Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Show off stranded socks


I had marvellous intentions of knitting socks for everyone in time for Christmas, but alas, I have recently finished only my fourth pair for the year. I must have been knitting too many cardigans and jumpers.

I like these socks very much, they are made from the lovely yarn, colourway 1335 Vintage, and the pattern, show-off stranded socks is a free download from Anne Campbell's website. They have a really interesting heel and gusset construction, and a very cool overall pattern of slipped and passed over stitches.
The only trouble I had was that the stitch pattern is not quite so stretchy as stocking stitch, and I foolishly failed to allow for this in my choice of sizes. It is just terrible ;) that the only person in the house these actually fit is moi. They are rather stretched over the foot of my daughter, in her role as sock model, and she was complaining bitterly about this for the entire 35 seconds of the photo shoot. They look good though!
I have started some plain socks with self striping yarn. I might make them a bit small for other peopel too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ra-Ra Cape construction 2


I did not construct this cape all in one sitting, the i-cord threading was driving me batty.
Here is my take on Diagram 2, attaching the top two ruffles to section 3.



Section 1 cannot be attached directly opposite to the join of section 4 and 5, as shown in the diagram, as the length of attachment for each of section 1 and 2 does not allow this. Instead, section 1 is attached slightly to the right of the centre of the edge of section 3, then the i-cord is threaded through section 1 alone for 5cm of the cast on edge and all of the short end. There is a long tail of i cord.

Section 2 (crochet) is shown as being attached abutting section 1. I chose to overlap section 1 and 2 slightly to prevent a gap during wear. Section 2 is then attached to section 3 for 10cm, and the i cord is threaded through section 2 alone for 15cm. I assume this is to allow an armhole, but unfortunately, my daughter did not like the very skinny appearance of section 2 alone over her shoulder, and does not use this armhole. If I were to make this cape again, I would not place the armhole here, but in the section 4 attachment, to make a more symmetrical appearance when the garment is worn as a short vest, rather than just over the shoulders.
Section 2 is attached to section 4 for the last 15cm of section 2 edge. The remaining part of section 2 has the i-cord threaded through without attachment, and there is a long tail of i cord, which is worn tied to the i-cord tail from section 3 and 5.

The flowers are added at this point.


The instructions for this pattern say that assembly requires patience. I agree, but the outcome looks rather pretty, and the recipient is suitably appreciative.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jo Sharp Knit Issue 7 Ra-Ra Cape Construction part 1

My daughter really fancied the Ra-Ra Cape from Knit Issue 7.


This pattern calls for 10 different balls of yarn in 5 separate pieces loosely joined by 3 i-cords. Reading through the pattern, I noted that several of these shades were only used for a relatively small amount of knitting. I decided to make a version of this pattern from mostly remnant yarn, to get an idea of the amounts needed.


Section 1 and 2
I used Alpaca Silk Georgette, Kelp, 1 ball for both sections. I used Sirdar baby bamboo, Willow to edge section 1.

Section 1 was straightforward, and a pretty lace pattern. The pattern calls for lightly ironing this piece before assembly. Instead I dampened the piece and gently stretched it to shape, pinning the section to my ironing board to dry overnight. I feel that this displays the lace pattern to advantage, without the risk of distorting the piece by ironing.

Section 2 is simple crochet. The crochet instructions in this pattern are written in USA style. I found this a bit annoying. The pattern book is published in Australia, and it is an error, in my opinion, to publish in this country, for distribution in this country, using non-Australian terms without noting this use in the pattern.

In spite of translating from USA to Australian/British crochet terms, I found that using the ASG for the crochet ruffle rather than the mohair indicated (or maybe not having a tension gauge to aspire to) left me with a crochet ruffle far less wide than the blocked knitted lace ruffle. I added a shell edging to increase the width.

RS: 1dc,*miss 1 stitch, 5tr into next stitch, miss 1 stitch, 1dc into next stitch: rep from*


Section 3
This is the only part of the garment for which a tension is given. Using the tension gauge, this piece is 60cm in length.
There is an error in this section. The first 6 rows are correct, except for the double asterisks at the end of row 6, which should be ignored.

Rows 7 - 12 Rep rows 1 to 6.
Rows 13 - 17 Rep rows 1 to 5.
Cast off in rib pattern.

