Completed cardigan!

Completed cardigan!

I finally finished a hand knit cardigan for myself. Here it is!

IMG_0239

This garment started with the yarn. I visited the Bendigo Sheep Show in July 2012 with my friend Sarah, her Mum and Julian who was at that time 12 months old. We had a great day, watched some sheep shearing, admired the sheep and ogled lots and lots of beautiful yarn and fibre. There was a stand selling 1kg lots of seconds 100% merino for $25. It was branded as “100% Merino” but I discovered after the show on Ravelry that it was Pear Tree Yarns who were having production problems selling off all their stock. Sadly they have now gone out of business. This was their 8ply (dk) yarn and the other lot I bought is a mauve 10ply (worsted).

IMG_0249

I cast on in October 2012, gave it a rest over summer, and was trying to finish it to wear the Australian winter of 2013. The body was finished when my husband and I had a winter long weekend getaway where I was determined to finish it. Unfortunately I spent most of that weekend in the bathroom vomiting or lying queasily on the couch (morning sickness with Tessa). What with a difficult pregnancy, newborn and international move, the cardigan got put down for a long time. But now it’s done, at last.

IMG_0243

The pattern is Something Silver by Veera Valimaki.  It’s not very well suited to my body shape, and is not a pattern that I would choose now, to be frank. I chose it because of this beautiful version by Ganeshas on Ravelry. I made the size 42 (in July 2012 my bust was about 42″) added buttons al the way down the front, added full length sleeves and added a few more stitches to the upper arms. Given that my bust circumference is now 3-3.5″ larger really I am lucky that it fits at all.

IMG_0279

You can see that buttoned up it is really not the best look for me. Also the armhole depth is not enough and those raglan seams are tight and uncomfortable. This pulls the wide neckline even wider to the point where the whole cardigan slips sideways off my shoulders (I pulled it up for the photos but they slip off as I move). The sleeves are blissfully long enough – 19″ from underarm to cuff seems to be a good length for me – thank goodness for customization!

IMG_0297

The wooden buttons are form Buttonmania, purchased when I was convinced this cardi was almost done! It is the most delightful button shop I’ve ever visited and worth having to collapse the pram and take the baby and all your stuff out to ride the very antiquated lift in the Nicholas Building.

Final result – this cardigan is pretty hot to wear despite the lace, meaning I’m not sure that I’d want to make a garment out of the mauve 10ply, so I’m a bit unsure what to do with that. I do really like the pattern design, the pockets and wide garter bands are lovely and I like the overall diagonal lace pattern. I’m going to wear the cardigan because I’m determined to, not because it’s the most beautiful garment to wear. The tight underarms are pretty annoying. But it’s done! Onward and upward (and CustomFit sweaters from now on…..)

IMG_0257

Advertisements
Mini chic cardigan for Tessa

Mini chic cardigan for Tessa

I finally finished Tessa’s summer cardigan – and now it’s November and pretty chilly around these parts. That’s ok because she can still wear it indoors as everywhere here is well heated. It’s not going to fit for long though, maybe a month or two. I’ve been working on this cardi at my knitting group for the entire three months I’ve been going and someone mentioned that I better have another baby if I don’t finish it soon. I was actually very bored with all that white stockinette, so the comment really gave me the momentum to finish it!

IMG_8155

The yarn is  Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton 8ply in the colour parchment. It is a very smooth and soft cotton, and seems quite thin for in 8ply/dk weight. I enjoyed knitting with it much more than the other cotton yarn I’ve used, which was Debbie Bliss cotton dk. I think the problem with my previous cotton project was that the gauge and yarn I was working at meant that the knitted fabric was really stiff and knitting at that firm gauge hurt my hands. That cardigan is still really stiff after repeated washing and wearings which is a pity.  The fabric for this little card is really drapy which I much prefer.

IMG_8054

You can see here that my tension in the yoke section is quite different to my tension working the sleeves in the round (I used magic loop). Only a knitter would notice that though and I presume that they’d be too polite to say it to my face!

