Monday, December 14, 2009

Sirdar wrap cardigan in cotton

Although I love Sirdar Baby Bamboo, I wanted to make the wrap cardigan from Baby Bamboo too in cotton for my niece. Several people have asked me how the patterns knit up in 8ply cotton, and I just couldn't tell them until now.


Here is the wrap cardigan in Aslan Trends Glaciar Del Cielo (2655 Orchid), with the stripes and tie ends in remnants of Class. I did modify the pattern, knitting the body in one piece, as I wrote about last time I made up this pattern, and adding a row of single crochet as a neck edging rather than sewing on a knitted trim. You can see that I have used i-cord rather than ribbon for the ties. I thought a nice solid cotton i cord would be less likely to be pulled out or eaten by my 15 month old niece than a slippery ribbon.
I am planning yet another version of this cardigan for my 5 year old niece. It is lucky this is such a quick knit.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Daisy cardigan

I love the colour Carmen in Jo Sharp's Soho Summer DK cotton, and have been wanting to make something from it for ages.
I started to knit a sundress top for my niece, putting in some purl stitch daisies that I graphed to co-ordinate with a blue red and white Asian daisy print, but after I had knit the panel with the raised daisies, I thought it was too tall for a back bodice sundress on a 3 year old, so decided to turn it into a cargidan instead. Because I had started already, I had to write the pattern as I went along, but I am very happy with it now that the cardigan is finished, don't you love the buttons?
Now I just have to make a dress to match.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wisp, a stole in Jo Sharp Rare Comfort Kid Mohair

Here is a stole I finished quite a while ago. I gave it to my mother for her birthday, and she had not got around to bringing it into the shop for photographs until last week.
The free pattern is Wisp by Cheryl Niamath, from Knitty 2007.
I have used 2 balls of Jo Sharp Rare Comfort Kid Mohair in colour Cranberry.

Friday, November 20, 2009


My friend Sue wore this crochet wrap top into the shop the other day, and I was instantly inspired to make one.
It is a thrifted machine made top, we think it looks like an 8ply cotton.

I have been busy looking up crochet patterns in my Harmony stitch reference. I think I have worked it out in theory, however, Sue will have to teach me to crochet first. I can only knit.
Do not hold your breath waiting for this top to appear.
I seem to be on a pattern roll at the moment. I am currently working on a knitting pattern for a toddler cardigan. I could not find exactly the one I wanted to make for my niece this Christmas, so I am inventing it as I go along. I even got out the graph paper for an embossed flower. This one will be shown pretty soon- there is a deadline!
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Jessica's Monday night scarf

I really wanted to show you this scarf, this is the second item Jessica has knit, and I think it is fabulous. The scarf is a present for her sister, lucky sister! I hope I am not posting a spoiler, but Jessica's sister has not taken up knitting yet. Maybe I can convince her....

Jessica used 3 x50g balls of Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra in shade truffle for the scarf. The pattern is the Monday night scarf you have seen before, but I think it looks quite different in this luxurious bulky yarn. Jessica reduced the number of stitches in the scarf - I cannot remember exactly how many, possibly down to 20, as with 30 stitches cast on the scarf looked more like a stole.
Jessica came to our sock class on Saturday. I hope to show you some socks soon, as I forgot to take photographs during the class. At the moment I am finishing off some of the sample socks I had made as demonstrations for the class, all the partly made socks sitting around are a little overwhelming in my unfinished project pile.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Spider Stitch Scarf

We are seeing quite a few of these quick and gorgeous scarves coming into the shop. This one is by Sue, from one skein of Aslan Trends Artesenal in colour 36. The official name for this colour is "Celery" but Sue has renamed it "Avocado" as a more suitable vegetable/fruit for Queensland. I think it looks a bit like the shade of the flesh of a Reed avocado - What do you think? Sue plans to sew some beads in different natural timbers to the ends of this scarf, and promises to bring it in to show us once it is embellished. I am really enjoying all the variations our knitters develop from this simple pattern.

