I had some lovely cream Aran yarn, quite a lot of green and cream 4 ply yarn and lots and lots of wooden buttons all needing a good project. I settled on the Child's Top-Down Henley pattern which I found on Ravelry. The pattern calls for the Aran yarn and the 4 ply yarn to be knitted together, so it makes a very thick and warm jumper. Bulky seams are avoided because this is basically knitted in one clever, seamless piece.
I had to juggle with my colours a little to make sure that I didn't run out of the 4 ply yarn. The sleeves are the same length even though the photo makes one of them look shorter! So I enjoyed carefully counting rows and switching colours until I eventually produced a wearable striped jumper.
The real disaster was averted much earlier in the knitting process. As this is a top-down pattern, I started at the neckline and increased stitches regularly until there were 168 stitches on my long circular knitting needle. I then knitted 2 more rows and was finally ready to divide the stitches for the sleeves and body. At the end of the second row I pulled my needle with a celebratory flourish and.....horror of horrors.....the needle tip separated from its cable. The tip flew out of one end of the row and the cable whizzed back through at least 70 stitches. Argggh!!
Luckily, I am not a swearer. Otherwise the air might have turned blue. Instead I surprised myself by staying calm as I worked my way back through the dropped stitches until I had picked them all up. This was made difficult by the fact that each stitch consisted of the 2 yarns held together and by the fact that my cat seemed to sense a problem and was trying to make it better by nose-butting me!
I considered myself lucky that the disaster had happened on ordinary stocking stitch. If it had happened on lace, I would have had to rip back the whole thing. Eventually I managed to save the situation in 30 minutes and I learned a vital lesson. Don't expect a cable to hold 168 stitches when it can really hold only 100. The irony is that I have a longer cable and could have used that. In future, I will.
The Aran yarn and the wooden buttons were donated to me by Joanne of the Cup On The Bus blog. The 4 ply yarn came also as donations or in cheap bargain lots. The jumper will go off soon to Operation Orphan. It should fit a four year old child and will hopefully be strong enough to be passed down through a whole family. It was that thought that kept me going when it was really tempting to have a knitter's meltdown!