Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Wee Chickadee

April 2016

This little cardigan is one of the cutest partrns I have seen in ages, and Ysolda Teague’s patterns are always really well written, so I couldn’t resist it. This was made for my baby daughter Lucy as an extra layer to throw on on those cooler summer days, though admittedly my choice of colours meant that it seemed to coordinate with fewer outfits than I would have hoped.

My one gripe was that although I thought I had followed the pattern to the letter, the top buttonhole of the cardigan was much to low down, which meant that the collar appeared to come up very high on Lucy. I’m not sure if it’s a problem others have had too, or just one of those things, but it’s definitely something I would keep an eye on if I was to make this again.

This yarn proved a little disappointing too. It’s cheap, it makes colour work look very good, and it’s machine washable and soft, so it had great potential. Sadly though, I found it didn’t wash very well, and had to do a little repair job on a couple of snapped stitches after a few washes.

With the suggested needle size - 3.25mm - my gauge was 26.5st to 10cm blocked, so I went down to 3mm.

Pattern: Wee Chickadee by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: King Cole Merino Blend 4-ply in Stone (blue), Emperor (purple) and Aran (white)
Size: Smallest
On ravelry: here

Monday, 31 October 2016

A pair of Traktorgensers in Yarn Stories Fine Merino dk

August 2016

Some time ago I was sent a big bag of Yarn Stories Fine Merino dk to try. It took me a long time to settle on what to make with it, but this summer I decided that this Norwegian tractor pattern was just about gorgeous enough to do it justice. Only just, mind you.

Fine Merino dk is so beautiful knitted up that everyone in my knitting group wanted to know what I had used. It's incredibly soft and, as these sweaters would suggest, the colour palate is very pretty. I'm always on the look out for yarns which take colour work well - I tend to use yarns heavy in natural fibres for most of my colour work, and they can sometimes be a bit coarse and itchy. Not this one. It is incredibly soft and also machine washable, which makes it ideal for children's clothes. Let's face it, they get dirty.

The yarn does have some fantastic pattern support on the Yarn Stories website. Amelia is just one example, and originally I was sorely tempted to make one for myself. One day I probably will, but this tractor pattern had been on my wish list for over a year, and as my son is increasingly fussy about me not dressing him in scratchy wool, I thought I had better whip up a couple of these first.

The pattern itself is by Sadnes Design, and only available in Norwegian, but once again, I ran it thought google translate, applied a little bit of common sense et voila. I had great fun playing around with the fairisle motifs and colours, as I didn't feel that both sweaters needed to be identical. 

It's worth noting that not all of that yoke is made by stranding however. By the time you get to the exhaust pipes, your floats would be unmanageably long, and so the bits of contrast colour are added using swiss darning/duplicate stitch. More loose ends to sew in, but it is the only way to prevent the finished object from being terribly wrinkly - I can see why the pattern was written that way

Profuse apologies for the lack of any modelled photos of the small one. It's going to fit my little girl next winter, I think, not this one. I really hope I can come back and add some in due course. There needs to be a photograph of them both wearing their matching sweaters and one day there will be, so watch this space.

Thankfully George's is also a bit on the large side too at the moment, and so here it is modelled with great panache by his friend Albie.

In conclusion, this was a fun project in which a fabulous yarn met a handsome pattern and produced a pair of practical, warm and appealing garments. Happy days!

Pattern: 1308-14 Traktorgenser by Sadnes Design
Yarn: Yarn Stories Fine Merino dk in French Navy, Taupe, Thistle and Mulberry
Size: 6 years (taupe), 12 months (purple)
On ravelry: here

Friday, 30 September 2016


June 2016

I spotted these little shorts on ravelry a few years ago, and thought that were so cute, I was determined to have a go at them. Lucy is just learning to crawl, and so we're mostly going to be giving dresses a miss over the winter, as they're not the most practical at this age. Shorts make a lovely alternative, particularly as she's less prone to nappy leakage now she's on solids - probably too much information, that, but given the work that went into these, I would rather they didn't get poo on them. I don't think that's unreasonable really...

This is a pattern which is only available in Norwegian, but with the help of google translate and a little bit of common sense I managed to make it out. In this day and age, when there are so many supportive people out there in cyberspace, it's nice to think that the lack of an English version of a pattern is no reason not to have a go anyway. The Excuse Me? group on ravelry is especially helpful when it comes to translating the tricky bits, but for the most part, google translate is more than adequate.

These shorts have a drawstring waist to hold them up. The pattern suggests threading the cord drawstring through at the end after you have sewn the waistband hem down already. I thought it might be easier to add it as I went.

