Monday, 31 May 2010

Babies' Cardigan and Hat in Snuggly dk (Sirdar 1645)

September 2008

I thought this was a pretty little pattern which would be fun to adapt for babies of either gender, but which had a lot of useful options to it (it's a cardigan, hat, blanket, mitten and bootee set all in one). I made the hat and cardigan.

In those days there was really only one yarn store in central Leeds, the Spinner on Eastgate. They mostly stock Sirdar, Wendy and Stylecraft type yarns, and not the more expensive Rowan, Noro, Debbie Bliss etc. Still, it's not a bad place to source yarns for a baby project.

The pom-pom on the hat was a modification of my own. Luckily my boyfriend had some pom-pom making kits left over from a trade mark dispute he'd been working on.

Pattern: Babies' cardigan and hat in Snuggly dk (Sirdar 1645)
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly dk
Amount: 1 skein of 3 contrast colours, 2 skeins of main colour
Colourway: 240 Stonewash (main colour), 201 Iris, 393 Lavender Mix and 391 Sky Blue
Needles: 3.75 and 4.00mm
Size: 6 - 12 months
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Noro Striped Scarf

September 2008

I loved making this project - I'd just discovered ravelry and spotted this pattern. As far as I'm concerned, it was a must knit - the end result is much more beautiful than it has any right to be given how easy it is.

I followed Jared Flood's method as closely as possible, and worked 1x1 rib over 39 stitches, slipping the first stitch for a neater edging.

The only glitch I had with this is that I snapped the yarn casting on. I've found that Silk Garden can get very thin and fragile in places, and needs to be handled with care.

I also added a fringe, but I think it tended to pull the ribs open a bit and make the scarf look wider at the ends, and so it might have been better without.

Pattern: Noro Striped Scarf by Jared Flood
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden
Amount: 4 skeins
Colourway: 236 and 47
Needles: 4.5mm
Size: n/a
On ravelry: here


September 2008

You know when you're happily yarn shopping and then you realise how long you've been and how cross the person waiting for you is likely to be, panic and just buy a jumper-sized amount of the first yarn you see?

This is Biggy Print.

This yarn needs needles so large that they're not even listed on ravelry. Cricket stumps, basically. It also has only a handful of supporting patterns, of which Jude is about the most popular.

Thing is, sometimes chunky yarns can be a bit... well... unflattering. Or maybe it's the cowl-neck. Either way, this doesn't get much wear, which is a real pity - the FO takes up a LOT of wardrobe space, but since it's an expensive yarn I can't bring myself to get rid of it. But nor can I find an alternative pattern which really appeals.

Lesson learned - I don't think I'd contemplate making a sweater from such a chunky yarn again.

Jude is a simple and quick pattern to follow, although I have to stop when it was about 90% done and track down some circular 20mm needles to make the cowl. Which would have been fine, if the pattern had mentioned they would be needed, but it doesn't. And be honest, who has spare circular 20mm needles lying about at home?

Pattern: Jude by Kim Hargreaves from Rowan Bigger Picture
Yarn: Rowan Biggy Print
Amount: 11 skeins
Colourway: Humbug
Needles: 20.00mm
Size: Medium
On ravelry: here

Saturday, 29 May 2010


August 2008

So I started making a project I liked in a colour I thought was pretty, and it was only when I came to write it up on Ravelry that I noticed I'd made a Purple Haze...

I love the way that ribbing can make a project seem fitted without any need for shaping, and I think that works very well on this project even if mohair isn't all that good at maintaining elasticity.

This project came out a little on the short side, and I haven't worn it in quite a while, but it's a nice unusual design, and this yarn (which is now discontinued) was good value for money.

Because of all the ribbing, this wasn't the most enjoyable knit ever - the huge collar made it feel like there was a lot of work left to do when by rights it should have been almost finished, but then I'm a horribly impatient creature...

Pattern: Haze from Sublime 601 The Very Gorgeous Sublime Kid Mohair Book
Yarn: Sublime Kid Mohair
Amount: 8 skeins
Colourway: 070 Loganberry
Needles: 4.5mm
Size: 36"
On ravelry: here

Friday, 28 May 2010

Diagonal Stripe Scarf

July 2008

About this time, my sister started to figure out just how keen I was getting on knitting and, kind soul that she is, offered to let me knit her a birthday present.

