24 April 2013

Catch-up - Lundish, and the Perfect Manchester Jumper

Blogger!  I never told you about my yellow jumper.  It is MARVELLOUS - I finished it around August, and it has been a delight to wear for this terribly, terribly long winter.

The shape of the jumper is very simple, with no particularly exotic features - plain 2x2 ribbing around the cuffs, base and neckline, and a fitted yoke. There are a couple of shortrows across the bust, although, um, I realised I was wearing it back to front for the first two months (and probably am in in this picture), so they apparently don't make a huge difference to the fit.

But despite the simplicity of the construction, the colour work is beautiful, and these kind of rounded shoulders and necklines suit me extraordinarily well.  And oh, Rowan 4ply, what a great yarn you are.  I wear it with a simple layer underneath - usually a thin 3/4 sleeved tshirt or a body - and it's almost never too hot or too cold.

Unfortunately I only have phone photos of it to hand at the moment, but here you go:


Currently I'm working on another tightly-knitted colourwork jumper in 4-ply.  This one is based on Susan Crawford's Perfect Christmas Jumper, but I'm working my own colourwork:

The yarn is Sublime Extra Fine Merino 4-ply, in Peeptoe (raspberry pink), Alabaster (cream/white) and (I think) Grosgrain (grey-green.)  

I have finished and sewn together the front and back, so the colourwork part is done. It isn't quite like this - those gaps between the wellies are too big for colour work, so there are more wellies closer together, the umbrellas are a bit smaller, and I didn't do the lightning bolts or the sunshines. So it is in fact a perfect Manchester jumper, with Wellington boots, umbrellas, rain and clouds.  I really love it!  I've nearly finished one sleeve, so one more to do and then just arm seams and neckline to finish, and then I will put it away until autumn.  I hope.  Although given Manchester weather...

05 August 2012


Blue Daisies is now finished, hoorah hooray!  When I'd blocked it, I realised that it was about 4" longer than I intended it to be, so I took a chunk off the bottom and used it to knit a double-sided neckband, which worked beautifully and gives it a lovely structure.  I then decided that it didn't need a button band, and have just put a single button at the neck instead and left the rest open.

It's perfect - light and warm and pretty and drapey - and I am having to resist the urge to wear it every day.  Pictures soon!

So, my next trick is a colour-work yoke jumper, which is coming along nicely.  In fact, I've reached the stage of yoke-knitting:

The yoke is my own design, based on traditional Fair-Isle patterns:

I have 400 stitches in the round with the arms and body joined, which gives me 20 repeats of a 20-stitch pattern.  The pattern is 50 stitches deep, so over that fifty stitches I need to narrow from 400 stitches 200 stitches: each pattern repeat starts with 20 and narrows to 10 stitches. Next job, working out where my decreases are going to be!

I've called this Lundish because I started very roughly with the Radio Times's Sarah Lund sweater, although I've moved a very long way from that now.  I'm excited about it, though!  It should be ready perfectly in time for the weather to get colder.

26 June 2012

Blue daisies

I've been working on two things since I finished the Pink Ginger.  The first is my Lundish jumper, a bottom-up Fair-Isle yoke jumper which was inspired by ... well, you can probably guess.  It's on Ravelry here.  I knitted about 7" of it and then decided it was April and time to knit summer things.

So for the last couple of months, I've been working on a very light top-down raglan cardigan, made in Zitrone Filligran:

It's a skinny little top-down raglan with a very simple daisy lace patter. The idea was to make a very light little wool cardigan that could be stuffed into the corner of a bag and easily layered under light summer jackets, which is what I do with all my cardigans.

Tragically, that is 100% of the two skeins - well, I have about 2.5m left. This is a problem as it definitely needs a neckline knitted onto it, and probably a buttonband as well. The plan was to finish it off properly, with a double-layer neckline and buttonband for structure. Unfortunately … there is no more yarn. And I can’t think of anything that’ll go with that petrol blue. I mean, I can - obviously red, orange or bright yellow would be the natural choices, or else a slightly lighter grey-blue - but I wanted it to be a plain and neutral cardie that would go with anything. I’ll probably wear it with lots of colours.

Currently thoughts are to get a cream/natural yarn in a similar weight and use that for a neckline and buttonband, or to do get some natural-coloured lace trim, or to get some very light silk-scarf fabric in a similar dark blue, cut it into bias strips and use that to face the neckline and buttonbands. My concerns with each course of action are:

  • Can I get natural lace weight yarn in the right weight? And if so, would I sew a solid neckline and buttonband or find a lace pattern?  (Answer: yes, Purl City Yarns has the exact same yarn in cream. Hm.)
  • If I use manufactured lace, will be too heavy and change the hang and fit of the garment?
  • So very Jigsaw-circa-2008.
  • So I don’t know. Thoughts?

    25 June 2012

    Pink Ginger, finished

    It's been so long that Blogger's user interface has completely changed.  Hmm...

    Anyway, some finished objects!  First of all, my Pink Ginger jumper.  I am slightly alarmed at how precisely the finished jumper matches the original MS Paint picture!

    (OH GOSH I wish I was better at taking pictures of myself.  I would love to be one of those bloggers who always posts beautiful pictures of what they've made and how they wear it, but I never know what to do with my face or arms.  And I'm not a very good photographer either.  Perhaps I will get better now we've got the fancy new camera!)

