought the wool for Seb’s jumper before deciding on a pattern, knowing only that he wanted purple and I wanted fair isle. Once he’d chosen a pattern from Kate Davies (the cover pattern, incidentally) and I’d used Ann Budd’s book to convert it into a boy’s jumper, I realised that I probably didn’t have enough purple wool. Luckily, I’d bought plenty of orange and cream to go with it, and had some different purple and green left over from Fliss’ Foxgloves in the same yarn. So I designed a band of simpler stars to go around the waist and cuffs.
Coming up with a fair isle design is surprisingly simple; coming up with one as beautiful as the Foxgloves is another matter. However, I decided I wanted the band to be narrower than that at the yoke, and the stars to still be square. I knew I had to cast on 160 stitches for the body of the jumper. The sleeves were due to be cast on with 38 stitches, which I increased to 40 to keep things simple. The star repeat thus ended up being 20 stitches by 20, so that there could be two full stars around either cuff, and eight around the waist.
All you do is take a piece of graph paper, or draw a grid on plain paper. Colour in the squares that make up the pattern. If you are using a range of different colours, you could colour them in as you go or, like me, write the colours down the side of each row. That’s it.
In order to make the two different star designs cohesive, I stuck to the same colour scheme. As a matter of fact, once I tried to reproduce the colour work in the cuffs, I found it fiddly and the yarn being carried along the back kept pulling too tight. In the end I ripped it out and simply used the colours in a series of stripes, 20 rows deep. This ended up being my favourite part of all.
I love the three different patterns on the jumper, all from the same palate, balanced by quite a lot of purple. It is very, very retro, and very him.