Orange is the new black (or grey in my case)

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Even though we took quite a few photos this is the only one I can use because I am pulling weird faces in literally all of the others! I am not good at having my picture taken…..I’m not 100% sure it shows the cardigan off to it’s full awesomeness but it  saves you looking at pictures of me gurning strangely…

It would be fair to say that I am usually  a little bit safe with my colour choices… I like brown and beige and grey…indeed I love grey so much that I could make several whole outfits out out of my grey clobber and still have some extra grey clothes left lying around….This year I decided to add some more colour to my wardrobe.  I have been very brave and made an awesome burnt orange cardigan! It couldn’t be further away from grey! I am rather proud of myself for my daring.

I wanted a baggy boyfriend style cardigan that I could throw on over other layers. I used the Funky Grandpa pattern by La Maison Rililie but I ignored the colour work. I think the colour pattern looks nice but I don’t really like to wear cardigans which are that busy. I used Du Store Alpakka Mirasol in 519 which I got from Knit with attitude. It’s an amazing colour! You can’t see it on the photos but the orange is flecked with yellow which really shows up in the sunlight. The wool is a treat to work with too and knits up to be soft and warm.

It hasn’t been the most fun project to knit……For a start the pattern was a tad confusing and I went so wrong the first time that I tried it that I had to start all over again which was pretty annoying given that I’d knitted down to the bottom ribbing!

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Here it is blocking out, the colour clashes quite a bit with the bed cover!

As well as ignoring the colour work I also ignored various other bits of the pattern:

  • I did a wrap and turn for the sleeve shaping as the method being described seemed unnecessarily complicated.
  • I used 2.75mm needles for the ribbing and pick ups because I don’t have any 2mm needles and didn’t want to buy any!
  • I made the button holes as I was going along rather than trying out the ‘after thought’ button holes as suggested. I just didn’t see the point!
  • I ignored the i-cord bind off for the button band. I tried it a couple of times and it just didn’t look right. I think a standard cast off looks fine.
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It looked awful before I blocked it out! All twisty and curled in and horrible.

I’m really pleased with this cardigan! It’s really warm and cozy and I love the colour! The buttons are a particular joy.  It’s not quite perfect though; the neck is a little wide and it threatens to fall off my shoulders quite often and the sleeves are very long. They are only minor issues though and they haven’t stopped me from wearing it every day since I finished it!

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Relax by Ririko (and some strawberries)

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I am looking very happy because I have a hand full of strawberries from our strawberry patch

I would like to personally take the credit for the heatwave we are currently having in the UK. The moment I finished my Relax jumper by Ririko it got too hot to wear it. Given the poor effort at a summer we had been having I’m very pleased to see some sunshine but I’m still a little sad that I can’t wear my lovely new top!

This jumper is a Japanese pattern from a designer who I haven’t tried before. I love loose boxy jumper with fitted sleeves so the pattern looked like it would be right up my street. This one also has a bit of a bat-wing. I started a love affair with bat-wing jumpers in the 80s and frankly I still think they are awesome. The pattern was really easy to follow and the jumper was super simple to make. Lots of mindless stocking stitch which gave me a good opportunity to turn off my brain.

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I used Du Store Alpakka Fin which I got from Knit with Attitude in Stoke Newington. It cost a little more than the wool I usually use but it was definitely worth it. It’s a silk and alpaca mix and was lovely to knit with, the colour is really vivid without being garish (they have lots of great shades in this one) and the drape of the finished jumper is just what I wanted. I’m thinking about making another Boxy our of it.

The wool is a 4 ply and I used 3.25mm needles which gave a really nice open weave. I made the sleeves a little longer than the pattern suggested as I prefer long sleeves, I’m a but suspicious of jumpers with cropped sleeves. Cropped sleeves look good but I get cold arms and wrists and I hate being cold!

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Check out how well our strawberries are doing!

I’m really pleased with the way it has turned out. Although if I made it again I would change a few things:

  • I’d knit it in the round. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before. I could have saved myself loads of time seaming.
  • I’d take out the little pattern with the holes up the side. I’m not sure that it looks great.
  • I’d make it a little bit smaller and possibly a bit shorter.
  • I’d make the neck a bit wider.

I think this jumper will get a lot of wear!

I love my boxy jumper!

