Friday, 1 March 2013
The Cables and Twists jumper turned out to be a bit of a steep learning curve. I had cabled before but never so many different types on one garment - it could be difficult to keep track of the pattern which ran over something like 26 rows, each one a little different, especially when tired.
Suffice to say I made a few mistakes. Some weren't that visible such as some around the neck shaping, so I left them as a fitting tribute to my cabling education. Others were obvious, such as a knit stitch on the purl section or a completely forgotten cable crossover. This taught me some other tricks for correcting mistakes in your work - I unravelled the offending stitches right back to the offending row and then reknit them all the way back up again. It doesn't look perfect, but it's better than the original mistake! I also had the common problem of a loose stitch on the left of each cable. Is it true you can knit into the back of a stitch to tighten it? I'm not sure, but I was never able to solve this problem.
When I had finally finished the knitting and sewing up, I tried it on and realised it was way too short for my liking. I had achieved the correct tension by going up a needle size, so it wasn't that. I can only assume that either I have a long body or I just don't like the fashion for short jumpers that seems to be prevalent in a lot of knitting patterns these days. I just don't see how it is flattering to stop half way down your waist - I like to have at least a bit of my hips covered.
I knew that in its current state I would never wear the jumper, and after all that work I wanted at least to be able to wear it casually/around the house even if it wasn't fit for best. So I took a deep breath and made the scary decision to cut into my work and pick up the stitches above the bottom ribbing, with the help of the excellent Tech Knitting blog. This was not the easiest project to do this with as the cables started just above the rib, so I have to admit I fudged it a bit. Since the garment was already sewn together I just unpicked the seam to above the section I was cutting, then knit downwards in rib in the round. It does all sound a bit botch job, which it is, but it turned out alright and you would have to look closely to see the errors.
I used every last scrap of yarn to add length, even the unravelled pieces. I added about two inches, and would have added more if I had any yarn left as I still think its a bit short. But I was proud of myself for actually cutting my knitting and for all the techniques I had learned.
It's not my favourite jumper - it looked good in the book on the skinny model but the cabling on the arms and drop shoulders make me look a bit like a rugby player, especially combined with the short length! I will have to be more careful with my pattern selection in the future. But it's soft and warm and fine for sobbing around the house in.
In other news, J's Stripy Jacket is finished and I have cast on something new...
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
And admittedly, there are a couple of garments that are just really not me. The cover project, Winterbloom by Martin Storey, while a pretty jumper, is not my style at all, big roll necks like this tend to make me too hot and uncomfortable and they don't fit under my coat properly. Delft by Judy Furlong is far too fussy and floral for my tastes, and Emma Vining's Sugar Kelp, while classic in its design, is also not for me.
This sounds quite negative for a review, but actually this issue is a grower - the rest of the garments aren't especially statement pieces but you begin to see aspects of each that you like, and sometimes these kinds of designs make the best wardrobe staples.
My favourite design in the magazine is definitely the Eriskay Gansey by Beth Brown-Reinsel. It is based on traditional ganseys but has such a modern look and shape, I have already been thinking about a substitute for the suggested yarn which is not available in this country. This is one failing of The Knitter - I wish they suggested alternative yarns for garments, particularly where a yarn is especially hard to source or very expensive. Other knitting magazines do this and it is such a useful addition.
Overall, not an outstanding issue but a solid one which contains a few 'inoffensive' patterns that would probably suit most wardrobes.
Sunday, 24 February 2013
Several of my friends had already knitted the pattern, and last year I decided it was about time I had my own version.
I chose Jarol Sweet Briar Chunky, mainly because that is what my friend Rachel had used for hers, in a silver grey colour. The whole knit is more or less seamless, with the body knit in the round and the sleeve stitches picked up and also knit in the round.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
But these days I want to spend my free time doing something creative. I have little enough spare time as it is, so I often feel like time spent simply reading is wasted time. This is why I am a massive audiobook fan. Don't get me wrong, I still think that actually reading a book is not only quicker, but a far more immersive experience that really lets your imagination fly. But listening also requires you to fill in the visual blanks, and often gives a different spin on a story as the narrator puts their unique stamp on a reading.
I have been a member of Audible for several years now. I get a book a month; and that, along with a few extra purchases, have built up to a library of some fifty audiobooks, all of which can be downloaded and listened to on my iPhone. I have discovered some real gems through this subscription.
So I downloaded the TV programme on iTunes and watched it - quite entertaining it was too. Although Billy Piper was not exactly the best choice in the lead role, I thought that J.J.Feild was the perfect Fred Garland - I had only ever seen him in an Agatha Christie's Marple adaptation before, and I confess in a slightly fangirlish way I headed off to watch Northanger Abbey in which he also stars. Go watch them, if you have an hour or two free and no energy to actually get up and leave the house!
I've now nearly finished listening to The Shadow in the North (why, Phillip Pullman, why?! How could you? So sad!), and have The Tiger in the Well ready and waiting on my Audible app. Plenty more hours of entertainment to come.
In craft related news, I am currently short row shaping the border of J's little stripy jacket, so after a lot of weaving in of ends I should be ready to share that very soon. I'll be back with a review of the latest issue of The Knitter in the next few days.
Monday, 18 February 2013
Last week I made a concerted effort to finish my Hudson hoodie. This project had been hanging round for far too long and I thought it was about time to release it from the doldrums at the bottom of my knitting bag and actually wear the thing!
