Monday, 26 July 2010


July 2010

These were made to match Porom for my sister's birthday, with a little bit of Ultra Alpaca Light I had left over. They were great fun and lovely and quick - I think I might be making some more mittens come Christmas...

As the instructions for the thumb were a bit minimal, I worked 10 rounds stocking stitch and 6 1x1 ribbing.

The pattern also didn't specify what sort of cast-off to use. I initially tried casting off in rib, but I found it was a little too stretchy like that, and wouldn't necessarily fit snugly around the fingers, so I ripped back and cast off knitwise instead which was much better.

Not that I'd really criticise the pattern - it was a freebie, so the occasional vague bit here and there is totally forgivable.

Pattern: Wilhelmina by Lena Gjerland
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light
Amount: 1.5 skeins
Colourway: 4212
Needles: 3.25mm
Size: One size
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 25 July 2010


July 2010

July seems to be one of those months in which it was very fashionable to be born, and so my spell of knitting for other people, which seems to be going on longer than perhaps I had originally intended, continues unabated with... POROM!

Had this been the depths of winter I would no doubt be feeling very sorry for myself right about now, and asking myself what the point of being a knitter is, if if doesn't mean lots of lovely warm sweaters for me.

As it is, working on little projects for other people is quite a nice way of getting through the summer heat without having to put the knitting on hold. For my sins, I've even made a start on the Christmas knitting.

Porom is a quick and enjoyable project - Jared Flood is a great designer, and I love his hats in particular. I'd also like to make Koolhaas one day. And Habitat. And... well you get the idea.

This was a great way of using up some of the gorgeous purple Ultra Alpaca Light I had left over from Chantal. I think there is an error in Chantal which has you buy more Ultra Alpaca Light than you actually need. I didn't spot it in time, but it was no great hardship to have a surplus of such a lovely yarn to play about with.

I tried blocking this over a balloon but I'm not sure it worked all that well. I didn't notice the lace opening up all that much, and even fully inflated it seemed a little on the small side. Back to a melon propped up in a flowerpot next time, I suspect...

Pattern: Porom by Brooklyn Tweed (Jared Flood)
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light
Amount: 1.5 skeins
Colourway: 4212
Needles: 3.25mm
Size: One size
On ravelry: here

Monday, 19 July 2010


June 2010

I wish I'd been aware of this pattern when I first started to experiment with lace. It would have been a perfect first lace project because the pattern is very simple, but the end result looks great. I've done one or two more complex lace shawls now, and with this one I did start to find it slow-going before I got to the end.

I added quite a lot of width and length (I worked 25 panel repeats over 86 stitches rather than 15 over 46).

These pictures were taken after it had been handwashed and blocked using blocking wires, which really helped the lace to open up.

This is my third project using Sublime Kid Mohair after Titania and Rosebud and I've found it a little bit prone to growing previously. Hopefully that is less of an issue with a shawl than it would be with a sweater.

Pattern: Wisp by Cheryl Niamath from Knitty Summer 2007
Yarn: Sublime Kid Mohair
Amount: 6.5 skeins
Colourway: Pistachio 22
Needles: 5.00mm
Size: One size
On ravelry: here

Saturday, 17 July 2010

We Call them Pirates Colour Pattern Practice Hat

May 2010

In amongst all the knitting kit I've accumulated through the years is a dvd of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop. I'm a huge fan of hers and it's a real joy to watch. And when Elizabeth Zimmermann tells you to make a cap for your homework, you make a cap.

I've been meaning to learn left-handed knitting for a while now, and when I realised that this stranded style of knitting required you to hold a colour in each hand, I finally knuckled down to it.

For many years I'd been telling myself that there weren't many stranded style patterns which appealed to me. Adrian Bizilia's We Call the Pirates thankfully made me snap out of that.

Pattern: Improvised, based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Colour Pattern Practice Hat, Evelyn Skae's Adrian's Skull Cap and Adrian Bizilia's We Call the Pirates
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Aran (MC) and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (CC)
Amount: Less than one skein of each
Colourway: 684 Charcoal / 009 Gray
Needles: 4.50mm
Size: One size
On ravelry: here

Friday, 16 July 2010

Baby Cables and Big Ones Too

May 2010

Did you ever love a project so much that it make you consider giving up knitting, for fear than nothing will ever quite live up to it? I did, and this is it.

It's hard to know where to start with the why. It disproves the rule that busty girls shouldn't wear high necklines, for one thing. Felted tweed shows up texture bea-ut-i-fully. It's seamless and was made from to top-down which meant I could modify the heck out of it until it fit like a glove. It was a cheap knit because I used a discontinued shade of felted tweed which was on sale. And my husband says it's his favourite of all the things I've ever knitted.

