lace and cable hand warmers for my tiny wrists

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It’s almost impossible to take an attractive picture of hand warmers….They just aren’t very pretty!

Autumn can be a bit rubbish for me as I hate being cold (mainly because it makes my arthritis worse but also because I’m a wimp!).  There are upsides to everything though and for Autumn one of the main ones is that it is knitting season! It’s all about the hats, scarves and gloves! I’m starting with hand warmers. The hand warmers I made last year have felted quite badly and also left bits of rusty fluff all over me (and my poor boyfriend) so I decided to make a new pair for this year.

I opted for Merletto Mitts by Jody McKinley. I liked the lace and the cables plus I preferred the fact that it was 4ply so wouldn’t be too bulky. I used trusty Garnstudio DROPS Alpaca. I spotted an oilve/yellowy mix that I hadn’t seen before.  It’s a bit less bright in the flesh than it is in the pictures. I don’t normally like variegated wool but the shades in this one look great with each other and was too multicoloured and weid.

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Here’s the back

I think that the pattern was a little bit confusing, well, either that or I was being a bit dim….. Once I got going though the lace and cable pattern was easy to remember.

I finished one whole hand warmer before actually trying it on. Once I did I realised that it was HUGE! I think it was a combination of my loose tension and big knitting and my tiny little wrists.

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The HUGE hand warmer before I undid it

I unwound the whole thing and started again with a smaller version. I made the following modifications:

  • I cast on 48 stitches in total, kept the front the same size and reduced the plain bit at the back.
  • I also decided to ignore the ribbing suggested and just do 1×1. It doesn’t look quite as polished but I think it’s fine.
  • When I got to the thumb increases I stopped when I had 16 stitches.
  • As I’d cast on fewer stitches I didn’t need to decrease at the top of the hand warmers.

I’m really pleased with them. They look much better on than in the pictures and the colour is lovely. Hopefully these won’t felt quite as quickly as the last pair! My next knitting task is a new hat……

Pomme de pin cardigan with massive buttons!

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I had my eye on the Pomme de pin Cardigan by Amy Christoffers for quite a while.  I made a Larch Cardigan by the same designer a little while ago and I love it and wear it all the time.

I used Du Store Alpakka Mirasol which I got from Knit with attitude. I seem to have got really into knitting with beige and brown at the moment. It’s a bit boring but I really like this shade of brown……The wool was lovely to knit with; really soft and snuggly.

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Here is it with the sleeves tacked in

Once I got going on the lace pattern it was pretty easy to remember (both straight and in the round). I did get a bit confused when I got to the decreases though. It took me a few goes to figure out what I needed to do and I got very annoyed when I had to keep undoing rows because I’d been randomly adding in stitches……I might have just been being a bit thick though.

I was a little bit slap-dash when I was sewing on the sleeves and collar. I did tack them in first but I still ended up bodging things a little when it came to the final sewing up. It’s turned out just fine though! I love the way that knitted fabric is so forgiving when it comes to seaming!

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I really need a haircut…..

I loved the dad style buttons used in the original pattern. I have a real soft spot for this kind of button.  I searched about on the internet for ages but I just couldn’t find any big enough for this pattern. In the end I went for wooden buttons. As you can see they are HUGE! I was a bit worried when they first arrived  but once I’d sewn them on I was fully convinced! I do rather like big buttons so this cardigan makes me very happy.

awesome button

I have been wearing this non-stop since I finished it (even though it’s far too warm to wear it)!

My boyfriend took the photos while we were out picking blackberries. To start with it looked like our fellow fruit loving Londoners had beaten us to all of the good blackberries but then we found some secret bramble bushes and managed a really good haul.

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Our blackberry haul

Then my awesome boyfriend made them into a super tasty pie for us!

A massive Breckon cardigan!

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I have finished my Breckon! I am very pleased with it indeed! I love the colour, I love the wool and I think the lace has come out very well.

I wasn’t quite sure about the buttons when I was first sewing them on. I thought that they looked a bit small given the size of the button band. However now it’s all finished and blocked I think they look great! I really like wooden buttons and think they go particularly well with the felted tweed wool.
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On the whole the pattern was pretty simple to follow. The lace repeat was easy to remember so I was able to stop looking at the pattern fairly quickly. The instructions for the button hole and button band were a bit of a pain though. Rather than specifying exactly where the button holes should be placed the instructions were really vague and meant I had to spend an annoying amount of time counting rows and measuring stuff and moving things about (I went for roughly every 17 rows). I think the spacing worked out alright but it was not the most fun evening I have ever had! I ignored the fancy button band bind-off as I am lazy. Instead I opted for a normal loose bind off which seems to be okay.

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The cardigan doesn’t really go with what I’m wearing in this picture but I was super keen to blog about it but too lazy to get changed for a picture (especially a slightly questionable one taken in the mirror! ).

As with almost everything I make it has turned out rather huge. I suspected that it might when I was making it. I think that the reason why I’ve never started bothering to try and prevented my knitted items being on the big side is that I don’t mind my clothes baggy. I’d much rather something was too big than too small! The sleeves are the only really big problem as they are massively long! I’m going to have to turn over the cuff which makes me feel a bit like a child in a school jumper they need to ‘grow into’. I’m hoping that no-one will notice though! 

 

Emelie is a very pretty cardigan……just not for me

My Emelie by Elin Berglund is finished. It’s very pretty. I like the colour and the wool is soft. However, I’m not sure if I’m going to wear it:

  • It’s a little tighter than I normally like my cardigans and I don’t think it’s entirely flattering  when it’s buttoned up. There certainly no room for eating lots of cake.. (this isn’t helped by the fact that I accidentally put in an extra decrease at the waist making it even smaller…)
  • I’ve tried in on with various items of clothing and it just doesn’t go with anything.
  • It’s an odd length; neither cropped or long just kind of ‘meh’.
  • The neckline is a bit too high.

