I suppose there’s some part of my British DNA that creates a Pavlovian response to anything withe the word ‘tea’ in it, but nevertheless I was smitten with this pattern when it came out. Tea With Jam & Bread by Heidi Kirrmaier is a roomy raglan, perfect for mooching round the house on a chilly weekend. The stripes add a little interest and as for pockets, well who doesn’t love pockets?! (Is it just me, but all my favourite dresses and skirts have pockets in them).
When I was planning to make Mr Hoxton his Grettir sweater, I ordered lots of yarn from New Lanark to work out my colour palette, but I thought I had the base colour sorted with aran Donegal Silk Tweed in Light Graphite. On the website it’s described as grey with light flecks, but when it arrived it was decidedly beige looking, especially with its orange flecks, which didn’t work with my greyscale colour scheme. So I put it away, and ordered yarn in Pebble instead.
But what to do with seven skeins of Light Graphite? Over the last few years I’ve worn my Cobblestone jumper constantly. Knit in the smallest men’s size, it’s big, and just the thing to throw on over pyjamas in the morning, or layering with other sweaters when it’s freezing cold. Having an alternate big jumper seemed a good idea, and Tea With Jam & Bread was just the ticket.
I wanted a matching tone for the first stripe, and I still had some pale grey leftover from Grettir. For the second, I wanted something a bit more bold and striking. My original plan was to go with the sample in the pattern, and use a mustard colour, but it didn’t quite work with the brownish tone of the Light Graphite. I had a lovely deep orange Russett, which matched the brown and the orange flecks, but it was a bit too matchy. Then I remembered I had a few skeins of an alpaca blend aran yarn, in a rich purple. As soon as I lined them up, I knew I had the combination I wanted.
The tweed is not quite as soft as the regular aran from New Lanark, and even though I love sheepy yarns, I wouldn’t wear it next to my skin. But in a big jumper like this, it’s perfect. It also holds it’s shape well, which is important for a top-down raglan with a fairly wide neckline and a lot of positive ease. The purple yarn is from Little Houndales Knits and is a lovely blend of 50% Yorkshire Wolds Suffolk Cross wool and 50% alpaca.
I can see myself making this again and it’s a great basis for a top-down raglan which you could adapt for different versions. I think it would work really well for men, you can just remove the pockets and if they’re not keen on stripes, knit it all in one colour. But this one is all mine, and now I’m snug and cosy I’m off to put the kettle on.