IMG_8158

I have to say that I’m not a huge fan of this pattern, Mini Chic by Katie White. While the resultant cardigan is cute, the pattern just didn’t have the nice finishing details that I have come to expect. I knit the very similar Granny’s favourite by Georgie Hallam when I was pregnant with Tessa and it had slip stitches to prevent the garter button bands flipping over and instructions for tightening up the loose stitches under the arms which I appreciated. I also think that the Mini Chic cast on instructions give you a very, very tight cast on edge (perhaps in response to complaints it was too loose) which I blocked out as much as possible and it is only just big enough.

IMG_8058

The only changes I made to the pattern was to do some decreases in the first row of the garter wrist cuffs (I trick I picked up from Granny’s favorite) so that I didn’t have sloppy cuffs. The buttons were ones from my button tin, so may have come from one of my grandmothers.

Overall I’m really pleased with it and hope to dress Tessa in it as much as possible for the next month!

A cardigan for the upcoming baby

So finally at 37 weeks I have finished a knitted garment for the upcoming bub.

IMG_4768

The pattern is Granny’s favourite by Georgie Hallam. I knit the 16″ chest or 3 month size, with middie length sleeves and approximately dress length body, though in actual fact I just knit until I ran out of yarn. We will see how it fits in due course but it does seem quite short and wide. My gauge after blocking was slightly too loose 22.5 or 23 stitches per 10cm, not the 22 stitches stated so that might be part of the problem.

IMG_4771 IMG_4775

I enjoyed knitting this pattern, and it introduced me to a new technique – make one, using a simple backwards loop. I just googled for a youtube video as per usual.

IMG_4773 IMG_4774

The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8ply that I dyed myself. This skein was originally intended to be a hat for Althea but I was just never really inspired to knit that. The yarn was dyed twice, once as a multicolour which was awful, then overdyed as a solid (the post about that is here). The result is a semi-solid, and I am quite pleased about how it looks knitted up. I don’t think that the colour changes detract from the lace pattern.

The buttons are plastic ones from Spotlight, I had to use reasonably large ones to keep the cardigan securely closed even though they are only yarn over buttonholes.

I have been gifted several other gorgeous hand kits for this baby – I are so lucky and my knitting friends have been very generous. But I am also pleased to have been able to make something myself. It gives me that good mama feeling, which can be a bit precious and fleeting amid the crazy chaos of family life!

My first lined jacket, speedy girl dress and conquering the blind hem foot

Well I can’t say I expected my first lined jacket to be in size 56cm (about a 000 I guess) but it turns out that it is!

IMG_4494 IMG_4495

The pattern is Pikku Lapanen, from Ottobre 4/2012 – number 6. It’s a lovely little pattern designed for sweatshirt knit with a jersey lining – I used velour for the outer and cotton-lycra jersey from the inside. The velour is cotton rich and I hand dyed it teal many years ago and used it to make myself a Farbenmix Beala hoodie (Flicker set here!)

IMG_4428 IMG_4431

The instructions for joining the lining and the body sleeves required a bit of thinking over, but the technique worked and produced a lovely finish with no exposed seams.

IMG_4438 IMG_4498

The hood seams sewn last and then the edges are bound together using a ribbing strip. I was actually very disappointed with the ribbing trim finish – the first time that Ottobre instructions and techniques have not yielded good results! I wish I had used fold over elastic instead.

IMG_4502 IMG_4500

The inside of the ribbing looks awful. The 3.5cm width of the strip was just not enough for a 1cm seam, and even though I trimmed the edges down I had to do a second row of topstitching to catch all the missed bits. I would advise using a 4.5cm wide strip of ribbing if anyone wants to make this jacket, or a completely different finish altogether. The velour knit was also a pain to work with as it’s a napped fabric and creeps and shifts, but the end result feels lovely and soft.