I am also waiting to see the final version of a stole/scarf made using this pattern in the bulky weight Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra. Jessica is making one for her sister to wear in the snow during a trip to the USA this Christmas. So now the Monday night knit group is also an international designer :).
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Monday, November 9, 2009

Another Jo Sharp Ultra Beret Pattern

A few months ago, I made a black beret from Jo Sharp's Silkroad Ultra. The Beret was doing display duty in the shop once my daughter felt it was too warm to wear it, and one of our visitors wanted to make it. I rashly promised to search out the pattern I had written in order to make the beret, but somehow, I had mislaid it.
I was not entirely unhappy with writing the pattern again, as I wanted to move the cables to a more prominent position on the beret, making them part of the 5 arm spiral.
Here is my new version in the luscious cream shade of the same yarn

I think I like this one even better.

However my daughter still prefers her original beret, she says it has more texture.
Sandra has already knitted up my pattern in order to send a beret to her daughter in cold, wintery Canada. I am now an international designer! :)
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Friday, November 6, 2009

Class Top

This top required some maths. The pattern is Top D from Sirdar Just Bamboo Book 334.

The pattern as written uses 5.5mm needles, and Just Bamboo yarn, giving a loose open texture at about a 10ply stitch count. As you can see, the very smart camisole top here has a quite close and firm texture, minimizing see through in such a cool-to-wear top. It is knit from Class yarn (8ply, viscose/cotton) shade Bahama Blue on 4mm needles, and fits very nicely.

Jennie knit a tension swatch on 4ply needles and we worked out that as her row height was a little less than standard for her stitch count, she could simply increase the dress size chosen (up by 3 sizes in this case) rather than recalculate the entire pattern. When doing this it is important to check that not just girth changes, but the height changes of the garment, particularly when increasing or decreasing by row number rather than garment height in cm. Fortunately for our calculation tolerance, there is very little shaping in this garment, and the armholes are measured in cm, not in rows, so Jenni could essentially follow the pattern and end up with a well fitting garment.
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Sharon's Handwarmers

Some of you may know that Sharon, who works here, has just been to Japan in order to await the arrival of her first grandbaby. At last she is back! (I really missed her).
Now I do not yet have photographs of her gorgeous grandson modelling her knitting, apparently he needs to grow a little first, and the weather needs to cool down in Japan, but I do have some photographs of some of her other gift knitting.

Sharon made several pairs of these handwarmers - her own pattern, using Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed yarn. These are made from shade Imagine, 145. She makes one pair from a 50g ball. Don't you love the cables?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sirdar Denim Tweed DK Jumper

I started this jumper because the pattern is terrible. That sounds strange, but a lovely Dutch lady came into the shop a few months ago, asking for help with a free pattern she had collected at Spotlight. She thought that maybe her English-as-a-second-language was the reason for her confusion with the instructions. She booked a lesson to work on this pattern and to learn how to do cables.
Her English was just fine. I did wish my Dutch was better (ie existant) though, as she whipped out some really interesting Dutch pattern books with cable charts for me to demonstrate to her.
The Spotlight pattern was simply full of mistakes. However, I am not good at picking up every mistake just by reading a pattern, I have to knit it. Once I had worked out the kinks, I loved the wave ruffle at the bottom of the jumper sleeves and body, and my daughter adored the subtle pink and purple self striping of the yarn.As I had not planned this garment in my winter knitting, I put the started ruffle and a bit of Sirdar Denim Tweed away for a while, but have just finished the jumper ready for next year.

We like the horseshoe cable up the front. I have changed the dimensions of the cable panel to fit the wave border.

The all over rib makes this a sung but comfortable fit.

I changed the picking up instructions for the neck, and the transition of the cable to the neck ribbing.

This jumper used 5 and 1/2 50g (170m)balls of Sirdar Denim Tweed DK, shade 651 Lavender.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Starting young

Here is the youngest member of our Monday night stitch and knit group. Doesn't she look happy to be here?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Smocking, AS&E 84

I do not usually smock from a pattern plate, as there are a lot of my own designs lurking in my head, that I would like to make into real garments one day, but this pretty design by Kathy Dykstra caught my eye in issue 84 of Australian Smocking and Embroidery, and I had started it before I could be sensible about my project list! I am not very good at being sensible about my project list.

I am making this size 2 dress in pink imperial batiste fabric (the dress in the magazine is in blue dotted Swiss voile), so changed the colour of the background smocking to green, but have used the same shades of pink for the flowers as published in the magazine.

