Vivian -- April-October 2009

To disguise the lack of FOs in 2010, have another post which recaptures an FO from 2009 (this one, as it goes, is coming up to its anniversary of completion, gosh).

Here's the photoshoot of me modelling Vivian, by Ysolda. An absolute joy to knit, despite (or perhaps because of!) the variety of ways I ended up knitting the hood.

As I become more of an advanced knitter, I've noticed I feel more comfortable with critiquing projects (in terms of how they fit me) -- in the past I might not have wanted to admit that something had its flaws, but I think it's more helpful to recognise them than pretend they don't exist.

With Vivian, then, there are a few elements to it which I'd change if I could. One was the length of the sleeves, which actually I did change -- originally they came all the way to my fingertips which just wasn't practical. I loved it so much more after I'd cut the cuffs back by almost a full repeat (funnily enough, I have done some steeking with Venezia in the last couple of months, and the prospect of cutting my knitting in a controlled way is much less horrifying than it was last year when I did it to Vivian [not fun, still, and I'd recommend doing it on your own with no distractions, but not so scary]).

The other things, which are all about my body shape, are the length of the jumper and the broadness of the shoulders. In fact the length would probably be perfect (I like jumpers longer and Vivian's nice and long compared to most patterns) were it not for the shoulders -- this is faintly ironic, as I don't have very defined shoulders and generally set-in sleeves are more flattering on me than a raglan fit. Vivian has ingenious knitted-in saddle shoulders, which were a treat to knit, but when I wear it my shoulders look a bit too broad. This is largely avoided by wearing it zipped enough so that the front makes a V-shape, but that in turn is another shape which doesn't flatter me as much as it could because I've got a smaller bust than some. Notice that there aren't many pictures of me front-on in this post? Yeah, some not so subtle self-editing going on when I decided which photos to keep and make public!

Despite these things, which are niggles more than complaints, this is a jumper which I thoroughly enjoyed making and have found extremely useful. Last Christmas and winter we had actual proper snow in London for several weeks, and as this jumper is by far the warmest thing I own it made an appearance many times over the winter and I couldn't value it more. It's also, despite what I've said above, a lovely looking thing and mostly flattering. It's genuinely really pleasing and I'd recommend the pattern to anyone. (And I'm still pleased with how I eventually altered the hood, and also that other people have chosen to do the same thing!)

Details: Vivian by Ysolda Teague, knitted in 100% wool natural aran (yarn a gift from Glitz Knits several moons ago, and I'm so glad I found a pattern to suit it) on 4.5mm bamboo circular needles. Ravelry link.

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