I just wish I hadn't made it at the start of the Summer, to be honest!

There's a full write up of the modified shaping on my project page on ravelry, so I won't bother reproducing it here. On blocking, the felted tweed grew by about 4 stitches per 4 inches, which is a little more than I was expecting, but I still love the fit. I have masses of felted tweed stashed, though, so it's been an experiment which will come in very handy with future projects.

Pattern: Baby Cables and Big Ones Too by Suvi Simola
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed
Amount: 6 skeins
Colourway: 148 Sigh (discontinued)
Needles: 3.50mm
Size: 32.75" with bust shaping
On ravelry: here

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Baby Owlet

May 2010

There is an adult version of this sweater, which I had been wanting to make this ever since it first came out, but I was always worried that it wouldn't suit me. I was delighted when the child's version was published, especially since I know one little boy whose love of owls is eclipsed only by that of his parents.

This was his christening present, and made in a bit of a hurry in under a week. Despite the fact that I was working to a deadline it was still a fun project, although I did find joining the sleeves to the body a bit tough.

The buttons came from Duttons for Buttons in York.

Pattern: Baby Owlet by Kate Davies
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Aran
Amount: 2 skeins
Colourway: 003 Anthracite
Needles: 4.50mm
Size: 24 - 36 months
On ravelry: here

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


May 2010

Yes, it piles almost immediately.

Yes, unravelling all those dropped stitches is a bit of a pain.

Yes, the yarn is expensive and almost half a skein of it was left over.

But come on - this is still stone cold genius.

It took the shop I ordered this yarn from about 10 months to get in back in stock (not that I really mind about that, because they were great at keeping me informed). Now that this is done, I think it was definitely worth the wait.

I have no tips for anyone considering making this pattern other than don't walk to it, run.

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert from Knitty Fall 2004
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb Multi
Amount: 4 skeins
Colourway: Black Purl
Needles: 4.50mm
Size: One size
On ravelry: here

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Que Sera

April 2010

I really enjoyed this project. More and more I seem to need a bit of texture to work on to keep me engaged, and this had just the right amount without turning into too much of a challenge.

I'd bought a big bag of Summer Tweed on Ebay because it was going very cheaply, but without a particular pattern in mind for it. I then struggled to find a pattern I liked, and when I came across this, I was very relieved.

I didn't enjoy working with the Summer Tweed much. It was rougher than I was expecting from a 50% silk 50% cotton yarn, and it sheds fluff all over the place. My Que Sera came out feeling a bit floppy too. I'm not going to be in any great rush to use it again!

Pattern: Que Sera by Kirsten Kapur from Knitty Summer 2010
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed
Amount: 8 skeins
Colourway: 520 Hurricane
Needles: 4.50mm
Size: Small
On ravelry: here

Monday, 12 July 2010


April 2010

Good mindless fun to knit up, but horrible to finish, due to all the seaming and the yarn being a bit splitty. I've promised myself a couple of seamless projects after this one to make up for it.

Also, and I'm not sure how I did this, but that neckline. Much too low. I'm not necessarily opposed to flashing a bit of cleavage now and again, but I don't want my bra to be on display. This is down to something I did wrong and not the pattern, since the neckline in the pictures seems much more modest. One day I will work up the motivation to fix it...

I've had a couple of queries since I put this on Ravelry, so it might help to answer them here too:

1. I went down a size to make up for the fact that Bamboo tends to grow. This worked out fine, because the fit is partially determined by how far up into the armholes you join the two side seams, and if you were running low on room, you would easily be able to tweak it.

2. Bamboo Tape appears to stiffen and felt slightly when it's wet, but once it's dry the drape does come back. I'd suggest making a swatch, measuring it, handwashing and drying it and then measuring it again to get an idea of how this yarn behaves.

Pattern: Haru by Marie Wallin from The Bamboo Tape Collection
Yarn: Rowan Bamboo Tape
Amount: 11 skeins
Colourway: 702 Sherbert
Needles: 4.50mm
Size: Smallest
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 11 July 2010


March 2010

This was the pattern I bought Nectar for, although it took me some time to get around to making it. It's a tremendously useful summer piece, very flattering and I seem to get more compliments on it than almost anything else I've made.

The denim bled a lot, and there was masses of finishing off, but it's great to know I'll be able to wear it to death without it deteriorating, because denim is so hard wearing.

Once again, I found cotton to be a bit less forgiving than the wool based yarns I've used. It doesn't seem to stretch in the same way, and any mistakes seem to show up more obviously than they otherwise would. Still, being able to wear handmade knits all year round makes all that worth putting up with, in my opinion.

