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)!

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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.

 

My awesome creature comforts cardigan is finished!

I look a little bit like I am trying fly in this photo

I’ve finished my creature comforts cardi by Madelinetosh and I am very pleased! It’s been a simple and enjoyable knit with lots of stocking stitch to give my brain a rest. It was also really quick as the wool and needles were nice and chunky. I knit in 4 ply a lot so it was amazing to see it grow so quickly.

I get very cold in the winter and I am a massive fan of layering knitwear to keep me warm (I live in London which isn’t actually that cold. I’m not sure how I’d cope if I had to live somewhere that is properly chilly….) so the really awesome thing about this cardigan is that it is massive and can be thrown on over the top of whatever else I’m wearing for a bit of extra warmth.

I’ve used DROPS Nepal which was a pleasure to knit with and is super cozy and warm. It’s knitted up in a cardigan which is  really snuggly and comforting. It’s also a decent price (£2.00 a ball).

The cable looks amazing; it’s a really clever pattern. Easy to knit but very pretty.

The construction is very simple. It’s basically just a big rectangle with the cable in the middle. I was tempted to leave it as it was and have it as a blanket.

Here it is blocking out on the spare bed

To put it together you sew the short sides together leaving a hole for the arms. The final bit is to pick up stitches for the cuffs.

Here it is before I picked up the stitches for the cuffs

I’m a bit lazy about checking my gauge but I imagine if I had I would have noticed that this wool is a bit off gauge as the fabric is a little too dense for the design. Ideally this top should be really drapey so that it hangs nicely . The one I’ve made is a little chunky. I suspected that this was going to be the case as I was making it so I’m not too bothered.

The only real problem with this cardigan is that I won’t be able to wear it with any of the coats I own as it doesn’t look like it will fit underneath any of them….As this is the kind of cardigan that you snuggle up in around the house on a chilly evening I don’t think that will be too much of a problem!

My boyfriend tries to make me laugh when he’s taking pictures……Not a very flattering look!

 

 

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!