I woke up this morning determined to have another go at yesterday’s Birgitte tee. Fortunately, there is a fabric shop in our village; even more fortunately, they are open on bank holidays; and most fortunately of all, they had a single reel of Gutterman all-purpose thread in colour 365 left in stock, pushed sideways in the display unit and not immediately obvious to passers-by, so my thread problem was solved. I chopped off the wiggly neckband (I was using the triple stretch stitch on my machine, which is completely impossible to unpick. I think I might just use a zigzag stitch next time), remeasured the neckline using the method illustrated in this post, which came up 10cm shorter than the method I’d been using yesterday of holding the tape measure against the fabric and sliding my hand along to turn the top round, cut a new neckband, and gave it another go.
I cut the neckband wider than the pattern said, 3 inches instead of 4cm, to allow for having lost a bit of the body with the previous neckband, but I’m not sure I really needed to. Saying that, I do like the way the wider band looks.
The top is possibly a bit on the long side; I think it would probably be better tucked in to skirts. I might make the next one a bit shorter.
The fabric is a viscose jersey that was £4.50 a metre from Croft Mill (and therefore cheap enough for semi-practice sewing); I bought a metre and a half because they only sell in 50cm lengths and I don’t think I could quite get a top out of a metre of fabric. It’s got a nice feel and drape to it, though it does cling quite a bit at the back (I don’t think this is a fit issue so much as a clingy-fabric-and-lumpy-body issue).
Anyway, I’m really pleased with it. I can make skirts and tops now! That’s a complete outfit!
I have made myself a new summer skirt, using the McCall’s pattern than seems to have become my default skirt pattern.
Yes, it has penguins on.
And yes, I do intend to wear it to work, penguins or no penguins.
I lined it with a bright green polycotton I bought at Ray Stitch the other week. I hope this will help it keep its shape and also stop it from sticking to my tights.
I also think it’s my best zip insertion ever.
Of course, pride comes before a fall, and after finishing the skirt I went on to attempt another Birgitte tee which was going swimmingly until I added the neckband, which ended up wrinkly and sticking up. I think the band was just too long; I might be able to save the top by chopping the band off and adding a wider one to compensate for the widening of the neckline that would cause. Though as I’ve run out of thread (stretch stitches take an awful lot of thread!) I think that can wait. I think tomorrow’s Bank Holiday might be devoted to knitting instead.
Unsurprisingly, after being out and about yesterday today I have been tired and not really up to doing anything much. I knitted a little bit on my Lady Heather before deciding that my brain wasn’t up to it, and a couple of rows on Bigger on the Inside ditto, having picked up stitches by eye while watching last night’s Doctor Who* and somehow ending up woth 310 on the first attempt (I was aiming for 311, and it was easy enough to add an extra stitch in on the first row). I did manage to finish my Betula socks, though.
The yarn is Yarn Yard Clan, which I bought a couple of years ago and which had been sitting in the stash until I saw Roobeedoo‘s post about her Betulas and thought that the gently variegated greens would be perfect for the pattern. The colours and the bud motif made me feel as though my knitting was a little foretaste of spring as winter dragged on and on, so it’s appropriate that I’ve finished them on the first properly spring-like weekend we’ve had this year. I really enjoyed knitting them – the pattern is simple to knit and easy to memorise, but so pretty in execution, and I love the way the two socks are mirror images of each other rather than being identical. I am a big fan of Rachel’s sock patterns, and am looking forward to getting my copy of her book soon. But for now, more Earl Greys for T…
*which I actually managed to follow, a major improvement on the last few where I really struggled to work out what was going on – I suspect this week’s was wordier and therefore easier to follow without having to look at the screen all the time. Why won’t TV producers think of the knitters?
My brother’s girlfriend had a baby a few weeks ago, so I spent some of my long Easter weekend knitting another Pop! cardigan. My brother is something of an SF geek, and I suspect the girlfriend shares his interests (I know he knows her through role-playing), so I picked a colour scheme that echoed the famous Jayne Cobb hat from Firefly.
