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.)
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!
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!!)
And a glam shot for my little princess:
(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).



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.
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.

MY Picard version

It is finished, and I have to say it turned out better than I expected.
Here she is, my Odilon, at long last! Ok. I know it really hasn’t been all that long, a just short of 2 months that you have all been ‘listening’ to me whinge, but when you frog a project as much as I did this one it can last FOREVER mentally.  (Also I got the first bit done so quickly that if there hadn’t been so many annoying problems with the pattern I would have had it done in a month!)

I redid the body without the shaping and am much happier with the fit. It still looks like it comes in at the waist, but it is actually dead square!
This is the batch of Rowan Purelife Organic DK that I ‘tub’ dyed for this project and LOVE the yarn. A slight crunch and actually quite a bit more of a dense strand than I would have thought. The stitch definition is just divine for all those crossed stitches…
…and I love the way I ran the chevron right down into the ribbing on this attempt (if I do say so myself!). That said, I feel the yarn is actually better suited for stitch patterns that aren’t reverse stockinette, as it doesn’t bloom quite enough to give an even fabric in that stitch – see all the little stripes of unevenness in the shot above? (Especially on the sleeve right above the chevron). Likely just me and tension problems, but the stockinette side looks much better:
There are a few other little things that still bother me – the front neck is still a titch high. I should have taken it back a bit lower when I took the fecking high collar off.  And there is a little jog in the raglan where the increases turn to decreases from where I redid the neck. Neither of these things are noticeable unless you are really scrutinising, though.
Final negative – and this is nothing new – the bloody buttonbands gave me the usual runaround.

I wasn’t able to get the holes stitched professionally in the end as I had already knit holes into the fabric, which sucked. Apparently you knit the bands without holes and then they machine stitch them in and cut them open. Will try it one day.

So to make a long story excruciatingly longer,  I had to do them by hand. Cursing most the way. They are ok, but my hand stitching truly leaves something to be desired. AND I balls-ed up the other side (too embarrassed to show you) so had to cut the ribbon between already stitched buttonholes and make them shorter. It was hateful. (I still want to open a can of whoop-ass on them.)
Positives – Love the way it fits, those graphic CHEVRONS (heh), the i-cord edging I did on the buttonband…and…I finally got to use my favourite ceramic buttons, which I made months ago and have been hoarding for the right project:
Another positive – I think I am becoming slightly less stressed when things don’t work out, and a bit calmer about frogging. That is a huge plus…as I have to do it so much. Finally starting to accept it as a normal part of my process (!).

So there she is. Thanks for all the support and advice on this one girls!