A couple of weeks before the Lush knitalong was announced, I actually cast on for another cardigan – Katya Frankel‘s Medallion Edged Shrug. I saw this pattern on Ravelry when it wwas first published in a US magazine last year, and when it was released as a downloadable pattern earlier this year I bought it straight away, thinking it would be nice to have a lightweight cardigan for summer.
I had a voucher for Deramores, who sell Fyberspates yarn, so actually ended up using the recommended Scrumptious laceweight for the cardigan. It only took 68g of the yarn – just under 700m. Mindful of the fit issues I had with my Featherweight Cardigan a few years ago, I made the size just smaller than my high bust measurement rather than attempting to size based on my full bust, and I’m very happy with the fit – the measurement across the back is perfect this time.
I ended up making it longer than the pattern, mostly by misreading and thinking I was supposed to work the same number of increases after the waist as I had done decreases before. I like the longer length, though it’s probably slightly too long as the fabric bunches into the small of my back a little bit, and I wish I’d used a stretchier bind-off on the bottom ribbing as the edge is a bit tight. Also, I should probably have gone down a needle size for the sleeve ribbing as it flares out a bit. But none of these are serious problems.
I am a bit disappointed with the lace edging, though. I blocked it carefully and it looks lovely in the pictures I took yesterday morning, but after wearing the cardigan for most of yesterday and today it’s already looking quite scrunched up and the edges are rolling, particularly where it gets caught between my arms and the side of my bust. It’s still pretty, but I think the style possibly isn’t ideal for someone with a fuller bust – I guess if I was flatter the lace would hang over my bust rather than falling to either side and getting squashed. I also think it’ll probably look better over a dress than a t-shirt, but it’s a nice light summery cardigan and absolutely perfect in the warm but not hot weather we’re having right now. I think it’s definitely worth the time it takes to make summer cardigans in laceweight, and I’m sure I’ll make more, though I probably won’t knit this pattern again.
2014 seems to be turning into the Year of the Knitalong. I already had a shawl on the go (my Nuvem) but when I heard that one of my favourite designers, Åsa Tricosa, was doing a mystery shawl knitalong, I couldn’t resist signing up – and I’m very glad I did, because the shawl is beautiful!
I particularly love the fan pattern, which I think gives it a bit of an Art Deco vibe.
It certainly wasn’t a mindless knit – the fan section in particular required quite a lot of concentration, but I was working on that during the week I was signed off work and it was absolutely perfect because what I really needed was mindful knitting – something that needed enough focus that my brain couldn’t wander off into a spiral of worry and self-recrimination. I remember at one point trying to knit the toe of a sock, something I could probably do in my sleep given how many socks I’ve made by now, and got so distracted by my own thoughts that I completely lost track of where I was with the decreases, but I whizzed through the fans.
It’s come out a lovely size, too – perfect for wrapping round me.
The yarn is merino/silk fingering from The Knitting Goddess. It’s a single-ply yarn and so soft it was an utter joy to knit with. This yarn is also quite fine for a 4-ply, with 500m to 100g rather than the more usual 400m, and I have ended up with almost all of my second skein of the plum and four-fifths of the lime green left over, so I think there may be another shawl in this colour combination in my future. I do love how the colours look together, though obviously it will need to be a very different style of shawl if it’s in the same colours. Maybe something very modern and geometric?
I finished my Lush Cardigan (which I was knitting as part of Purlescence‘s knitalong), and even though it’s really not the weather for nice woolly cardis I did put it on for a few minutes yesterday so that T could take some photos (I was jolly glad to take it off again afterwards, though!).
The yarn is Sweet Georgia merino superwash DK, in “Jade” (though it looks more like teal to me). It’s not a really soft merino, which I think is a good thing as in my experience really soft yarns tend to pill very quickly; it’s not scratchy but it feels quite durable and I’m hoping it will wear well, because I love the cardigan and want to wear it lots!
I knitted the 39″ bust size, which is 3″ smaller than my full bust measurement but matches my high bust, as I thought that would give me the best fit in the shoulders. I added 2″ of short row bust darts to give a better fit over the bust and worked more increases below the waist to end up with the stitch count for the 46″ size to allow for the fact that my hips are wider than my bust and although I will probably only wear ever do up the top buttons I wanted it to look as though I might conceivably be able to button it all the way up if I chose.
I’m not sure that was the best idea, because the paired increases have created a little bulge at the sides, though I don’t know if that’s because I did more or just because the pattern didn’t specify the increases to use and I went for M1R and M1L but might well have got them the wrong way round. It doesn’t really show, though, and generally I’m really pleased with the fit.
