As I love my Boxy jumper so much I decided to make another massive square jumper. I’d had my eye on Relax by Ririko for quite a while and I was very excited to get started.
To make sure the jumper drapes really well I’ve used Finn from Du Store Alpakka. It’s a bit of a treat for me as it’s baby alpaca and silk and a bit more expensive than the wool I normally use. It’s unbelievably soft and so lovely to knit with. I love it!
It has been noted by a few people that I’ve been knitting almost exclusively in beige and biscuit lately so I’ve been brave and gone for a super vibrant purple. I love the shade but I’m a bit nervous about it……. It’s quite far from my usually muted colours. I’m sure I’ll love it when it’s done though.
The pattern for the jumper is really simple. Lots of stocking stitch. The only part that takes any thought is making notes of the number of stitches to various points so that I can make sure that the front and back match up properly. I thought about knitting in the round but I’m hoping that the side seam will help it fall better.
As ever it’s looking massive. That should work okay with this style. For some reason I made a small rather than an extra small…….Not sure why I never learn to think more carefully about sizing!
I’m knitting this super fast as I can’t wait to wear it!
I have finished my Breckon! I am very pleased with it indeed! I love the colour, I love the wool and I think the lace has come out very well.
I wasn’t quite sure about the buttons when I was first sewing them on. I thought that they looked a bit small given the size of the button band. However now it’s all finished and blocked I think they look great! I really like wooden buttons and think they go particularly well with the felted tweed wool.
On the whole the pattern was pretty simple to follow. The lace repeat was easy to remember so I was able to stop looking at the pattern fairly quickly. The instructions for the button hole and button band were a bit of a pain though. Rather than specifying exactly where the button holes should be placed the instructions were really vague and meant I had to spend an annoying amount of time counting rows and measuring stuff and moving things about (I went for roughly every 17 rows). I think the spacing worked out alright but it was not the most fun evening I have ever had! I ignored the fancy button band bind-off as I am lazy. Instead I opted for a normal loose bind off which seems to be okay.
The cardigan doesn’t really go with what I’m wearing in this picture but I was super keen to blog about it but too lazy to get changed for a picture (especially a slightly questionable one taken in the mirror! ).
As with almost everything I make it has turned out rather huge. I suspected that it might when I was making it. I think that the reason why I’ve never started bothering to try and prevented my knitted items being on the big side is that I don’t mind my clothes baggy. I’d much rather something was too big than too small! The sleeves are the only really big problem as they are massively long! I’m going to have to turn over the cuff which makes me feel a bit like a child in a school jumper they need to ‘grow into’. I’m hoping that no-one will notice though!
My boyfriend writes a running blog (if you like running and marathons and things you should check it out) and sometimes people send him products so that he can try them and review them (sadly no-one ever sends me awesome wool and free patterns to review…). The nice people from Regenovex got in touch with him to see if he wanted to try out their joint products. He put in a good word for me and they sent me some stuff too!
I love free stuff so I was very excited. They sent me some capsules, some gel and some patches. I was most interested in the capsules as I’ve been meaning to try them out to see if they could help with my arthritis for a little while. Anecdotally I’ve heard good things about this sort of product but as they are quite pricey I’ve never been sure enough that they will make a difference to fork out the £20.
I’ve been reading around for a while about the natural products that can help with arthritis and green lipped mussels have come up quite a few times. This product is ‘derived from’ green lipped mussels which I’m assuming means a synthesised version?
I’ve been using the capsules for a couple of months now and I’m really liking them. Because I am lazy I haven’t actually got around to making any before or after notes or comparisons (I think you’re supposed to note down inflammation, discomfort, pain and swelling before and afterwards and see how it compares to get a more accurate idea of how much something is helping) however it feels like it has made a difference.
