Sunday, 28 December 2014


November 2014

The yarn I used for this project first made it into my stash five years ago, and since then I’ve planned about five different projects for it. Some of my favourite hand knitted sweaters are in kidsilk haze (particularly Shirley and Lucetta) and I have a copy of Rowan Studio 12 in my library, which has some lovely kidsilk haze patterns in it. Then I stumbled upon Parisian Nights, dithered between this and Sauvingnon for a while, but then finally cast on Chablis about a year ago.

I chose the second size up - which gives me a little bit less positive ease than the design perhaps intended - because I’ve noticed a tendency among my mohair hand knits to hang a little loose after a couple of wears, and they seem to resist blocking back into shape. I’m pretty happy with the way this fits, though. I think any baggier would be less flattering.

I made this in one piece to the armholes and knitted the sleeves in the round on a small circular. It was lucky that they were wide enough to allow this, because sewing up with mohair isn’t much fun. For the little bit of seaming I did do, I found a bit of cotton in a similar colour to the mohair and used that instead.

This was my first attempt at beading, and I was dreading the stringing the beads onto the yarn part. Turns out that it doesn’t take all that long after all, and knitting them into the lace panels was really good fun. I’m definitely planning on knitting more beaded stuff soon.

There was something of a delay to this project, because my first attempt came out a little too short in the body. In the end I just cut into it (just above the moss stitch band which trims the bottom hem) and unravelled a bit to get live stitches back onto the needle. It was an enormous faff, because the mohair is so very keen on gripping to itself, but it did mean that I could just knit downwards until I had the length I wanted. Next time I make something bottom-up I’m going to use a provisional cast on and save myself the bother. If I remember.

Pattern: Chablis by Marie Wallin from Rowan Parisian Nights
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze in 582 Trance and Rowan Fine Lace in Cream
Amount: 6 Skeins of main colour, about 0.25 skeins of contrast colour
Needles: 2.25mm
Size: Small
On ravelry: here

Sunday, 21 December 2014


October 2014

My little boy loves tractors. He's not the first, and he won't be the last. But as I prefer to make my knitwear as appealing to him as possible so that we don't fall out, I've been scouring ravelry for this sort of thing for quite some time. If he's still into that sort of thing next year, then I might have a go at this one. I'm sort of hoping he will have moved on to dinosaurs, though. Or pirates. Or space.

The tractor chart used in this jumper is from this Finnish website, but I preferred the way it had been deployed in nupsi’s version, and so I copied that. This project was improvised, save for her notes and the chart from Novita.

This is a 4-ply jumper knitted on 2.75mm needles (and 2.25mm for the ribbing) so my gauge was probably roughly about where it should be.

George is nearly 3 in this picture, and this will fit him until he is nearly 4, I think. Based on a nicely fitting jumper of his, I was aiming for something measuring roughly: chest 27”, length 16”, sleeve seam 10”.

In my gauge, that was 104 stitches. I worked 2x2 rib for 6 grey rows, 2 red rows and then 6 more grey rows. I started the first tractor 10 stocking stitch rows up from the end of the ribbing and 35 stitches into the row. The second tractor is on row 92, and I started armhole shaping on row 105.

To make the armholes, I cast off 6 stitches twice then 2 stitches four times.

I made the neckline on row 128, by casting off the middle 35 stitches and then decreasing 5 stitches at neckline side on the next 2 rows. I wouldn't recommend that, though - I didn’t like the shape this gave me, and tidied it up a bit with short row shaping in the neckline rib. Even then, I still don't like it much, but it's wearable. I Must make something less wide next time.

The shoulder shaping started on row 148.

For the sleeves, I cast on 56 and worked in rib as for body. Then I worked even in stocking stitch, increasing 2 stitches on the 3rd and every following 8th row to 10”. I shaped the arm cap by casting off 6 stitches twice then 2 stitches four times and then 1 stitch at the start of every row until there were about 36 stitches left. At that point I decided that the arm cap looked a bit big, so speeded up by decreasing 1 stitch at each end of every row until 18 stitches were left. They seemed to fit into the armscye pretty well.

