Saturday, 26 March 2011


March 2011

This gorgeous little baby vest came up for testing about a week before one of my best friends was due to have her first baby.

Having given a bit of thought to the issue of what I could knit for a baby born in March which would actually come in useful, I'd originally settled on Anouk, but given how much Malabrigo Sock I had left over from Folded I couldn't resist making her this little vest too.

Aubrey was fast, easy and fun to make. There was a bit of sewing up because the front and back are worked separately and then seamed, but not too much. I was really glad I got the opportunity to test it.

I love Malabrigo Sock as a baby yarn - it's machine washable after all, and very, very soft. And the colours are pretty funky too. I think one skein would probably be enough to make this and matching bootees and a matching hat, because I still have a little bit leftover.

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock
Amount: About 0.4 skeins
Colourway: Rayon Vert
Needles: 3.50mm
Size: Small
On ravelry: here

Thursday, 24 March 2011


March 2011

This yarn was a Christmas present bought for me by a generous friend during a trip to New York. It's always lovely to have other people buy you yarn, especially when they have only the vaguest of ideas about what you usually knit with, because you can end up with some wonderful surprises.

I wanted a fairly simple pattern for this yarn so that the beautiful colour changes didn't get lost under some fancy detail or other. Having been sorely tempted by Clara and Myrtle I settled on Folded, because it looked like the sort of sweater I could get a lot of use from.

All that stocking stitch in such a lightweight yarn was pretty tedious, and as a result I took about three months to get this done.

Some fairly minor mods:
  • I added a little length (about half an inch or so);
  • 3 of the pleats are supposed to lean one way and 3 the other (so that they're all facing inwards). It doesn't bother me, but I think I must have done something wrong, because mine all seem to face the same way;
  • I made the sleeves flat and seamed them, because in order to knit them in the round, I would have needed to use DPNs, and I found it very difficult to get a neat result that way (due, I think, to a fatal combination of lightweight yarn and fairly heavy wooden DPNs); and
  • I added 6 rows of garter stitch at the neckline. The pattern would have you work it in stocking stitch, but I found it rolled over on itself that way.
Normally I would have added a bit of a bust-dart too, but this is fairly loose fitting and I didn't really see the need. As a result it's roomier around my hips and waist than around my bust, but I don't mind that. Being quite loosely knit, the Malabrigo sock has a really lovely drape.

Pattern: Folded by Veera Välimäki
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock
Amount: About 2.2 skeins
Colourway: Rayon Vert
Needles: 3.50mm
Size: Small
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Wintergreen Mittens

March 2011

My Mum has a habit of buying yarns without a specific project in mind. This is A Good Thing, because sometimes they get donated to me, and I have a hunt around for something suitable. In this instance, I discovered Kate Gilbert's Wintergreen Mittens and immediately decided I had to make them. If only because I couldn't for the life of me work out how the leaf pattern was actually made.

March may not really be the ideal time of year to make mittens, but when you only have one skein of something, your options can be limited. And anyway, it's Mother's Day soon, and I'll seize upon any opportunity to make a knitted gift.

My husband loves this pattern so much he wants me to adapt it and make a cushion or something, which I may well do one day.

For now I'm glad I learned the technique of twisting stitches in stranded knitting on something fairly small.

Hard work, but so worth it.

Pattern: Wintergreen Mittens by Kate Gilbert
Yarn: Sirdar Click dk with wool (MC) and King Cole Merino Blend dk (CC)
Amount: 1 skein of each
Colourway: 128 Tarn (MC) / 41 Oatmeal (CC)
Needles: 2.75mm
Size: dk size
On ravelry: here

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


March 2011

Thanks to using a recycled yarn and a freebie pattern, the total project cost for this was £7.25 - not bad for a sweater which I think I'm going to get a LOT of use from.

The yarn has previously been Chantal, which was nice enough, but I'd made it a little on the large side, and anyway I'm increasingly less convinced about crew-necked sweaters on me. So I frogged it, wound it into loose hanks, tied some white cotton around them to keep them tidy, soaked them in the bath for an hour, rolled them in some towels to help dry them off and let them hang from hooks with a little bit of weight attached. Once dried, there were no kinks left at all - and the yarn knitted up as good as new.

I did need to buy one extra skein in order to make the sleeves, and since I'd finished the body at that point, I wound it into two balls of equal weight, one for each sleeve, and made them as long as that would allow (around 57 rows as it turns out). I really like the end result though - it's very practical.

