A curiosity cabinet

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_146b
Mama Weer All Crazee Cowl – progress to date

Today I am going to write about a miscellany of ideas, connected only in that they spark my interest, thus the title of “Curiosity Cabinet” seemed appropriate.

To kick things off, there is progress on my Crazee Cowl and I am now on the seventh of the planned ten colours. I must admit I am ready for this to be finished and I am reserving the right to call it done without using all ten mini skeins. That being said, the colour I started at the weekend is very much my cup of tea, gorgeous shades of deep purple/blue, teal and turquoise with splashes of verdant green and yellow. This has led me to conclude that when I am using a colourful yarn I like it to be really vibrant and multicoloured. It’s not that I dislike the more muted combinations in middle of the cowl, I just really like the bright ones.

I like to learn from the projects I work on, and if my learning point on this one has been to invest in wild and wonderful colours on my special skeins of yarn then it’s a lesson well worth learning. Thinking about it, this cowl itself has the air of a curiosity cabinet about it, and if I wasn’t so enamoured with the Slade-inspired “Mama Weer All Crazee Cowl” I think I would rename it “Curiosity Cabinet”.

Now we’re into August I’ve been looking at the latest brochures over on Rowan Yarns’ website and, in particular, Martin Storey’s recent offerings which include some lovely, wearable patterns, as I expect from my favourite designer. I particularly like Neat from All Year Round (a very basic v-necked jumper) and Holburn from Easy DK Knits (the round-neck jumper with split and buttoned welt). I think a combination of the two would be particularly interesting. Although I’m not a hoodie girl, I do like the look of Homespun. Finally, I’ve included Tactile, not because of the pattern, but because the first thing I noticed in the picture was the profile of those sliding doors, having spent seven years of my life becoming very closely acquainted with that product line. It’s funny what sticks with you when you are no longer involved with a thing on a daily basis.

Away from the knitting, I’ve been working on my goals for the next three months, as I was pondering in my previous blog post. Over the weekend I worked through a free training module on the American Franklin Planner website and I must say it sparked my enthusiasm to think about my core values much better than either of the books I’ve been reading this year (Getting Things Done by David Allen and The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll). Perhaps it is just the brevity of it that appealed to me, who can tell?

I’ve enjoyed a couple of podcasts over the weekend. On the knitting theme, there was the latest offering from Melissa of Knitting The Stash and I particularly enjoyed the part about receiving vintage knitting magazines for her birthday during which she touched upon the idea that knitting patterns themselves are often quite timeless, it is the styling of the photography which changes and which makes things seem dated. I love a good vintage pattern so I was very interested in this. The other podcast which was audio rather than video, was from NASA and covered commercial ventures in the space programme from whether products can be/should be endorsed, to encouraging commercial space ventures in order to utilise their facilities to reduce the cost of future exploration. All fascinating stuff.

Lastly, here’s a photo I took last week of the military area at Earlham Road Cemetary, with the Spirit of the Army standing sentinel over the soldiers in the summer rain.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_145d

 

Finished object – Inigo Cardigan

19-06-19 Inigo c1

Last week I wrote that I wasn’t going to push myself to complete my knitting, but it turns out I did! My Inigo Cardigan is done and I am almost entirely enchanted by it.

Technical details:

Pattern:  Inigo by Lisa Richardson
Source:  Rowan UK pattern brochure “New Vintage DK” published 2018
Size: To fit bust 32-34″/81-86cm
Materials:  Sublime Yarns Luxurious Tweed DK (discontinued), 60% wool/40% cotton
Needles:  4mm KnitPro Symfonie wood straight needles, 30cm long

The pattern is very well written and explained everything you needed to do very logically. There were a couple of places where I didn’t read it carefully enough, but I can’t blame the designer for my lack of attention. This project is knit in separate pieces and seamed together, which is my preference, but I know it is off-putting for a number of knitters.

