It’s really strange, how much more comfortable I feel in my new job already, and how that reflects itself in what I choose to wear. In my last job I was always worrying about whether I looked smart enough or serious enough, and spent a lot of time feeling underdressed or sometimes overdressed and worrying if I looked too colourful for anyone to take me seriously. In my new job, where I’m surrounded by accountants instead of fundraisers, I can just throw together an outfit out of co-ordinating and contrasting separates and feel just fine all day.
This one isn’t handknitted, though, I bought it in East a few weeks ago when I first started thinking about wearing cardigans instead of jackets for work more often.
I made the rookie mistake of wearing my new boots (bought in the Clarks sale just before Christmas, mainly because they have a Gore-Tex lining and when you work ten minutes from town and are about to work ten minutes from the nearest bus stop boots which won’t end up soaked through in torrential rain are worth their weight in gold, let alone 30% off sale prices) two days in a row and they were rubbing my ankles painfully where the leather had creased by the end of today, but on the other hand my feet didn’t get wet and hopefully the boots will wear in soon enough.
And now it’s the weekend again. I like weeks that are only two days long; what a shame they don’t happen more often!
I realised over the Christmas break that I’ve been missing outfitblogging. Even though it felt like a chore for a while, mostly I enjoyed sharing what I was wearing with the internet and found it gave me a reason to think about my clothes and try to be creative with combinations instead of just wearing the same things again and again. And, although it might be blowing my own trumpet a bit, and it’s not as if I’m out to make a vast stir on the internet, I like to think that writing about how I wear the things I’ve made is the one vaguely original thing I do here; there are lots of craft blogs, and plenty of outfit blogs, but I can’t think of many that combine the two.
So here is today’s outfit. Unusually for me, I ended up wearing a handknitted cardigan for work, partly because I thought it might be chilly in the office after the break (it wasn’t particularly) and partly in an attempt to ease myself into the new year a bit more gently.
I’ve never been convinced that round-necked cardigans like this really work over my jersey dresses, which all tend to have v-necks and drapey front detailing, and always thought that cardigans which can be worn open or fastened just below the bust are better, but actually I thought this looked OK fastened at the top like this, especially on a day when there was no need to look particularly smart as I was at my desk all day writing handover notes, because I am going on secondment for 15 months to work on a project that I think will be really interesting and, more to the point, will get me away from aspects of my current job which I think have been major contributing factors to the worsening of my mental health issues over the last year or so. So this new year really is a new start, and hopefully being in a less difficult working environment will mean I have more energy for blogging as well as pursuing my hobbies.
I never used to like orange. For a long time I would have said it was one of my least favourite colours. But then I bought some gorgeous coppery orange yarn from the Knitting Goddess and knitted a shawl in it, and realised how well orange goes with purple, and since then an increasing number of orange garments have found their way into my wardrobe. I have orange tights, two orange jackets, two orange shawls, a couple of orange tops, and now I have knitted myself an orange cardigan.
The pattern is Metro from Twist Collective, which I fell in love with after seeing my friend A’s lovely version, and the yarn is Rowan Classic Cotton Jeans, which is surprisingly light for an aran-weight cotton yarn; I used it for my Hey Teach! a few years ago and liked it enough that I snapped up a couple of packs from Laughing Hens when they put it on sale after it was discontinued.
Of course, knitting with discontinued yarns from stash can be a slightly nerve-wracking experience, and I realised while working the upper back that my 10 balls wasn’t going to be enough to knit three-quarter length sleeves. Luckily for me, Laughing Hens still had some of the yarn in stock so I was able to order two more balls, which were even the same dyelot (though that tends not to be too much of a problem with Rowan yarns anyway, in my experience). In the end I only needed one of them, but better safe than sorry. (I also ordered two more balls of the purple I bought at the same time, so I won’t run into the same problem when I come to knit that.)
I went down a needle size, but still couldn’t get the pattern gauge, and after a bit of maths worked out that if I knitted a size smaller than the pattern said it should come out OK. I also decided to knit the front a size bigger than the back to the armholes and then work extra decreases at the front armholes to make the shoulders match, so in the end I knitted the back, shoulders and arms from the 33″ size and the front from the 37″ size, which came out as a perfect fit. I can pin the front closed, but I suspect I’ll mostly wear it open.
It’s knitted at quite a tight gauge, which makes it nice and structured, and I suspect this is a handknitted cardigan I really would be happy to wear to work, although as I’m now off until a week on Monday I will have to wait for proof of that. I’m very much looking forward to my break; I might even finish my Lady Heather!