    I finished this sometime around March, I think, although it’s taken me ages to get some photos of it. It hasn’t quite found its place in my wardrobe yet - it wasn’t quite warm enough for most of the winter, and I assumed it would be too warm for summer. But we’ve had such a rubbish summer that I’ve started wearing it a lot - it’s the perfect light jumper to pull on at weekends with cotton trousers and a vest top.

     Lots of the astrakhan left - I keep thinking it would make a lovely soft toy for a small child, and then imagining the hell that complicated increases and decreases would be in bouclé…

    11 December 2011

    Not knitting, but -

    We have been making things pretty, wallpapering our front room and putting up the Christmas tree. I've always been rubbish at taking indoor house pictures, but my partner's just got a fancy new camera that's made it a lot easier, so here you go, have some photos.

    Afore-mentioned partner:

    This camera seems to take very vivid colours indoors, which suits our decorating style rather well. Here's our kitchen looking into the living room, and kitchen wallpaper and the NEW LIVING ROOM WALLPAPER:

    And this is the living room, and the CHRISTMAS TREE:

    Bit of a massive difference between daylight and electric light there: I was trying to get a less red one in the evening, but it seemed to do very red or very, very cold and blue, with no in-between, so there's something to play with.

    Velvet curtains from Ebay. as is the Sanderson wallpaper, the 50s teak cabinet, and the 50s mirror. We might be a bit obsessed, actually. Lime green shelves by me, sofa by M&S, armchair by the Sofa Workshop which seems to have gone bust.

    I LOVE our colour schemes.

    21 October 2011

    Pink ginger

    And in new knitting news, my pink ginger jumper is coming along nice:

    Top-down raglan, so you're looking at the neckline and the increases for each shoulder-sleeve there. It's stocking-stitch, with a line of reverse-side in the centre of each set of increases (does that make sense? So it's [ ... k, k, inc 1, p, stitch marker, p, inc 1 the other way, k, k, k... ] at each set of increases.)

    The yarn is a lot nicer to use than I thought it would be. To begin with, I could not get the hang of knitting with bouclé and kept getting snarked up, but I let myself knit a little looser than usual (I'm using 3.75mm needles - so 0.75mm smaller than the recommended 4.5mm) and since then it's gone swimmingly. Unpicking is a pain in the hole, though - I wouldn't like to be doing anything more complicated than stocking stitch with it!

    One thing I haven't decided yet is which will be my right side - the usual stocking stitch side, or the reverse? I was originally thinking it would be the reverse, because the bouclé is so chaotic that it's actually smoother on the reverse side. But I quite like the way the chaotic bouclé fights with the order of the vertical stitches on the stocking-stitch side after all:

    I have just switched to the second colour - as you can see - and this will probably take me to the point where I'll split for body and arms. This is the truest colour I was able to take:

    I think my colleagues think I'm a bit mad for knitting something in pink and orange stripes, but what the hell, they think I'm a bit made for knitting full stop. Unexpected colour schemes have been a hobby for a long-time.

    Although this does mean that everything I've knitted for the past 12 months has been either pale pink or orange, culminating in ... a pale pink and orange striped garment. Hm. I might have gone as far as I can go with pale pink and orange. What should be next?


    The orange cardigan is finally finished! The making-up really dragged - I hate sewing button bands on - but I finally did it last weekend, and then sewed on four bright, shiny orange buttons. They are out of my mum's button bag, of buttons she collected before I was born, so they're proper, vintage 70s:
    When my mum died last year, I inherited her box of spare buttons from the clothes she's bought over the last ten or fifteen years, but also her bag of buttons from she was sewing and knitting in the 70s and early 80s. And, since I was having a button round-up, my grandma decided it was time I had her button box. Many of these buttons are ones my grandma inherited from her mother, who was a tailor, meaning that some of them must be from the 30s and 20s or earlier. Very few of them are expensive or smart: there are a couple of beautiful big discs of mother-of-pearl, but the vast majority are made of cheap, old, brittle plastic. They have been snipped off coats and jackets and shirts and pyjamas and cardigans which have gone to holes: there is a purple cord-covered one that I recognise as being from the dressing gown my grandma had when I was tiny. We also used to be allowed to play with these buttons when we were little, and used them as play-money. Some of them still have stickers on saying, "50p" and "£9" and "£7" in my brother's round and elaborately careful writing. There are also lots of huge brown ones, and you only have to glance at to imagine the 1950s and 60s wool coats they came off. You'd need a wonderfully textured chunky tweed to offset thhose smooth brown semi-spherical buttons with the 4cm diameter.

    So, I am trying to find uses for as many of these buttons as possible, rather than buying more. Those bright shiny orange plastic ones suit my 1950s orange cardigan wonderfully, and I'm ever so pleased with it. Still not quite finished blocking, however, so no pics of me wearing it yet!

    * * *

    I've used some of my grandma's buttons for my pink 50s cardigan. These are little pale pink plastic pearl buttons, which fit this cardigan beautifully:
    I am so, so pleased with this cardigan. It hasn't turned out how I expected - it's much smaller and more fitted in the pattern - although that may of course be the model's corset. However, my colours are much nicer, and the slightly larger and looser shape has coincided with ... slightly oversized Fair-Isle cardigans having a major moment. Who saw that coming? So this cardigan - not really oversized, but just slightly relaxed - has suddenly rocketed to the top of my wardrobe crushes.

    I LOVE the Fair-Isle. And have I mentioned how lovely the Rowan 4-ply wool is? It's practically silken, and yet so warm. Blooming premium-brand yarns, being all worth-the-money and shit.

    More photos of the lovely pink cardigan: