Sunday, 20 November 2016

Shades of Green - part 2-

It's been a while and it certainly isn't Spring any more but my inspiration is certainly at the moment in that season. This weekend I finished the quilt top I started back in June.

And the colours make me smile and inject a dose of much needed happiness (so did by the way "Fantastic Beast and where to find them" that I watched Friday night !). There are so many Spring and a few deeper Summer greens in this quilt, all of which not so much take me back but forward to the next Spring.

And true to Spring there is the odd bit of bright pink, yellow and some pale blues and whites coming through.

I love working on a quilt like this. It is simple from a cutting point of view, just squares, but you need to think about the arrangement of the patterns and colours and you need to lay out the entire quilt before it can be assembled as the piecing is done on the diagonal rather than row by row. This by the way, in case any of my students are reading this post, is a very good skill builder quilt still using the humble square but with a more advanced piecing techniques and with a bigger design challenge.

I might baste this beauty today but quilting will have to wait a while as I have a very busy week coming up.

Happy crafting everybody !

Monday, 31 October 2016

The first of the Autumn knits

My last post was titled the "The last of the Summer knits" but in the intervening 3 weeks it really has turned autumnal here in the UK. The leaves have turned and running along the river yesterday morning was a real joy. Wonderful earthy colours literally everywhere.

So it is time to move onto some warmer knits. The sweater I want to share with you today is knitted from a mixed yarn from the Pluck Knitter called "Lodge Fingering" It is spun from 60% Merino, 20% Cotton, 10% Silk and 10% Flax. Doesn't that sound great ? This will give warmth through the Merino portion, coolness via the cotton, a little bit of a shine with the silk and structure from the flax.

When I started knitting my mother thought it was not soft enough but by the time it was finished, she was quite smitten with the yarn and its softness and also with the pattern. I used a simple raglan pattern from the people of Purl Soho called "Lightweight Raglan Pullover" which by the way is a FREE pattern.

This pattern has several interesting features; a curved bottom made from short rows and rolled cuffs and neck which gives it a really professional yet relaxed finished. 

I have warn this gorgeous sweater several times already and could not be happier with the fit, its shape (which it keeps very well) and its feel.

The only design item I did not like was that it was difficult to try on as arms and body are knit separately before being combined from the underarm section upwards. This makes frequent checks on the fit quite difficult. And I can't quite help thinking that the same good fit could have been achieved with a topdown version of it. The yarn was a little thicker than the suggested from the pattern which made it important for me to check the correct sizing often (I knitted the smallest size).

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The last of the Summer knits

The sweater I want to share with you today is another linen knitted number and if you are counting then this will make it 3 linen jumpers this year ! (See here and here for the other two). I love each of them and have worn them a lot this summer.  But my favourite is possibly this one and that is saying a lot. Why ? Because I actually am not that fond of stripes (or maybe I am a closeted stripe lover as my "Funky Granddad cardigan has plenty of those too).

The pattern I followed is "Stripe Parade" from the Plucky Knitter . It is very easy to knit and the raglan sleeves make for a very good fit indeed. 

When I returned the leftover skeins from my other linen Quince&Co sweater to Loop, I spotted all these wonderful skeins and just could not resist to quickly grab a few and design there and then another project.

If you are interested, the colours are 2 skeins of Fundi and one skein each of Hibiscus, Blue Spruce, Banyon and Citron. Although I would normally knit for a chest size 36, I knitted in the smallest size available as linen "grows" during knitting and while worn. And the sizing worked out perfectly. 

I also altered the stripe pattern to adjust for my taste and yarn availability. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

The funky grandpa cardigan

My ravelry library has now 159 patterns and I just love the fact that I can actually have a digital library! Imagines you'd have to collect all of this in paper form. One of the patterns in my library is the funky grandpa cardigan by La Maison Rille. When I spotted it browsing, it was immediately clear to me that I had to make one for myself and pretty pronto too as it is knitted with fingering weight yarn so ideal for this time of the year.

I knitted in three different wonderful yarns. the light grey/blue yarn is the wonderfully named "Ghosts fading under cold Moon" colour way from DyeforYarn in Merino/Silk. This yarn has a wonderful elegant and subtle sheen to it from the silk. The strips are made using a Zauberaball 100 from Schoppel in the colour "Blaukraut bleat Blaukraut" and lastly the darker upper arms are knitted with SNO from Woolfolk in black/green. All are finger weight yarns but the wool folk yarn has quite a different texture to the other yarns. It is softer and appears thicker with a distinct hue that I particularly like on my upper arms as they cold easiest.

I order the Schoppel wool in Germany but all others are bought in London at Loop.

