Monday, 29 February 2016

A pair of Colorblocks

December 2015

Every year I knit a little something for the children of my husband's cousin, Daniel and Emily, and this year just for a change I thought it would be cute to make his and hers matching jumpers. I needed a fairly quick knit though - with a baby due on December 22nd I was loath to commit to any Christmas projects which might prove too labour intensive. A worsted weight top down in the round jumper fitted the bill perfectly.

I'd spotted this pattern on ravelry a while ago. Garter stitch always makes very attractive looking stripes in my opinion, and the construction of that pocket intrigued me whilst the rest of the garnet promised just the right amount of fairly mindless knitting.

This pattern has some very pleasing little design details - the hem being slightly lower in the back than the front through short row shaping for example, and as I knitted it I couldn't help but wish more of my sweaters were shaped like that. Plus it's a truly unisex design, and so perfect for a brother and sister. (Emily has apparently got her eyes on Daniel's version - the red and grey - once he gets too big for it).

The Rowan Pure Wool Worsted I used for this is a fabulous yarn. It's not cheap (especially when you don't need to use very much of the contrast colour, as with this pattern), but it comes in every colour you could ever want, washes beautifully, is properly warm and cosy and not itchy in the slightest. It knits up into a very handsome looking and pleasingly squishy fabric.

I love the fact that it's a proper worsted since the UK market doesn't seem to be particularly spoiled for choice when it comes to that particular weight, and yet there are vast swathes of patterns (particularly from the USA) which call for it. Knitting with this makes me understand how a petrolhead would feel driving a ferrari, if you see what I mean. And besides, these were Christmas presents, so I could justify the cost.

I can see myself coming back to this pattern at some point, as it was such a fun, quick knit and these little sweaters are the sort of wardrobe staple that could see any child through a long, British winter or two. And thanks to Rowan, there are many colour combinations left to try.  

Pattern: Colorblock by Oomieknits
Size: 4 years and 6 years
Yarn: Rowan pure wool worsted in Mustard, Damson, Charcoal and Rich Red
Needle: 4.5mm
On ravelry: here

Friday, 29 January 2016

South Pole Jumper

December 2015

I recently discovered the work of Jorid Linvik, and in partiular loved these little penguins from the South Pole hat. I was really keen to use them somewhere, and when I took George’s chest measurement, it turned out to be close enough to the circumference of the hat that I could just follow the chart as written, without having to add any stitches. I just used slightly larger needles.

Having had a go at the fish in the South Pole hat pattern, I decided they were perhaps a bit grown up and subtle for a child’s pattern, and so I swapped them over with the Swedish Fish Socks chart. It’s a lot cuter that way.

This was basically worked bottom up, but having dithered about the fish I worked in both directions at different stages. I started it just under the penguins using a provisional cast on so I could play around with the length later on.

The neckline looks slightly sloppy to me, and might need to be ripped back and redone, but in fairness he has been wearing it unblocked today so it might settle down. He also has a habit of trying to chew at the collars of his jumpers at the moment, which doesn’t help!

All of the yarns I used are very soft and not at all itchy, as George is approaching that fussy age. I particularly like the Berroco Vintage dk, even if I did encounter a slight different-dyelots-not-matching problem with it. Entirely my fault of course.

Pattern: 9-9 Sweater with Raglan Sleeves by Garnstudio DROPS design incorporating South Pole Hat by Jorid Linvik and Swedish Fish Socks by SpillyJane
Size: 4 years
Yarn: Berroco Vintage dk in blue-green 449, John Lewis Heritage dk in demin and cream, Sirdar Snuggly dk in light blue, Garnstudio DROPS Karisma Superwash dk in dark grey.
Needle: 3.5mm
On ravelry: here

Monday, 18 January 2016


December 2015

I haven't had much luck with dresses. I tried twice to improvise something with a skull pattern around the hem - the first time it got coffee spilled on it and stained, the second time I managed to felt it shortly after finishing it. The only picture I managed to take first is here.

So it was with some trepidation that I embarked on Embrace. However, I had some yarn to recycle from this, which just wasn't getting the wear it deserved. Kid Classic is a wonderful yarn, warm, flattering and it wears very well. I have some projects I made in it years ago which hardly show their age at all.

