Sunday, 15 July 2018

Isabel

August 2017

Having a few skeins of Baa Ram Ewe's Titus going spare, I looked around for something worthy of them which looked like a fun and interesting knit. This pattern definitely ticked those boxes.

Isabel is a pretty little project but all those cables and lace felt like a lot of work to me, since I'm so slow and out of practice. Too much colourwork (if such a thing is possible).


Titus looks beautiful with cables and lace. It’s not the softest, but great for a cardigan and very warm. Here I was subbing it for Rowan's Felted Tweed dk. Both contain wool and Alpaca, but as Felted Tweed knits up at more of a sport weight than a dk and Titus is a 4-ply all I had to do was go up a size and the fit was perfect (so an aged 2-3 size fits Lucy at 20 months).

This was my second project from Marie Wallin’s Timeless collection (see also Freddie). The designs are great but as much as I love Marie Wallin, the patterns are a little but fiddly at times - for example, why did the collar of this cardigan need to be knitted separately and sewn on? I'm sure it could have been picked up and knitted using short rows instead.



To save a little on the finishing work, I knitted the body, front and back in one piece and the sleeves in the round.

But seriously, though, who could resist cladding their little Yorkie girl in a Wensleydale blend in a colourway called Yorkstone?

Pattern: Isabel by Marie Wallin
Size: 2-3 years
Yarn: Baa Ram Ewe Titus
Colours: Yorkstone
Needle 3.00mm
On ravelry: here


Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Machrihanish

June 2017

This is only the second thing I have made for my Dad in all of the years I have been knitting, which is a shameful thing to admit. He is a little bit on the fussy side, and he does have a wife who knits too, and so he doesn't always occur to me as a suitable knitwear recipient.

When the two of us have agreed on a pattern, though, so far it's always been a stunner. The predecessor to Machrihanish was an all-over cabled cricket sweater which is still frequently worn, despite not really being what it once was, due to  careless washing (not his fault, as far as I know). Still, credit to him for being so happy to wear actual proper wool, and British wool at that (at the moment my son insists on merino - it's a sore point).


So I happily embarked on Machrihanish, safe in the knowledge that I love Kate Davies' patterns, and to knit one in Baa Ram Ewe's beautiful Titus would amount to treating both the yarn and and pattern with the respect they deserved. I'm not convinced Titus is next-to-the-skin soft (I always add an under-layer when I wear my Northdale for example) but in a way that only makes it all the more perfect for a tank top like this one.

There was one potential bogeyman contained within this pattern and that is the fact that it features steeks. For most knitters these go hand in hand with buttock-clenching anxiety, and rightly so, as what kind of a psychopath would take a pair of scissors to their knitting anyway? However, I found that using the delightfully toothsome and fibrous Titus put my mind at rest to a great extent. It was never going to fray. It simply couldn't.

For anyone interested in that sort of thing I secured the steek using a sewing machine rather than a crocheted reenforcement, as it's so much quicker.


I dragged my heels over the finishing work one this project, as steeked projects do require a lot of sewing and tarting up after they've been cast off and I'm terrible for loosing interest at that stage. Eventually, though, I covered the cut steek stitches with navy blue velvet ribbon, just in time for Christmas 2017.

Thankfully I dealt with the frequent colour changes using spit-splicing, because if there had been loose ends to sew in as well, this may have become a New Year present instead.

Pattern: Machrihanish by Kate Davies
Size: Smallest
Yarn: Baa Ram Ewe Titus
Colours: Endeavour, Filey, Bantam, White Rose, Crucible, Dalby
Needle 3.00mm
On ravelry: here

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Tiny Woodland

April 2017

This is such a satisfying set of patterns. Not one of them took more than a couple of hours to complete, but each of them is easy to follow and tremendously cute. The owl and the hedgehog in particular have such a lot of character despite being so tiny.


The only modification I made to these patterns as written was to unpick the owl's wings. They were intended to be sewn down, but I made these for my six year old son and one year old daughter and, inevitably, they wanted to flap the wings and make him fly.


I used Rowan's Felted Tweed dk because I had a big bag of oddments stashed. The tweedy little flecks add a certain rustic charm which suits these little creatures very well, in my opinion. Although described as a dk, it's not really much thicker than a sport weight, and knitted up on 2.00mm needles came out dense (as toys should be) but manageable.

Knitted toys aren't really my oeuvre, but I was very pleased with these, and amazed by the sheer choice of patterns which Anna has published. 