IMG_4506

Here’s the complete size 56 baby outfit!

I started on the next baby outfit in a size 62 (maybe 00) as I’m having fear that my newborn could outgrow the previous outfit in a few weeks – my friend just had a 55cm long newborn. I started with a sweater-knit dress.

IMG_4457 IMG_4458

The pattern is Ottobre 3/2103 – 1. Speedy girl (sizes 56-92cm). It is designed for jersey knits but I think it works ok in the heavier fleecy knit I used here. This fabric is a remnant from the dress I made Althea for her fifth birthday (post all about that), and is Hilco Elisabet. I had very little left and had to introduce “design lines” to the back panel to fit the shape of the fabric I had. It is not terribly noticeable in my opinion.

IMG_4464 IMG_4462

The neck and armhole edges are gathered with clear elastic that is then encased in the ribbing binding (I used 4.5cm wide strips rather than the 3.5cm advised). This makes for a very bulky bound finish. It is also applied in the flat not the round and you can see how thick the seam is – I had to hand sew the seam allowance down by hand as I couldn’t get that many layers under the presser foot of my machine!

IMG_4463

I used a twin needle for the hem. I am very pleased with this little dress and it just goes to show how a beautiful fabric and a simple pattern can give a great result.

My other great achievement this week has been that I have finally conquered the blind hem foot on my machine! School has just gone back for the year and I was faced with the very tedious task of letting down the hem on Althea’s school dresses.

IMG_4465 IMG_4471

It is really not that complicated but I had attempted it a few times before and given up.

IMG_4467 IMG_4469

I added a wide bias binding strip to the dresses to create a false hem, then used the blind stitch foot with a multi-step zig-zig stitch. Two zig-zags miss the front fabric and the third catches it – that’s why you need the guide on the foot as it must be accurate. You then turn and flatten the hem which pulls the end of the third zig-zag into a long vertical stitch. It needs to be ironed out.

IMG_4473

The end result is certainly good enough for a school dress, and very strong. I’m not sure that it would be very invisible on a plain fabric, as the vertical stitches are much bigger than those I’d take hand sewing the hem. However it certainly got a boring chore done much faster than hand sewing and now I feel much more willing to try this hem out on different fabrics.

IMG_4510

Only eight weeks (approximately of course) to go! I wonder what else I can add to the stack of baby clothes in that time?

Orange swirl hat

I have cast on a winter hat for my toddler son. Which is exactly what one should be doing when I have a big cardigan for myself that I am half way through and desperate to wear RIGHT NOW.

IMG_2844

 

But my baby doesn’t have a hat and I just bought him a bright orange winter coat, which would just look so adorable with a bright orange hand dyed hand knitted hat……….

IMG_2705

 

Wouldn’t he look cute with a little orange hat?

The pattern is Swirl Hat by Mandie Harrington. The yarn in Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4ply that I hand dyed using Landscape dyes. I did a twisted German cast on which is a lovely cast on that I have recently learned, and of course I had to do it twice because I didn’t make the long tail long enough the first time.

Here is where my Something Silver is at.

IMG_2849

I am so looking forward to wearing it, at it’s woollen weather right now, but I have so far to go – another 6″ of body pattern and then a very wide garter band and two pockets, and the sleeves. I’ll keep plugging away. Knitting an adult size garment really takes perseverance!

Introducing Something Silver

I really started knitting because I wanted gorgeous hand knitted jumpers for myself. I had picked up a few op shop gems over the years, and I do have some quite nice commercial wool jumpers, but really what I wanted was a lovely snuggly hand knitted cardigan.The second project I ever knit was a large ladies cardigan. This was ambitious, but I was motivated. I didn’t want to stuff around with scarves, I wanted a cardigan. No one else was going to knit me one, I would make it myself.

IMG_2065

Needless to say the cardigan in question is itchy and hot and I hardly ever wear it. Knitting a cardigan in my size is also a massive, massive undertaking. Yet it seems that I can’t stop doing it.