19-06-19 Inigo c3

The yarn was surprisingly pleasant to work with and I would say improved slightly when I put the garment through its post-completion wash, dry and pressing. I don’t generally like cotton, but this combination of 60% wool with 40% cotton seems to yield a very nice fabric that doesn’t take too long to dry and feels summery, but still holds shape.

Speaking of shape, I must address the one thing I’m not so happy about with the finished garment and that is the gapping where the fronts meet. I think this is caused by three factors coinciding:

a)  I could do to be five pounds lighter than I am!

b) The front bands are knitted together with the body on the 4mm needles and are therefore not quite as firm as I would like them to be; I think it would be better if the were knitted on a smaller needle to give a tighter gauge, or crocheted.

c)  There are only five buttons; the gapping would be reduced or eliminated if there were more.

19-06-19 Inigo c2

When I had finished the knitting and seamed the pieces together, I searched through my button box for suitable buttons. I decided on the silver ones because I feel the shape of the cardigan coupled with the tweedy yarn lends this garment a slightly Chanelesque air and metal buttons suit this very well.

I am sure I will revisit this pattern, probably knitting a version in wool and addressing the closure issue. However, I love this version and will enjoy wearing it. It is a really strong entry into my spring and summer wardrobe. I wasn’t too sure how many balls of the yarn I started off with (13, 14, 15?), but I have enough left over to make a little sleeveless top at some point.

But, wait, that’s not all the knitting news! I have started the Norah Gaughan Vogue Cabled Cardigan.

19-06-19 NGVCC p1

I have completed two sleeves! I can’t believe how quickly this is knitting up. I love working on it and it feels so good to finally have a project I know I will complete using the old gold Sirdar Country Style yarn. This will be the second project in a row where the yarn has been donated to me when friends and family have been de-stashing. I have been listening to my collection of Blake’s 7 audio books from Big Finish whilst knitting. There are a lot of excellent stories on these CDs and they are just the job for long stretches of stocking stitch with no shaping, which makes up the majority of this pattern. When, in the fullness of time, I move on to the cabled ‘scarf’ part of the pattern I shall need to concentrate fully and that’s when I will need complete silence.

I hope your knitting is coming on apace.

Growth spurt

12-06-19 progress

This week I have been nursing a head-cold, but that has spurred me on to put in quite a bit of work on the Inigo cardigan by Lisa Richardson from Rowan’s New Vintage DK pattern book.

So, this week I have completed the second sleeve and the first front, and by my calculations I am now 85% of the way through the project. I like that the front bands are knitted in with the main body piece so there will be minimal finishing needed on this project. In fact, if I were to work on it as much as I have the past couple of days I would have it finished by the end of this week, but I am not going to put that much pressure on myself because there are more important things to be attended to than completing this cardigan. However, I am happy to think that I’ll have it in my wardrobe by the end of this month.

This pattern is nice and easy to follow, and every step is well-explained, provided you are happy with following standard instructions for garments knit in pieces. I therefore have to wonder why I have spent so much time unpicking what I’ve knitted. I am going to blame the germs, but it may well be that I just haven’t been thinking about what I’m doing. I cast on the wrong number of stitches for the front, and got through the waist shaping decreases before I realised and even when that happened I was utterly sure I had cast on the correct number and double-checked. Then when I started shaping the neckline decreases I did them at the wrong rate because I didn’t bother to read the instructions carefully enough. Still, all’s well that ends well, as Shakespeare would have it.

I am looking forward to seeing how this fabric washes and wears because it’s the first time I’ve worked with a wool and cotton combination yarn. In my opinion it is nicer to work with than a pure cotton yarn, but not as nice as a pure wool yarn.

Once this is finished I will either cast on for my next big project – the Cable Front Cardigan – or just carry on with the Mama Weer All Crazee Cowl. The weather will play a big part in which way I go, because I can’t imagine I will want to work with worsted weight yarn if it’s hot, however much I will crave the finished project come autumn.

