Finished Object – Gaudi Cardigan

01-05-19 Gaudi finished

It’s done! My Gaudi cardigan is completely finished, washed, dry, ready to wear. I am so pleased with it; it fits perfectly, the Rowan Felted Tweed DK makes it warm but lightweight, the colours are just stunning. I feel the buttons provide a final flourish. I went through my button tin as I knew I had bought some packs of blue grey and beige buttons some time ago. Once I had sorted them out into matching colour sets, I decided to use the palest beige, the deep-sea blue, and the charcoal ones in a repeating pattern and I just love how it looks. I think it lends the garment a playful edge.

So, here are the technical details:
Pattern:  Gaudi
Designer:  Martin Storey for Rowan
Book:  Rowan New Vintage DK
Size: To fit bust 36-38″ (second size)
Materials: Rowan Felted Tweed DK. I used 150g Clay; 37g Watery; 43g Granite; 15g Mineral; 64g Carbon; 15g Seafarer.
Needles:  3.25mm KnitPro Symfonie 30cm straights; 4.00mm KnitPro Zing 30cm straights.
Buttons:  I used 11 18mm buttons, pattern calls for 6 only.

Modifications (a.k.a. It isn’t you, it’s me)

From the outset, it was my intention to knit this exactly as the pattern is written with no modifications, even using the exact colours shown in the pattern. Well, that went a bit by-the-board, but I have to make it clear that I count this as an extremely well-written pattern, just one that doesn’t suit my knitting preferences quite as well as some of Martin Storey’s previous patterns. Here is the design photo:-

01-05-19 Gaudi pattern pic

My cardigan seems rather shorter than this but then I always have an issue with row gauge and I like the length mine has achieved.  The big modifications, though, came in the colourwork patterned ‘yoke’ area. I have to admit I struggled with this as I have mentioned in previous blog posts. Firstly, I didn’t work the few stitches at the raglan shaping in the Clay colour as I should have – I tried it both ways, but repeated re-knitting of the colourwork on the back left me with no desire to have three balls of wool hanging around getting tangled.

Last week I got it all seamed together ready to work the bands, but I tried it on and I really didn’t like the fit on the shoulders. I knew all along this could potentially be an issue because I don’t like wide necklines – they don’t suit my narrow shoulders and I find them fussy when it comes to necklines you can wear under them. Realising I wouldn’t wear the cardigan as it was, I unpicked the seams and took each piece back to a point where I could address this issue.

I will say here that I think this pattern would be ideal if you are used to knitting your sweaters top-down all in one piece, but want to branch out and try a pattern knit from the bottom up in pieces. I think you would end up with a fit you are very familiar and happy with from your previous projects. I don’t knit that type of garment because they don’t look like they would be a comfortable fit on me; although having modified this cardigan I might try an all-in-one construction sometime and modify it to suit me.

I have knitted raglan-sleeved garments in the dim and distant past, although a set-in sleeve suits me perfectly so I tend to stick with that, and I recalled that the sleeve decreases were worked until all the stitches were gone and the sleeve came to a point at the top. On this design, there is a shaped top to each sleeve. In order to get a close-fitting neck, I just carried on decreasing the sleeves as my previous experience dictated and then worked the shaping on the back and fronts to suit. This has given me the ideal result for my taste and it actually didn’t add more than a couple of days to the finishing of the project.

My second modification was to crochet the bands for the button, buttonhole, and neck edges rather than knitting them. Again, this is a result of past experience as I really like the finish a crocheted band provides, especially how neat the buttonholes are.

01-05-19 Gaudi buttonholes

I made my buttonholes quite close together, almost doubling the number of buttons called for, because of a discussion I had with one of my sisters when I was dithering over whether to knit this as a cardigan or change it to a jumper. With smaller gaps between the buttons it will be possible to wear it as a jumper when I want to.

So there it is, my completed cardigan and I can’t wait to be wearing it. I will post some modelled shots when I can grab them, but for now I’m just happy to have this one in my wardrobe. I love it.

01-05-19 Gaudi complete


 

Knit-Read-Blog

24-04-19 Gaudi pieces
When a plan starts to come together

This morning I have completed all the knitting on Gaudi. Hurrah! I must say, laying all the pieces out on my bed to photograph makes me feel more confident about the finished object than I have been in a fair while. I want to have this finished and wearable by the end of the month, so the next week will see me joining the pieces, putting on the crochet front bands and neckband, sewing on buttons, trying it on, then washing it (I always wash my completed projects before I wear them, rather than just pinning them out and dampening them to block). That still seems like an awful lot of work to achieve and I won’t be surprised if I over-run my self-imposed deadline.

