Friday, 31 May 2013


Today is the birthday of Ed, my step-father.  He is an avid reader of my blog so I thought I'd give him a mention.

Have a great day.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Going Seamless

I've often seen knitters referring to the chore of seaming their work.  I don't find it a chore, in fact it's quite enjoyable when all the pieces of a cardigan have been knitted to sew them together and hey presto there's a finished garment.

There are numerous knitting patterns out there that are worked seamlessly. I've thought about giving them a try but haven't done anything about it, yet.   Many patterns use a top-down technique with a rounded yoke.  I've never liked this style I don't think the resulting garments sits well.

I've noticed that some patterns use a bottom-up pattern for the body of the garment but then use a top-down method for the sleeves.

This idea appealed, so having worked myself into a frenzy of excitement about trying something new, I set myself the challenge of completing a seamless cardigan.

And here's what I made.

I decided to make up my own pattern rather than use an existing pattern - that way I could better understand the construction constraints.

I used 4 ply yarn - some Sirdar Snuggly I had left over from a previous project.  The body was worked in one piece up to the armholes.  I've used this technique before, but never in my own patterns.  I hadn't previously used side shaping, so I included that in this pattern.

I think it works well - very neat and I think I'll make an effort to make more use of this technique.

At the armholes the work divides and the fronts and back are knitted separately.  The shoulders are worked using short row shaping and a three needle bind off.  Again I have used this technique before and I find it gives a lovely neat and flat seam.

The new part was the sleeves.  These were worked by picking up stitches around the armhole and working short rows, backwards and forwards to shape the sleeve head.  The sleeve was then completed by knitting in the round.

A positive point to this technique is that the garment can be tried on as the work-in-progress grows to check for length and fit.  A negative is that I'm not convinced the join between the body and sleeve is very neat.  The short row shaping leaves a bit of a ladder effect  -  but that may just be me being too critical.  Over the last few days since I completed the cardigan, the 'seam' appears less offensive than it did at first.

The main complaint I had with the whole process was the number of stitch holders, circular needles and DPNs that had to be employed all at the same time.  When completing the sleeve head I found myself getting very frustrated with all the attachments and tangles.  It took several days just to complete the sleeve heads because of the fiddly nature of the technique, I found myself thinking that if I was knitting in the traditional way I would have finished them in a couple of hours.

So the verdict - I think I prefer the traditional method for sleeves - quicker, just as neat if sewn with care and more scope for a better fit.  I wouldn't rule out using the top-down sleeve method again but - life's too short to battle with all those needles.

I've kept notes on the pattern for this cardigan but, that's another negative about this method, it takes a lot of explaining in print.  I haven't worked up any enthusiasm for writing out the pattern properly yet.

The cardigan was quick to knit (apart from the sleeves) and is a great fit. I like the honeycomb pattern I added to the fronts to give a bit of interest.  I may still write the pattern but with sleeves knitted in the traditional way - watch this space.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


On a wet, cold and miserable afternoon what better way to while away the hours than a trip to the cinema to see The Great Gatsby.

Definitely worth seeing, whether you've read the book or not - most enjoyable.

Sunday, 26 May 2013


I've been so busy knitting away that it's been a while since I crocheted a little fun.

I recently came across this pattern and couldn't resist making them.

The pattern is called Bearies (how clever!) and it's by Julie King.

The pattern is available for free, here.

They really are so cute.

I've spent the last few months complaining about the weather so I thought I had better just mention that today is lovely and warm and sunny - but I suspect it won't last.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Barbara Pattern

A vintage style fitted tee based on an original pattern from October 1950.  It is knitted in 4 ply yarn and features a scooped neckline, a cabled peplum, buttoned front opening and elbow length sleeves.  

To fit 32” chest.
Finished measurements:
Chest 32” / 81 cm
Sleeve seam 6 1/2” /  17cm
Length 20” / 51 cm

600 g of 4 ply yarn (approximately 1010 metres)
3.25, 3.00 & 2.75 mm needles
9 small buttons

27 sts and 36 rows to 10 cm measured over stocking stitch using 3 mm needles.

The pattern is available for free, here.  

Back to the Fifties

I love knitting, yes I do, love it to bits, can't stop knitting.  But I've realised I also love frogging!  This seems a bit of a contradiction.  Knitting is creating a fabric from a length of yarn.  Frogging is, well, the exact opposite. Frogging is destructive rather than creative - or is it?

I love frogging not for the sake of it but because it gives you a chance to create something new from something old and no longer loved.  Some sweaters and cardigans are worn and loved so much that the yarn could never be recycled but others, you knit them, wear them a bit, then think nah!

This was the fate of this rather lovely lacy sweater.

