Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Pip's Wrap Pattern

It's my sister's birthday today.  Here she is, out on a walk, kindly sporting a whole collection of my woolen gifts, photographed by my niece, Phoebe. Great effort, totally Vogue, darling. When they visited last month, I was showing off my new spinning wheel and the glories of the as yet untouched second fleece I got from Huxtable Farm.  Pip gave in gracefully to the inevitable offer of homespun birthday knitwear, choosing a pattern for a wrap from an old pamphlet I have had for a while, Patons Book 3735.  Top choice, it is a really simple pattern to modify for any weight of wool.  Book 3735 is no longer in print, but Coats Crafts UK very kindly agreed that I put my modified version of their pattern on this blog.

Materials  6 mm needles
I used 1.5 kg raw wool fleece of fawn brown to grey of a Jacob X Texel ewe from Huxtable Farm.  Staple length 7cm plus, shorn July 2012.  The real pattern calls for less than half that weight of Eco Wool Chunky and as I said, you could make the same dimensions only much finer and more drapey in a lighter weight wool, by increasing the number of stitches you cast on.
(Update in August - I was asked how many metres of wool were needed, but I didn't measure at the time.  I have calculated, only roughly, using leftover wool and the tension gauge piece that it was 1,320m)
I still haven't got to grips with sorting, so I mixed staple colours and lengths while carding more carefully than with the first fleece, getting tangle free rolags.  I managed to spin medium thick, fairly even singles and plied the pairs together with better twist along their length. 
As for the Huxtable Jumper, tie each skein with cotton in four places, add a tablespoon of Fairy Liquid to about 10 litres warm water, and put in two skeins squeezing the gently.  Heat up to 85-90 degrees C over the course of an hour, then leave to cool.  When the temperature has dropped to about hand hot (40 degrees), rinse the wool in three changes of hand hot tap water, squeeze out and leave to dry. Roll into centre pull balls.  

This wrap is knitted sideways, so the cast on edge begins with the right front border and you work towards the right shoulder, leave a gap for the armhole and continue across the back.  The cast on edge gives you the length you want - remember it hangs longer on a slant off the shoulder.  The distance to the armhole and across the back and from the second armhole to the other front border should all  be equal to each other and be based on the shoulder to shoulder measurement of the happy recipient.
For my wool, I got 12 stitches and 20 rows to 10cm square on 6mm needles in 4x4 box stitch.
I cast on 100sts on 6mm needles, to get a length from shoulder to the top of the hip, excluding the depth of the collar.  Clearly, Pip is going to wear it off the shoulder and droopy, but you can wrap it closer round you and have the collar turned over.   

First row knit(k), second row purl(p), third row purl, fourth row knit.  
Repeat rows 1-4, then repeat rows 1 and 2.
Main Body
Pattern begins with rows as follows
1  (Lower border) p6 then k2 p2 to last 16 stitches(st), p16 (collar band)
K16 p2 k2 k6
k6 p2 k2 k16
p16 k2 p2 p6
Continue in pattern until work measures approx 51cm from beginning, ending with a fourth pattern row.  You could use any stitch pattern for the body, as long as it looks good from both sides, moss stitch, a lacey pattern maybe, for a lighter wool.
Divide for armholes
Pattern 56, cast off 28, pattern 16
Continue on top edge 16 stitches in pattern for 7 rows and leave stitches on a holder.
With wrong side facing, join wool to remaining 56 rows and continue in pattern for 7 rows.
Pattern 56 st cast on 28, continue on 16 stitches on holder – 100 st
Continue in pattern for a further 49cm, ending with a fourth pattern row.
Repeat armhole.
Continue in pattern for a further 49 cm, ending with a second pattern row.
Repeat border in reverse – rows in turn of k p p k k p p k k p and cast off loosely.

Cast on 42 st on 6mm needles.
Make rows in turn of k p p k
Continuing in this pattern of rows, decrease one stitch at each end of next row then decrease one stitch at each end of alternate rows until 24 st remain, then in every row until 10 st remain.  Cast off.  Sleeves are sewn into armholes with the cast on edge as their outer border.

This kind of chunky item demands a substantial brooch to hold it around the wearer in nippy conditions.  I found this penannular brooch online.  I love it, it is perfect, not too heavy, but looks to be steel.  It is made by DaeGrad tools and cost £6.99.

Happy Birthday Pip!


  1. Dear Fran,
    These are wonderful, you're so clever. It's lovely to see the end product of the fleeces you purchased from us at Huxtable Farm.

    1. Thanks very much. Best of luck to you and the sheep in this dreadful spring.

  2. I love it. The wool is so soft and warm. Much needed as it started to snow soon after! Pip x

  3. I think it is looks brilliant, I am very impressed keep knitting and blogging Fran! x x x Matty

  4. This is amazing! I'm wondering what weight yarn to use? Cascade Ecological Wool? I'm not a spinner so I need to purchase it. It looks so thick and warm! The Eco Wool says it's heavy/worsted... do I need chunky? Thanks again for making the pattern available!

  5. My spun wool is quite fuzzy, so it looks a bit thicker than it is. For warmth without too much weight, I would go for an aran/worsted yarn that has a fluffy fullness - a woollen spun look, on a fairly big needle. I am glad you like it.

  6. Do you have the final dimensions of this? It's beautiful.