The yarn is King Cole merino blend DK, which has the great advantages of being cheap, machine-washable and coming in a range of nice bright colours, although rather sadly the local charity shop which used to sell it has changed into a vintage clothes shop rather than a crafts-books-and-bric-a-brac shop so I had to order it online.
Meanwhile my other brother and his wife are expecting their second child in August, so there may be more Pop! cardigans in my future…
It’s ages since I’ve done any sewing. Mostly, I just haven’t had the energy, and by yesterday evening I was starting to wonder if I was even going to manage anything over this five-day weekend. And then today, after I’d had breakfast and hung the washing out and blocked the baby cardigan I spent the first three days of the weekend knitting (pics when it’s dry), I thought I might at least have a go at tracing my size from the Birgitte Basic Tee pattern I bought and printed out months ago, and then I had a go at Maria’s helpful Full Bust alteration tutorial. And then I thought I’d just cut the pieces out, and maybe baste them together, and several hours later I had this.
The fabric is some bargain-basement cotton jersey I got from Croft Mill specifically to practice the Birgitte on, and this is very definitely a practice version – I didn’t have any matching thread, for starters, and this being Easter Sunday all the shops are closed so I made do with dark brown, which tones but definitely shows. And I think I used too big a seam allowance on the neckband, and it kept flipping out, so I trimmed it down and managed to snip a hole in the fabric while I was about it. And I think I’ll make the neckline slightly higher and narrower next time.
I’m really pleased with the fit, though. Maria’s method for the bust adjustment has you close up the ‘dart’ in the side seam and add the extra room to the centre front, which helps the front to skim over my stomach. I might add another half-inch or so to the width of the back next time, as it is a bit clingy there.
But it’s not bad at all. As good a fit as any of my favourite shop-bought t-shirts, and a lot better than many I own. And it was really quick to make.
I can see several more of these in my future!
Two years in to my A-Z shawl challenge and I’ve reached K, for which I decided on Katika by Julie Nandorfy, a free pattern on Ravelry that I’d favourited a while ago.
It’s a very straightforward pattern, based on the same principle as the very popular Baktus scarf: you start at one end, increase until you’ve used about half your yarn, then decrease at the same rate so you end up with a long, shallow triangle. This version has a pretty scalloped lace edging, and an integral i-cord finish to the top edge which gives a lovely neat finish.
The yarn is Tenby, from the Welsh dyer Cariad Yarns; it’s a merino/cashmere/nylon blend which makes a lovely cosy shawl, and I love the mix of colours in this skein, which remind me of the colours you see shimmering on split petrol.
The shape of the shawl makes it more scarf-like than shawl-like to wear wrapped round my neck, though it also drapes very nicely over my shoulders if I wanted to wear it that way.
I’d be lying if I said this was going to be my new Favourite Shawl Ever; there are several others I like better, but this isn’t bad and is definitely nice and cosy. And it was a quick, relaxing but not boring knit at a time of year when I didn’t really have the mental energy to tackle anything too complicated.
I’m not sure if I have any more mental energy now; L is Anna Richardson’s Lady Heather which I think may take me a while. Even if I didn’t have a geeky urge to cast on for a Bigger On The Inside at 6:15 this Saturday…
I ended up frogging the Tintern Abbey socks a couple of weeks ago. Not because I didn’t like the pattern, which is beautiful, and not even because I had managed to make the foot too long twice (though that was annoying) but because I realised that I just don’t like grey, and don’t want to wear grey socks when I could have brightly coloured ones instead. Of course, that meant I needed some different socks to knit, so I grabbed some bright pink yarn out of the stash (Brown Sheep Wildfoote in ‘Rose Bud’ from Magpielly) and decided to try actually knitting one of the many sock patterns in my library, Cookie A‘s Kai-Mei.
I enjoyed knitting these. Quite apart from the cheerful colour, the leg is fantastically straightforward and the lace panel is interesting without being too difficult. I did find myself getting a bit confused about how to divide up the stitches between my needles after the heel turn, but it all worked out in the end, and the way the slanting panel creates a slight bias in the fabric at the toe makes for a really nice fit.
I could see myself using this pattern again with a different lace design for the panel.
