A massive blanket I can actually wear in public

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For a couple of winters now I’ve been craving a massive aran cardigan to keep me warm when the weather gets chilly. A big baggy one, to wrap myself up in, that would easily go over a jumper, basically like blanket that I can wear in public without fear of embarrassment.  This winter I actually got around to doing something about it! I opted for Maude by Carrie Bostick Hoge as it looked super cosy. I was also tempted by Rosemont Cardigan . I might make that one for next year.

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If you look closely you can see the line from where my cardigan was drying on the airer. I was too lazy to block it out properly!

I used Garnstudio DROPS Nepal in cream. It’s a slightly itchy wool but it’s super warm and it’s for the winter so is unlikely to be right next to my skin. It was slightly off gauge, to be honest, but as it was going to baggy I wasn’t too concerned. Indeed, I was so confident that the gauge issue wouldn’t increase the size too much that I went up a size to make sure that it was suitably baggy. In the end that was overkill; I had forgotten that I am only 5’2” and that my knitting is almost always too big….  It’s a HUGE cardigan! At first I was a bit disappointed as it wasn’t what I’d had in mind. I was aiming for big rather than massive. However, as it has been cold I’ve been wearing it anyway and it has really grown on me. Now I’m thinking that it looks kind of cool in a 90s sort of way.

This is what it should look like. I think this model is quite a lot taller than me!

This is what it should look like. I think this model is quite a lot taller than me!

I’m so used to working with 4-ply that it was a bit weird to be knitting in aran. It came together so quickly and my progress was so visible!

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The sleeves are so long I’ve had to turn them up

The pattern was super easy to follow and I ran into no problems at all. It’s a nice construction with the body worked in once piece until you reach the sleeves and then both the sleeves worked before bringing everything together onto a circular needle. No seaming! The button band is picked up at the end and worked in garter stitch. I wasn’t sure about that at the time as I like the stretch of a ribbed button band and thought a garter rib might pull it out of shape. It has grow on me now but I think that if I was doing it again I would go for a rib to pull it all in.

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The buttons look like they are hideously uneven at the bottom but they are fine I promise!

I got the buttons from the lovely Raystitch in Islington last time I was in London. I have a thing for wooden buttons and I think these are perfect for the shade of cream. I normally avoid cream wool for fear of staining it, by chucking tea all over it or something, but I surprised myself by keeping it clean, even while drinking mulled wine! I had planned to put the pockets in as I am a huge fan of pockets but I ran out of wool and was too cheep to order another ball.

Although its turned out differently to the cardigan I had in my head at the start it has really grown on me and has been worn in heavy rotation since I finished it. I work at home and it’s particularly good for chucking on as an extra layer if it’s not quite cold enough to put the heating on but distractingly chilly. It was also AMAZING when I ventured into the icy cold for ice-skating. My toes were freezing but the rest of me was toasty! All in all I would call it a success!

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Autumn leaves stole – just in time for the weather getting colder!

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Ideally I would have used some lovely pictures taken in the park with lots of lovely autumn leaves around but it’s mainly been raining so you’ll have to make do with a self-timer picture and a messy bedroom….

Autumn knitting can often be a race against time to get your toasty new garments ready for the weather to turn. I’m sure that there are organised people out there who start at the end of summer to make sure they have their stuff ready on time but I am not one of them! Luckily for me the autumn has been pretty mild in the UK so far and I have cast off my Autumn Leaves Stole just in time for the winter chill to start creeping in!

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I used Garnstudio DROPS Alaska in 58 Senf. It felt like a bold choice when I ordered it as I often stick to greys and browns but I love it!  I’m really into oranges and yellows at the moment, it must be the change of seasons! The wool was a total bargain £1.60 a ball from The Wool Warehouse. I was slightly concerned that the wool wouldn’t be soft enough when I first started knitting with it but now it’s been washed it’s lovely and soft!

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This is the first project I’ve made on my cubic needles. I’m really pleased with them and I’m sure that they have helped my hands. Luckily you can’t spot where I switched from round needles to the cubics!

The pattern is really simple to follow and the repeats are easy to remember. It looks like it’s going to be quite small until you block it and then it grows massively!  I was really good and did a proper kitchener stitch to joint the two pieces together. I’m glad I made the effort as it looks really good and you can’t see the join at all!

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I wanted to make sure that I didn’t lose the points at the end of the leaves and the width of the stole in blocking so I made more effort that usual. I stretched it right out and fiddled about until I could find an angle that I could fit it across the bed (it’s massive so that was a bit difficult!) and then pinned it down to the duvet. I wasn’t quite sure if it  would work or if the pins would rust but in the end it turned out just fine!

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Here it is blocking out the (slightly messy) spare bed. I’m not sure what I thought that towel would achieve!

I’m super pleased with how it’s turned out. I’ve worn it a couple of times now and it’s really warm and snuggly plus the colour is so cheerful on a dark rainy day.

Cubic needles – easier for arthritic hands?

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Here are my cubic needles in my Autumn Leaves stole. If you look closely you can see that they are square!

A little while ago my friend Maya mentioned that she’d heard  really good things about cubic needles being useful for knitters with arthritis in their hands. I’m always on the hunt for anything that will help me to be able to knit more and for longer so I was super keen to give them a go. Apparently the shape is more ergonomic and according to the makers reduces “hand fatigue”.

As my birthday was coming up I decided to see if any of my family members might treat me to a set of cubic needles. I guess I could have tried out a fixed needle first to see how I go on  but I’ve been wanting an interchangeable set for quite a few years now and it seemed like a good opportunity.  Luckily my Mum and Dad were happy to help me out.

I got the interchangeable Knit Pro Symfonie Rose set from Knit with attitude. They are a lovely dark wood and the packing is lovely. It all fits neatly into one little case with all of the needles and cables tucked away – a far cry from my tangle of individual circular needles! I sometimes feel like my knitting and knitting paraphernalia takes over much of the front room so it’s nice to have at least one thing that packs away nicely!

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It’s not quite as yellow as this in real life

I’ve started using them on my Autumn Leaves Stole. I’ve been a bit naughty and switched over needles part way through the project. It might give me some gauge based issues later on but I didn’t care as I was really excited to use them.

It was a bit weird knitting with square needles to start with. It took a few rows to get into the rhythm (and get used to the risk of being jabbed by a corner). Now that I’m used to them I’m really enjoying working with them. The wood is lovely to the use and the stole is looking great. Wood is so much nicer than metal!

It’s hard to tell at this early stage if they are helping my hands or not. I’m inclined to feel that they are but that could be wishful thinking on my part! I’ve certainly been able to have several evenings in a row knitting with them and not gone to bed with painful joints so it’s looking very promising!

My only problem with them is the sizes; for some reason they only start at a 4mm. Given that the needles I use most often are 2.75mm and 3.25mm that is a bit annoying. The 2.75mm in particular causes me problems with my hands so I would have been super keen to see if a cubic version would have helped. I tried to order them but they don’t actually make them….. I guess that I am fairly unusual in having a preference for 4ply over DK and aran and they just don’t have the demand for the smaller needles so they don’t make them. My problem with the heavier weigh wools is that they are much bulkier and less flattering plus they tend to lack drape. I really want to use my new needles though so I will be searching out decent DK and aran patterns to find something I actually like!