At this point I am leaving the smocking to mature for a little while whilst I decide whether or not to trim the dress with entredeux and 4 strips of lace as shown in the magazine. I love the look of heirloom clothing, but I also like the garments I make to be worn at some point - so maybe I will choose a thinner lace to make the care of the garment more simple for the undoubtedly busy mother of a two year old.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monday Knit Night Scarf

This is possibly the most popular scarf pattern at StitchBliss. The original idea arose from a collaborative pattern design session one Monday night at sit and stitch, when Margaret wanted a "next level up" scarf to make after her gorgeous garter stitch stole. Margaret has shipped off her first scarf as a gift, and unfortunately I did not manage to take a photo in daylight of either her first or second version of this pattern, so I am showing you a later version, made by Hannah.

This scarf alternates a few rows of garter stitch with a row of spider stitch (a.k.a twisted drop stitch), and is a very quick knit. So far we have seen at least 10 versions in Aslan Trends Class, as well as a few other 8ply yarns. The scarf looks very different with varying tension in the spider stitch row, which makes it a terrific group project.

Hannah's version here was made as a birthday gift for a friend. She used around 3/4 of a 100g skein of Class in colour "tomato".

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jennie's Classy short jacket

Jennie used Aslan Trends Class (8ply viscose/cotton) to make this gorgeous summer weight bolero jacket. She modified the pattern of the jacket body from a ball band pattern originally from some older cotton yarn in her stash.

The crochet collar is a trim she likes, from another old ball band pattern - there are some gems out there! I like it too.
I am planning to swap lessons with Jennie, she will teach me crochet, and I will teach her smocking. Watch this space.....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Knit 5, Eyelet Cardigan

I have just finished the eyelet cardigan from Jo Sharp Knit 5. Whilst I am happy with the final result, I did not have plain sailing with this pattern due to fitting issues. I have described these in greater detail in my notes on Ravelry, but I admit to a lot of reverse knitting and work with the calculator at the armhole and upper sleeve. This is why I have been knitting this since April - sometimes knitting has to rest in the bag for a few weeks and think about its bad behaviour.

I particularly like the eyelet finish at the neck and waist. I think this gives just enough detail at the back to make the cardigan interesting. The closer fit of the single rib below the waist also appeals to me.
I made a few changes to the pattern aside from the fitting. I made full length sleeves, and used the eyelet stitch pattern within the rib buttoning band instead of making buttonholes. I like the effect of this buttoning band very much. It needed a lot more buttons, as the eyelet pattern holes are small.

My favourite part of knitting this cardigan was the luscious texture of the alpaca silk georgette yarn. I used colour 750, Briar. I think the texture of the cardigan will make it a staple of my wardrobe.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Heirloom Baby Shawl

Jennie made this beautiful shawl whilst expecting her second baby. The pattern is from a now out of print Paton's pattern book, and Jennie has knit it in Heirloom 4ply baby wool, shade 460, cream, adapting the pattern to suit circular needles for the central portion.

I think it is a real heirloom, and in machine washable wool, which means it might last through the indignities offered to clothing by a new baby!
Jennie blocked this shawl by laying it out on a queen size bed, no blocking wires, and it turned out beautifully. Jennie's children wanted to be in the photo, so we don't have a really clear picture of the gorgeous border, but the children look sweet.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hannah's hand warmers

Hannah made these to use for early morning band practices at school (she plays the clarinet, saxophone and piano), and has worn them for this purpose all winter. She kindly agreed to bring them into the shop for a photo shoot, but has only just got around to it. She has just washed the hand warmers ready to put away for next year.

You may remember that Hannah only really started knitting this year. These fingerless gloves were her first project knitted in the round (double pointed needles) and her first project with a stitch pattern. This does not show up terribly well in the photo, but there is a wave stitch pattern that shows up very distinctly in real life.
The adjustments Hannah made to the pattern were to enlarge the hole for the thumb, and to make the hand portion slightly longer. Hannah thinks whoever wrote the pattern must have tiny hands.