I hope your knitting is going well, and I hope that wherever you are in the world your weather is slightly more seasonal than our current dull, rainy, slightly chilly weather is.

New on the needles

08-05-19 apple pie
Is it an alien planet? No, it’s an apple pie!

It is a miserable day in Norfolk today with a curtain of rain plunging down from a sky that hasn’t had the heart to brighten for one moment since dawn. The kind of day when you just need to sit on the settee with your knitting and only get up to bake apple pie. I usually make pie in a deeper dish, but decided to go for what my mum would call a ‘plate apple pie’ and jolly good it is too. I think it would only be improved if I had a Lego astronaut that I could pose on top to pretend it was a photo of an alien planet.

I had a couple of days not knitting when I finished Gaudi and then I cast on a pair of socks as a quick palate-cleanser before heading into another garment. I had a ball of Mr B Yarns’ sock wool in the colourway Isambard ready to go and I got a reasonable amount of the first sock knitted before being hit with the urge to knit another cardigan. The sock is my usual plain vanilla on 60 stitches using 2.5mm needles.

08-05-19 on needles
Vanilla sock, and the beginning of Inigo by Lisa Richardson

The cardigan is Inigo, a design by Lisa Richardson for Rowan Yarns from the New Vintage DK pattern book, just like the Gaudi cardigan. When I bought the book at the tail end of last year, I knew there were a number of garments I wanted to make from it. This pattern is designed using Rowan Cashmere Tweed, but I am using Sublime Luxurious Tweed DK which is a departure for me because it is a mix of 60% wool and 40% cotton. I think this will make a nice summer cardigan with the cotton content whilst the wool makes it more comfortable to work with than a lot of cotton yarns.

I am currently at the point where I will start to increase stitches from the waist to bust, but it hasn’t been a smooth ride getting here. I am going to confess that I didn’t knit a gauge swatch, just went straight into the garment cold in a yarn I have never used before because clearly my life isn’t exciting enough! I cast on using the recommended 4mm needles and the second-smallest size (91-97cm/36-38″ bust). When I finished the moss stitch hem I thought it looked wider than I would want, so I unpicked it and started again on the smallest size (81-86cm/32-34″ bust). I knitted about 4″ on that then measured my gauge and found I was getting 20 stitches to 10cm where the pattern calls for 22 stitches. I really liked the fabric at that gauge, and enjoyed actually knitting it, but I decided to start over again knitting the second-smallest size with 3.75mm needles to see how that would go. I got to the end of the decreases into the waist on that attempt, but found even one size smaller needles made the knitting much tougher on the hands and I wasn’t quite so keen on the slightly denser fabric it produced.. I would have persevered with it, but I had somehow lost a stitch in the decreasing and couldn’t find where I had made my mistake. That was enough to convince me to return to the original plan to make the smallest size on the 4mm needles and I am glad I did. What you see in the photos has all been knitted today so it is going pretty quickly.

08-05-19 close-up

I really like the pattern for this little jacket-style cardigan, plain and simple it will be just the thing to pull on through the summer. I don’t think I have knitted any of Lisa Richardson’s patterns before, but I have often seen her designs in the Rowan magazines and long been a fan of her design aesthetic which often leans slightly towards the vintage.

I hope you have better weather than us today and, if not, that you have been able to spend a little time doing something you love to bring a little cheer to the gloom.


Many thanks to my sister for donating the lovely Sublime yarn to me when she was de-stashing.