I used Alpaca Silk Georgette in Kelp, and Aslan Trends Glaciar Del Cielo, in colour Green Tea for section 3

Section 5 and 6 were constructed as written, using the same Rare Comfort Kid mohair shade for both (Damask) (C and D), with the other yarns being Silkroad DK Tweed in Magnolia (this is yarn E in the pattern, and I used it as yarn E), substituting Aslan Trends Artesenal in Champagne for yarn F, and using the Green Tea cotton (I), the Baby Bamboo Willow yarn (J) and Jo Sharp Soho Summer Cotton in Crete (H) as the three cottons.

The i- cords were made from the Baby Bamboo, in Willow, and in the Magnolia shade of the Silk Road DK tweed. The crochet flowers (translated from American again) were made in the Green Tea cotton.

I then started the assembly. This was not straightforward, as the diagrams are not to scale.

As section 3 is 60cm long, and Section 5 is attached to it for 20 cm, followed by a 25 cm gap, then attached for an unspecified length, it is important to note that Section 5 is attached at least 3/4 of the way along the length of Section 3, not 1/2 way along as Diagram 1 would indicate. (I unpicked ;( )


I found that Section 4 was slightly gathered to Section 3 to achieve the 13cm unattached edge at the left.


I found all the i-cords rather too long in this garment. In retrospect, I could have made them a third shorter with no problems for wear by an average sized woman.

I will write about the next assembly steps in a further post.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Knit Issue 10 Jo Sharp Cotton T shirt

The Desert Garden Aran jumper in Knit Issue 10 has been lurking at the back of my project list for a few months now. With warmer weather, I have faithlessly abandoned my blanket in progress, and my 1/3 completed wooly waistcoat, and frivolously started on this top 2 weeks ago - on a weekend away camping. (Yes, we did need our beanies at night, and they were beautfully warm)

The Desert Garden jumper was a perfect knit for car travel, easy stitches, washable, non-fuzzy cotton/microfibre yarn, and I was happily up to ball 4 on the sleeve/upper bodice section whilst still on the drive north west (passenger, naturally) when I ran into a problem. The ball I pulled out of my knitting bag was not the same shade. Horror! I had pulled the yarn straight from the shop shelf on Friday, not looking very closely, knowing that there was only one dye lot per yarn on the shelf. What could have happened? Alas, I had a mixed bag of colour Solstice 237, a white/cream shade, and Stark 668, which is, as the name suggests, Stark white. I had no other knitting project with me, what could I do but start a second top in Stark?

As I had more of the Stark with me than the Solstice, I progressed further with the second top during the weekend away, and have now finished it, much to the displeasure of daughter the second, who had dibs on the first one. As this is a quick knit, I might manage to get hers finished too before the very hot weather starts.

I am afraid that I cannot agree with the magazine that this is a t shirt. In my opinion, this garment is a boat neck jumper. It is designed with a loose tension, so that an undergarment in a contrasting colour is visible underneath. It would be rather cheeky worn without an underlayer.


This particular jumper is size B, for a 90 cm chest. The smaller size is for an 80 cm chest, slightly smaller than the dimensions of the recipient, and my daughter did not want a close fitting or negative ease garment, hence the larger size. I have lengthened the sleeves, and the body, slightly, to fit my daughter, but still used only 10 balls. The printed pattern called for 24 balls for this size, which was an errata corrected by the Jo Sharp team to 14 balls, but in my knitting, even with lengthening, I was 4 balls short of this.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The big beanie

My mother was knitting the twisted rib beanie from Knit Issue 6, for my brother-in-law, but when she finished, it was too small. How annoying. When we looked back at the pattern to see what could be the problem, we found that the pattern stated that finished measurement was 40cm in circumference, and this was exactly the measurement my mum had ended with. Now beanies are worn stretched, and single rib, or even twisted rib are stretchy stitches, but as standard male hat sizes are from 56-63 cm, this is asking the beanie to stretch around 50%. This is a big ask, a bigger beanie was clearly required.
Increasing the size involved re writing the pattern for a cast on of 84 stitches, and a nice even set of decreases at the top. It was also re-written to allow circular knitting - I much prefer pulling through a single stitch at the end of a beanie to stitching up the back.

Here is the not quite-Knit 6 bigger beanie.


It did take more yarn than orginial pattern - 2 and 1/2 balls of Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra, in colour 722 cement.


