It is well known in my family that it is notoriously difficult to buy presents for my mum.
Each year the conversation goes something like this
*(careful, its riveting stuff!):
One of us kids: “What do you want for Christmas?”
“Ok, Is there anything you need?”
and every year I spend hours trawling the shops and getting stressed out trying to find something that she’ll like and actually use.
This year something happened. I actually knew what to get her and by the beginning of November her present had made it’s way to my house via the obligatory stop at John’s, our unofficial sorting office and neighbour.
That’s right, you read that correctly: the beginning of NOV-EM-BER!!
And here’s the absolute best part of the whole thing: instead of the usual stress and frustration that normally accompanies the acquisition of her present, this one provided hours of relaxation and enjoyment. And an excuse to spend lots of time knitting!!
If you haven’t guessed it, I bought a knit kit. And it was totally justifiable and guilt free!
BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER PURCHASED!!!
Now the details: Box 065 Mohair Cardigan in Black by the Swiss Company Pret a Faire
I first came across this label when I saw it mentioned on a German sewing and knitting blog I follow (Lotilda). Their selection is classic but modern, with neutral colours perfect for gifting. The one downside is that their patterns only come in German but that may change as the company grows. The kit wasn’t, around £65 (I also had to add an extra ball of wool for £10 to make the larger size) but the quality of the wool and the overall product was definitely reflected in the price. The package arrived, a beautifully presented hand-stamped box which really felt like a present for me as well as for my mum. Best of all it comes with a free project bag which I could keep for myself!
(Photo Credit: Pret a Faire)
I’ve never touched wool this soft and light before and I initially found it a bit intimidating; it was almost like a ball of un-spun hair! I was doubtful that such thin yarn, even when knit double, could be knitted with 10mm needles without being too “hole-y” but the hairs around the yarn do a great job of padding it out and unless you hold the knitted product over a white piece of paper you wouldn’t see through it. What the large needles do do is give the cardigan the most beautiful drape giving the end product a really luxurious but slouchy feel.
The pattern is simple and easy to follow. Three rectangles for the back and the sleeves and two front panels knitted with mirroring decreases to create the sloped neckline are sewn together. The instructions are very clear and explain how to create left and right leaning decreases. Absolutely a beginner friendly pattern.
The hardest thing about making the cardigan is the handling of the wool. Mohair does loose hair- a lot! Knitting it is kind of like having a moulting cat sitting on your lap- minus the itchy eyes and runny nose! Sewing it up is a nightmare as with all the hair the stitches are a bit hard to find as is unravelling stitches which inevitable result in some tangling. The end result is worth these challenges. My cardigan turned out so well that it not only bought tears to my mum’s eyes when she opened it on Christmas Eve but it also jumped to the top of my to-knit in 2017 list albeit in the slightly more wallet-friendly Drops Air.