I had about half a skein of purple yarn left over from a pair of gloves I had made some time ago, and I really love the way purple looks coupled with navy, so this scarf just sort of designed itself.

The stitch pattern comes from Debbie Bliss' How to Knit and is basically a knit three purl three pattern in which the purls and knits become slightly more offset each time, if I recall correctly. This would mean it was more or less reversible, which is always nice in a scarf.

Pattern: Improvised
Yarn: Sirdar Country Style dk
Amount: less than one skien of each
Colourway: 529 Magenta (purple) and 540 Airforce Blue
Needles: 4mm
Size: n/a

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Ladies' Cardigan in Just Bamboo (Sirdar 9022)

June 2008

Just Bamboo is a bamboo tape yarn similar to Rowan's Bamboo Tape, but very different to anything I'd knitting with previously. I found it a bit fiddly to knit with because it's very difficult not to twist it, and it can be a wee bit splitty. The end result more than makes up for it, though.

Knitted up, bamboo tape is extremely soft and, for want of a better word, drapey. It's a heavy but loosely knit fabric which somehow seems to know just how it ought to hang, if that makes any more sense. It's also very gratifying to be able to wear a handknit even in the height of summer.

I made a size larger than I needed again for this project, since I was concerned about gaping between the buttons having seen the modelled pictures. As you can see, this strategy didn't eliminate the gaping on my version, so I guess it's just part of the design. I've decided I rather like it now, fickle creature that I am.

Pattern: Cardigan in Just Bamboo (Sirdar 9022)
Yarn: Sirdar Just Bamboo
Amount: 7 skeins
Colourway: Driftwood
Needles: 5.5mm
Size: 14

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Sailing Sweater

May 2008

I think this is a very sweet, simple little pattern, one which the recipient looked very cute in!

It was written for Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk dk for the confusingly-similarly-named Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk dk. I'm not sure what the difference with the Baby version was, but the gauge was the same if I recall correctly, and both yarns had the same care instructions, so it didn't loose anything in terms of practicality.

Pattern: Sailing Sweater from Sublime 600 The Little Sublime Hand Knit Book
Yarn: Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk dk
Amount: 3 skeins
Colourway: 11 Clove
Needles: 4mm
Size: 0 - 3 months

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Garter Stitch Silk Slippers

May 2008

This is just the easiest, cutest and prettiest pattern ever! Whether or not bootees (especially ones with no means of fastening) are actually of much practical use, given how easy they are to kick off, is almost beside the point when the finished objects look this good...

I think Jaegar have stopped making yarn now, but Rowan have bought out a 100% cotton called Siena which is very similar to Jaegar's Siena, handily enough.

Pattern: Garter Stitch Silk Slippers from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies by Erica Knight
Yarn: Jaegar Siena
Amount: Less than 1 skein
Colourway: 421 Lobelia (Blue) / 427 Salad (Green)
Needles: 2.75mm
Size: Small

Monday, 24 May 2010

Sunday Brunch Jacket and Mary Janes

April 2008

This looks like quite a simple pattern, but it must admit that it was probably a little bit beyond my abilities when I tackled it. The construction of the collar is rather more complex than it probably needs to be, and so I was unable to get a neat result without then sewing it into place, which is not what was intended.

Cute result, though, and apparently it survived being washed in the washing machine fine, despite what the ball-band would have you believe.

The matching mary-janes were a joy to make - so quick and easy.

Pattern: Sunday Brunch Jacket and Mary Janes from Sublime 600 The Little Sublime Hand Knit Book
Yarn: Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk dk
Amount: 3 skeins
Colourway: Vanilla
Needles: 4mm
Size: 0 - 3 months

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Babies' Cardigan in Snuggly dk (Sirdar 3084)

March 2008

What better way to learn how to work cables than a cute little baby cardigan? I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this project, and was delighted with the result.

I rate Sirdar Snuggly very highly for this sort of project too. It may not be a very pretty yarn, and the wool content is tiny, but it's cheap, washable and doesn't pile. I guess different consideration apply when it's a baby project!

Pattern: Cardigan in Snuggly dk (Sirdar 3084)
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly dk
Amount: 3 skeins
Colourway: 219 Lilac
Needles: 4mm
Size: 0 - 3 months

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Ladies' Cardigan in Freedom Spirit (Twilleys 455)

January 2008

Twilleys Freedom Spirit is a varigated, pure wool yarn which is extremely affordable. It was recommended to me by the lovely people at Sheepish, Knaresborough, and I can definitely see why they thought so highly of it.

