Pairing, pairing and more pairing…

So my mind has been whirring with choices for the Charm knit-a-long (KAL) and I am still undecided on what yarn(s) to knit mine in. I think it is just the issue of an ’embarrassment of riches’ and having way too many choices. ;-?

But as promised the other day, here are yet more yarn pairs to help you if you are having the same problem…

A strand of this warm golden caramel lace Westminster (Cardamom) held with the BFL/Alpaca light fingering would make for a subtly blended yellow . The fabric quality will be beautifully drapey and very warm. I’d finish the edging with the grey but you could try either.

I have several different shades of yellow dyed up for the update this coming Saturday, and yellow/grey is one of my absolute favourite combos! How about a Kensington mustard yellow (Wells – will be posting this to the shop on Saturday Oct 19th) and an edging in a shimmering Islington grey (Blighty)? The Kensington in the body would be warm and full, while the silky edging would give it a nice finish:


For all us green lovers holding a strand of spongy Falkland (left) with a strand of lighter Bloosmbury green in the crescent will create a lightly marled effect with a thicker, spongy and warm fabric. You could then edge with either the light green lace or the darker fingering.

Then a super luxurious option I have been considering for my mother…a large size in Westminster Butternut with an Islington Blighty edging! Super drapey and luxurious to wrap around and around like a big, warm hug!

I will leave it there for today but will try to get more pairs with the new batch of yarns ready to show you next week! If you missed my past posts on yarn pairing you can see more examples under the ‘yarn pairing’ category. Remember if there is something specific you are after, just email me through the blog and let me know.

Happy planning, all!


First Kettle knit-a-long!

For those of you who haven’t been following along on the Kettle Yarn Co. Ravelry group chatter we have decided to start a knit-a-long (KAL) to share some fun and help each other along while knitting up Juju Vail’s beautiful new shawl Charm!

Charm shawl - Juju Vail

A simple garter shawl with some lovely details this pattern is going to be great for some quick holiday gift knitting! This pattern will look great in a number of different weights with all that garter and there are two sizes which use either one skein or 2 of fingering weight, so more options for all of us.

Charm shawl - Juju Vail

I am toying with the idea of using Islington in light silver blue/grey ‘Vestige‘ for the crescent with the warmer, woolier natural Bloomsbury edging. Think this would be a subtly stunning classic with a traditional feel, the shine and drape of the Vestige contrasting with the fluffier crunch of the Bloomsbury lace edge.

Or a little bit more of a contrast Islington in a deeper grey ‘Blighty’ crescent with a fluffy lighter grey BFL/Alpaca lace edging perhaps… And thinking for both of these first two you could reverse the colours and get 2 small shawls (ie. One with dark crescent/light edge, and other with light crescent/dark edge)? One for you, and one to gift? Just the way I like it! OR you could stripe the two colours across the body of the shawl and use one for the edge…

Another similar pairing option  with a bit more zing, perhaps? Pair Bloomsbury ‘Coram’ green held together with Islington ‘Brunswick‘ teal— and then a Brunswick edging?

But then I think how beautiful and slightly more edgy/young/hip the shawl would be in a simple crisp, delicate lace like Bloomsbury in  screamingly bright blue ‘Montague‘.


Then….THEN another part of me wants to knit up a simple, one colour, super fat, squishy Charm with some Wimbledon sport weight in ‘Darwin‘!


Oh no. I am doing it again, aren’t I?? I have taken more shots of possible yarn pairs for this project and will post suggestions over the next few weeks, as this post is getting out of control! Can you tell how excited I am about this KAL?

We’ll be casting on November 1st, so pull out your Kettle Yarn Co. skeins and join us then! More chatter on the group pages


Breathing a sigh of relief over finishing this one. I had my doubts that I would get it sorted out with the sleeve issues I was having. A re-occuring theme on this blog! Sleeves kill me.

As you can see below, I ended up having to modify things because I used thicker yarn and also had less yarn than I initially thought. As a result I had to fiddle with the final decreases in the neckline and fudge where the pattern ended. Not an ideal solution, but made it work …after 3 tries! You can see how the raglan decrease starts to go up straight on the last 10 or so rows in the photo below:

Luckily this isn’t  as noticeable when it is on:

(Some of you might recognise the lip position I am doing above… a somewhat modified ‘Lucy Lip-point’!).

I also had to re-do the bind off as I used a yarn over bind off to begin with (left below) and it was flappy and loose. I ended up using a K2tog bind off which looks nice with the garter. There it is on the right before blocking:

and after:

Next up – Sleeves – otherwise known as A World Of Pain.