The pattern is "Wave Hand Warmers" from "101 One Skein Wonders" edited by Judith Durant.
Hannah used one 50g ball of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in colour 128 Heather for her hand warmers. The pattern called for a 100g skein of worsted weight yarn. We think this much yarn would leave you enough for another pair. Hannah finds the Silkroad yarn very comfortable to wear, and it has washed well, with no fuzziness.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Knit 5 Sleeveless rib top

It is really warm here today, so I thought I would delay posting about Hannah's gauntlets (very warm and cosy, but a little winterish for today), and write about my purple spring weather top instead. It has been waiting in my wardrobe for 3 months after all!
This is from Jo Sharp Knit 5, and I really like it, despite the little problem I had falling into a trance during the middle single rib section and making it too long. Next time, and there will definitely be a next time, I will make the middle section a more flattering length. I am thinking of a green version.

The only changes I made this time were short row shaping across the bust, and garter stitch at the edges of the shoulder straps in order to prevent rolling in.
I knit this in Soho Summer DK Cotton, just like the pattern called for, in the gorgeous colour currant 234.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Smocked insert - BWOF 12-2008-130

Smocking is sometimes viewed as only suitable for children's garments. Whilst I admire a smocked square yoke party dress on a 3 year old as much as the next embroidery fanatic, I also think that smocking can be gorgeous in more sophisticated clothes.
This dress by German design house Schumacher was featured in the December 2008 Burda magazine - photo credit Burda World of Fashion.

I used this dress as inspiration for a dress with a smocked bodice insert. The Schumacher dress has a gathered chiffon panel that looks fabulous if your bust is A cup or less, as the panel falls softly across the bodice in this size. For more substantial figures, the gathered panel gives a distinct pouter pidgeon outline in an unadultarated state - smocking to the rescue!

Smocking the panel, and making the outer panel shorter than the lining panel, controls the pleats, and provides an opportunity for embellishment. I still had a little trouble with excess puffiness, but adding a few beads to the top smocking row, and a few stab stitches within the panel has made the front bodice fit well, and I am pleased with the silhoutte of this dress.

I kept the smocking pattern simple - a row of cross over cable, then several rows of diamond trellis, shaping to 3 Vs above the bust.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I think I have mentioned before how much I love knitting socks. They are such a convenient handbag project, and I can knit them whilst talking, or travelling or watching television.
Here are 2 of my latest pairs of my socks.
This pair is from Heirloom Jigsaw 4 ply.
I have made them with 2.25mm needles, using my own sock pattern, with a reinforced flap heel and reinforced toe. The self striping colourway is number 66, a most unimaginative name IMO.

Here is the much more imaginatively named Kaffe Fassett Regia sock yarn "Jungle Mirage"
( I used 2.25 mm needles for this pair too, and tried really, really hard to follow the pattern pamphlet that we can give away with the yarn purchase. I am very bad at sticking exactly to a pattern. This was my first time making a round ("German") heel, and I have to say, I am not an instant fan, it does not seem to fit my foot very well. Sharon, however, finds this a fabulous heel, so probably it is just my feet. I failed to follow the pattern when I came to the toe, my toes being less pointy than the pattern and requiring a less elongated decreasing section, and I finished the toes with kitchener stitch rather than a seam, so not too many changes.
The last sock I want to show you is by Elizabeth, who has been knitting socks for around 70 years.
She is unbelievably fast and accomplished, and will not pose for a photo with her sock for some strange reason.:). Elizabeth asked me to find her some very purple sock yarn, but thought she would try Heirloom Jigsaw number 78 whilst she was waiting. Unfortunately she does not care for this sock, finding the colour combination not to her taste, but as there is now a list of about 15 people who have offered enthusastically to take the socks off her hands when they are finished, I am sure her grand-daughter will like them very much as a Christmas present. All the eager sock recipient hopefuls will just have to knit their own.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jo Sharp Ultra Beret

My daughter needed a black beret for a recent dance performance, so I went looking for a pattern, but did not find one I liked, so I made up my own pattern for a simply cabled beret, using my favourite black yarn from the shop.

I am really pleased with how this turned out. I used Jo Sharp Ultra in 721 Nero. This is about a 12-14 ply, or category 5 yarn, so it knit really, really quickly - in one afternoon whilst also intermittently serving customers.

My daughter wore this with a black trench coat, for about 5 seconds at the start of a scene, so I don't have a photograph of it in action. Her favourite bit is the i-cord stalk at the top.