One reason I’ve been working hard at this project for the past couple of weeks is a desire to dispose of the needles I chose to knit it. These are the 30cm length 4mm KnitPro Zing metal needles. I started on these because I mistakenly thought I didn’t have any of my preferred KnitPro Symfonie wooden needles in the 4mm size. I don’t swap needle types once I have started a project because I think I get a different gauge using metal needles compared to wooden needles. However, although metal needles are very good in thin gauges, by the time you get to 4mm, the design of the KnitPro Zing is not so good to my way of thinking. They are incredibly pretty, but I ‘throw’ my yarn which means the needle in my right hand moves about a fair bit and that heavy finial on the end gets very tiring. Funnily enough, the thing I hate about circular needles is that they don’t have an end to provide stability as I am throwing the yarn! Clearly I am very much the Goldilocks of the knitting community!

I think this pair is destined for the charity shop where I am sure they will find a home with someone who will love them. I might bundle them up with some wool to make a gift pack. I am going to have quite decent remnants of wool from this project but I’ll keep them to make a co-ordinating neck-warmer.

That’s all I have been doing on the knitting front.

24-04-19 Inside Vogue
Book co-ordinates with my knitting!

I have been in a bit of a reading lull recently, but have just started Alexandra Shulman’s account of Vogue’s 100th year and I am finding it very enjoyable. I have always been interested in clothes and fashion magazines; I love the film of The Devil Wears Prada and the documentary The September Issue which follows the making of the bumper fashion edition of American Vogue.

I also read Harpers Bazaar when I can afford it; that means not at present, although I do read their website to keep abreast of things. This morning I read a very interesting article on there Introducing Circular Fashion and it gave me much food for thought about making fashion more sustainable. As someone who is (forgive me if I am being too modest) making a brilliantly unsuccessful attempt to sell hand-knitted accessories, I am familiar with the dichotomy of encouraging people to buy less and encouraging them to buy what I want to sell them. On the face of it, paying a more realistic price for work that is going to last for years makes perfect sense. However, when faced with a pair of knitted fingerless mitts on Amazon for less than a pound compared to a hand-knitted pair on my Etsy shop for around £20 it’s hard to think about relative value. I know that I currently have less disposable income than at any time in my life and I am falling into a mindset of buying cheap rather than buying quality. I hardly think I am the only person in this position.

In her book, Alexandra Shulman talks about how sensible it would be to amass a collection of pieces that could be slotted into any issue of the magazine if needed, but how she finds that if she has such pieces she becomes unenthusiastic about them. This resonates with me because it is precisely what I find for my blog. After I publish a post I will, occasionally, be in a mood to continue writing and get part of the way through a couple of blog posts on what seem to be excellent ideas. Sometimes I even know the precise day I could publish them, yet I rarely do. It seems to me that they are not indicative of what is on my mind on that day, they do not appeal to me at that moment, and so they sit in my Drafts folder until I delete them. I applaud the people who can write and schedule their blogs in advance, but it has never been my way of writing and I don’t think it’s a way which enables me to produce my best work. I am thinking back to school when I was unable to write the outline of an essay and then write the essay, so used to write the essay then go back and write a synopsis/outline at the end (but don’t tell my teachers I did that!). Is it that I become too easily bored and once I’ve written the outline I’ve basically said what I want to say and am ready to move on to something completely different? Perhaps it is more that my creativity is greatest when I give it a free rein and an outline to me feels like a fence. And now I am thinking about horses show-jumping – whoa there, mind; get yourself back on track!

I hope the mid-week finds you in good spirits and making progress with your own projects.


 

Finally, progress on Gaudi

27-03-19-gaudi-a.jpg

It’s taken a lot of fiddling and more time than it should, but I am finally making noticeable progress on the Gaudi cardigan by Martin Storey for Rowan.

I hit a problem with this pattern as soon as I started working on the colourwork section and I think the problem is nothing more than the peculiarities of my own gauge, compounded by my personal preferences. I knit three-quarters of the way through the colourwork on the back at least four times, very possibly more, and each time I couldn’t make it work. The armhole would be plenty deep enough, yet I would still have at least 30 stitches remaining to decrease which would add another 2-3 inches to the depth of the armhole. The back returned to my knitting basket a number of times to rest between bouts of wanting to work on it.

I have finally settled on following the spirit of the pattern rather than the word; I worked out my method for decreasing the correct number of stitches without it resulting in a batwing sleeve, and I finally knit the whole colourwork portion of the back in less than a day. Of course, having knitted the colourwork so many times, I am now very familiar with how it goes and don’t have to consult the pattern at all.

On this final stab, I decided that life was too short to have an extra ball of yarn on the go and fiddle with knitting the edge in the pale colour as the pattern instructs, so I have gone for a strictly striped look right across. I really want to wear this cardigan and if that’s what it takes to get a cardi I like, then that’s what I’ll do.