As I was quickly running out of cashmere (from the bought sweater I frogged, and had no idea how many yards it contained, so then naturally cast on with too small needles! Dork.), I decided the best way to deal with the sleeves would be to cast on stitches at the yoke join, as I learned to do in my Owls cardi, and then knit down until I ran out once the body was already finished.

A FANTASTIC idea in theory, this would have worked out brilliantly if I hadn’t overestimated how large I needed the armholes to be (due to the opposite problem in the previous project). So of course I knit ages of armage before realising/admitting they were huge and sloppy and just wouldn’t do. So I frogged. Again.

I had to do some serious decreasing at the back that I was sure wouldn’t work, but in the end they did the job and aren’t too noticeable.

The last bit of suffering…on trying it on at what I thought was the end, I realised it was a titch short. So I attempted to frog back and knit the pattern the opposite way around. Which you think would be straightforward. But wasn’t. Sigh.

I couldn’t seem to pick up the right number of stitches no matter how hard I tried. I kept missing a YO or something. After frogging back 3 rows of pattern and not getting it, I gave up and added a thick garter border to match the sleeves. Design-wise it is probably more coherent this way in the end, but it does change the delicate look of the intended sweater.

As a result, the sweater feels a bit clunky to me. But, to be positive, as my first hardcore lace chart project, it is a decent result.

The cashmere is super warm and bloomed beautifully when I steamed. I actually went over it with the steamer after wet blocking to get the halo fluffed up! I say actually because I am usually not one for halo, but I realised with this project that my negative association with it is from the kind of fluffy angora mess that ends up in your eyes and nose – which I HATE. If something is fluffy but not sheddy, I like it fine!

Here is a close up of furry goodness:

Things I have learned from this project:
1. I can do lace – but dense lace. Thin lacey patterns are still too hard for me to read and sort out mistakes along the way.
2. I should probably do provisional cast ons when knitting from bottom up from now on! Save me so much time.
3. For god’s sake, stop second guessing sleeve hole size!!! Trust my gauge.
4. Bigger sleeve holes are still better than too small…



Endless Imogen

Don’t know WHAT is up with WordPress lately. Have they stopped updating the software or something? I just realised that this post below from weeks ago never went live.

Thanks post scheduler!!! Hmmph

Here it is, be-lately.

I am STILL fumbling along with my Immie, and despairing a little at my choice of thicker yarn, as it has screwed me up quite a few times in this project!

Why do I do this to myself? This project was supposed to be a straighforward one.

I had finished the body with it’s complex lace and felt I was nearly done – then had troubles with the arms. Again. Too wide/too frumpy looking this time – so frogged and retried several times before giving up and going for short garter sleeves. I had to decrease awkwardly at the back of the arm to make them fit.

I have decided that arms/arm holes are my knitting Achilles heel (no sock pun intended!). I have to find a way to work them out better, as at the moment they seem to go buggy every time. The easiest time I have had with them was on my first cardi, Miriam. Ridiculous!

Thinking it through, it is likely because I actually – and here is the crux of it-  followed the pattern as written instead of modifying things.


Also in my list of pain and suffering on this project, I ended up frogging and redoing the neck AGAIN – 3rd go – as the bind off I used the first time was too stretchy and loose and looked horrid. The left image below is the yarnover bind off after blocking, believe it or not.

What a bubbly mess. The image on the right is the new, thicker edge with a K2tog bind off – BEFORE blocking. Tons better already.

I replaced it with a K2tog bind off – my new stretchy go-to for garter edges, which blends in a bit with the garter and gives a dense/solid but stretchy line. It is ok now, though I may still cover it up the whole nasty business with a thick cowl left over from the original sweater I frogged this yarn from.

The straw that broke my humpy camel back was when I tried it on after finishing the neckline and decided that and it feels a bit short for cold weather… so frogged the bottom, this time around, and tried adding a half repeat of Frost Flowers. However, I couldn’t seem to match up the pattern the other way around, nearly lost what is left of my mind, and gave up. I am now adding a thick garter border at bottom to match sleeves.

All and all, feel I have sort of botched this beautiful design a bit. It makes me sad, as I was so proud of getting that lace pattern done. Felt I had really reached a milestone…

…only to find that it has launched itself at me and cracked me in the chin.

I am hoping I can bring myself to redo it in the intended weight yarn with long sleeves one day.