 

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


 

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 are progressing

21-01-19 gaudi
Gaudi cardigan by Martin Storey

Since finishing my socks, I have returned to my two works in progress, and things are moving along, albeit a little slowly,

First up, it’s Gaudi by Martin Storey. This is still the back and progress on the colourwork part is picking up again now. I set it aside completely when I was knitting the socks, so in total I’ve only finished up the first diamond pattern since the previous update. I’ve got another 30 rows to complete the back, but they are diminishing in length with the raglan shoulder shaping. Then I will have to decide whether or not I should make a major modification to the pattern and knit it as a jumper, or continue with the original cardigan design. I am really craving jumpers right now, but I know a cardigan would be very practical. I have a lot of cardigans and only two jumpers, but I know I would wear a cardigan through the warmer weather and I’m not so sure about a jumper. I am taking heart from the fact that whichever way I jump, it’s not going to be wrong!

21-01-19 old gold
Same old gold yarn; different project

Although as you know I am not at all a person to have more than one garment project on the go at once, I am breaking my rule and using the old, old-gold yarn to knit a jumper, and this one is definitely going to be a jumper, no chance it will turn into a cardigan. Of course, the yarn was going to be a cardigan, I still have the back and half the front sitting here to prove it, but the yearning for a jumper has conquered me. This is another pattern from the 1,000 Sweaters book I have written about before and I am holding the 4-ply yarn double resulting in a slightly heavy DK-weight. It’s a soothing knit with those simple textured furrows. I didn’t want anything too busy because the colour of the yarn is going to be the main highlight, but I did want something just a little more adventurous than a simple stocking-stitch. This pattern has a turned hem and no waist shaping, set-in sleeves and I’m going to do a crew-neck just because it’s warmer than a v-neck at this time of year.

Whilst knitting, I have been catching up with podcasts or listening to golden oldies – the latest addition to my collection being a Glen Campbell compilation album. By the time he gets to Phoenix I’ll have finished the back of my jumper!


 

A cast-on, an update, and a modification

07-01-19 sock progress
Plain vanilla sock using yarn dyed by Noodle Soup Yarns of Norwich, UK

THE CAST-ON

On New Year’s Day I finished the socks I had been working on seemingly forever, and I put away my sock-knitting project bag so that I could concentrate on the Gaudi cardigan. Then my sister appeared wearing the beautiful hat she had whipped up in a trice from the Noodle Soup Yarns skein that I gave her for Christmas and I suddenly knew I had to cast on a sock with the skein I had gifted myself at the same time. Although this skein is named “Spooky Smog, as I wound the wool it made me think of a kingfisher in a deep, dark wood, so I am calling these socks “Kingfisher in Fangorn Forest”. Thus far, it has to be said, the kingfisher itself is absent, but I am enjoying the forest nonetheless.

This is my standard sock pattern, 60 stitches on 2.5mm KnitPro Zing needles and the yarn base is a 3-ply 80/10/10 mix of Superwash Merino/Cashmere/Nylon. It is a tiny bit thicker than a lot of sock yarns, and I am loving the fabric that this is creating. It is very squooshy. Noodle Soup’s dyeing is very luscious and, even though this is a really saturated colourway, there is no dye coming out on my hands as I knit.

I made good progress after casting-on yesterday, and have turned the heel of the first sock and started working on the foot. One thing I experimented with on my previous pair of socks was using what Interweave Knits refer to as a Barn Toe and I was very pleased with the way this fitted. I will use the same method for these socks.

GAUDI UPDATE AND MODIFICATION

07-01-19 gaudi progress
Gaudi progress as at 7th January 2019

Here is my progress to date on the back of the Gaudi cardigan. I am so pleased with how this is knitting up, although I am debating back and forth with myself as to whether or not I like the yarn (Rowan Felted Tweed DK). So, on the plus side, I love the colours, I love the tweedy effect and I love the feel of the fabric created. The only downside is that I don’t like the alpaca content and that’s something I struggle with regardless of the brand of yarn. I just don’t like alpaca, even a tiny bit. I hate the constant barrage of what look like dog-hairs that come off it as I work and I don’t see that it adds anything of value to the feel of the yarn. However, I am reserving judgement until the project is finished, and it is not something that is going to prevent me from wearing and adoring the cardigan.

