Great London Yarn Crawl-ing and a little green

Quick reminder that this is the final week to get your tickets to the inaugural Great London Yarn Crawl! Registration closes on Saturday, 7 September at midnight! I will most likely be helping out on the Orange route so sign up and spend the day fondling yarn with us! There are some amazing goodie bags and door prizes being offered (some yarns from Kettle Yarn Co. among them!) and all net proceeds will benefit Refuge- for women and children against violence.

Catching up on WIPs – I started my Amélie some time ago, before our trip to the Lake District, and have really been enjoying it. See the project (ahem) having a glass of wine above Lake Windemere:

Kettle Yarn Co. FALKLAND

As usual, Gudrun’s pattern is clear and well written! I had a couple of moments of textual doubt as something clever was suggested, then realised that if I trust the pattern, Gudrun will get me there in style! (It is a bit sad that I have gotten to the point of mistrusting a designer’s words due to mistakes in other patterns I have worked with!)
Amelie in Kettle Yarn Co. FALKLAND

Being me (lazy) I waffled a little at first over whether or not to go with a straight  Long Tail cast-on or to actually follow Gudrun’s suggestion of alternating German Twisted and Long Tail. Thankfully I forced myself not to take a short cut and therefore learned 2 valuable things.

  1. I have been doing a German Twisted cast on instead of Long Tail for the last who knows how many months! I have no idea how long it has been. hah!
  2. German Twisted gives a purl bump, Long Tail gives you knit. How clever is that??

So the edging of your ribbing on this project matches. It is this kind of attention to detail that makes me love Gudrun’s patterns. Everything is so carefully considered and well thought through.

I dyed up some FALKLAND – merino/bamboo 4-ply for this in a deep, saturated emerald I’ve called ‘Darwin’ and am loving the richness of saturated colour.
Kettle Yarn Co. FALKLAND in Darwin

I don’t normally go for such pure brights in my own knits as I favour greyed tints, but it has been quite fun for a bit of a change. Below is a detail of the clever waist shaping:
Kettle Yarn Co. FALKLAND in Darwin

I’ve added some to the shop and will tell you more about this squishy blend when I feature the yarn in a later post.

I am hoping to get a few more yarns up on Etsy this weekend and will send out a message to the mailing list when they are up. Don’t forget to email me to sign up and get  15% off your first order…

*afternote: someone just told me that when they saw the colour they could smell the outdoors! How fabulous is that???

Amélie

A few weeks ago Gudrun Johnston released a new pattern, named after one of my favourite movies – Amelie.

A cute little shortsleeve jumper that can be worn year round, it has some lovely little details, like the keyhole detail at back.

An interesting feature I am looking forward to seeing the mechanics of are the simultaneous set in sleeves with a slight gather at the top. They are knit at the same time as the yoke, which makes them absolutely perfect for me as I love the gathered shoulder look but have not been able to build up the willpower to try it in a traditional set in sleeve! Can’t wait to see how these work.

I have been looking forward to trying another of Gudrun’s patterns after knitting the Audrey cardigan, which was my favourite pattern yet. Something about the way she writes just clicks with me and makes for supremely easy knitting. Oh and not least – as some of you might have already noted – it has a single, simple lace chevron at the neck. And we all know I love me a chevron… 😉 .

So that makes yet ANOTHER pattern added to the queue. But think I might be moving this one up as I do have a ‘birthday excuse’ and this is a perfect transitional piece for moving into autumn knitting! It is also in my new favourite yarn weight – fingering, so will knit up fine and light.

Frog free zone

She’s done. Another simple, pleasurable knit! I hadn’t realised how much time I was wasting on figuring out obscure details on ‘less clearly written patterns’ (shall we say?). Wow. Just over two weeks for this one as well, and I didn’t rush this time. What a difference well written instructions make! No frogging AT ALL.

I even took the time to add a few details that took ages (or felt like they did at the time!), like the tubular cast on and cast off I mentioned previously. What a lovely fat edge. It really is worth the time!
tubular cast off
Though my kitchener stitch needs a bit of work for the cast off. You can see below it isn’t perfect. I got a bit of a weird roll in places, I think because my tension is screwy! (If anyone does know the actual reason, I’d love to hear it.)
.cuff
Luckily it isn’t noticeable on when worn, so all is fine. As my partner said – it just makes it more original (ahem).

I also chilled out for a change and took my time sewing on the ribbon and reinforcing the buttonholes. I think this is the first time I didn’t rush it, annoyed with the process! What a change it made to the result. Much more even and …well, nice!
band
And the buttons really are a perfect fit. Yay!
buttons finished
I might be starting to say this at the end of every FO, but I think this might be my favourite cardi yet. The only wrinkle is that the yarn is a bit itchy. Little prickly bits against bare skin. I am hoping that little by  little I will get desensitised to this yarn as well, and can then move to the next level in ‘real wool’! I’ll get my ‘big girl panties’ yet!

But…ain’t she purty? (the jumper, of course!!)
open
closed
And a glam shot for my little princess:
audrey
(Dont worry, the manic ardour only lasts a few days!)

ps. I forgot to mention those shoulder cap modifications. As you can see from the shots above, the wider caps were successful – no ‘shrugging’ on the seam at all. (though the buttoned photo looks a little lumpy – but it was the shirt underneath, not the jumper! The seams sit smoothly above the shoulder).