The new pattern is available free in the shop with the purchase of the yarn required.

Fortunately, my mum ravelled her too small beanie, and knit it up again in the new pattern, so I get to keep this one. This also means that we know that the pattern takes only one x 100g skein of Alsan Trends Guanaco.

It is warming up here, but this beanie will be just the thing for a September school holiday camping trip. It gets cold at night when you travel inland.
It is actually lucky that there is half a ball left over, as now my husband wants a beanie for this camping trip, and I can make him a nice striped one.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Knit Issue 10 Reversible Wrap

After my first winter cardigan was spirited away, I felt an absence in my wardrobe. I needed a new cardigan quickly. (Hmmm, the first one was a quick knit too, I must be feeling a bit impatient lately). Fortunately, there is another quick to knit cardigan in the same pattern book, the reversible wrap.

I knit it in Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed, colour Asparagus, #426. It only took 7 balls, which I thought was pretty good for a big warm cardigan . I love this yarn, and the colour is gorgeous.



I quite like the cardigan worn in both directions, which surprized me, as the deservedly popular Origami top from Knit 7, which is much the same dimensions, really only appeals to me in the shawl collar direction, although the bolero direction does look fabulous on other people.


I like the shaping that the corrugated stitch pattern gives to the back of the jacket.

I did have some trouble sewing up the cardigan, as the SilkRoad DK kept breaking in the arm seams during wear. I have not had this trouble previously, and think it must be due to the high degree of stretch required of these seams near the armscye.
I oversewed with a matching DMC stranded embroidery cotton and have had no further problems. I am wearing this so often that I really think I need another one....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Not quite a 1- hour scarf, teaching a child to knit

Teaching children to knit is not for the faint hearted. I have gone through the motions with many children, some of them even related to me, and people ask me quite often for tips on needle types and yarns that are suitable for this purpose.
My standard reply to these questions, is that when teaching children to knit,I like to start with shortish, bamboo needles at about 4.5-5.5mm diameter, and a medium weight (8ply, 10ply) yarn composed of mostly wool. My reasons for this are that little hands cope better with short, not-too-thick needles, bamboo needles are not slippy or sticky (or particularly damaging when poked into someone's arm or leg), and that wool yarn, if selected judiciously, tends to feel soft, comes in great colours, and is less likely to split and slip than cotton, or stick like acrylic, and is relatively inexpensive.
I follow this advice myself, and have started several accomplished knitters for whom I like to take credit. I also have a 14 year old daughter whom has so far only started 3 scarves, of differing types. You can't convert everyone into a knitter :(.
My latest convert is my son. He has been trying knitting on and off since he was 4 years old. He has several partially completed 8ply woolen scarves in his WIP pile. Some of them are rather old.
Only 4 years after his first attempts, he has completed his first project. He did not follow any of my standard advice. Instead he followed the advice I generally reserve for older beginners - pick something you want to wear, and knit that.
He fancied the Sirdar giant balls of yarn marketed as the one hour scarf. This yarn is not only 100% Nylon, but has a chenille effect, so it is a bit tricky to see the stitches. It requires 10mm needles, and both knit and purl stitches. Much more complex than the standard garter stitch rectangles he had fiddled about with previously.
I think it was the colour and texture that appealed to him - don't you think he is sounding like a knitter?
This scarf took about 6 weeks of sporadic beginner knitting.
He has cast on another project already.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Knit 10 Yoke Cardigan and the perfidy of a close relative

The pattern description for this cardigan is rather tempting "Sassy and Soft, the cropped yoke cardigan will fly off the needles and be in your wardrobe in no time at all."
Whilst thinking about a top layer for my Stichers Guild 6 piece winter wardrobe, this sounded just the thing.
I knit it up using Aslan Trends Artesenal in colour 188 Champagne with Jo Sharp Rare Comfort Kid Mohair in colour 634 Damask. The combination of yarns was beautifully textured and a lovely soft neutral. The pattern knit up really quickly, on 10mm needles. I was very happy with it.
However, the very loose knitting means the cardigan is quite drapey, and the edges roll rather more than I had expected.
I found it a bit arty looking for my work wardrobe. I had to pin it carefully so that the fronts were even, and ended up wearing it mostly with weekend outfits for a more casual look.
This was not a problem for me, however, wearing it whilst visiting with my mother proved to be a mistake. First she complimented it.
Next she tried it on, fastening it in a deliberately asymmetrical way that instantly gave it her style.
She looks great in it.
Next she told me some stories about how I used to steal her clothes when I was 13 (that would be the last time I fit into them, so they might be true stories, only slightly exaggerated)
After that it went home with her.
I don't think I am getting it back. She may have mentioned something like "mothers' revenge" as she drove off.
All I want to know Mum, is where is my copy of Knit 10?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Alison's cardigan Show and Tell