I pull the most stupid faces in pictures…..I have not missed my calling as a model…

For the past few days I’ve been anxiously checking my boxy jumper as it lay drying out on the bed. It’s one of those projects that was destined to be either awesome or awful. Now it’s finally dry I can confirm that it is an amazing jumper and I love it! I love the wool, the colour and the design.

My main concern as the jumper was blocking was that the bottom was going to curl up which would have looked a little bit rubbish. Even as it was laid out on the bed it was still rebelliously trying to  curl up. As I have never got around to buying blocking pins I had to improvise and weigh it down with some of the candles that were lying around the spare room. This appears to have worked so I think I’ll try the candle trick again!

It’s taken me a little bit longer than normal as I had to keep stopping because of my hands hurting. However, the pattern was really easy to follow and it was so simple that I barely had to engage my brain at all. When I buy clothes I tend to go for simple and block colours however when I’m knitting it’s so tempting to do something fancy with loads of patterns and exciting colours. However I’ve finally figured out that these more lively creations don’t go with my stuff and don’t get worn. It’s lucky for me that I don’t mind knitting simple stuff. Maybe I’ll start making fancier stuff for other people so I don’t get too bored…

I really need to tidy our bedroom….

I’ve used Garnstudio DROPS Alpaca again as I really like it. It’s much cheaper than other brands and it knits up really nicely. The only down side is that it looks a little messy before it’s blocked out and it absolutely has to be hand washed in cold water or it will go all weird (and I’m lazy and I’ll often shove my knitted things in the washing machine on a cold cycle and hope for the best).

Drape is really important for this jumper to work well and luckily the drops drapes really well. It’s a nice open weave with on 3.25mm needles and it falls really well.

It’s slightly worrying when you are working in the round as it looks HUGE! I didn’t realise until I’d cast off the arm holes that the outer edge of the tube is part of the sleeve. For me it goes almost up to my elbow. I should really have tried it on when I was knitting the arms as ideally I’d like them a little bit longer. The length is a bit ‘meh’ on me. Neither cropped or full length. I should have thought about this before as I am a massive fan of huge long sleeves. I think that’s the only think I’d change if I make another one.

Emelie is a very pretty cardigan……just not for me

My Emelie by Elin Berglund is finished. It’s very pretty. I like the colour and the wool is soft. However, I’m not sure if I’m going to wear it:

  • It’s a little tighter than I normally like my cardigans and I don’t think it’s entirely flattering  when it’s buttoned up. There certainly no room for eating lots of cake.. (this isn’t helped by the fact that I accidentally put in an extra decrease at the waist making it even smaller…)
  • I’ve tried in on with various items of clothing and it just doesn’t go with anything.
  • It’s an odd length; neither cropped or long just kind of ‘meh’.
  • The neckline is a bit too high.

Looking again at the finished projects on Ravelry, most of the above was already pretty clear from the pictures, I’m not entirely sure now why I didn’t make it a) cropped or b) bigger. It’s not that I don’t like it in general-it would look awesome on  someone else -I just don’t like it for me.

It took me a little bit longer to finish off than normal as I had to make a few little modifications. I couldn’t make the suggested button-hole technique look nice how every many time I tried it so I ended up undoing that and going for a classic ‘yarn over knit two together’ approach. I think that looks fine though.

I also had to fiddle about a bit with the sleeves to make it look neat. Both sleeves were looking very messy from picking up the stitches. I’ve done sleeves like that a few times before and its worked fine but this time it looked awful! There were huge gaps. I’m not sure if it’s the cash-cotton which is unforgiving (I do love the way that tweedy and fluffy wools hide your mistakes) or if it was the proportion of stitches picked up in relation to the size of the arm hole. I had a lot of trouble getting the right number as the ‘two stitches for every three’ suggested didn’t come up with the right number. Once I’d finished the cardigan and blocking hadn’t worked any miracles I tried to fix it from the back but that didn’t want to work so I ended up sewing it up from the front. Of course that kind of negated picking up the stitches in the first place. At least it looks neat now!

I’m going to put this cardigan away for a little while and see if it grows on me. If not I think I’ll see any of my friends want it. It makes me a bit sad to make things which never get worn so I’d much rather it went to a good home than gathered dust in my wardrobe.