Wearing a bright cardigan to work instead of a jacket led to all kinds of insecurity about whether I looked smart enough or whether my outfits are just too idiosycratic to be professional. I don’t think they are, really, but I definitely feel smarter and more work-like in a jacket (and really, most of my cardigans aren’t fit for public display anyway – this one is disintegrating at the seams). But it’s OK, and just because lots of people wear black and grey and navy for work it doesn’t mean colour is unprofessional, and even if it did, I would be miserable as hell if I couldn’t wear it so it’s really not even worth considering the question.
Shawl – Elektra
Shawl pin – Purlescence
Cardigan – clothes swap
Dress – East
Boots – Duo
My Cria cardigan, started on 1 January 2012 and finished on New Year’s Eve, is now blocked and ready to wear (and, indeed, being worn as I type this).
The yarn is Ochil, from the Yarn Yarn – a high twist 100% merino heavy sock or sportweight yarn. I’ve used it for socks before, but I’m not really keen on yarns without a bit of nylon for socks as they do tend to be more prone to felting – the original Try Again socks were knitted in Ochil and the soles have felted a lot. I also find that the slightly heavier weight doesn’t give enough yardage for man-sized socks. On the other hand, I thought it would be perfect for a cardigan and couldn’t resist this gorgeous violet/magenta shade.
Following the fitting advice in Little Red in the City I made the 38″ size to fit my high bust measurement, with a 1″ short-row bust dart to allow for not being the standard B/C cup of pattern dimensions. I also halved the distance between the body increases to allow for the fact that my hip measurement is closer to the 44″ size than the one I was actually knitting, lowered the neckline to be more of a scoop neck than a crew neck, left out the pockets and didn’t bother with the buttoned cuffs.
I’m very pleased with how it turned out, particularly the fit at the shoulders and bust. The sleeves seem to have grown a few inches when I blocked it, despite the fact that my swatch barely grew at all after washing, blocking and hanging with clothes-pegs to weight it, but I think they look fine folded double anyway, and if it’s cold I can unfold them to cover my hands.
It took me several tries to get the right buttons. At first I ordered two sets of purple buttons: little bird-shaped ones that were the right colour but too small, and round coconut-shell ones which were the right size but a red-purple rather than a blue-purple. Happily, it was third time lucky with these lovely laminated Liberty lawn buttons from Textile Garden.
I’ve put buttons all the way down, even though I never button cardigans up completely, because I like the look of a fitted cardigan rather than the kind that just buttons at the top. I had intended it to be a smartish cardigan I could wear for work, but I’m increasingly coming to think that cardigans of any sort don’t quite fit the professional look I’m aiming for. Still, there’s plenty of non-work time to wear it in, and it’s lovely and cosy.
I can’t believe it’s already got to the stage where it really isn’t light enough for me to take my outfit photos outside at 6:45am. It’s a shame, as I think the outdoor pictures are much better than the indoor ones – I’ve tried tweaking my camera settings but when it comes to it it’s only a basic point-and-shoot and I’m not sure I’ll ever get great results (though the fact that I know very little about cameras doesn’t exactly help!).
Cardigan – Monsoon
Necklace – made by Helen
Top – M&S
Skirt – charity shop
Tights – M&S
Shoes – Clarks
Well, it does.
Cardigan – Gap
Blouse – charity shop
Necklace – East
Skirt – made by me
Shoes – Greenshoes
Today I am a small blue thing.
Cardigan and dress – Monsoon
Necklace – Fairtrade shop in York
Shoes – Greenshoes
Or at least a small person in a blue cardigan.
I’ve also been knitting small blue things.
The second of Rachel Coopey‘s Carlottina socks (the first pattern in Magpielly‘s Solid Socks Club).
Rachel Atkinson‘s Pop! baby cardigan, for my former officemate’s baby which is due in September.
Today was the third time I wore my Cinnamon Girl to work since finishing it, and I’ve also worn it pretty much every evening and both days at the weekend.
Cardigan – Cinnamon Girl
Necklace – made by Helen
Dress – M&S
Vest – Primark
Shoes – Clarks
This is also one of my favourite dresses. It’s actually a bit small for me these days, but wrap dresses are forgiving and I sewed the front of the wrap closed round the waist and down to thigh-level to prevent the reduced overlap causing excessive exposure…