Pattern: Joy by Kim Hargreaves from Nectar
Yarn: Rowan Denim
Amount: 11 skeins
Colourway: 225 Nashville
Needles: 3.25mm and 3.75mm
Size: 36"
On ravelry: here

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Baby Yoda Hat

May 2010

When a friend tell you they're expecting their second child, and that they're worried about what their Star Wars obsessed toddler is going to make of their new little brother or sister, the only logical solution is to dress the new baby up as Yoda.


This is a great way to experiment with felting. One day I want to make Heroine, and so I jumped at the chance to teach myself this technique.

Pattern: Baby Yoda Hat by Sunshyine Leland
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino
Amount: 1 skein
Colourway: 240
Needles: 8.00mm
Size: 6 - 12 months (approx. 15 inches around the brim)
On ravelry: here

Friday, 9 July 2010

Little Blue Sweater

February 2010

This was my first recycled project - I used the yarn from Polly and turned it into this. I think the end result is much more wearable this time.

The unraveling of Polly and the knitting up of the Little Blue Sweater were both part of the Ravelympics event on Ravelry. Basically the idea is to compete in teams to complete a specific task or project from start to finish during the course of the Winter Olympics. I had a bit of a false start with this project, so I only just made it by the skin of my teeth.

The issue was that I wanted to knit it seamlessly, which is perfectly possible, but only if you remember to mark off the halfway point, and start the cable and lace chart over again when you get there. If you just carry on from wherever you were up to, it all goes a bit wrong. Seems obvious, if you think about it.

Cashsoft chunky is a gorgeous yarn, and stood up to being unravelled beautifully. You would never know this project had had a previous incarnation. Trouble is, it's made me start to look at my other finished objects in a whole new light...

Pattern: Little Blue Sweater by Simona Merchant-Dest from Interweave Knits, Fall 2008
Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashsoft Chunky
Amount: 15 skeins approx.
Colourway: 717 Officer
Needles: 7.00mm
Size: 34.5"
On ravelry: here

Thursday, 8 July 2010

In the Woods

March 2010

I got married in Northern England at Easter 2010, and so it probably goes without saying that I needed something warm to wrap up in.

In the Woods was born of that, and it felt like a real coming of age project, because I'd never attempted something so ambitious before.

I chose red, rather than a more traditional bridal colour, because that was the colour of the flowers, and I quite liked the idea of having a touch of the vamp about me on my wedding day. I don't normally like to be the centre of attention, but my attitude to this was, if they're going to be looking anyway, give them something to look at...

It took a lot of patience and commitment, but it was a joy to make and fabulous to wear.

Pattern: In the Woods by Laura Patterson from
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze
Amount: 5 skeins
Colourway: Liqueur
Needles: 3.50mm
Size: n/a
On ravelry: here

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


February 2010

The more I knit this sort of neckline the more I wonder whether I can carry it off. I think that may have been the issue with Polly too, come to think about it. Still, you live and learn.

Somehow I ended up buying the wrong amount of yarn for this project, and have two skeins of the Ultra Alpaca Light left over. It's such a lovely yarn that I don't mind at all - someone's going to get a lovely hat next Christmas...

I do love this project - maybe slightly less than Annikki from the same collection, but that's one of my favourite FOs ever. Chantal is simple, and yet was novel enough to avoid being a boring knit, despite the fact that the Fisherman's Rib takes a long time to grow.

The ribbing makes it nicely fitted around the waist, despite not having any shaping, and it yarn is so soft and warm that it's had a lot of wear already.

Pattern: Chantal by Norah Gaughan from Norah Gaughan Volume 1
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca and Ultra Alpaca Light
Amount: 2.5 / 5 skeins
Colourway: 6212 / 4212
Needles: 4.50mm and 5.00mm
Size: 34"
On ravelry: here

Rose Red

December 2009

It turns out that Felted Tweed is a great yarn choice for this pattern, since (apart from showing texture beautifully) the medium size leaves you with literally a couple of yards to spare, and there's something very satisfying about that.

This was a last minute Christmas present which I ended up keeping because I liked it so much (and because the intended recipient decided she would like a knitting bag, before she knew I had this OTN).

Still, it was no great hardship to have a lovely red beret to keep me warm through the horribly cold winter of 2009 - 2010.

Gorgeous design, and the pattern could not be more clearly written or fun to follow. Ysolda Teague is amazing, and the only reason I haven't made more of her stuff is that I'm not sure how flattering her sweaters are for top-heavy girls, since a lot of them seem to be based around the inverted-v style. I must make a note to look into it...