Pattern: Tiny Woodland patterns by Anna Hrachovec
Size: n/a
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed dk
Colours: Camel, Treacle, Ginger, Clay, Hedgerow, Carbon
Needle 2.00mm
On ravelry: here, here, here and here

Monday, 30 April 2018

Northdale


February 2017

I took an awfully long time over this sweater, primarily because when I first cast it off it was too small and too tight, with a neckline that wouldn’t lie flat and all in all it made me very cross.

After a good few months of neglect, I managed to motivate myself to tackle its flaws one at a time. First I unpicked the neckline and re-cast it off knitwise rather than in rib, which tightened it up immensely. Next I blocked the heck out of it to add some width, and finally I unpicked the hem of the now wide enough but still too short sweater and added two extra stripes’ worth of length.


There may also have been a bit of dieting involved which helped with the fit.

None of the issues I had are due to errors in the pattern - I was just unfortunate and didn't think enough about sizing before I started.

Ultimately the additional work was very much justified by the end result, which I absolutely love. It just took me a while to get there!


This is my second knit from the Shetland Trader Book 1, if you count my heavily modified version of Nikka Vord.

Pattern: Northdale by Gudrun Johnston from the Shetland Trader Book 1
Size: 34"
Yarn: Baa Ram Ewe Titus
Colours: Coal, Filey, Crucible
Needle 3.25mm
On ravelry: here




Sunday, 29 April 2018

Rainbow Dress

April 2017

I had loads of Sparkleduck rainbow miniskeins left over from making George’s fabulous vest, and so I thought I’d improvise a little tunic dress for Lucy.

The end result is very bright and cheerful, but with hindsight I wish I had made the shaping much more a-line so it didn’t cling so much around her tummy.


Visiting the Sparkleduck stand was very much the highlight for me of an otherwise rather overwhelming Yarndale 2016. I had my little boy with me, and the nice man running the stall gave him a little toy duck. Its funny how the random acts of kindness like that can stay with you.

This is such a beautiful yarn that I’ll most likely frog this dress once Lucy grows out of it and recycle it into another project. It’s worn very well so it would be a shame not to.

Pattern: improvised
Yarn: Sparkleduck Galaxy rainbow mini skeins.
Size: 12 months
On ravelry: here


Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Saffran

April 2017

A worsted weight stranded pure wool cardigan is not the most clever of projects to be knitting in April, particularly if you don’t factor in enough growing room, which I didn’t.

Consequently this didn’t get quite the wear it deserved, although with a bit of determined stretching it did see us out until the end of the winter.


I really rate Rowan’s pure wool worsted. It’s cosy, knits up quickly and washes very well. It’s not the cheapest, admittedly, but in baby cardigan sized amounts it’s manageable.

Saffran is supposed to be steeked, but since I was using a superwash wool, I was worried that any steeking I did might not have held properly. I just knitted my version back and forth instead, and was pretty pleased with the result.


The pattern for this little cardigan is very well written and I don’t remember spotting any issues with it at all. Plus you’ve got to love a pattern which includes a recipe for saffron buns at the end just because.

Pattern: Saffran by Nicolina Lindsten
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Worsted in mustard (mc) and ivory (cc).
Size: 12 months
On ravelry: here

Monday, 26 February 2018

DROPS 157-2 Silver Dream

February 2017

DROPS is an amazing yarn company. They make fabulously good value yarns, and the pattern support is absolutely overwhelming, and entirely free.

Around Christmas 2016 I took my son ice skating, and had a sudden and uncontrollable urge to possess a proper nordic looking cosy sweater. Just the right sort of thing to wear for next year's trip.


Luckily I had an enormous skein of mid-blue Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop dk stashed, after spotting it in the seconds bin at their stall at Yarndale 2014. I never did work out what was wrong with it, even after knitting it into a sweater. And quite frankly it had been festering in my stash for so long that it was a relief to finally use it.

Pattern-wise I have nothing helpful to say about this project. It worked perfectly as written and I didn't feel compelled to modify it at all. The top-down construction made it great for trying-on-as-you-go. It's worth noting in passing that I have a special fondness for colour work with raglan sleeves rather than round yokes. The increasing/decreasing required to make the raglan seams is more disruptive to the flow of the colour work but the fit is so much more flattering in my experience that I really do feel it's worth it.


Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop dk is a beautiful yarn, so warm and lustrous. Not "next to the skin" soft but fine for a sweater if you're happy to wear a layer underneath. Knowing that I was supporting a local business and not having to pay extra to have yarn shipped halfway around the world just made this project all the more enjoyable.

Pattern: 157-2 Silver Dream by DROPS garnstudio
Yarn: Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop dk in blue (mc) and white (cc).
Size: 36"
On ravelry: here