IMG_2059

This pattern is Something Silver by Veera Valimaki. I was particulary inspired by Ganeshas green version, and I intend to add buttons all the way down the front as she has done.

IMG_2061

I bought the yarn at the Bendigo Wool and Sheep show. It was branded as 100% Merino, but have been told that it was actually Pear Tree Yarn who were having production issues and were selling off their stock. I got this 1kg (!!!) bag of beautiful light green 8ply and another 1kg bag of silvery mauve 10ply for $50, which is the most amazing value for beautiful Australian merino yarn. It was seconds and you can tell that they were having production problems with this yarn.

IMG_2054

There are quite a few sections of loose fluffy yarn spiralling into the tighter plied sections. The width of the yarn is also quite uneven. I am not bothered by this as I think it gives a rustic look and I knew it was seconds when I bought it, but if I had paid full price for the yarn I would definitely be upset. As it is I am enjoying working with such lovely soft merino wool. I do suspect that it will pill like crazy though.

I cast on this cardigan on the 31st of October but gave it a bit of a rest during the hot weather. It has cooled down lately (apart from single hot days just to remind us that it really is still summer) and this project has back out of hibernation. It makes really good TV knitting – that lace chart is very simple, and now even easier that I’ve starting using a post-it note to mark my place. Such a simple idea, but so helpful!

IMG_2068

This cardigan is knit seamlessly from the top down. I have learnt my lesson, after a heart breakingly too short cardigan, and now know the value of being able to try on a garment as you knit. My only fitting worry is the sleeves as they will have zero ease at the bicep if I knit without modification. Hmm. Not quite sure what I’ll do there.

I only have two rows left before I divide off the body and sleeves which is a very satisfying milestone. I have a positive feeling about this cardigan. I hope it turns out to be this winter’s favourite.

IMG_2057

Knitting for Blythe dolls

I have been knitting for Blythe dolls too! I took some Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 4ply yarn that I had hand dyed away with me on my week long holiday over Christmas. I took my smallest needles (3.00mm) and looked up patterns on Ravelry on my phone – no planning required!

IMG_1934

The cardigan pattern is Blythe by Jessica Johnson. I used 3.00mm needles instead of 2.00mm needles and the fit is a little roomy but they still turned out pretty well, I think. The cardigan is knit top-down and I did decorative yarn over increases around the shoulders of the orange cardi and make one’s for the purple. There was an option to knit the sleeves in the round or flat, I knit them flat and seamed them at the end.

IMG_1841

IMG_1855

The pattern has no closures but they would not be hard to add if you could source such tiny buttons or snaps. I added a garter band down both front openings for the purple cardi.

Next up was the Blythe Pixie Hat by Maggie Baird. This was a very easy and cute pattern. Knit flat, seamed up the back and then the neck band picked up around the base and knitted in one with the neck strap. The bling gold button was Althea’s choice!

IMG_1925

IMG_1926

It fits snugly and is a very cute style.

Lastly I made the Ecoliere beret by Maggie Baird. This is knit in the round from the Fisherman’s rib brim up to the sweet little icord umbilicus.

IMG_1911

IMG_1915

This is the regular length beret, with 5cm of straight knitting before the crown decreases. As you can see, it’s pretty full and slouchy.

So I think that Sally and Ruby are adequately clothed for now, I’m going back to sewing and knitting for humans!

IMG_1933

 

My next knitting project is also in 4ply and tiny (2.75mm) needles. It is a traditional looking colourwork beanie that my Dad chose as his birthday gift.

IMG_1949

 

It is taking forever……only 4cm of ribbing done and another 6cm to go. I’ve already watched more than nine hours hours of Lord of Rings extended version on DVD – I may have watched all the ‘making of’ documentaries as well by the time this hat’s done. Though there seems to be a bit of a knitting pause every time Aragorn or Arwen makes an appearance on screen 😉