This winter has been cold with three lots of snow. Over the past few winters snow and cold weather have wreaked havoc with my knees and my hips and forced me to sit on the sofa (looking grumpy), trying to keep warm and moaning about not being able to walk far enough to leave the house (I’m not a very good patient!). I’ve missed days at work (I am freelance so that’s really annoying for me) and had to stay in and generally miss out on fun. In comparison I got through this last spell of bad weather much more easily; my old lady joints have still slowed me down a bit but I’ve been able to keep moving and haven’t needed any time off work or cancelled any social plans because of it. I was so pleased that I bought myself some capsules when the free ones ran out!
I wasn’t quite so sure about the gel. I tried it a couple of times but I just wasn’t able to get on with it. Firstly it has a fishy smell which I found a bit off putting and secondly it has a cooling effect. I know that some people really like cooling gels but when my arthritis hurts I want to be warm! I currently use a Neal’s yard warming salve with ginger and cayenne on my hands (normally when I’ve done too much knitting!) which I love (although I am told smells a bit like Vicks!) I find the warmth soothes as well as easing the pain. I found that a cooling gel just didn’t have the same comforting effect. I wonder if that kind of product is better suited to post exercise use? I’m going to keep a hold of it though and try it out in the summer. I might get on better with it then.
I’ve rather enjoyed my product testing! I think my joints have benefitted too. Now I’m trying to work out how I can persuade people to send me free wool and needles to test…….
I can be a bit old-fashioned when it comes to tracking increases in my knitting. I either use a little row counter that sits on my needles or just make a note on the pattern. If I’m feeling lazy I just count the rows every now and again ( I wouldn’t recommend this approach as it often means that I end up with too many rows and then can’t be bothered to go back and re-do them) and if I’m feeling really lazy I just keep counting the stitches until I have the number I’m supposed to. The approach normally works fine for me.
Unfortunately for me and my slightly slap-dash approach to increase the sleeves on the Breckon cardigan I’m working on at the moment actually need me to track what I’m doing properly. The sleeves are in a granite stitch which looks lovely but I can’t really see well enough to count the rows….also I need to increase every 12 rows for a bit and then every 10th row for a bit so my normal final stitch count approach won’t work.
To help me out I’m trying out some free knitting apps. This one is called ‘row counter’:
I’m finding it very useful indeed. If you have eagle eyes you’ll notice that I’ve been putting my increases where my repeats should go but because I don’t really need to track repeats it doesn’t really matter.
There are one or two little problems with it:
- I need to have my phone next to me all of the time. This means balancing it precariously around my front room. For some reason my iphone is a slippery little thing and likes to fall off stuff (I like to think it’s easily excited). I’m worried that one day it will fall off something and then smash.
- It stops the phone from going on standby. I can see why they’ve done that as it stops you from needing to turn it back on again and then put your pin code in every time you finish a row/increase. However, it’s a massive drain on the battery. Plus, every time I look over at the screen it’s all lit up which makes me think I’ve got a message or an email…
- It doesn’t let you take off rows/increases. If you get a bit tap happy or need to undo some rows/increases then the only option is to ‘reset’ and then tap until you get to the number of rows you are suppose to have. I get that they’ve done it to make sure that there is something extra that they can add to their paid for App but it’s still annoying.
I also have ‘simple count’ on my phone. They haven’t wasted much time on design but it does what is says on the tin and basically just counts upwards. It’s more or less useless for knitting, however, I find that it is super helpful for doing my physio exercises. Most of them involve holding my leg up in various directions for a count of 5 and for some reason the counting to 5 while I hold my leg up totally makes me forget how many repetitions I’ve done…. However with this App I can actually figure out where I’ve got to!
Every now and again I check the App store for a Ravelry App but none turns up. I’m hoping that one day they’ll put one together!
Four weekend days a month I work in my friend’s lovely knitting shop. While I was there this weekend I came across this really interesting new magazine (issue 1 no less!). It caught my eye because it manages avoid the crafty twee trap. It would be a big lie for me to say that I don’t like twee crafty things, however, I am getting a bit fed up of that being the prevalent aesthetic for craft in general. Sometimes it’s nice to have a tiny bit more edge and a few less flowers to balance out all of the Cath Kidston and Kirsty Allsop (both of which I like in moderation).
