a very belated jumper write up…..

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Approximately a million years ago I started to make a Carpino by Carol Feller. I’d had my eye on the pattern for ages but was putting off making it because I was trying to have a little break from alpaca ( I realised that most of my jumpers were made of Drops alpaca and it was all looking a bit samey…). After my success in unravelling Funky Grandpa to make an awesome Natsumi (which I love and wear all of the time) I decided to unravel an unsuccessful Snowbird in the hope of turning it into a lovely Carpino.

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You can see the pattern better in this picture.

As I was unravelling an older project the fabric was a bit more felted and not so keen to come apart. Because of that I ended up with smaller lengths of felty wool to work with. I wound it all up into large balls and it was easy to work with. The pattern was super easy to follow and came together really quickly.

Annoyingly I finished the jumper just as the weather got warmer so I haven’t got around to wearing it yet. I’m also not quite sure about the neckline which sticks up a bit….  Now that the autumn is making a reappearance I’m looking forward to digging this jumper back out. I think it’s going to be a great autumn jumper but an even better layering top when the winter comes in.

Summer cardigan (and a new house!)

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Things I like about new house: 1. We don’t have to keep our bikes in the dining room anymore.

If you read this blog regularly you’ll have noticed that I love cardigans. I have an insane amount of cardigans and I wear them virtually all the time. I am not the sort of person to let something like the summer get between me and my cardigans so this year I have made myself a Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig so  I can still have a cardy even when its hot… I have had this in my queue for years now and I’m not sure what finally  inspired me to make a start on it but I’m glad I did.

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2. We have sash windows. I really love sash windows.

I used Garnstudio DROPS Lace. I wasn’t overwhelmed with awesome colour choices but in the end I went for purple. When it arrived I realised that it’s pretty similar to the purple of my Relax jumper, I must really like that colour! The Drops wool offered really good value for money; when I bought it, it was about £7 for £100g (although I bought two to be on the safe side) and I used less than one skein! Hand knitting can often work out more expensive than buying from the shop so I’m rather chuffed with making a cardigan for £7! 

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3. We have an even patio so we can have garden furniture.

I love the finished cardigan, I cast off a few weeks ago and I have been wearing it a lot. The wool is super soft and isn’t as itchy as some of the alpaca blends can be and the finished cardigan is so lightweight that I can shove it into my handbag to keep me warm on the way home from the pub (or other more sophisticated evening pursuit..)!

As you can imagine though, with 2.75mm needles and lace weight wool this took forever. I was working on it for months and it got really dull in the end as it was just rows and rows of tiny stocking stitch. It’s weird the way that it is often the projects that are a  little boring to make that I wear the most; I think I have a preference towards fairly plain clothes.

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4. You can get wifi in the garden!

Regular readers may have spotted that my garden has changed, that’s because we’ve moved house. We’ve moved all the way from North London to Cambridge. We’re just renting (until we win the lottery…) but I love the new house and the new garden. I had the best time in London and will be going back on a regular basis but so far I am enjoying Cambridge very much. It’s very pretty, the pubs are awesome, there’s a good selection of beers, the restaurants are varied, the shops are good and the whole place is insanely cycle friendly!  Plus our  front room is big enough for Coco to have her own little run to hang out in!

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Pretend you haven’t spotted the bin bag on the cage…..

Now that I’ve finally unpacked my sewing machine and my wool I plan to do a lot of crafting here (and never move again- it was ridiculously stressful and expensive)!

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!

Audrey in drops alpaca

My Audrey In Unst is finished! This is actually the 3rd time I’ve knitted this pattern but I still really love it. It’s so well written and easy to follow. The sleeves are genius – you pick up the stitches and then shape the sleeve caps- so there’s no sewing up at all.

I’ve made a few modifications to the pattern. I’ve made the button bands a little wider and taken out the lace because I wanted something more simple. I switched to 4 ply rather than DK so I took the size up to accommodate that. I didn’t do a proper gauge swatch and sort of guessed but luckily it worked out okay.  It’s fairly snug and cropped but I’ve been after a cropped cardy for a while so that’s no bad thing. I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t do up but it does!