I am currently working on the first sleeve, having decided that I’d like to get to the sleeves out of the way nice and early in the game. Sleeves are always larger than you think and there will be less knitting involved in the two fronts so it’s nice to keep them until last.

27-03-19 Gaudi b

I still adore this pattern, and I love the colours so much. Can’t wait to wear the finished object. The only thing that gives me pause for thought is the yarn. It’s nice enough to work with, but oh, it sheds so annoyingly. I am sure this is down to the 25% Alpaca content in the yarn, which was always going to be the element I was less than charmed by. I want to knit other designs from the “New Vintage Knits” book, but at this point I have to say I will probably look at knitting them in Shetland wools rather than the Rowan Felted Tweed. Of course, I haven’t finished the knitting and washed the garment yet – I may well discover at that point that Felted Tweed is just the bee’s knees! I am changeable like that.

How is your knitting going? Any garments being worked on?


Just as an aside, the coconut cake in my previous post was divine. Unfortunately, it was absolutely certainly not a diet option – my weight rocketed from the first mouthful. But it’s okay if I keep such things as occasional treats.


 

Knits in progress as December wanes

Hello again, nice to have you back with me for an update on my current knits. I am not being a monogamous knitter at the moment, which is rather out of character as you know. I must admit this causes me a tiny bit of concern as I don’t think I will make progress on everything and I hate to leave things in abeyance.

The “old gold” wool

You may recall before Christmas I was having a dither over whether to continue knitting the Rimini cardigan by Martin Storey with this 4-ply yarn, or to abandon that and knit a thicker jumper holding two or three stands of yarn together. Well, I tried a thicker jumper and didn’t really like it so I reverted to the fine-knit cardigan which I know I will wear. However, what with the Christmas knitting and the dithering, it was clear I would not be finishing the project before Christmas so I decided to put it on hold, probably until the spring.

The “Dr Foster Went To Gloucester” socks

Another thing you may recall is that I knitted one sock out of this lovely Mr B Yarns wool back in September. I went completely out of my comfort zone and knitted it toe-up, incorporating the delightfully-titled Fleegle Heel and was very happy with it at the time, and in no doubt that I would knit the other sock when I’d finished… (insert whatever seems appropriate!).

I didn’t ever knit that second sock, but I thought knitting it would be the ideal project to fill in the time before I did my Christmas cast-on of the project I really wanted to work on. However, as soon as I tried on the sock I’d finished, I knew I wasn’t going to complete them. I had reverted to type and was dreadfully unhappy with everything about the toe-up construction. Luckily, I have small feet, and one 100g skein of yarn can more than adequately provide me with three socks, so I simply cast on a relatively plain, cuff-down sock. I experimented with the idea of doing a short row heel rather than my normal heel flap and gusset, but after two attempts I gave up on that too and went with what makes me happy.  So here is my progress to date – a HO:-

28-12-18 Dr Foster HO
Dr Foster Went To Gloucester – still love this colourway

I have decided these will be my New Year Socks, so I had better get the second one knitted over this weekend.

The Gaudi caridgan by Martin Storey

I had promised myself through December that I would cast on for the Gaudi cardigan once my pre-Christmas socialising was done and so I sat down in the calm of Christmas Eve and made a start. This is how far I have got – to the waist of the back:-

28-12-18 Gaudi progress
Halfway up the back of the Gaudi cardigan

I love this pattern so much. I love the colours and the fact they change regularly makes for a more interesting knit. The only thing I don’t like quite so much is the Rowan Felted Tweed wool. Oh, I love how it looks, I just don’t like the fact that it incorporates alpaca. I am not a fan of alpaca and every time I use it, I experience a twinge of regret. A nice Shetland wool would give the same look and, in my opinion, a much nicer knitting experience, so I will note that for my future edification.

Not that I’m going to allow that little carp to put me off this project! I intend to make steady progress on this garment and get it finished quickly enough to keep me warm through February and March which are often the colder months in my part of the world. I reckon so long as I do a few rows each day, it will be done before I know it! Shame that I completely failed to do a few rows yesterday (my excuse is that I had some work to do on an item for my Etsy shop and that was more important).

Today

So, for today my plan is to cast on the second Dr Foster sock and do some work on the Gaudi cardigan. Oh, and see how much exercise it will need to work off today’s mince-pie-and-cream input! I have been rather indulgent over Christmas, without going totally overboard. However, I have been very good with exercise over the days of festivity, which has to count for something, surely.


How is your knitting progressing? I’ll be back on Friday with some ink stash enhancement, then on New Year’s Eve I will post my review of my 2018 knitting projects.