Looking again at the finished projects on Ravelry, most of the above was already pretty clear from the pictures, I’m not entirely sure now why I didn’t make it a) cropped or b) bigger. It’s not that I don’t like it in general-it would look awesome on  someone else -I just don’t like it for me.

It took me a little bit longer to finish off than normal as I had to make a few little modifications. I couldn’t make the suggested button-hole technique look nice how every many time I tried it so I ended up undoing that and going for a classic ‘yarn over knit two together’ approach. I think that looks fine though.

I also had to fiddle about a bit with the sleeves to make it look neat. Both sleeves were looking very messy from picking up the stitches. I’ve done sleeves like that a few times before and its worked fine but this time it looked awful! There were huge gaps. I’m not sure if it’s the cash-cotton which is unforgiving (I do love the way that tweedy and fluffy wools hide your mistakes) or if it was the proportion of stitches picked up in relation to the size of the arm hole. I had a lot of trouble getting the right number as the ‘two stitches for every three’ suggested didn’t come up with the right number. Once I’d finished the cardigan and blocking hadn’t worked any miracles I tried to fix it from the back but that didn’t want to work so I ended up sewing it up from the front. Of course that kind of negated picking up the stitches in the first place. At least it looks neat now!

I’m going to put this cardigan away for a little while and see if it grows on me. If not I think I’ll see any of my friends want it. It makes me a bit sad to make things which never get worn so I’d much rather it went to a good home than gathered dust in my wardrobe.

Hélène by Veronik Avery – Finished

My Hélène by Veronik Avery is finished!

I think my hopes for this one were slightly too high….I was really excited about it and was sure that it was going to be a new favourite. Now it’s all sewn up I’m really not sure about it.

Knitting the front and back wasn’t too bad (although it was fiddly to get them to match exactly) but it was a total pain to sew up. I messed up the shoulder seams and had to do them a couple of times. In the end I did the three needle bind off the wrong way around which seemed like a good idea at the time but now I think looks a little odd and bulky.

Another dubious picture taken in the mirror with my messy bedroom in the background I'm afraid.....

In the end I just wanted to get it finished so I rushed through the final sewing up. I picked up too many stitches on the neckline so it’s quite baggy. It was a little too baggy to stay on my shoulders so I had to stitch up the sides for half an inch or so. I tried to be neat but it looks a little messy…..

On the plus side I love pattern on the jumper and the wool……

Hélène by Veronik Avery- progress so far

I spotted Hélène by Veronik Avery on Ravelry a few weeks ago. I really like the pattern and I think it will make a lovely summer top. I’m very excited about it!

I had a look at the recommended wool which is Quince and Co. Sparrow. It looks lovely but it’s not the cheapest and totally out of my price range. Instead I’m trying it out with Garnstudio DROPS Baby Alpaca Silk. As you’ll know if you read the blog regularly I love Garnstudio; the quality is great and the prices are really reasonable.  I haven’t used this wool before but I’m really impressed so far, it so soft and silky and it feels much more expensive than £3.00 a ball! I love the muted green colour as well.

The project is worked in two pieces from sleeve to sleeve. This is the first time I’ve worked with a project like this. The front and back will need to match up exactly for it to work properly so it’s a little bit of a challenge for me (I can be a tad slapdash). The project gives a lot of the instructions based on measurements,  however, as this is lace project and it’s very stretchy it would be hard to be totally accurate.  To be sure that my front and back will match I’ve had to start counting the pattern repeats and making a note of how far I’ve got at certain points. My notes consist of a lot of 0.5 and 1+0.7 so I hope it all makes sense to me when I get to the back!

The lace pattern for this project is really simple and easy to remember. I haven’t quite got it off by heart yet but I’m sure that I will by the time I’ve finished.

I’m making the smallest size (32) and it is looking very small at the moment! The fabric is really stretchy and quite bunches up at the moment though so I’m confident that it will really grow when I block it out.

Bridgewater blanket finished!

my finished Bridgewater blanket

I liked the Bridgewater I made for my Mum earlier in the year so much that I wanted to make a version for myself. It’s a fairly time-consuming project and I would have gone a bit mad if I had to work on exactly the same thing twice so I used 4 ply and 4mm needles to make it more of a blanket. I used Drops Alpaca and with the 4mm needles it gives an open fabric and a lovely soft blanket which I think looks very pretty. Drops Alpaca is almost certainly my current favourite wool.

The last time I made this project I made the rather fatal error of using dark wool which made the lace sections almost impossible to see in anything but bright daylight. I learnt my lesson this time around and used a nice light grey. I really like the colour and think it compliments the pattern very nicely.

It's hard to take a picture which shows how huge it is but this gives you an idea. Please excuse the messy book shelf!

As I was using much bigger needles I knew that it would turn out large but I didn’t realise quite how big it would get. As it’s knitted in the round for the final section before casting off I didn’t find out how huge it would be until I was casting off. I think that’s a good thing though as it makes it all the more snuggly.

The next time I’m making a lace project I really should invest in proper blocking pins. I tend to use ‘blocking’ as a rather extravagant term for washing and then stretching out on the spare bed on a towel. I know I’d get a much better finish and cleaner edges if I blocked properly. Perhaps I should make proper blocking my New Years resolution (maybe along with actually making a tension square…..).

 

I’m really pleased that it’s come out like a proper blanket and I’m really looking forward to snuggling up under it to watch TV or read a book. I am going to have to be very careful to keep the rabbits away from it though as it is exactly the kind of thing they like to chew!