As these have folded over and sewn down hems at the waist and legs, I think that if I was to make them again I might work the inside part of the hems in a contrast colour, as it's a very cute look.

These are a little on the snug side, but should see Lucy through winter ok - I wanted to stick with a stitch count which would make sure the chart ended in the right spot. I also moved the start of round to the back of the shorts, as I there was bound to be a slight jpg in the olourwork where one round ended and the next began, and I felt I would rather have that happen there than at the front (although there’s something to be said for doing it the other way around when you’re knitting for someone who spends so much time with their bum in the air).

I did pick up some stitches inside the shorts and knit a reenforced gusset, as they felt a little bit loose there. I am a little bit envious of Lucy's knitted hot pants, and toying with the idea of improvising an adult pair, but if I do, I'll probably skip that bit, as I don't fancy the woollen double gusset much.

These were knitted from stash using a 4-ply sock yarn which long since lost it's label. I think it might well have been King Cole zigzag but I wouldn't swear to it.

Pattern: Stjerneshorts by Tina Hauglund
Yarn: Grey/cream wool blend 4-ply of unknown origin
Size: 6-12 months
On ravelry: here

Monday, 29 February 2016

A pair of Colorblocks

December 2015

Every year I knit a little something for the children of my husband's cousin, Daniel and Emily, and this year just for a change I thought it would be cute to make his and hers matching jumpers. I needed a fairly quick knit though - with a baby due on December 22nd I was loath to commit to any Christmas projects which might prove too labour intensive. A worsted weight top down in the round jumper fitted the bill perfectly.

I'd spotted this pattern on ravelry a while ago. Garter stitch always makes very attractive looking stripes in my opinion, and the construction of that pocket intrigued me whilst the rest of the garnet promised just the right amount of fairly mindless knitting.

This pattern has some very pleasing little design details - the hem being slightly lower in the back than the front through short row shaping for example, and as I knitted it I couldn't help but wish more of my sweaters were shaped like that. Plus it's a truly unisex design, and so perfect for a brother and sister. (Emily has apparently got her eyes on Daniel's version - the red and grey - once he gets too big for it).

The Rowan Pure Wool Worsted I used for this is a fabulous yarn. It's not cheap (especially when you don't need to use very much of the contrast colour, as with this pattern), but it comes in every colour you could ever want, washes beautifully, is properly warm and cosy and not itchy in the slightest. It knits up into a very handsome looking and pleasingly squishy fabric.

I love the fact that it's a proper worsted since the UK market doesn't seem to be particularly spoiled for choice when it comes to that particular weight, and yet there are vast swathes of patterns (particularly from the USA) which call for it. Knitting with this makes me understand how a petrolhead would feel driving a ferrari, if you see what I mean. And besides, these were Christmas presents, so I could justify the cost.

I can see myself coming back to this pattern at some point, as it was such a fun, quick knit and these little sweaters are the sort of wardrobe staple that could see any child through a long, British winter or two. And thanks to Rowan, there are many colour combinations left to try.  

Pattern: Colorblock by Oomieknits
Size: 4 years and 6 years
Yarn: Rowan pure wool worsted in Mustard, Damson, Charcoal and Rich Red
Needle: 4.5mm
On ravelry: here

Friday, 29 January 2016

South Pole Jumper

December 2015

I recently discovered the work of Jorid Linvik, and in partiular loved these little penguins from the South Pole hat. I was really keen to use them somewhere, and when I took George’s chest measurement, it turned out to be close enough to the circumference of the hat that I could just follow the chart as written, without having to add any stitches. I just used slightly larger needles.

Having had a go at the fish in the South Pole hat pattern, I decided they were perhaps a bit grown up and subtle for a child’s pattern, and so I swapped them over with the Swedish Fish Socks chart. It’s a lot cuter that way.

This was basically worked bottom up, but having dithered about the fish I worked in both directions at different stages. I started it just under the penguins using a provisional cast on so I could play around with the length later on.

The neckline looks slightly sloppy to me, and might need to be ripped back and redone, but in fairness he has been wearing it unblocked today so it might settle down. He also has a habit of trying to chew at the collars of his jumpers at the moment, which doesn’t help!

All of the yarns I used are very soft and not at all itchy, as George is approaching that fussy age. I particularly like the Berroco Vintage dk, even if I did encounter a slight different-dyelots-not-matching problem with it. Entirely my fault of course.