Audrey – or aka Schokoladenkuchen

This was my  Audrey last Saturday:
audrey body
A weeks worth of holiday knitting. Not too bad. I was really motoring along in downtime and enjoying it.

Gudrun‘s Audrey is a really quick  – easy and satisfying. Another recommend. The lace would be a perfect beginner lace project -so simple to produce and yet so pretty.lace
Two micro-mods only. No waist shaping and I decided to change the seam from a purl stitch to garter to test out how a single garter stripe looks after seeing a beautiful jumper which is being knit in a stitch that alternates these rows with stockinette (in German called Säumchen…not sure what it is called in English), and I wanted to try it out!
säumchen
Very pretty, no? I will definitely use this in future for texture as it is so easy and subtly pretty.

I got a little bogged down on the shape of the short row sleeve caps. I was given a bit of a kindly heads up from the secret benefactor who gifted me the jumper (thank you again!) that the caps were a bit sharp.

So before attempting my first knit down sleeves with short row shaping thought I would do a bit of research. What I kept seeing the projects were bumpy shoulders like the one below in the promo shot:
audrey shoulder
One person had modified her rows to be less steep and had given brief project notes on her mods , but I just couldn’t figure it out. I hadn’t done the technique before, myself, so was not sure of what she meant! Poo! So I took a bit of time and used the handy free charting programme Sconcho to work it out.

This is what the pattern short rows looked like, visually, at the top. My simple mod is below. (aren’t the little charts pretty?)
sleeve cap
In the images you can easily see how the arc of the shoulder is rounder in the second with my stitch modifications. This seems to have done the trick for this yarn. In future I might try a little wider yet on the top row, starting with 12 sts and working down.

For those who prefer text instructions:

Row 1: knit 5 sts past shoulder marker, w&t
Row 2: purl across stitches just worked and 5 sts past the stitch marker on other side, w&T
Rows 3-11: repeat rows 1&2, working 2 stitches past the w&t on each row, w&t (3 sts past including the w&t)
Rows 12-: drop down to only 1 sts past w&t until all but underarm sts have been worked.

You can get Sconcho at SourceForge for your own charting needs. I find it very useful for charting out stitch patterns that have been supplied in text only and getting a visual on what is going on.

Oh. And did I mention it is free?  ;-D
(I’m not affiliated with SourceForge, by the way! Just very grateful.)

Audrey-on-sea

Went out to St. Leonards-on-sea last week for a bit of a seaside holiday, which was a nice break from the big city. It is amazing how calming I find big bodies of water and a bit of green space! The proximity to Hastings and its enormous cliffside County Park Nature Reserve was such a treat  – 264 hectares of green. Sigh. Bliss.

I had to start a new project for the trip, something a little less fussy than the ‘Lemon’ I started the previous week (those vertical braids are FUSSY). Thanks to a friendly gifting I had the lovely Audrey in Unst by Gudrun Johnston on the queue and had the perfect yarn in mind as well. I had tried swatching Rowan Purelife British Breeds Organic at Wool Week a few weeks ago wanted to knit up something with the lovely brown Blufaced/Suffolk/Jacob blend.

Swatched up on 4mm and it gave me exact gauge! Unheard of for me! It also stood up very well to my abrasion tests with only minimal pilling and no felting or matting to the fabric beneath. 3 cycles of abrasion and shaving and the yarn pretty well stopped pilling! Let’s hope it wears as well in real life.

I started a laborious tubular cast on and then the crossed rib a couple nights before we left and after an additional 2 hours of train journey still only had the few inches below at the end of the day! SO painful! I kept messing around with using an Eastern purl stitch to tighten up the ribbing (which twists the stitch on the needle but tightens the purl) and it took me an unbelievably long time to get a rhythm going.
start
Once I hit the stockinette it was all smooth sailing, though, and this was my progress by the end of the trip – starting the lace. Phew.buttons
I was determined to find vintage buttons for the cardi, as there are so many charity shops in St. Leonards and Hastings I thought it would be a sure thing! Unfortunately this wasn’t so, and I found most of the shops well picked over. Luckily, I did some googling and found an online listing for a haberdashery called Wayward, which would be opening at noon on the day were were meant to head back to London. Luckily I had just enough time between breakfast and the train…this is where I found the perfect vintage buttons above!


image from Wayward site – shown with additional lighting, styling and after a good clean! In real life it looks much more ‘junk shop’.

Dark, dusty and with things piled everywhere, this place was a treasure trove of vintage buttons, ribbons, linens, etc.! Apparently the fellow who own the shop uses the storefront as a storage area for his vintage wares which are sourced in France, which is why it is only open half days and 3 days a week – Thur, Fri, and Sat. The rest of the time the couple who have been running the shop since 1979, Andrew and Claudia Hirst, take their wares around to markets like Portebello’s and Brighton’s.

The buttons look like carved horn or wood but are actually plastic, which is fine as the colour is a perfect match for the yarn.
brown Paris
Nearly there.