I also reshaped this from an a-line into a fitted sweater with bust darts because I thought that would flatter my figure best. Full details of how I did it can be found on my ravelry page.

As far as I can see there was no noticeable difference between the yarn I'd recycled and the top-up supplies I ordered, colour wise. They did come from the same shop, though, and so it's possible that I matched dyelots without realising.

Pattern: Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light
Amount: 6 skeins
Colourway: 4212 Gordoba Grape
Needles: 3.50mm
Size: Custom
On ravelry: here

Monday, 7 March 2011

Modern Garden Cardigan

February 2011

I think I must have bought this yarn shortly after it first came out. Sirdar yarns are so reasonably priced that when you spot something you like the look of, it's hard to resist (next on my wishlist to try out is Eco Wool dk).

The difficulty is - in my opinion at least - that Sirdar's pattern support tends to be rather less fashion led than the likes of Rowan and Berroco and is certainly less comprehensive. It's no coincidence that the other project I have completed using this yarn wasn't designed specifically for it either.

So having got your three bags full home and safely stashed it's not always immediately obvious what to do next. But then I spotted a version of this cardigan on ravelry, and right away realised the wait had been worthwhile.

My gauge was way off with this project even with the yarn held double. To compensate I made a size medium whereas I would usually have opted for a small, and added a bit of length to make up for my row-gauge by using a larger chart than the pattern had intended.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it, fit-wise and very impressed by the design. It only took about a week (despite a slight misunderstanding on my part regarding the yoke decreases), and you can't beat a bit of instant gratification!

Pattern: Modern Garden Cardigan by Veera Välimäki
Yarn: Sirdar Tweedie Chunky
Amount: 10 skeins
Colourway: 284 Roasted Berry
Needles: 8.00mm
Size: Medium
On ravelry: here

Cable and Cowl Pullover

February 2011

This pretty pretty yarn has had quite an innings. First it was Francis Revisited and then it was recycled into a Textured Tunic but neither of those felt quite right, fit-wise, and so it lives again as Matthew Gnagy's Cable and Cowl Pullover (which was available as free ravelry download at the time).

The original version of this sweater is worked from the bottom up, flat with shorter sleeves which are made seamlessly by casting on and then casting off extra stitches at the armholes. They are decorated with the same cables as the body and - after a hole has been made for the neckline - carried on straight up and over the back so that they can be folded over at the shoulder.

This is a rough guide to what I did, with profuse apologies if my maths doesn't quite work out. I did a really bad job of making notes this time.

My version has full length set-in sleeves in the same Irish Moss Stitch which frames the cabled section in the body of the sweater. I find cowl-necked sweaters so warm to wear that I thought it would be more practical like that.

I worked the body from the bottom up in the round (which meant messing about with the written instructions for the cabled sections a bit on the even rows so that all the purl stitches were knitted and vice versa, but that was easily done). I added waist shaping by decreasing 4 stitches every fifth round three times and then increasing again around where I thought my waist would be.

When I got to about 14.5" long I split the front and back onto separate circular needles and (starting with the back because I was fudging it) worked back and forth to make armholes for set in sleeves by casting off two stitches at the beginning of the next two rows and then decreasing one stitch at the beginning of the next six rows.

I then worked even back and forth until the total length of the sweater was about 20" before making the neckline by casting off the centre 22 or so stitches and - taking each side separately - working a few more rows with decreases on the neckline side until there were about 5 stitches left for the shoulder seams (which were eventually sewn together). Following the cowl instructions as written worked out fine.

The sleeves were also worked in the round on DPNs starting with 18 rows of 2x2 ribbing over 48 stitches with decreases every sixth row and then after switching to larger needles and Irish Moss I worked a further 82 rows increasing 2 stitches evenly every tenth row or so to 56 stitches (about 18.5" long).

To mirror the armhole shaping, I made the sleeve cap by casting off two at the start of rows 101 and 102 and then decreased one stitch at each end of rows 103 through 109. I worked the rest of the sleeve cap by decreasing at each end of every other row until there were about 8 stitches left.

Pattern: Cable and Cowl Pullover by Matthew Gnagy
Yarn: Sirdar Peru Naturals
Amount: 8.5 skeins
Colourway: Machu Picchu
Needles: 5.00mm and 5.50mm
Size: Small
On ravelry: here