This was also a bit of a worrying knit because I was pregnant whilst I made it, and so unable to try it on as I went. Indeed, I was slightly unsure about what my figure was going to do after the baby arrived, and so I had to feel my way in the dark a little. These pictures are about 3 weeks postpartum, and I've been pleasantly surprised with how it's looking. Horribly impractical for breastfeeding, mind you, but I'm a dedicated knitter, and I wear it anyway.

Embrace was knitted in the round from the bottom up to the armhole, then front and back yoke knitted separately. The original pattern would have you knit the front, back and sleeves flat and seam them, but I that seemed like a really silly idea to me. The sleeves done in the round on DPNs.

One thing that pissed me off a bit about this pattern (apart from it being made available for free after I had already bought it) was the amount of loose ends which needed to be sewn in due to the yoke being worked flat. I’m not quite brave enough with steeking to have converted it to be worked like that instead, but if anyone is, it would be much more sensible. I expect Kid Classic would steek beautifully.

The chart repeats on the back don’t quite line up, but I’m not really bothered. Tired, tired pregnancy knitting. I think it’s beautiful anyway despite usually having a bit of an aversion to yellow.

The original pattern had drop-sleeve armholes, a higher neckline and no sleeves. I decided to add a lower neckline and set-in sleeves based on another of Sarah Hatton’s patterns for Kid Classic from the same collection, Cosy. If I'm being really harsh, I'd say the ribbed section at the cuffs might benefit from being longer, as it's not lying especially flat at the moment. If I can dig out some more of the Kid Classic, that should be a fairly easy modification to make, though.

I'm also wearing it with less positive ease than perhaps was intended, as I've convinced myself that's the best way to flatter my figure.

It's safe to say that this has convinced me that my luck with dresses might have finally changed, and I'm already mentally queuing umpteen others - BloomKejaBressayLaneway, DarlingtonKristinaLidiya... the list goes on. Oh, and I have a 95% complete Still Light which needs to come out of hibernation at some point in 2016 - it's going to be a busy year.

Pattern: Embrace by Sarah Hatton from Rowan Studio 14
Size: Small, but with bust darts
Yarn: Rowan Kid Classic in 888 Pumice, 831 Smoke and 877 Mellow
Needle: 3.75mm
On ravelry: here

Thursday, 14 January 2016


December 2015

I spotted this lovely set a while ago whilst the pattern was unavailable because it was being updated, so I was really pleased to find it was available again in time for me to make one for my daughter. Having expected her to come early, like her brother had, she actually turned up 10 days late. This was something I knitted up around week 40 - 41 of my pregnancy whilst waiting for her to to arrive. I used leftovers from my purple and yellow colorblock sweater.

The pattern includes instructions for a steeked version and a non-steeked version. I don't mind steeking, but in this case I decided not to, since I was using a super wash wool, and I wasn't sure if it would be grippy enough to hold.

One ball of the yellow was enough for the cardigan, but there was virtually nothing leftover, and I had to buy a second for the matching bonnet.

I worked an extra row between colour changes in a couple of places to avoid having to cut the yarn to get it to where I needed it.

M1 increases throughout yoke were done with backward loop cast on, as lifting a strand between stitches can look a bit odd if it's not the right colour.

This was a really quick and satisfying knit - I mostly seem to use 4-ply these days so making something in worsted made for really rapid progress. I'd definitely make this again - it's one of the prettiest baby sets I've seen for ages. My little girl has worn it a few times already, although it's still a bit big for her. The fact that the sleeves have yarn stranded round them for the entire length means they're not especially stretchy, but we managed to get them on and off without too much fuss in the end. 

Pattern: Merriment Bonnet and Cardigan by
Size: 3 months
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Worsted in 150 Damson and 133 Gold and John Lewis Heritage Merino Blend dk
Needle: 4.00mm
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Baby Goth

October 2015

This project was a joy from start to finish. I bought the yarn at Yarndale 2015 in Skipton during a lovely knitting holiday with friends, and cast on shortly after I got back. It seemed to knit up in no time, and I've had a lot of very kind compliments on it.

