Friday, 23 January 2009

February Lady Sweater

I'm still knitting away on the jumper for my Dad's birthday (one sleeve and the body both up to the armhole divide and the other sleeve on it's way) but acres of blue ribbed fabric don't make for interesting blogging so here's (as they say on Blue Peter) one I made earlier...

This is the February Lady Sweater, designed by Pamela Wynne, adapted from a baby pattern by the immortal EZ.

I've knitted it in Fyberspates Blue-faced Leicester Aran in the Spring Greens colourway on 5.5mm needles. The colour is best represented in the first two photos here. This yarn is lovely and springy and I've been wearing this cardigan over a vest top and it's not at all itchy on the skin. I cast on for the third smallest size and knitted 20 repeats of the lace pattern in the body and 16 in the arms.

This was actually cast off several weeks ago, but I didn't get round to getting buttons for it for ages (due to varied car problems). I did try digging in my button box (which is not yet a thing of limitless possibility and more a work in progress) for something suitable and came up with the most beautiful and perfect ceramic buttons (above), but sadly I only had two and this pattern calls for three. Eventually I found the bronze-look ones that I used in John Lewis and I think that they work pretty well.

Finally, I borrowed a technique that I saw Lene Alve use a couple of weeks back and used smaller plain buttons (from the button box this time) on the back of the fabric to support the bigger buttons on the front. I like the finish this gives - it looks very professional!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Knitting by numbers

I suspect that by now, you've all realised that I don't follow patterns too well. It's not that I can't follow a pattern, it's just that I just can't help improving on them, changing the construction or altering the fit. I can't think of a single thing I've knitted for ages (other than lace - which the thought of altering brings out a cold sweat) which hasn't been subject to some sort of meddling. However, in all of these projects, there has been an underlying pattern to follow (with the exception of a couple of pairs of mittens).

Now, however, I'm branching out in a big way... My Dad likes big warm chunky knitted jumpers in Shetland-type hard-wearing wool... My Dad has a birthday coming up... I found myself arranging with Mum to measure one of his better fitting jumpers on the sly so I can surprise him with a hand-knitted jumper on his birthday...

Here's the thing - Dad has a 56" chest (yes, you did read that correctly and no, it isn't a typo) and a long back and likes fairly traditional fisherman-style jumpers with a vertical rib . I didn't know where to start looking for a pattern that would accommodate these requirements without quite a bit of alteration so I'm just working from the numers, for the first time ever!

I bought the yarn (my choice of yarn - aran and Mum's choice of colour) from New Lanark which spins beautiful traditional wool and wool / silk yarns on a traditional spinning mule. I then picked a rib pattern which I think will work well (2x2 mistake rib) and knitted a big swatch (the biggest I've ever knitted at 7" x 8"), washed and blocked it out, let it dry then measured for gauge.

After that, it was just maths. 56 inches at 14 stitches / 4 inches indicated a round of 196 stitches. I'm going to work the body in the round to the armholes, then the sleeves in the round to the armholes, join them together onto one needle and work raglan shoulders and a V-neck. I think that this should fit well and the rib means that the jumper will not be sloppy on as it should pull in for a little negative ease without being too tight either.

NB the photo of the swatch doesn't look particularly like a rib, all I can say it that it looks much better in person.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Stealth Crochet Revealed

Back in February, March and April last year (when the Resident Radiologist was still working in Edinburgh and living away a couple of nights a week) , I worked on a surprise crochet project for him. I couldn't blog about it at the time as he's known to lurk round here from time to time.

Anyway, at the start of December he got the project (a scarf) for his birthday, so it's now fair game for blogging and I managed to get a photo of him wearing it at the weekend.

The yarn is Rowanspun 4ply, which was a gift from Float'n'Purl. The scarf was crocheted on a 4mm hook using double crochet along it's length to get long-ways stripes. The ends were finished with a couple of rows of double crochet picket up and worked across the stripes in the charcoal colour (the photos above were prior to finishing).

The colours are perfect for the RR's wardrobe (the colours are best in the indoor photo - apologies for the camera shake) and to be honest, it's not spend much time away from his neck since he opened the wrapping paper, which is very gratifying!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Quick Knits

Happy New Year.

I hope that you all had a good Christmas and New Year. I had a house-full of guests for Christmas which was lively and great fun, then a very quiet New Year, just me and the resident radiologist from the 27th until we went back to work on the 5th January. Bliss - and a pretty productive knitting period too.

I finished off the February Lady Sweater which is now blocked and just waiting for buttons, but more on than next time (or once I find the buttons); I also designed, started and finished a pair of stranded colourwork mittens that I'd been thinking about for a while and which are currently blocking. Finally, I produced a couple of quick knits.

Which were:
A second knitted bangle in one of my favourite colours. The bangle core came from Asda and the knitted cover is left-over Arwetta superwash sock yarn (from my Vinnland socks). I cast on 68 stitches on 2.5mm needles, knitted a couple of rows in stocking stitch, then the bulk of the rows in 2x2 rib, a further row in knit and bound off. After that, it was a simple task to sew it over the bangle. I have a second bangle like this still waiting for a jacket - I just haven't decided on the yarn yet...

A knitted iPod nano cosy for my Christmas gift from the RR. Knitted in Artesano 100% Alpaca 4 ply, in the round on 2mm needles. This yarn could easily become one of my very favourites. It feels wonderful - soft and ever so slightly fuzzy, has good yardage and isn't too expensive. If I could contemplate knitting a jumper in 4 ply, this would be the yarn. Hmmm - might need to investigate the DK version!

Cast on 32 stitches, 2x2 rib for 10 rows then stocking stitch until it was about 4 rows longer than the iPod. Used kitchener stitch to graft the end together. It's a good snug fit so it won't slip off too easily and let my new toy get scratched in my pocket.