Pattern: Rose Red by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed
Amount: 1 skein
Colourway: 150 Rage
Needles: 4.00mm
Size: Medium
On ravelry: here

Monday, 5 July 2010


December 2009

When Rowan bought Lima out, I was very keen to give it a try - I'd never seen anything quite like it before.

I'm not sure I could justify the expense of making a sweater sized project with it (although I do think it would make a beautiful Minimalist Cardigan), but this pattern was ideal.

The majority of the knitting with this one was done on a couple of train journeys between London and Leeds and what a fab commuter project it was - small, portable and very quick.

Lima feels gorgeously soft, but if I was going to work with it again, I would use fairly blunt needles, because I did find it a bit splitty with the sharper ones.

Pattern: Breiwick by Gudrun Johnston
Yarn: Rowan Lima
Amount: 2 skeins
Colourway: 886
Needles: 4.00mm
Size: One size (worsted weight)
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 4 July 2010


January 2010

Rowan's British Sheep Breeds dk is a gorgeous yarn - much softer than I was expecting having used the chunky version and found it a bit scratchy. It looks great too, and (strange as it may sound) smells just like a good yarn ought to.
The diamond effect texture is achieved through a series of slipped stitches which are fully charted. I had to have the chart enlarged, though, since the version in the book would have given me a headache!

If I was to make this again, I would work the cowl differently (it's knit flat and then sewn up, which seems crazy to me) and possibly make the sleeves more fitted, as they do get awfully wide.

Pattern: Kendal by Marie Wallin from Rowan Purelife - the Purelife Winter Collection
Yarn: Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds dk
Amount: 11 skeins
Colourway: Mid Brown Bluefaced Lancaster
Needles: 4.00mm
Size: 32" - 34"
On ravelry: here

Saturday, 3 July 2010


December 2009

This was my first lace stole, and it wasn't nearly as difficult as I was expecting. Seascape is great, because it has both written and charted instructions available for free, and I made use of both.

Other techniques which made life easier during this project were colouring in the charts (all the yarn overs one colour, all the knit 2 togethers another, and so on), using post-it notes to mark where I was up to on the charts and adding a dental floss safety line every time I got to the end of the chart.
This was a Christmas present for a friend of mine, and whilst that was the plan all along, it was very difficult to part with when it came to it. I just LOVE the lace pattern on this stole!

Pattern: Seascape Stole by Kieran Foley from Knitty Summer 2008
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze
Amount: 3 skeins
Colourway: 641 Blackcurrant
Needles: 3.50mm
Size: One size
On ravelry: here

Friday, 2 July 2010

Textured Tunic

October 2009

This was a Christmas present for a friend of mine, but the choice of pattern was entirely selfish - I wanted to make one of these for myself, but I was worried about whether it would suit me or not, so a trail run seemed like a good idea.

As it turns out, I rather like the way it looks on me. Being top heavy, I've had it drilled into me for years that a high neckline won't do me any favours. So I've only made boatneck sweaters twice so far. And yet I loved, and felt fabulous, in both of them. Go figure.

Ones of the great things about knitting for other people is that you get to work with colours which might otherwise be outside of your normal palate, such as this yellow. It really isn't my sort of shade at all, and yet it was fun to work with, and didn't look as bad on me as I'd expected.

So I think this was a success... top-down seamless raglans make great presents, because you can get the recipient to try them on as you go and even get them involved in the modification process if you want to. It may spoil the surprise, but I figure a beautifully-fitting sweater is worth it.

We did modify this quite a bit - it's shorter than it's meant to be, the sleeves are a different shape, it has waist shaping and there's a couple of garter stitch rows at the neckline, because I was concerned it might roll over if it was just stocking stitch. It's a great pattern, though - anyone who can make a chunky yarn look as flattering as this is a genius as far as I'm concerned.

Pattern: Textured Tunic by Stefanie Japel from Fitted Knits
Yarn: Sirdar Tweedie Chunky
Amount: 7 skeins
Colourway: 283 Grouse
Needles: 6.00mm
Size: 37"
On ravelry: here

Thursday, 1 July 2010

04 Cabled Beret

October 2009

I modified this pattern into a beanie style hat rather than a beret, but that was very easily done - I just went down a couple of needle sizes and left out the first cable repeat.

The intention was to use up a spare skein of Kid Classic I had stashed. Unfortunately it didn't quite go far enough, and so I had to buy another, which I hardly used any of.

Back to square one - I expect one day I'll whip up a pair of coordinating mittens!

Pattern: 04 Cabled Beret by Debbie Bliss from Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine Fall/Winter 2008
Yarn: Rowan Kid Classic
Amount: 2 skeins
Colourway: Victoria
Needles: 4.00mm
Size: One size
On ravelry: here