Pattern: 9-9 Sweater with Raglan Sleeves by Garnstudio DROPS design incorporating South Pole Hat by Jorid Linvik and Swedish Fish Socks by SpillyJane
Size: 4 years
Yarn: Berroco Vintage dk in blue-green 449, John Lewis Heritage dk in demin and cream, Sirdar Snuggly dk in light blue, Garnstudio DROPS Karisma Superwash dk in dark grey.
Needle: 3.5mm
On ravelry: here

Monday, 18 January 2016


December 2015

I haven't had much luck with dresses. I tried twice to improvise something with a skull pattern around the hem - the first time it got coffee spilled on it and stained, the second time I managed to felt it shortly after finishing it. The only picture I managed to take first is here.

So it was with some trepidation that I embarked on Embrace. However, I had some yarn to recycle from this, which just wasn't getting the wear it deserved. Kid Classic is a wonderful yarn, warm, flattering and it wears very well. I have some projects I made in it years ago which hardly show their age at all.

This was also a bit of a worrying knit because I was pregnant whilst I made it, and so unable to try it on as I went. Indeed, I was slightly unsure about what my figure was going to do after the baby arrived, and so I had to feel my way in the dark a little. These pictures are about 3 weeks postpartum, and I've been pleasantly surprised with how it's looking. Horribly impractical for breastfeeding, mind you, but I'm a dedicated knitter, and I wear it anyway.

Embrace was knitted in the round from the bottom up to the armhole, then front and back yoke knitted separately. The original pattern would have you knit the front, back and sleeves flat and seam them, but I that seemed like a really silly idea to me. The sleeves done in the round on DPNs.

One thing that pissed me off a bit about this pattern (apart from it being made available for free after I had already bought it) was the amount of loose ends which needed to be sewn in due to the yoke being worked flat. I’m not quite brave enough with steeking to have converted it to be worked like that instead, but if anyone is, it would be much more sensible. I expect Kid Classic would steek beautifully.

The chart repeats on the back don’t quite line up, but I’m not really bothered. Tired, tired pregnancy knitting. I think it’s beautiful anyway despite usually having a bit of an aversion to yellow.

The original pattern had drop-sleeve armholes, a higher neckline and no sleeves. I decided to add a lower neckline and set-in sleeves based on another of Sarah Hatton’s patterns for Kid Classic from the same collection, Cosy. If I'm being really harsh, I'd say the ribbed section at the cuffs might benefit from being longer, as it's not lying especially flat at the moment. If I can dig out some more of the Kid Classic, that should be a fairly easy modification to make, though.

I'm also wearing it with less positive ease than perhaps was intended, as I've convinced myself that's the best way to flatter my figure.

It's safe to say that this has convinced me that my luck with dresses might have finally changed, and I'm already mentally queuing umpteen others - BloomKejaBressayLaneway, DarlingtonKristinaLidiya... the list goes on. Oh, and I have a 95% complete Still Light which needs to come out of hibernation at some point in 2016 - it's going to be a busy year.

Pattern: Embrace by Sarah Hatton from Rowan Studio 14
Size: Small, but with bust darts
Yarn: Rowan Kid Classic in 888 Pumice, 831 Smoke and 877 Mellow
Needle: 3.75mm
On ravelry: here

Thursday, 14 January 2016


December 2015

I spotted this lovely set a while ago whilst the pattern was unavailable because it was being updated, so I was really pleased to find it was available again in time for me to make one for my daughter. Having expected her to come early, like her brother had, she actually turned up 10 days late. This was something I knitted up around week 40 - 41 of my pregnancy whilst waiting for her to to arrive. I used leftovers from my purple and yellow colorblock sweater.

The pattern includes instructions for a steeked version and a non-steeked version. I don't mind steeking, but in this case I decided not to, since I was using a super wash wool, and I wasn't sure if it would be grippy enough to hold.

One ball of the yellow was enough for the cardigan, but there was virtually nothing leftover, and I had to buy a second for the matching bonnet.

I worked an extra row between colour changes in a couple of places to avoid having to cut the yarn to get it to where I needed it.

M1 increases throughout yoke were done with backward loop cast on, as lifting a strand between stitches can look a bit odd if it's not the right colour.

This was a really quick and satisfying knit - I mostly seem to use 4-ply these days so making something in worsted made for really rapid progress. I'd definitely make this again - it's one of the prettiest baby sets I've seen for ages. My little girl has worn it a few times already, although it's still a bit big for her. The fact that the sleeves have yarn stranded round them for the entire length means they're not especially stretchy, but we managed to get them on and off without too much fuss in the end. 

Pattern: Merriment Bonnet and Cardigan by
Size: 3 months
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Worsted in 150 Damson and 133 Gold and John Lewis Heritage Merino Blend dk
Needle: 4.00mm
On ravelry: here