After agonising over what kind of buttons to use I finally ordered several sets from Textile Garden and chose a set which proved to be a perfect colour match for the yarn (I had thought that contrasting buttons might be a better choice and ordered a couple of yellow sets to try out).
Of course, it’ll probably be at least three months before I actually get to wear it, but it’ll be something to look forward to when summer starts turning to autumn!
I swear that most of my knitting time is spent on things that aren’t socks; I am currently on the second sleeves of two cardigans and have knitted three of the four clues of Åsa Tricosa‘s mystery shawl knitalong and about a fifth of a Nuvem*, but what gets finished seems to be socks.
These are my eighteenth pair of Earl Grey socks, and are once again for T. The yarn is from the Knitting Goddess and was one of a month of special one-off colourways inspired by poems which she dyed some years ago now to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
This one was inspired by Yeats’s poem ‘The Lover Tells Of The Rose In His Heart’:
All things uncomely and broken, all things worn out and old,
The cry of a child by the roadway, the creak of a lumbering cart,
The heavy steps of the ploughman, splashing the wintry mould,
Are wronging your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart.
The wrong of unshapely things is a wrong too great to be told;
I hunger to build them anew and sit on a green knoll apart,
With the earth and the sky and the water, re-made, like a casket of gold
For my dreams of your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart.
This is one of my favourite poems, and is the poem I chose to have read at our wedding, so it seemed appropriate that the yarn should become socks for T!
*This is about twice as many WIPS as I normally have, which may explain why they remain in progress rather than being translated into finished objects; I normally have a pair of socks, for bus knitting, a shawl, for when I want complicated knitting, and a cardigan for when I want TV knitting, or something like that, but I keep joining KALs and ending up with more things on the needles.
As I mentioned yesterday, I finally got round to making the Ginger skirt I’ve been planning to make for a couple of years and for which I traced all the pattern pieces last summer and then never got any further.
The fabric is a quilting-weight cotton I bought three years ago, when I was first learning to sew, with the intention of making a dress, but later decided that I’d prefer it as a skirt. I lined it with a purple polyester anti-static lining, which is great except that I kept sliding down the seat of my chair at work. I definitely think it’s worth taking the time to line skirts, though, they hang so much better and look smarter.
Because I traced and cut the pattern pieces so long ago I can’t actually remember what I did with the sizing, though I suspect I graded from a 16 at the waist to an 18 at the hips, and I know I lengthened the pattern by several inches because I prefer my summer skirts to hit well below the knee.
I think I made a pretty good job of my first invisible zip, and if the back hem dips slightly I’m jolly well calling it a feature.
I really like the vintagey look of the skirt paired with this blouse, though I suspect it didn’t quite fit in in my office, which tends towards being rather more corporate in culture than I prefer, but it felt like the perfect outfit to wear to see The Two Faces of January at the cinema this evening. I might well make more skirts from the pattern, as it was very straightforward to follow and I like the fuller A-line shape compared to the McCall’s skirt pattern I’ve made before. My next sewing project is going to be an attempt at the Afternoon Blouse, though; I’ve printed and traced the pattern so it might even be this coming weekend!
Hello everyone! I didn’t mean to stay away from the blog for quite so long; I was on holiday for a week, celebrating my 40th birthday with two parties held at yarn shops and a trip to Scotland, but I’ve been back since Monday evening and I’ve got lots to post about – all the lovely new yarn and fibre I’ve acquired, touring the yarn shops of Edinburgh, visiting the Great Tapestry of Scotland, actually making the Ginger skirt I’d been planning for about two years, the two cardigans I’m knitting, my summer sewing plans – but all I’ve got today is a picture of my latest pair of socks.
They’re not even particularly exciting socks; my standard top-down sock with a flap and gusset heel and a spiralling k5, p1 rib which I reversed on the second sock because I love mirror-image socks. The yarn is Knitpicks Felici self-striping in the Rainbow colourway. It’s the first time I’ve used Knitpicks yarn, which isn’t widely available in the UK (I got this from Great British Yarns who are the only UK stockists), and I enjoyed knitting with it. It comes in 50g balls which was quite handy as it meant I could use the second/spare ball for the heels of each sock and preserve the stripes down the leg and onto the instep, which I think was worth doing for these.
Anyway, I aten’t dead, and I might actually post about something more interesting than socks soon. Maybe.
My Ysolda mystery shawl is finished and blocked.
It’s not as asymmetric as I thought it would be but it’s a very wearable shape.
And it’s a lovely size for wearing instead of cardigan.
I used Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply, in “Cherry”, and it took 168g. I love the colour, it’s so gloriously rich and deep.
Meanwhile, I’ve finished my first bobbin of singles for the Stitched Together spinalong. I’m really pleased with how finely and evenly I’ve managed to spin!