Pattern: 71. Traktorineule by Minna Metsänen / improvised
Yarn: King Cole Zig Zag in 49 Clerical (gray) and 761 Ruby (red)
Rowan Pure Wool 4-ply in Avocado 419 (green) and 454 Gerbera (yellow)
Rowan Wool Cotton 4-ply in 495 Marine
Amount: 2 Skeins of main colours, scraps of others
Needles: 2.25mm and 2.75mm
Size: 3 - 4 years
On ravelry: here

Friday, 19 December 2014

A Pair of Stockings

September 2014

These were long overdue. As an avid knitter, it was beginning to feel a bit wrong that my little boy didn't have a Christmas Stocking. As George was to have one, his cousin needed one too, as they are to spend Christmas together. Besides, I wanted to practise fair isle, play with colours and have an excuse to collect loads of Felted Tweed.

These are a knithack/mismatch of several patterns - primarily Spindleknitter's Stockings and Ho Ho Ho along with a couple of charts from The Tapdancing Lizard by Catherine Cartwright-Jones and Roy Jones and 150 Scandinavian Motifs by Mary Jane Mucklestone. A full list of what came from where is set out below.

From bottom to top: 

  • Red hearts on blue - improvised
  • Yellow bells on brown - from Spindleknitters Stockings
  • Holly on green - from Spindleknitters Stockings
  • White snowflakes on purple - from DROPS b21-32
  • Brown reindeer on blue - from 150 Scandinavian Motifs 
  • Yellow stars on navy - from The Tapdancing Lizard 
  • Green trees on white - from 150 Scandinavian Motifs
  • White snowmen on red - from DROPS 0-792

  • Train - from The Tapdancing Lizard
  • Green chevrons - improvised
  • Yellow and blue squares - improvised
  • Trees - from Spindleknitters Stockings
  • Yellow stars on navy - from 150 Scandinavian Motifs
  • Brown reindeer on white - from DROPS 122-1
  • Paper dolls - from 150 Scandinavian Motifs
  • Snowmen on blue - improvised

Worked heel as per Spindleknitters Stockings. Worked in dk over roughly 72 stitches increasing and decreasing as needed to make charts fit.

Lessons I learned from making these - three colour colour work is faffy and tight and needs a lot of untangling, colour work is so addictive that it's easy to end up making a stocking so massive it'll take you forever to fill it, a stocking tapering out upwards from the heel is the shape I like best and felted tweed has the most gorgeous palate of colours ever.

Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed dk in Scree, Sigh, Seafarer, Paisley, Rage, Mineral, Treacle, Clay, Pine and Herb
Needle: 3.25 mm
On ravelry here.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


August 2014

I have a rather large stash. And a rather long list of favourite patterns on ravelry. They have both reached the point at which it's impossible to keep track of everything. But every once on a while the list of patterns I want to make and the pool of yarns in my available stash mysteriously intersect, and so it was with Olive.

Olive is available in long sleeve and short sleeve options, and has interesting construction in that the yoke is made first and then stitches are picked up around the edge and knitted downwards to make the body and sleeves.

I knitted the yoke flat and seamed it, since garter stitch is more fun flat that in the round (no purling). Other than that I followed the pattern as written but made a size which would give me less positive ease than was intended, as I thought it would be more flattering that way.

The main colour yarn is some very very gorgeous super wash 4-ply by Old Maiden Aunt in a colour way called Lon-dubh which is gaelic for blackbird. The contrast colours came from one ball of Noro Silk Garden Sock. As always seems to be the case with Noro, there were stretches of unappealing colour which I cut out, and if I'm honest all those bright yellows and oranges aren't really my cup of tea either. Used sparingly in such a pretty design feature though I think they look great.

If I was to make this again I think I would probably take a bit of volume out of the sleeves, as I think they would look better if they sat slightly closer to the body. Even so, I'm really happy with how this one turned out, and chuffed that I've got another handkint specifically for the warmer weather. There's nothing like wearing your own work all year round.

Pattern: Olive by Helga Isager
Main colour: Old Maiden Aunt Superwash 4-ply in Lon-dubh
Contrast Colour: Noro Silk Garden Sock in 341
Size: Smallest
On ravelry: here