I know skulls aren't everybody's cup of tea, and I'm not sure that the grandparents approve, but for anyone with a bit of an inclination towards the gothic like me, it is the cutest pattern ever. As soon as I saw it I knew my little girl needed one.

The skull pattern is made using intarsia, which is a technique I often tend to avoid since it can be a bit of a faff. In this case it wasn't quite as bad as I'd remembered. Ok, every skull means two loose ends to sew in, but if you embark on this project knowing what to expect it's no big deal, probably because it's so tiny.

If I can get some cute modelled pictures after she is born I will try to come back and add them, although something tells me I might not have as much time for blogging at that point!

ETA: voila!

Pattern: Baby Goth Cardigan by Baby Goth Knits
Size: Newborn
Yarn: Garnstudio DROPS Karisma Superwash dark grey/ off white
Needle: 3.5mm
On ravelry: here

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Wee Carson

September 2015

My third attempt at steeking (working fairisle in the round and then cutting into it to create an opening) and the first time I did it all by myself without any help from my Mum. Ok, I didn't have much choice, as I was on holiday at the time, but even so, I was proud of myself.

There are two ways to reenforce the knitting to prevent it from fraying before you cut it, crochet or machine stitching. Last time (for Hedgerow) I used machine stitching but having not taken my sewing machine on holiday with me, I had to use crochet this time. I think it would have been strong enough to hold on its own, as Felted Tweed is wonderfully grippy, but when I got home I added a few rows of machine stitching just to be doubly sure.

Of all the steeking resources I've looked at the few times I've used the technique, Kate Davies' series of tutorials - starting with this one - are among the best. It is a subject one tends to read up on quite a bit before attempting even the second and third times, since to thought of cutting into knitting with scissors seems to terrifyingly wrong.

With the right preparation and the right yarn it's fine though. Honestly.

My gauge on 2.75mm needles was 27.5 stitches to 10 cm over stranded colour work, which was the closest I was likely to get to the recommended 28 stitches to 10 cm. This is possibly a bit tighter than Felted Tweed was intended to be knit, but I think it works great, and as this pattern called for something that would steek well, but at the same time I wanted it to be washable, the choices were limited.

I'd guess this will fit at about 3-6 months at my gauge. I felt like it was going to end up much bigger as I was working it up, but this cardigan has a series of rapid decreases near the underarm which give it the a-line shape and so the finished chest measurement is quite a bit smaller than the measurement around the bottom hem. I should have trusted Ysolda, she knows what she is doing.

The zip was installed by my Mum, a 10" chunky open zip in navy blue. It was really difficult to track down a zip so short which was also open ended, but there are some instructions about how to shorten a zip yourself included in the pattern for anyone who finds it impossible. You've got to love a pattern which anticipates your problems like that, and solves them for you.

Pattern: Wee Carson by Ysolda Teague
Size: 3 months
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed in Seafarer (dark blue), Scree (pale blue), Hedgerow (mid green), Watery (blue/green), Camel (beige), Carbon (dark grey), Maritime (mid blue), Avocado (light green)
Needle: 2.75mm
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Anikka Dress

August 2015

Having found out that I'm expecting a girl in December, I naturally trawled through my ravelry favourites for all those baby girl project I had loved but not knitted up yet. It's a pretty long list, but this dress just leapt out at me.

Having only had a son so far, I've no idea how useful or practical a dress like this is going to be, particularly in such a small size, but time will tell. One thing to be said for it (other than the obvious cuteness factor), is that this style of dress is bound to fit for a long time, since as the baby grows it can become a tunic and eventually a vest. That's a gratifying feeling.

I really enjoy stranded colour work, but I'm more used to doing it in 4-ply and on a larger scale than this, so this dress felt as if it knitted up in no time. I'd definitely make it again if I needed a last minute gift for a friend's baby girl.

The dress is worked bottom up with a crocheted buttonhole at the neck for ease of getting it on and off. I'm absolutely terrible at crochet, but even I could manage such a tiny bit of chain without having to enlist help. Yay me.

Pattern: Anikka by Vivian Aubrey
Size: 3 months
Yarn: Berroco Vintage dk 2143 Dark Denim and 2194 Breezeway, John Lewis Heritage Merino in cream
Needle: 3.50mm
On ravelry: here