So, my Pi Shawl, cast on in September to be a reminder of sunshine to me in the winter months, is finished just as spring seems to have come along.
It took nearly all of my two skeins of heavy laceweight yarn – I obviously judged when to start the edging just right as I only had 3g left at the end. I think it’s about a metre and a half across, so that means the circumference is almost five metres – no wonder the edging felt like it took forever!
Sadly I don’t think the pictures really do justice to how lovely it is, mostly because it’s not easy to photograph a circular shawl, but I’m very happy with it.
And this weekend I must push on with the Ysolda mystery shawl. Why did I decide to knit two things with sideways edgings at the same time? They just seem to take so much longer…
This hasn’t been the best of weekends. Even though it has felt like spring outside I’ve been feeling very low and have spent a lot of time asleep and yet still feel exhausted. I haven’t really been feeling in the mood for crafting, although my output for the weekend looks quite impressive.
I knitted the body of this mouse on Tuesday, so only had the legs and ears to do yesterday. The pattern is Ysolda‘s Mousie, and I used bits of leftover sock yarn. It’s a first birthday present for my brother’s girlfriend’s baby (I can’t help feeling there must be a better way to put that, but I’m not sure I can actually call her my niece when they are in a poly relationship and my brother is co-parenting but not the father), and is a white mouse because of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. I always find knitting toys horribly fiddly, but it’s very sweet.
I also finally finished my Pi Shawl.
It is currently taking up most of the living-room floor to block. There will be better pictures next weekend!
And I got out my wheel for the first time in a couple of weeks, and finished spinning the Hilltop Cloud batt.
My original plan was to try Navajo plying it, but I think I’m actually going to ply it with a sample of Welsh Black I’m working on now.
I think that should produce an interesting yarn, and also gives me the chance of a reasonable yardage. I’ve only got 25g of the Welsh Black, compared to 35g of the batt, so I suspect there will be a bit left over to try Navajo plying anyway!
I’ve spent the last two days taking part in a participatory video workshop as part of a project aimed at reducing stigma around mental health issues run by a local charity with funding from Time to Change. There were seven of us involved; we all had some form of mental health problem but other than that we were a very diverse group (well, as diverse as you are likely to find in Oxford, which is not a very diverse city). Our ages ranged from mid-20s to retirement age and while affluent educated Oxford was certainly represented there were also people from less privileged backgrounds. We spent the weekend getting to know each other, learning how to use the camcorders, sharing some of our experiences of mental health problems and finally recording 30 seconds each of talking to camera as well as some shorter clips to show more about us as people and make the point that we are far more than just our mental health issues. (No prizes for guessing what got filmed for me there…) I had thought that I would talk about my experience of depression, and maybe about how crafting helps me, but in the end I chickened out of that because I’m currently in a place where sharing a hopeful, optimistic story about how I fill my life with things that make it easier to live with depression felt too much like a lie, but given how small Oxford is (one of the other volunteers mentioned that she used to follow me on Twitter and read my outfit posts, that’s how small it is) and that one of the ideas is that the video might be shown in workplaces I wasn’t brave enough to say what I’m really feeling right now, that after five years of trying so many different things I don’t feel that my depression has got any better and am very short on hope for the future. Not where someone from work might see it, maybe in a few months’ time when (hopefully) I will be feeling better because it won’t be winter anymore and some of the other stuff that’s putting me under stress will have been sorted out. Because yes, there is a stigma attached to mental health problems, and while I am increasingly open about mine because I am tired of not being I’m still wary of admitting to feeling suicidal, especially in something where there isn’t a timestamp and a string of other posts to show how the negative emotions ebb and flow. Anyway, 30 seconds isn’t very long so I just talked about how important I think it is to talk about mental health, and how talking has helped me to build up my support network but other people have also told me that my openness has helped them to be more open as well.
It was a really interesting weekend, and the other volunteers were a lovely group of people who I’m really pleased to have had the chance to meet, but I also found it very, very tiring to spend so much time with people I didn’t know well, in a fairly small space, never mind the emotional drain of sharing some deeply personal things, and I ended up having to leave a couple of hours before the end of today’s session because I was exhausted and had got to the point where I really, really needed to be home and have peace and quiet (and a nap, which is what I did once I got in). I was sorry to miss the end, but I think it was the right decision for me, especially as I have work tomorrow.
Obviously, all this means that I don’t have a lot of crafting to share this weekend; I’ve been too tired to knit anything complicated like the edging of the Ysolda shawl, let alone spin or sew. On the other hand, I did finish my second pair of Regia 6-ply walking socks, which are pretty much the same as the first except for having contrast ribbing and toes because the first pair took slightly more than half the yarn.
This is a good thing, because the canal towpath is very muddy at the moment and the first pair really did need a wash!