As with any pure wool, it does tend to pile a bit, and I found it more fragile to knit with than anything I had used before. The colour combinations, though, are just fab.

This was a lovely simple pattern, and great fun to knit. I particularly liked the fact that it was customisable, as the pattern contained options for a crew neck or a v-neck and for a cropped cardigan or a full length one. I opted for the v-neck full length version.

The only real difficulty I had was the 2x2 rib edging which runs up the front edges of the cardigan and around the neck. This is all picked up and knit in once piece, something which is practically impossible with the straight needles I was using at the time. What you need is a a very long circular needle. Still, you've got to love a pattern which gives you an excuse to go running back to the yarn store...

Pattern: Cardigan in Freedom Spirit (Twilleys 455)
Yarn: Twilleys of Stamford Freedom Spirit
Amount: 7 skeins
Colourway: 506 Air
Needles: 4mm
Size: UK 12
On ravelry: here

Friday, 21 May 2010


August 2007

This was a lovely easy project, just right for a beginner, being almost entirely stocking stitch with a moss stitch trim.

The end result is very wearable too, although once again I opted to make a size which is probably bigger that I needed. Then again, I might just be trying to convince myself of that since I spotted a pattern which I think would be lovely to recycle this yarn for!

It was this project which taught me the importance of checking dye-lots and trying to make sure you get enough yarn which comes from the same dye-lot for the project you have in mind. Felted tweed can vary between dye-lots very noticeably, as I discovered after finishing the front and back pieces in different dyelots and laying them alongside each other...

I'm a big fan of Kim Hargreaves' designs - so simple and elegant, and the rate at which she produces them is staggering.

Pattern: Salina by Kim Hargreaves from Rowan Vintage Knits
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed
Amount: 7 skeins
Colourway: 158 Pine
Needles: 3.25mm and 3.75mm
Size: Large
On ravelry: here

Thursday, 20 May 2010


April 2007

I still get a lot of wear out of this project, and it marks the beginning of an enduring love affair with mohair. It's just so gosh darned fluffy.

As with several early projects, I did make a size which was much too large, but I managed to overcome that by attaching a couple of ribbons to the back and using them to cinch it in at the waist.

I've made one or two other mohair sweaters since this one, and I've found that they tend to grow a bit with washing and wearing. These days I'd go for at least one size smaller than I would for a non-mo project, just to balance things out.

This pattern also includes directions for a knitted rosebud brooch which is intended to be pinned to the neckline, but I left that off, because it's not really my style.

I did have a bit of a hard time getting the front and back pieces to fit together properly - so much so that I wished I'd made the front pieces first so that I could have let them dictate the length of the back, since I would have had more flexibility that way. Instead my Mum came to the rescue with this one (again)!

Pattern: Rosebud from Sublime 601 The Very Gorgeous Sublime Kid Mohair Book
Yarn: Sublime Kid Mohair
Amount: 6 skeins
Colourway: Smoke Blue
Needles: 6.00mm
Size: 40"

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Ladies' Cardigan in Click dk (Sirdar 8957)

March 2007

I don't tend to use acrylic yarns very often now that I'm old enough to know better, but my first adult sweater type project was tremendously acrylicy. Still, we all have to start somewhere, and I don't remember it being particularly horrifying at the time! I guess you don't really expect to learn to drive in a Rolls Royce, and by the same token any amount of yarn snobbery around this project is probably misplaced.

This wasn't a bad choice of pattern as a starting point - it was simple and quite enjoyable to make, but this was back in the days before I'd heard of ravelry, and I went for this pattern primarily on the basis that Hobbycraft, Leeds had enough of the yarn in stock. So in a sense I didn't chose it, it choose me...

The main problem with my earlier projects, like this one, is I wasn't very good at picking the right size to make or my checking my gauge and tended to go too loose and too large, which made for shapeless, unflattering results. I wonder whether many people overestimate the size they need when they're starting out.

In the end I could never seem to get it to hang quite how I wanted it to, and so I didn't get much wear out of it. Instead, it found a good home with a friend of my Mum.

