Lots and lots of cables

P1040056

The cable pattern is very pretty as you can see!

Before Christmas I made a start on a Beatnik by Norah Gaughan. I’m using Garnstudio DROPS Nepal which I got for £1.50 a ball from The Crochet Chain which was an awesome bargain. Also the pattern is free on Knitty so I didn’t have to pay for that either (not that patterns are hugely expensive).

Quite a few of my knitter friends have either made it or are in the process of making it. Plus,  I like the 60s styling and it looks super warm so I thought I’d give it a go.

I’m loving the colour and the wool but its taking me forever to finish making this….. I think it’s mainly the cables. In general I don’t mind cables especially when they are repetitive and I don’t have to keep checking the instructions. I think that’s because I am lazy and also its annoying to have to carry the pattern about with me all the time and try to balance it on my knee when I’m knitting.

For some reason this pattern only has a chart for the cables and  I really don’t like charts. I much prefer written instructions (Maybe everyone else really likes them and it’s just me? ). I’m not entirely sure why I don’t get on with them…..I think it’s all the checking keys and remembering to read it from right to left and then left to right..Far too much hard work for my liking! This chart has caused my little brain particular confusion as the instructions that go with the key are actually on a different page which means I have to be able to see both at the same time (so two bits of paper balanced on my knee). Also you actually have to pay attention to the wrong side rows rather than just lazily purling which you usually get away with on a cable pattern. There are also a lot of symbols which are only slightly different from each other and that means I don’t seem to be able to remember any of the symbols (other than knit obviously).

To try to make it simpler I colour coded the chart, the key and the instructions with various coloured pens. This was working pretty well until I  ran out of pens and I had to start using symbols (which has proved a little confusing.). With my little colour coding system things are a little easier to follow and I’ve made quite a bit of progress. Yesterday I was talking to a friend about it and she mentioned that she’s seen a colour coded version. So I looked again at the pattern and felt a bit of an idiot when I realised that there is indeed a colour coded version on the pattern….. However it was heartening that the editor put it together as she was also in need of some extra help! If you’re starting to make the pattern I suggest that you use it!

P1040051

This will look even better when its been blocked.

I’ve finished the back and I’m three quarters of the way along the front. As you can see the cable pattern is looking lovely and is well worth all of the effort! The jumper is looking a little long and the cables are super stretchy so I am hoping that my giant knitting isn’t striking again! If that does happen it shouldn’t be that bad with this jumper as it will still look nice a bit baggy where as it would look pretty bad if it was too small (emphasising every bit of cake that I consume!).

All I need to do now is finish the front and make the nice easy moss stitch arms and then I’m finished (probably just in time for the weather to turn warmer which will serve me right for making it so slowly!)

Is it a jumper or is it a dress….

P1040010

As you can tell it’s snowing in London today!

If you’ve read my blog before you might have have noticed that there tends to me a certain theme with my hand knits: they always turn out bigger than they should do. You would think that I would have taken on board my incredibly loose tension and started to make gauge swatches and changing my wool and needle size accordingly like a good knitter should…… But no,  a combination of laziness and excitement to start means that never ever happens. Instead, what I do is go down a needle size or so (depending on the needles I can find lingering around the front room that haven’t yet been chewed up by our bunny) then have a guess and sort of see how it turns out.  Because I have arthritis in my hands I try to keep the weave pretty open anyway as tight knitting is much tougher on my hands (and leads to have to stop knitting for a few days which is no fun at all). This slap-dash approach, combined with the fact that I’m pretty short, can sometimes yield questionable results and enormous clothing…..

Luckily for me I tend to go for baggy stuff and so it doesn’t cause too much of a problem but every now and again things come out too big even for me…….This jumper is a case in point. It is enormous! It’s almost more of a dress that a jumper and given the width it could certainly double as maternity wear…..

I decided to make it on a bit of a whim. I was waiting for a wool delivery before I could start my Beatnik and I had a couple of balls of Garnstudio DROPS Alpaca left over from my awesome Boxy jumper. I had various other bits of Drops in other colours for the neckband and the sleeves and I was impatient to be knitting something (I really don’t like not having anything to knit). I thought the simplicity would be a good antidote to the cables in Beatnik.

I encountered my first problem while I was trying to buy the pattern. For a start it was $7.00 (I thought it would be too depressing to convert it to sterling)…. For that money you’d expect a pretty detail pattern which downloads straight away, right?  Wrong….. I had to wait a full 24 hours for the pattern to be available for download and then when I finally got it I was 2 pages. I one page of which was a picture! So, $7.00 for one page of pretty vague instructions! I am still a little annoyed about this as you can tell….

P1040025

Luckily the odds and ends of Drops I had lying around go together pretty well.

It’s a really easy jumper to make. You knit the yoke first from the bottom up on smaller needles and then pick up the stitches along the bottom. It’s a weird kind of raglan as you do all of the increases straight away at the top. That gives you the drapey pleats but also it gives you loads of stitches…… I imagine if you actually had the right gauge it would look pretty nice.