Alison has made this beautiful cardigan for her equally beautiful daughter. The yarn is Sublime extra fine merino, which is a 4ply, and feels as gorgeous as it looks. The colour is 166, Mellow.


Alison is planning more lace knitting for her daughter - next time in a summer cardigan with short sleeves. I hope she brings this one in for show-and-tell too.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Technique Class - Knitting in the round, August 6

We have added a new class to the July/August line up, at customer request.

Technique Class
Knitting in the Round

· I- cord
· Double pointed needles
· Circular needles
· Joining in the round
· Adding new yarn in the round
· Avoiding ladders
· Moebius techniques
. How to change a flat pattern to knitting in the round

Saturday 6th of August 9.30am – 11am
$22, materials included for use in class

10% discount for circular and DP needles purchased by class participants on the day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Purple socks

The next pair of must finish socks are also in Sante Fe. This colourway is called grape jam. I think it is my favourite - or maybe it is just my favourite at the moment.


The socks are my own pattern again, the usual, but with an eyelet insertion down the front. I am very pleased with how this turned out - it is visible, but not bulky or uncomfortable to wear in boots or closed shoes. I will be using this one again.

I am preparing for a learn to knit class tomorrow. I like to start a few simple patterns so that the students can see what they can make for a first project - at least that is my excuse for starting 2 or 3 new projects whilst there is still a significant WIP pile!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Green socks

I can hardly believe it. Only a week or so ago I claimed that I would be finishing some WIP socks, and I have actually done it! I have also managed to avoid starting any knitting project for nearly a month, which must be a record. Oo
ps, that is a lie, I made a flower brooch last week, but truly that was just finishing off an embellishment for something I had already started....
Enough confessions, here are pair #1 in the beautiful greens of Sante Fe

These are from my own everyday sock pattern, and I did try a little addition - can you see the reverse stocking stitch leaf at the back?
I can't either. Lets put this one down to experience and pretend that they are plain socks.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Knitted flower brooch. Free Pattern.

Having just completed a cardigan that needs a pin for closure, I decided to try some embellishment knitting, having seen some of this in RTW. Hand made is better in my opinion. The pattern for the different shaped petals is at the end of the post.


First I knit 8 teardrop shaped petals, with the base petals more rounded than the upper, in Jo Sharp rare comfort kid mohair, using 5.0mm needles.


Next I used the long cast off tails of the petals to assist the petals to curve. I wove in the tail towards the top centre of the petal, then ran the thread in and out of the central column of stitches, using a wool needle.


Once I had made 4 base petals, I stitched them together at the centre.


The upper petals were made in the same manner, then joined individually over the base petals.


All the tails were threaded through to the back, and knotted in pairs around the fixed leg of a kilt pin. After this knotting, the tails were gathered together, formed into two bunches, and tied in a reef knot around the same leg of the pin.


After construction, small beads were stitched through the centre of the flower, using standard sewing thread and a beading needle.


Base Petals - teardrop shape: Make 4

1.Make a slip knot, leaving a tail of at least 15cm, Cast on 2 stitches,
2.Knit in to front and back of each stitch (4 stitches)
3.Purl row
4.Knit in to front and back of first stitch, knit to second last stitch, knit into front and back of second last stitch, Knit 1
5. Purl row
6.Knit in to front and back of first stitch, knit to second last stitch, knit into front and back of second last stitch, Knit 1
7. Purl row
8.Knit in to front and back of first stitch, knit to second last stitch, knit into front and back of second last stitch, Knit 1
9. Purl row
10. Knit row
11. Purl row
12. Knit row.
13. Purl row,
14. Knit 1, Knit2 together, Knit to last 3 stitches, slip 1, Knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit1
15. Purl row
16.Knit 1, Knit2 together, Knit to last 3 stitches, slip 1, Knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit1
17. Cast off 8 stitches in Purl. Leave a long tail (15cm)

Upper petals - make 4, these are more elongated than the base petals.