This is the first time I’ve tried using Garnstudio DROPS Alpaca. I’d  heard lots of good things about it and it’s reasonably priced for alpaca so I was keen to give it a go.  This the first time I’ve ordered wool on-line and I learnt a lesson about checking the colour on Ravelry! The photo on the website showed a kind of grey with a hint of purple but when the wool came it was a pastel lilac. It’s not a colour I would have chosen as I tend to prefer greys and greens and I wasn’t sure about it as I was going along but now it’s finished I really like it.  I also learnt a lesson about quantity of order. I  under ordered so lost out on some of the money saving because I had to pay the P&P again for the final ball. Despite these two little problems I’ll definitely use this wool again, it’s really soft and lovely to knit with.

All in all I”m very pleased and doubt this will be the last time I knit up this pattern.

In with the new

So snowbirdis finished, collar sewn on and drying out. Hopefully the magic of blocking will make it grow and also look a bit more like the lovely picture on the pattern.The reverse stocking stitch on the sleeves, collar and sleeves wants to curl in at the end as I can’t be botherd with proper pinning and blocking I might have to try and pass that off as a design feature.  I’ve tried it on pre blocking and I’m optimistic that it will be alright. Maybe just wear around the house alright granted but definitely wearable.

I always get really exciting about starting new projects. I suspect it might be the clean slate element. That and the lovely new wool. It’s hard not to get sick of staring at the same wool in the same colour for weeks on end so the opportunity to work with one is a welcome relief!

Normally I’ve decided what my next project will be and got the wool way before I finish the old one but this time it’s taken me ages to decided what I want to do. Despite my best efforts not to make yet another project in felted tweed everything I like seems to be crying out for some lovely tweedyness!  In the end I gave in and decided to make a minimalist cardigan out of a nice light grey shade.

Having had my hiatus from felted tweed for Snowbird I’m keen to get back to my favourite wool. It’s not too expensive, hides little mistakes, drapes nicely , and it doesn’t curl up on the ends like the alpaca I’ve just been using. Even the texture and the colour palette are awesome! Of course there is a saturation point at which a girl must accept that she has a wardrobe full of cardigans knitted out of felted tweed, but it turns out that day isn’t today.

Faith, hope and blocking

I have been very excited about my current project Snowbird by Heidi Kirrmaier. I got the idea from a knitting friend.  I turned up for some Christmas drinks and dancing in possibly the thinnest cardigan I own. Given that I really feel the cold and am often sporting multiple layers and a double cardigan in the winter this was an odd mistake on my part especially as London was covered in a fine layer of snow at the time.  I can only put it down to being very excited about the new dress I was wearing that night. When I had shivered my way through Bloomsbury to meet my friends I found them all very sensibly attired and layered up. A friend had her snowbird with her and let me borrow it to get myself warmed up. I was so taken by the comfy slochyness that I had to make one for myself.

I found some amazing fairly traded wool from a friend’s shop (Knit with attitude in case you’re interested). It’s beautiful alpaca in a rather lovely maroon colour. I was very proud of myself for not buying my usual green felted tweed and excited about my lovely new cardigan. I’ve really enjoyed the pattern and the is great to work with. Somehow I’ve managed not to make any massive mistakes (that I’ve noticed) and other than a slight issue with the sleeve (when I seemed to forget how to count for some reason) I haven’t had to re-knit anything.

So far so good. However, because of the size of circular needles I’m using even though it’s top down I’m unable to try it on properly and see how it will fit. The stocking stitch panels on the border have also curled in slightly making it impossible to tell if it will come out with the baggy fit I was aiming for or not. I’m also suspicious that the wool is a 4 ply even though it is allegedly a double-knit. Luckily my knitting is very loose and normally comes out bigger than it’s supposed to be however I can’t help but worry that after a good few weeks knitting I might end up with an overly snug and slightly unflattering cardigan. Despite this I am determined to finish my Snowbird in the hope that the magic of blocking will solve all my problems. I’ll finish the pockets and the bottom stocking stitch section, sew up the collar and with a little luck post blocking I’ll have the snuggly warm cardigan I’ve been looking forward to. Luckily for me I am sure that the joys of the British ‘summer’ will give me plenty of opportunities to wear it!