I’m not entirely sure if I like this top yet. As well as being massive there’s a pretty noticeable colour change where I switch dye lots about a quarter of the way down the top. Also I’m not really keen on the kind of empire line style and it feels like there’s too much fabric at the bottom. The neckline is also pretty wide…

On the plus side it’s really warm and I still love the colour (which is lucky as I now have two jumper in this shade). It’s also going to be awesome for days when I feel a bit tubby or intend to do a lot of eating. I’m really hoping it will grow on me!

Boyfriend jumper

I’ve finished the 135-36 Jumper for men with textured pattern in Karisma Superwash by DROPS that I’ve been making for my boyfriend. It’s all blocked and ready to wear. It’s very green….

It was a really easy pattern with no shaping and I made it even easier by simplifying the pattern. I took the needle size down to 3.5mm for the body and 2.75 for the ribbing.  It was pretty quick to make and not too dull as I had the cables every 12 rows or so. There was a bit of sewing up to be done at the end but I actually quite like sewing up, I find it quite relaxing.

I used the wool the pattern recommended Garnstudio DROPS Karisma Superwash. I wanted to give at a go because at £2.25 a ball it’s a bargain for pure wool. It also promises to go in the washing machine which is pretty essential as I can’t see this jumper getting hand washed…

I wasn’t sure about the wool when I was knitting with it. It was much better that the Hjertegarn Lima I made a jumper from at Christmas but still a little bit scratchy. It’s really softened up after blocking and given the price I think I’ll be using that again.

I really like using the DROPS wool, their prices are very good without sacrificing quality. I haven’t found anything cheaper that isn’t acrylic. I normally get my DROPS wool from Scandinavian Knitting Design. They are really nice to deal with and the wool comes super quickly. I tend to have a look on the drops site for the actual colour first to get more of an idea, although when you’re buying wool online you can never quite be sure what colour you’re going to get.

My boyfriend likes his jumper (which I am very pleased about!). I think that it is a bit too big and a bit too green…… I like the pattern though so I think I might make it again in a small in a less bright colour.

Olive green cable jumper

I’ve finally got around to making a jumper for my boyfriend. He picked the pattern himself and I think he’s made a very good choice! He’s opted for 135-36 Jumper for men with textured pattern in Karisma by DROPS design. It’s a free pattern and although it hasn’t been that popular on Ravelry I think it’s really nice.

I’ve used Garnstudio DROPS Karisma Superwash as the pattern suggests. This is the first time I’ve used this wool and I really like it. It’s reasonably cheap, feels very and nice and will go in the washing machine so it’s perfect. I think I’ll use it again. I wasn’t sure about the colour at first but it’s growing on me.

 

I’m always a little nervous when making things for other people so I’ve been putting it off a little bit. I love knitting things for people but I really worry when I’m knitting about getting everything perfect. It’s one thing for me to wear a jumper or cardy with a few accidental modifications but I wouldn’t want to force that on someone else. After all if someone has taken the time to hand knit you something you’re going to have to wear it at least a little bit…

So, because I want it to be as near perfect as I can get I’m finding myself taking much more care not to go wrong and when I do go wrong I’ve actually been going back and fixing it rather than just leaving it or sort of bodging it like I normally do. The pattern is repetitive with a few knit and purl stitches and a couple of cables every 12 rows or so. For some reason the more simple a pattern is the more likely I am to go wrong. I guess that as it’s so simple I’m not concentrating that much and so making little errors here and there. There’s been more ripping out than I’d like with this pattern!

Cozy red jumper

My Scandinavian Sweater with Textured Star Pattern on Yoke by Hjertegarn is finished!

As you can see it’s huge!  If it was a couple of inches longer it could be a dress. When I was knitting it I was sure that the body was coming up small so I adding on about 10cm. Clearly I could have trusted the pattern! Even though its not what I had in mind when I started I really like the extra length. It feels big and warm and cozy and it’s perfect for a frosty day like today. As it doesn’t have any shaping it’s slouchy while I really like. Lots of room for winter comfort eating!

Compared to what I usually wear it's very bright. I'm getting used to it and it's quite cheering on a grey day.

As you can see from the picture the pattern is very subtle. It’s a star pattern in purl stitches. The subtle pattern was a little annoying to knit as it was difficult to see the pattern forming and I had to pay much more attention to the chart than I normally would. On the plus side in a subtle pattern it’s easy to hide mistakes.  I like the finished effect although if I was doing it again I would work the star pattern in a different colour.

I'm not sure what that white thing is on my sleeve....I think it might be a blob of moisturizer on my mirror

The wool was scratchy when I was knitting with it but actually it’s fine to wear. Less itchy than some of the other wool jumpers I’ve made. I was a bit naughty and put it through the washing machine on a cold wash and it’s come out just fine.

Overall I made the following modifications:

  • increased the body to 47cm (up to arm hole)
  • increased sleeves to 50 cm (I like my sleeves long)
  • final 4 decreases along raglan rather than on body
  • I stopped decreasing at 108 stitches and started the rib (I don’t like necklines too high).

I’ve always been a little bit slapdash about weaving in my ends in the past but on this project I knew that it would really show up so I decided to do it properly. I found an article in Knitty which explained it really clearly and it’s given me a lovely clean finish and you can’t see it at all at the front.

All in all I’m very pleased. In fact I’m wearing it right now!