Pattern: Sirdar 8957
Yarn: Sirdar Click dk with wool
Amount: 9 skeins
Colourway: 130 Cranberry
Needles: 3.5mm and 4mm
Size: 36"/38"

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Gloves in Country Style dk (Sirdar 8596)

January 2007

I'd only been knitting for a couple of months when I got my first special request - for a pair of purple gloves. The intention was that the left one should have the letter "L" on it, and the right one the letter "R", because the chap who requested them used to enjoy teasing his wife about not being able to tell left from right. So far so good.

At that point the prospect of making something as fiddly as gloves terrified me, and so the very idea of attempting intarsia was just too much. Call me a big fat knitting traitor, but I embroidered the letters onto the completed gloves instead.

Even with this shortcut, I needed a lot of help and guidance with this project from my Mum. It's great knitting for other people to order, but I do wonder how often they really have any grasp on how realistic their request actually is! Still, I couldn't have gone on making scarves for ever...

The great thing about this pattern is that it was nice and basic, easy to follow and had lots of potentially useful options (fingers or fingerless, length of cuff). NB, whilst the pattern was written for Sirdar Country Style dk, I used Sirdar Country Style 4-ply.

Pattern: Sirdar 8596
Yarn: Sirdar Country Style 4ply
Amount: Less than one skein
Colourway: 529 Magenta
Needles: 3.25mm
Size: Large

Monday, 17 May 2010

Scarves, scarves and more scarves

It's difficult to know where to start, this being my first blog entry, but my first few ever finished objects seems as good a place as any.

Like many other before me, I cut my knitting teeth on a series of scarves. It's easy to understand why - no need for increases or decreases or anything complicated like that, and you can start improvising fairly early on without going too badly wrong!

Scarf 1

November 2006

This is a simple improvised garter stitch scarf worked on 6.5mm needles in stripes of 1o rows over 18 stitches, making it 8" wide by 5ft long.

The yarn is Sirdar Denim Chunky in colourway 643 Aspen (Brown), 502 Denim Blue, 508 Ivory Cream and 644 Vintage (Black). I used less than one skien of each of them.

It was all purchased at The Spinner in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

At this point, I decided that 8" was probably a bit wide for a scarf - to me it all starts looking a bit "surgical collar" at that width, but it's obviously a matter of personal preference! Which brings us to...

Scarf 2

December 2006

Having learned to purl as well as knit at this point, I started to experiment with moss stitch, which I really like in a scarf, since it's easy, reversible and doesn't curl up like sticking stitch. It's also very pretty, especially in a tweedy yarn...

This is another improved pattern in moss stitch over 15 stitches, making it about 5" wide by as long as felt right. The needles were 6.5mms again.

The yarn is Debbie Bliss Donegal Chunky Tweed on 07 (Red), 11 (Green), 10 (Blue), 04 (Off-white) and 02 (Grey) - one skien of each. The width of each of the colour blocks in entirely random.

Scarf 3

January 2007

So keen was I on moss stitch that I stuck with it for my next project, this time using Sirdar Click Chunky with Wool.

I used two skeins of three different colourways:

a. 140 Treehouse (dark green);
b. 150 Green Apple (light green); and
c. 144 Downy (cream).

This scarf is 20 stitches wide, which is just over 4.5" and 72" long, not including the tassels. I used 6.5mm needles and an improvised stripe sequence as follows:

Panel 1: Cast on in a and work 8 rows.
Switch to c and work 4 rows.
Switch back to a and work 4 rows.
Switch back to c and work 4 rows.
Switch back to a and work 26 rows.
Switch to b and work 4 rows.
Switch back to a and work 4 rows.
Work one more 4 row stripe of b, then one more 8 row stripe of a.

Panel 2: One 8 row stripe of c, one 4 row stripe of b, one 4 row stripe of c, one 4 row stripe of b, one 26 row stripe of c, one 4 row stripe of a, one 4 row stripe of c, one 4 row stripe of a, one 8 row stripe of c.

Panel 3: One 8 row stripe of b, one 4 row stripe of a, one 4 row stripe of b, one 4 row stripe of a, one 26 row stripe of b, one 4 row stripe of a, one 4 row stripe of b, one 4 row stripe of a, one 8 row stripe of b.

Repeat panels 1 through 3 once, and then panel 1 once more.