I worked on it every spare moment, nap times and evenings; the endless moss stitch hood was finally finished, a sleeve edge picked up and knit (apologies for the night time, bad light photos!).
I had a whole ball of yarn left and decided it was time to pick up for the button band, which wraps all the way around the hood and down both sides. There were a mega amount of stitches to pick up, something like 440, but I sat and spent one whole evening picking them up evenly onto a long circular needle.
Each row seemed to take forever as it was all in rib and the hoodie itself was pretty heavy by now. The buttonhole row took extra time - I decided to add in an extra button hole than the pattern suggested, as I wanted one right at the bottom too. I used this Masterclass to help me make my buttonholes as neat as possible - they still aren't perfect, but better than ones I have knit before.
Then the worst happened - I could see I was running out of yarn. I decided to cast off a row early as I really didn't want this button band sitting on the needles, it would be far too easy for stitches to drop off. I had just enough yarn to cast off (and I mean just - there was about a centimetre left!).
But I was left with one sleeve edging and two pocket edgings to knit. I had a feeling I would be in this position as my tension for the project was so drastically wrong, since I discovered part way through that I was knitting in a finer gauge yarn than the pattern specified. Unfortunately, I had used Knit Picks yarn from Great British Yarns which is the only UK supplier and they no longer had the colour in stock. Was I destined never to finish this hoodie?
Fortunately for me, Ravelry exists. After a trawl through the stashed Wool of the Andes yarn, I actually found some in the same dye lot in one lovely person's stash, and we are currently arranging for her to ship it to me all the way from the US. Isn't the Internet a wonderful thing?
Hopefully I will be back to share the finished item very soon!
Sunday, 17 February 2013
I found what I thought would be the answer in the pages of Simply Knitting Issue101. It was a simple beanie hat with a lace border above the ribbing, knit in the gorgeous chunky Colinette Calligraphy yarn which comes in a veritable rainbow of different shades. I quickly ordered a skein each in two shades - Monet for my sister, Gaugin for my brother's girlfriend. The colours in this yarn are stunning and beg to be worked up into special accessories.
My brother's girlfriend is quite crafty so I thought she might like to knit up the hat herself, so wrapped up the yarn with a set of DPNs and the pattern. But my sister is not crafty, so I knew I would need to knit hers myself.
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
So how is this fledgling magazine getting on now we have got past the excitement of the introductory issue? I have decided to continue buying it for a while to see how it establishes itself, though there are a few things that I hope will change in the coming issues.
First up, some of the things I liked. There is another lovely blanket, this time by Nicki Trench, which looks very attractive in the beautifully styled photographs. However, there are so many crocheted blanket patterns online, not least the ones on offer at Attic24 that I really wouldn't buy a magazine on the strength of this type of pattern.
The Toft Alpaca bunny was incredibly sweet and I could see me making this for a new baby, along with the little baby bootees - they certainly look like a quick project too.
But perhaps the stand out item for me in the whole magazine is the stunning crochet handbag by Erika Knight, worked up in superchunky yarn using a range of motifs stitched together and lined with a contrasting fabric. I have already priced up the yarn for this (and realised it is out of my current price range and I will have to substitute!). I know I have a hundred other projects to finish (and start!) but this will definitely get made one day.
Thursday, 7 February 2013
So what is on my needles at the moment?
Firstly, we have my Hudson hoodie.
When not knitting my hoodie, I've been trying to add a few rows to my Anniken Allis Lazuli shawl - this is going to be a long term project I can tell, but the yarn is beautiful and I will get it done one day. I've made a small error in one of the pine cone motifs when I dropped a stitch, but I'm hoping it won't notice too much...
Monday, 28 January 2013
Benjy is a mischievous little monster made from scraps of yarn left over from Jake's stripy blanket.
I chose the Vinny V pattern, knitted in the Hayfield Bonus dk I had leftover, about 3/4 of each ball. As it turns out, I still have leftovers - Vinny doesn't use much yarn. I named him Benjy the Blanket Buddy because I intended him to be used for snuggling when Jake is all wrapped up in his blanket. I'm sure one day little J will rename him though.
Benjy literally flew off the needles - he is such an easy knit, and knitting all the pieces in the round meant there was next to no making up to do. Even then, I put it off for a few days - sewing up is never as fun as the knitting.
I am absolutely over the moon with how Benjy turned out - he looks like he has a real personality, and Jake has played with, or should I say chewed, him lots. Hopefully he will be tough enough to last - at least he is made from washable yarn and stuffing, something I can see being quite useful in the future!
Sunday, 27 January 2013
So first up, one thing I love about this issue. As always, The Knitter provides more than just patterns, and there was an interesting interview in this issue with the historian Sandy Black looking at the amazing archives of the V&A museum, which much to my shame I have never visited though I have always intended to go. As a history teacher I obviously find this fascinating and just wish they had gone into a bit more depth about some of the items, such as the stranded knitting fragment from 12th century Egypt. It makes you realise just how long established this craft really is.
Martin Storey delivers as always with Tipsy, a man's cardigan. Ed doesn't really wear cardigans so I can't see this getting made, but I think it would look great on any man who does.
There are various other patterns in the magazine including some for children which is always handy, a bag by Barb Brown and a lovely shawl by Anniken Allis. Overall, it's a fairly strong issue, though there are probably only two items I might add to my queue at this point. In the preview for next issue though I have already spotted some gorgeous items that are right up my street design wise, so I'm looking forward to that!