Also, I managed to solve something that’s been bugging me lately! I’ve noticed recently that when I’m knitting in the round my k2togs have been looking rather sloppy. This is especially noticeable in the last few pairs of socks I’ve knitted (which have tended to be in fairly robust yarns on 2.25mm needles, so at a fairly tight gauge).
See? The stitches before the decreases are stretched out and the whole thing looks lumpy and not nice and neat. I tried looking online for a solution, but only found articles about problems with ssks looking loose and sloppy. Apparently everyone else’s k2togs are perfect.
Anyway, I was thinking about this while knitting away on the second sock, and also reflecting that it doesn’t seem to be a problem when I’m knitting flat. Because I knit combination (wrapping the yarn in the opposite direction when purling), if I work a k2tog in flat stocking stitch I have to slip both stitches purlwise to get them in the right orientation first, and I wondered if doing the same thing when knitting in the round would help even though the stitches were correctly oriented in the first place. And it did! I think what must have been happening is that because I’m knitting at a tight gauge it was a bit of a squeeze to get the needle through the two stitches and twist the one closest to the needle tip to the back of the decrease and I ended up stretching the stitch before the decrease stitches, which then didn’t go back into shape but stayed looking loose and sloppy. Slipping the stitches first and giving them a little pull when slipping them back to the left needle seems to loosen them up enough that this doesn’t happen. So, win! New pink socks and and knitting problem solved!
It may be March, but it’s still cold enough that it feels perfectly appropriate to be sneaking in my third finished hat of the winter.
Like the first two, this is a Woolly Wormhead pattern – Vernalis, which seemed appropriate for an early spring hat.
The yarn is Marchmont, from the Yarn Yard, a lovely 100% merino 4-ply yarn with plenty of squishiness but enough stitch definition to for the cables and the lines of the decreases to show up clearly. I only had a 50g skein and was intially planning to use it for gloves, but the colourway is so similar to the Glasgow School Mitts I got from Roobeedoo that I thought I’d make a hat to go with them instead. I’d had Vernalis on my list of patterns to knit sometime for a while, and having knitted Woolly’s Symetrie from less than 50g of yarn in the autumn I was fairly confident that I would manage Vernalis from my single skein too (as I did, with 8g to spare).
It’s even sort-of reversible – I got poor T to take a whole load of photos of it this morning and didn’t realise until I took it off that I’d been wearing it inside out and poor T had to take a second set!
When I was crocheting the Juliana shawl I was a little bit worried about the size. I know crochet uses more yarn than knitting, and despite using most of two skeins of sock yarn, it still seemed quite small; when I’d finished it was only just wide enough to wrap round my neck. Still, I thought I could probably stretch it a bit bigger with blocking. So I blocked it over the weekend.
So, it turned out that blocking did more than just ‘stretch it a bit’. Somehow it made it go from a smallish shawl which could drape comfortably over the back of an armchair to one that barely fit on a 4-foot square blocking mat. It’s gone from being fairly solid and scrunched up to something light and airy and absolutely gorgeous, and I am so pleased with it.
Given that I was having lunch with crochet supremo Laura today, I couldn’t resist showing off!
Shawl – Juliana
Shawl pin – Purlescence
Dress – East
Boots – Duo
I finished the latest pair of socks for T last night: Rachel Atkinson‘s Doctor Foster from the February issue of The Knitter magazine.
I don’t normally buy knitting magazines because I never make any of the patterns, but I was bored of Earl Greys and fell in love with these socks when they popped up on my Ravelry friend activity feed, so I thought I’d give them a go. They were fun to knit and made a nice change, and T is very happy with them; there were a few errors in the printed pattern but I messaged Rachel on Ravelry and she came back with answers very quickly.
The yarn is Yarn Yard Bonny in ‘Safran’. I picked this for the rainbow challenge running in the Yarn Yard group on Ravelry, where we’re up to yellow for January and February. It turned out to be quite an orangey sort of a yellow, but I don’t have time to knit anything else so I’m maintaining that it is definitely yellow.
Besides, today’s outfit had proper orange in it. The socks definitely aren’t this orange!
Shawl – Isaura
Shawl pin – Nova Steel
Cardigan – clothes swap
Dress – People Tree
Tights – Debenhams
Boots – Gabor