It turns out colour work is not for me!

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I’m very into boxy shaped jumpers and cardigans at the moment so when I spied the Peace and Love sweater  I was super keen. I was slightly concerned that not many people had made it but I put that down to a limited selection of sizes and maybe the challenging colour work.

I decided that this jumper would give me a good opportunity to try out Garnstudio DROPS Merino Extra Fine which I’ve had my eye on for a while. There’s only so much alpaca a girl can knit and sometimes I need a rest from it!  I’m not normally one for copying the exact colour of the sample but this time I couldn’t resist the lovely dark grey. I love grey.  The merino was a treat to work with and is nice and soft against my skin. It’s also a bargain at £3.10 a ball! 

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I made the small and it’s come out a bit bigger than it should have done. This was no massive surprise as my gauge was totally off. I think the pattern was made for a smaller DK wool. Because of the arthritis in my hands I have to be careful of working with too stiff a fabric. My 3.5mm needle tension square was already pushing it a bit so I couldn’t really go any smaller. I think the final size is pretty good actually and any smaller would have been too small. For me it’s more important to enjoy the process than have perfect tension.

In case you haven’t seen it the jumper should look like this:

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The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that the original version (above) has a lovely bit of colour work going on and mine…. ummmmm…..doesn’t. I tried, I really did. I wound some little bobbins with wool and a had a valiant go but whatever I did it turned out rubbish, the tension was all wrong, the edges looked weird and all in all it just wasn’t quite good enough. It was so disastrously bad I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of any of the attempts.

Proof I tried to do the colour work!

Proof I tried to do the colour work! I cut out some little bobbins and everything!

After I admitted defeat with the colour work I thought I would be all clever and replace the colour stitches with a purl. This was looking great and I’d completed almost all of the pattern before I realised that I’d managed to do it off centre. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! It was about the 5th time I’d had to start again and I can’t bring myself to rub out the marking on my pattern and start  yet another time so I decided that fate wanted me to have a plain jumper. I prefer plain jumpers anyway.

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This is the first jumper I’ve made for ages that needs to be seamed. I’d forgotten how tedious it can be! It took hours and was very dull. I’m not 100% sure that the sleeves are set in as well as they could be  (I’d prefer them to sit a little bit flatter) but otherwise I’m pleased.

The sleeve length indicated that the pattern was a little shorter than I prefer. I planned to make them just a little bit longer but accidentally made them huuuuuuuge. As I was sewing them up I was very worried indeed. However, now that it’s finished I am loving the long sleeves. They are ideal for the winter and keep my poor hands warm, like built in hand warmers!

I’m very happy with the jumper and have been wearing it loads now that the weather has turned cold. I love the colour and the fabric and the shape is great, perfect!

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Hey Girl cardigan

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Before Christmas I went along to a craft show with my mum and I found some Rowan Purelife in DK on sale. I haven’t used a DK in ages and I was taken with the colours.

It took me a while to find the right pattern for it. I wanted it to be a fairly classic cardigan with a V neck. Because the wool is variegated I needed a simple design that wouldn’t fight with the grey and white but wouldn’t be too boring. I hunted around for a bit and came up with the Hey Girl pattern by Bonne Marie Burns.

It’s taken me a quite a long time to finish the cardigan. The combination of 3.5mm needles and DK wool made for a very stiff fabric which was pretty tough on my hands. I couldn’t work on it for very long and when I did it wasn’t very comfortable. That probably would’ve have been too much of a problem if I’d been more excited about the project however as useful as plain raglan cardigans are they are super boring to work on!

The pattern was well written and easy to follow. I went with the plain version because there was already enough going on with the wool to need to bother with a textured stitch. I ignored the waist shaping because I wanted it a bit less fitted and more boxy. I also ignored the instructions for sewing up the neckband. I tried the whip stitch the pattern suggested but it looked really crappy and the seam was very obvious do I undid it and sewed it up with a mattress stitch which looked much better. It left things a little bulky but once blocked looked much better.

When I was making the body of the cardigan I put the sleeve on some orange scrap wool. After a while I got really attached to the combination of the orange with the grey/cream. I decided to see how it would look it I finished off the edges in orange. I wasn’t 100% sure at first but now I love it!

Because there were so many colours I wasn’t quite sure what to do about the buttons. I tried various combinations of grey and wooden buttons but it just didn’t look right. I thought orange would look pretty awesome but it turns out that orange buttons are virtually impossible to get hold of. I was having one last look in Dalston Mill and I spotted some lovely cream ones. I bought them on a whim and turned out that they were perfect.

Despite the fact that I hated this cardigan for most of the time I was knitting it I love it now that it is finished! It’s cozy, warm and comforting and the colours work really well. I’m so taken with it that I might make myself another one in a different colour.

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Breckon cardigan

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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.

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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.