1.Make a slip knot, leaving a tail of at least 15cm, Cast on 2 stitches,
2. Knit row
3. Purl row
4.Knit in to front and back of each stitch (4 stitches)
5.Purl row
6.Knit in to front and back of first stitch, knit to second last stitch, knit into front and back of second last stitch, Knit 1
7. Purl row
8.Knit in to front and back of first stitch, knit to second last stitch, knit into front and back of second last stitch, Knit 1
9. Purl row
10.Knit in to front and back of first stitch, knit to second last stitch, knit into front and back of second last stitch, Knit 1
11. Purl row
12. Knit row
13. Purl row
14. Knit 1, Knit2 together, Knit to last 3 stitches, slip 1, Knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit1
15. Purl row
16.Knit 1, Knit2 together, Knit to last 3 stitches, slip 1, Knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit1
17. Cast off 8 stitches in Purl. Leave a long tail (15cm)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jen's Willow Cowl

Look what Jen made from Sante Fe, more often encountered as a beautifully soft sock. The colourway is 1335, also known as "vintage" , and I just love it. I have to admit that I am a weak woman. When Jen showed me her almost completed and gorgeous cowl, she had hardly walked out of the shop with the yarn she needed before I had cast on a sock in the same yarn. I will probably need a cowl too ;).

We will not talk about the 3 pairs of work in progress socks that I currently have lurking about somewhere. I am blaming them on the sock knitting class we held in...ulp, March!. How did it turn into May already?

You can see more about Jen's cowl here if you are a Ravelry member.

The pattern is Willow Cowl by Amelia Lyon, which is a free pattern downloadable on Ravelry.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Crofter Scarf

I am very fond of the wearability of the Sirdar Crofter range. I have just finished making 3 rib scarves for my children from the Chunky weight, and no one has even mentioned the dreaded "itchy" that lurks menacingly behind any project knitted for direct application to the skin.


Here is the first version, in colour 59, Rambler Rose. I actually made this scarf to co-ordinate with the Hat for Camp that Rocks.

This started a chain of family requests.
The next one is much shorter, and in the manly shade of number 61, Misty Moor.


Naturally, I then needed to make a third scarf, this time in the lovely greens and purples of colour number 50, Bracken.


These were really quick scarves that I was able to knit as a handbag project-a portable size, and the sort of knitting you can pick up or put down at any stage.
Now I am almost ready for something more complicated.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Moss stitch Infinity Scarf

I am hooked on moebis scarves/cowls. This version, for my daughter, is knit in moss stitch, from two yarns held together, Jo Sharp Rare Comfort Kid Mohair (Char), and Silk Road DK Tweed (Peppercorn).
I love the texture of these two yarns together, they make a beautifully soft and snuggly fabric. The lighter Peppercorn yarn shows more in the purl stitches, giving the scarf textural interest, even though the colours are subdued.
You can wear the scarf long or doubled.
I will be knitting more of these.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cotton bolero version 2

You may remember that I tried to knit my niece a white cotton bolero for her Christmas present.
That one ended up far too large, and was gleefully claimed by my daughter.
Just after Christmas, the cousins visited each other at their Nana's place. My niece greatly admired the bolero, in complete ignorance that she was the original intended recipient. Obviously it was my duty to try again, this time for her birthday.
I made it two sizes smaller. I am pretty sure that it will fit this time. I have posted it off to Melbourne for the last of the warm weather.

It was even quicker the second time. I am waiting to see if the other nieces fancy it too.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rib infinity scarf/cowl

The infinity scarf I made for my sister was very successful, so I thought I would try making up a different one, in rib.
stitchblissSAM_3210_plus_logo_TC (5)

stitchblissSAM_3210_plus_logo_TC (2)

For this scarf, I used exactly 2 balls of 50g (95m approx) 8ply wool. However, as I wanted to emphasise the infinity twist of the pattern, I used a complimentary shade of yarn for the last 5 rows of the pattern.

stitchblissSAM_3210_plus_logo_TC (10)

They yarns I used are Heirloom Heatherwood 8ply wool shade 586 and Jo Sharp Classic Double Knit Wool shade 008, Aubergine/ I really like the texture of both these yarns. I may need to knit a version in the opposite colour proportions.