Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Balfour Skirt

February 2017

I love this pattern! I've never knitted a skirt before, partly because I'd previously not been sure whether they would hang properly or stay up. With Balfour, I thought it was worth taking a risk and it totally paid off. I love the fit - it’s pretty snug, but I think it’s flattering that way and holds a good shape. It's great to find a new way to wear hand knitting. 

Balfour is knitted using rowan felted tweed dk. Although labelled a dk, in my opinion this yarn knits up more like a sport weight, and so in terms of yarn substitutions, a 4-ply would probably just about work (I've seen Drops Alpaca subbed for felted tweed a couple of times very successfully). The skirt is knitted bottom up, with a folded hem at the bottom and a section of ribbing and elastic to hold it up at the top. It's seamless and intended to be worn with a little positive ease. On ravelry it's described as "a-line" but I would say "pencil skirt" would be the more accurate way to describe its shape. It sits quite high - on the waist rather than the hips, which makes for a warm tummy, but I can live with that if it's the price I have to pay for it not falling down.

I did tweak the pattern to some extent. As written, it has you increase and decrease in such a way that the chart repeats don’t always line up at the two side seam stitches. This is liveable-with for some of the simpler chart but when it came to the with stripe with the double diamonds I thought it would look rubbish, and so I adjusted by stitch count so that there would be no partial repeats. I figured I could always block it aggressively if it ended up a funny shape - I've used felted tweed a lot before and it does grow a bit when you block it.

There's a matching cardigan in Rowan 60 which uses some of the same fairisle motifs. The skirt doubles as a snood in that you can pull it over your head and stick your face out of the waist opening but I while I love it as a skirt, I'm not sure I'm really a snood sort of person.

I came up with my own colour combination rather than following the pattern, because I already had a lot of felted tweed stashed, and thought it would be best to try to use that up. Also, I love turquoise.

I chopped a bit of length off too, as I’m not very tall (5’5”) and I wanted it to fall just above the knee.

Pattern: Balfour Skirt by Lisa Richardson
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed dk in Avocado (light green), Camel (beige), Watery (blue/green), Carbon (grey), Seafarer (navy) and Clay (white).
Size: smallest
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 30 April 2017


December 2016

This was a very enjoyable knit, when I needed a quick and easy Christmas present for a little girl. Although I originally bought Védís Jónsdóttir's Knitting with Icelandic Wool collection intending to make myself this dress, it's full of little gems like this one, and I expect I will return to it again and again.

The pattern was very well written and I didn't feel inclined to modify it at all. There was an option to include some vertical lace stripes on the plain part of the body but I was in a bit too much of a hurry for that. Most of the knitting I do is with 4-ply and so this being worsted it seemed to knit up very quickly. Just as well, though - I only managed to post it off a couple of days before Christmas.

I don't normally use acrylic yarns for colour work, due to the fact that they're not as easy to block into a nice neat, flat fabric as wool is. This yarn, Pacific, is an acrylic/merino blend by Cascade, and I was really pleasantly surprised by how tidy it looked after blocking. It was also great to be able to combine solids, like the white, and heathered shades, like the green, from within the same palate, as I love the way they look alongside each other.

Pattern: Bláklukka by Vedis Jonsdottir
Yarn: Cascade Pacific in Spring Green, Blue, Red and White
Size: 6 years
On ravelry: here

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


December 2016

Marie Wallin’s designs for Rowan have been amongst my favourites for some time, and there are several sweet ones in the vintage inspired “Once Upon a Time Collection” for children. Freddie grabbed me straight away, as I love all-over fairisle projects and this is such a pretty one.

I did modify the pattern in several respects - it was written to be knitted flat, as seems to be the house style at Rowan - but I worked it in the round as far as the armholes as it tends to give better results with stranded colour work and even if it didn’t it saves a bit of sewing up to do it that way.

Secondly I played around with the colour palate quite a lot. This is about the fifth or sixth fairisle I’ve knitted using felted tweed, so I have a big bag of leftovers to plunder but not necessarily all of the recommended colours. I’m firmly of the view that all shades of felted tweed go with all other shades - it’s such a beautiful yarn - but as ever with fairisle you do need to think about what degree of contrast you want. I tend to favour medium or high contrast and Freddie was a bit subtle for me at times. The one stripe which I did use the suggested palate is the broadest one featuring beige/green/orange and to my eye the pattern gets a little bit lost there.

The third modification was that I added about 2” length. If you study the pattern pictures closely you can see Freddie is designed to be fairly short, which is fine as long it’s worn over a shirt that stays tucked in. Having a son myself, though, I couldn’t overlook the potential for a longer top worn underneath it to come untucked hang down below the hem of the vest and spoil the look completely. It was easy enough to add some length though. Just a matter of unpicking the ribbing, putting the live stitches back on the needles and knitting downwards for a little while until it felt right.

I was really pleased with the end result - virtually all of my most beautiful projects have been knitted in felted tweed and this is definitely one of them!

Pattern: Freddie by Marie Wallin
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed dk in Pine (dark green), Avocado (light green), Clay (white), Camel (beige), Bilberry (purple), Ginger (orange), Watery (blue/green), Mineral (yellow) and Treacle (brown).
Size: 7-8 years
On ravelry: here