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

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Daybreak Shawl

July 2015

I’m pregnant. In knitting terms that means time to stop making sweaters for me (I won’t be able to fit into them soon anyway) and start with the baby stuff. But first of all I needed a nursing shawl. I’m very pro-breastfeeding and the right to do it in public, but at the same time I get self conscious without some sort of cover-up.

That being the intended purpose of this shawl, is being called Daybreak made me smile. I should be seeing a fair few of those with a newborn to look after.

This yarn (the Mabel & Ivy part) was purchased with the intention of making Dessine-Moi Un Mouton which, one day, the leftovers will. But in the meantime I needed to use that colour combination somewhere else.

Actually this isn’t the happiest marriage of yarn and design. The inside edge of the shawl is very tight, and Supersoft, being pretty much a pure wool 3-ply, snaps very easily. I’ve snapped a couple of stitches already by blocking it, but I caught them before they ran, and it’s not impossible to repair that sort of thing. Disasters like that have befallen me before.

When I get around to using the Supersoft again, I’m going to hold it double which should hopefully make it a bit stronger. Dessine-Moi Un Mouton calls for 5-ply anyway so hopefully I’ll be able to get gauge that way.

This was my first go at taking pictures of a shawl by stringing a line between two picture hooks on a blank wall and pegging it to that, an idea pinched from elsewhere on Rav, and I think it looks great. I didn’t want to put the pictures back up.

Pattern: Daybreak Shawl by Stephen West
Size: Large
Yarn: Main colour - Skein Queen Voluptuous Skinny in brown and contrast colours - Mabel & Ivy Supersoft in (from top to bottom) Calypso, Dark Apple, Kingfisher, Marlin and Mariner
Needle: 3.00mm
On ravelry: here

Friday, 18 December 2015

Skull Mittens

July 2015

Having recently made this sweater for my little boy, I had quite a lot of the beautiful rainbow coloured Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn left over, and so I thought I would treat myself to a pair of these mittens.

I'd spotted the pattern some time ago during one of my random searches of ravelry for goth inspired projects, so it was good to have the excuse to finally knit the mittens up, even if I wasn't going to get much use out of them at the height of summer. A non-fingerless option is also included in the pattern, but I find fingerless more practical on the whole.

The Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn is a pure wool, and not the softest, so mixing it with some super soft merino made a certain amount of sense as well as providing a nice plain background to show off the rainbow colours. Sticking to one background colour meant that as the skulls made their way through the rainbow, some of them were bound to stand out more than others, but I love the overall effect.

During the course of knitting up these mittens, I discovered the Addi make 30cm and even 20cm circular needles, which are short enough for mittens like these, socks, etc. It wasn't easy to justify buying a pair when I already owned DPNs in the right size, but I was so curious to give them a try that I bit the bullet. I have to say that I'm very glad I did, as I found they gave a far smoother result and weren't in the least bit uncomfortable to use, as you might expect with such a short cord. Colourwork on DPNs is something I can do, but it's no fun, and never looks very good (pre-blocking at least).

I made the second mitten slightly differently from the first - after finishing the thumb gusset, I worked the thumb itself and then went back to finish off the top of the mitten rather than vice versa. Doing it that way was definitely better from a technical point of view, as it meant that the colour transition ran a lot more smoothly, as making the thumb used far less yarn. Working the top of the mitten and then the thumb made for a bit of a violent jolt.

Pattern: Skull Mittens by Jennifer Thompson
Size: Small
Yarn: Garnstudio DROPS baby merino (black) and Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn (rainbow)
Needle: 2.00mm
On ravelry: here