The magazine covers various different crafts including knitting, crochet and some button making. The patterns are fairly simple but accessible. These owls for example could finally inspire me to learn to crochet.
There is also some customizing of trainers which I’m not quite so sure about. It makes me think of me and my sister tie-dying stuff in the garden in the 90s…..However as all things 90s appear to be coming back (crop tops urgh! Doc Martins yay! ) this isn’t a huge surprise but it doesn’t stop me from feeling a tad old…….
My eye was also drawn to this pattern for a top. I’m sure it wouldn’t look quite so awesome with my rather basic sewing skills but I think I’ll check it out anyway. I suspect I am drawn to it because of the buttons, I love buttons! She also has an awesome blog which I hadn’t come across before.
Slightly dodgy scan I’m afraid- my fault- but you can still see that it’s a lovely top
All in all I think it’s a good start for a new magazine. I’m looking forward to having a look at issue two when it arrives!
Last spring I made myself a Larch Cardigan by Amy Christoffers . The pattern was easy to follow and more importantly I LOVE the cardigan. I wear it all the time, it’s super cozy and comfortable and it goes with most things. It has been worn so often that it is starting to look a tad bobbley…..luckily I like it so much that I don’t care!
As I liked the first Amy Christoffers pattern so much I was keen to try another one. I’ve had my eye on her Breckon pattern for quite a while. I liked the idea of knitting it in Brooklyn Tweed Loft however I couldn’t work out a way to actually afford it. It looks lovely but its so expensive! Instead I’ve opted for Rowan Felted Tweed. I’ve used it lots of times before and I really like it. It comes in some great neutral colours, its really nice to work with and you get lots of yardage for your money.
I’m really enjoying the pattern so far. It’s really simple and the cable and lace are nice and repetitive so I don’t have to keep checking the pattern all of the time.
It will look much better when it’s blocked!
As with almost everything I knit I suspect that it is going to come out bigger than expected. I’ve only come down a little bit on the needle size and as my tension is very loose it will be bigger than it should be. However, I think that is going to be a good thing. I’ve been looking for a baggy cardigan in various shops for ages but I can’t seem to find anything that I like so maybe this can fill that gap! As I tend to be a little haphazard with my tension my knitting is always a bit of a surprise when it’s done. Sometimes something that looks awesome on the needles looks terrible on (my Beatnik is a case in point…) and other times I’m sure it will be terrible and then end up loving it!
As I love buttons far more than is healthy I’m very much looking forward to finding the right buttons for this. I’m thinking of some lovely wooden ones. It’s tricky to find wooden buttons that I actually like but hopefully I’ll be able to track some down.
I don’t knit with cotton very often. I tend to get into a bit of a habit with the yarns I pick and use the same one over and over again. This means that every now and again I realise that all of my knitwear is made out of the same stuff and have to force myself to use something else! My current obsession is Drops Alpaca which I have a tendency to buy in very similar shades. So much so that a few weeks ago at the knit night at my friend Maya’s awesome shop (excuse the plug but it is a really lovely shop!) someone pointed out that I was knitting one jumper in exactly the same wool, in exactly the same shade, as the jumper I was wearing. I rather meekly tried to point out that it was a different dye lot but I don’t think that helped my case…..
I’ve recently had a custom order for my Etsy shop for a nice lady who is allergic to wool which gave me an excellent opportunity to work with cotton for a change. I haven’t knitted in cotton for years and I’d forgotten quite how lovely the stitch definition is and how pleasant it is to work with. Combined with some shiny new bamboo needles it was a total pleasure; so smooth it practically knits itself!
On top of how lovely it is to work with it’s also machine washable so I’m wondering why I don’t use it more often! I’m going to start thinking of a lovely summer cardigan that I can make in cotton…..