Knitted in 2007 from a Rowan pattern called Ophelia by Sarah Hatton. It's sat at the back of the wardrobe for many years now.

Looking at the pattern again I still love it but it just wasn't me - I don't think I'm a long-line sweater person.  Maybe if I knitted a cropped version - a possibility for another time.

Anyway - it's been frogged

and the yarn reknitted as this.

I've called this design Barbara.  It's based on a pattern from the October 1950 edition of Needlewoman and Needlecraft.

It has a cabled peplum and elbow length sleeves.

I've lowered the neckline from the original - I don't like high necks.

I've also skipped the coloured design - too fiddly.

Anyway - I'm so pleased with the end result.  It's a great fit, the styling has turned out just as I planned and the frogged sweater has become something very wearable again.  What's not to love?

I'll finish typing up the pattern and post it shortly.  Now I've spotted another cardi at the back of the wardrobe that needs to be lovingly frogged!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Lace Shawl

Browsing around Ravelry and other blogs, I see that many people have a specialist knitting or crochet subject - hats, socks, shawls, sweaters, toys or whatever.  If I was pushed, I suppose I would have to say that my specialist subject is cardigans - with a particular interest in Fair Isle.  However I do like to have a go at most things.

I have tried socks but I've eliminated them from my list of preferred items to knit.  There are lots of lovely sock patterns out there but I've no desire to make any more - for the time being (never say never!).

I have long been an admirer of the beautiful lace triangular shawls patterns that seem so popular on Ravelry. So I finally decided to give one a go.

This pattern is called Sparrowette and it's by Maja Jokonavic.

A well-written, clearly explained pattern with sufficient pattern changes to keep it interesting.  The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download, here.

The shawl is lovely and light and now it's finished I'm really pleased with it.  Full details of the project and the yarn used on my Ravelry page, here.

I love the colouring of the yarn - the main reason I bought it (apart from the fact that it was reduced price!).  However, it was not pleasant to knit with. The wool content is wrapped around a central core of nylon and this led to quite a lot of twisting and bunching of the wool element. The yarn is now discontinued but I wouldn't have recommended it even if it was still available.

Amazingly I only used about 60g of the 100g ball of yarn but I think I would try crocheting with the remaining yarn rather than knitting.

So would I knit another shawl?  I didn't enjoy the knitting process, but, now that it's finished, if I tried a different lace yarn, I maybe seduced by another of those lovely patterns.

In the meantime, I'm working on yet another cardigan - but sadly not Fair Isle.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Happy Birthday Mum


Have a wonderful day - make it special.  

Here's a little something I made for her.  

The pattern is called Multiple Choice Doily.  

It measures 17 cm in diameter.

I used Anchor #12 crochet cotton and completed the last two rounds in yellow for a rather nice edging.  

A lovely pattern to make and it's free.  See my Ravelry project page, here, for full details of the pattern.  

And here's the card I made for my Mum - in case you haven't guessed, she's a fellow yellow lover (try saying that fast!).

I hope you all have a lovely day, even if it isn't your birthday.  

Friday, 10 May 2013

Upping the Pace

This year I made myself a promise that I wouldn't buy any more yarn until I had used up what was in my stash.  There were a few provisos in there but essentially no big orders of yarn until the backlog is cleared.

So - here's one lot dealt with.

This pattern is Olivia by Kim Hargreaves from the book Thrown Together.

It has a nice casual feel to it.

I modified the sleeves.  The original pattern has three quarter length blouse-style sleeves.  I prefer full length and close fitting.

It has nifty little pockets.  I added some embroidery around the neckline - to add some pinkness.

And some large pinky pink buttons to add even more pinkness.

The yarn is a discontinued one, Sirdar Denim Tweed DK.  I picked it up at the craft fair at Aintree last year for a very nice price.  The colour is called plum duff - and for that reason alone it was worth buying.

My only concern with this latest cardigan is that the button bands are quite loose and don't lie as well as they should - a bit saggy if truth be told.  But, whatever, it's still a lovely comfortable cardi - and the stash is going down.  So on with the next project - let's get that yarn mountain down to size!

Full details of the project can be seen on my Ravelry page, here.

Monday, 6 May 2013

A Sunny Day in Croston

Making the most of the glorious sunshine we went for a visit to Croston.

Croston is a beautiful village in Lancashire, between Ormskirk and Preston.

It worked out well because the church was having an open day so we got to look inside.

We enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea and a most delicious slice of home-made lemon cake.  

We walked around the village, sat and enjoyed the sun and even made a new feline friend.

Can we come too?

Amazing wooden sculptures

Camera shy?

Keep hold - it's the only way!

A lovely day out and I came back with this delightful teacup, saucer and plate -

on sale in the church to raise funds.  Delicate spring flowers to remind me of a beautiful day.