Now, to the modification. I remember the good old days, back in December 2018, when I was all gung-ho about how I was going to knit Gaudi exactly as it was written. However, time has moved on and I am a more experienced person now, so I have changed how the colourwork ‘yoke’ portion is knitted. The pattern is written to utilise slipped stitches and I did a few rows in this way without too much trouble. However, the way the raglan shaping is constructed meant that I was stranding the yarn across the back and it seemed to make more sense to me to do the colourwork similarly to how you would do a Fairisle pattern. I ripped back and started working it this way, and I am really liking it – both how it looks and how pleasurable it is to work. Here’s a close-up:

07-01-19 gaudi close-up
Modified colourwork section

I know this is less three-dimensional than it would be with slipped stitches, but it appeals to me.

I hope your knitting, or any other craft pursuit, is going well and that you are making progress towards any goals you have set.


 

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.


 

Finished object – Rowan Stockport

Stockport front

I am pretty sure this will be my final finished project in 2018, unless the elves come round and knit a bit of my old gold jumper for me whilst I sleep. It is the pattern “Stockport” designed by Sarah Hatton and was included in the Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine Number 46 issued in autumn 2009. This top is designed for Rowan Cocoon yarn.

I used Scheepjes Colour Crafter yarn, 100% acrylic, DK weight, with 300m per 100g ball in the shade Sint Niklaas (No. 2019). I am still not a fan of acrylic yarn, but this was far from unpleasant to work with. I achieved the correct stitch gauge holding this yarn double and working with 6mm wooden needles; my row gauge was off, but I just knitted extra rows to make up for it. I knitted the smallest size because the recipient is so svelte that she may be operating on the basis that in an extreme survival situation, the thinnest one will be the last to get eaten.

My choice of yarn was determined by the fact that I was knitting this garment as a gift for my lovely daughter and needed to fit in with her particular requirements. As far as possible, she only wears black, white and grey so the colour choice was pretty limited; she only wants man-made yarns for ease of washing and drying (small flat, no washing line). I originally thought of knitting a boxy stocking stitch jumper inspired by an item in a local boutique, but after a lot of searching ended up with this design. I fear a pale grey, boxy, stocking stitch, DK weight jumper might have been the end of me!

I thought the pattern was enjoyable to knit and, on the whole, easy to execute. The cables on the main body and the neckband were worked to written instructions which were simple; the braided cable on the chest and upper back were from a chart. Because of my dislike of following charted patterns, I transferred the information to a system of written instructions using index cards and once that was done I found it very enjoyable to follow. I am glad I worked this out, because I have some patterns with complex charts that I have given up on because I couldn’t follow the chart, and now I know I can try them again if I write out the pattern to suit my own brain.

Stockport neck

The only negative thing I would say about the design is that the neckband didn’t work out too well for me. Because it is designed as a flat piece, I found the top edge sat oddly once it was attached. To resolve this, I worked a round of crochet stitches on the top edge, picking up two stitches out of every three, which worked very well indeed, but it did give me a twinge of concern that the whole garment might not turn out well. The design is supposed to sit as a boat-neck, and I think this modification will allow it to do that, but before I put in the crochet stitches, the top edge did not pull in at all and just sat straight up from the shoulder.

Stockport braid

This pattern edges towards the yoked designs which are very popular at the moment, but they are not my favourites. I don’t think they suit me in particular, but also they seem more complex than a design without a yoke. I am, however, considering the possibility of using the cable pattern from this top juxtaposed on a basic jumper design with a round neckline and set-in sleeves and knitted in a lovely, jewel-toned Shetland wool (sapphire, ruby, garnet, amethyst, emerald – all would be appropriate). I would wear that baby until the cows come home, or until it disintegrated into tiny shreds, whichever came first. In fact it’s probably time to be eyeing up the wool.


I hope your knitting is going well, and that you are happy with the projects you’ve managed to finish this year.