This cardigan is also knit down from the top like the last sweater I knitted. I already mentioned then that I was a convert and I still am. The pattern is incredibly detailed and has lots of tips and explanation. There were a few techniques here that I had not used before. German short rows and the wonderful i-cord bind off for the cuffs. All were well explained or links to explanations provided.

There are just two things I made different. The first is the lower arm stripe section (photo below). The arms are knitted with DPNs but when it comes to the narrow 2 row stripes the joining points grow further apart the longer the section grows and you end up with zickzack pattern which is very unattractive. I tried this section several times using a variety of different DPSs and also circular needles. And when I had given up, my lovely mother also had a go at it but we both ended up with the same problem, which by the way is visible in one of the images on the rarely pattern side but sadly it is not mentioned in the pattern at all. My solution in the end was not to knit in rounds for this portion but back and forwards and then stitch together the two pieces. After the stripe section I joined again in rounds. This worked really (image) below although the seam is visible but it is much, much less than it would have been otherwise. I think this is an overside in the pattern and should be mentioned as alternative or at least as potential problem or actually the technique to avoid it (if there is another to the one I used in the end).

The second change I made, is to knit the button wholes into the button band. The pattern instructs to cut buttonholes. I was slightly aghast seeing this techniques and really cannot imagine why anybody would willing cut into knitting. The techniques to do it, is very well explained but I find it not only dangerous but also a complication that is not necessary.

I knitted in size S and the sweater fits well although if I would knit the cardigan again (which is quite likely)  I would make the saddle a little wider than instructed. So maybe mix size S and the next higher up at this point. Apart from that, it is a much loved garment already and I have been wearing it a lot.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A Day to Remember Shawl

I took a break from knitting linen sweaters and finished a pretty scarf the other day. This is such an easy going knit and extremely portable which is a must for a frequent traveller.

The pattern is from Joji Locatelli and is called "A day to remember" . It basically is knitted throughout in garter stitch with a yarn over row thrown in between every 10 rows or so.

I am not the biggest fan of garter stitch but must admit it makes sense in scarves and shawls simply because you don't have a right and wrong side and it makes them a little more squishy.

I knitted in a heavy lace (the pattern is written for lace but easily adaptable in terms of yarn size) and used a wonderful merino/tussah silk yarn from Miss Babs in a light yellow called "Light Peeps". This yarn in hand dyed and Miss Babs has the most gorgeous colours in their repertoire.

The  yarn  is ever so slighted variegated and varies between a deep yolk yellow to a very light washed out yellow and all of this adds tons of interest to the scarf.

The scarf is meant to be around 72in x 16 1/2in after blocking but I kept going for a little while longer as simply wanted to use up both skeins I had. That added one more garter/yarn over block to it basically and probably extended it to 80in or something. It fits now comfortable twice around my neck which is how I like it best.

And another doughnut photo to finish up.

Happy stitching and knitting everybody.

Monday, 8 August 2016

A lot of Lotta - a finished quilt

This easy baby quilt that I started a few weeks back is stitched, quilted, delivered and was apparently very well received. Job done, I dare say!

My quilt making this year has somewhat low in numbers owing to the re-emergence of my knitting obsession (which is still going very strong I'm afraid) but that does not mean I don't enjoy making a quilt. On the contrary indeed.

This is a happy quilt with lots of fresh colours that are almost all from Lotta Jansdottter's 2nd collection (more on this in my first post).

I quilted in a one inch grid including in the ditch to keep it all simple and allow the quilt to have a beautiful drape.

The back is also a print from stash but because I've had it for so long I can't recall where I got it from. But it is a happy addition as you see and works really well with the colours on the front too.

Binding was a fast and easy choice - I simply chose the widest stripe print in my stash and I love the bold frame it gives the quilt.

Monday, 25 July 2016

More linen - Quince&Co Sparrow

I finished another linen sweater a few weeks back and have worn it ever since (weather permitting).

The yarn is from Quince&Co and is of a different quality than the "El Linio" from Schoppel I used for this sweater. Whilst El Linio is a tape yarn with a flat structure, Sparrow is spun round. The former feels softer to the touch and is thus more comfortable to knit but that does not mean Sparrow isn't a joy to knit. On the contrary it felt great gliding through my fingers and visibly softens while knitting.

The pattern is also from Quince&Co and is called "Perkins Cove" . This was the first top/down knit I ever attempted and I must say I am an instant convert to the technique. I find it so  advantageous that I can frequently try on the garment while knitting and best of all there are no seams in the end.

There were only few changes I made. The pattern has raw edges throughout but I finished with a narrow moss stitch edge at arms and body. The only raw edge I kept was around the neck. I also knitted full length sleeves instead of 3/4.

I kitted between the two smallest sizes and ended up using only 5 skeins of yarn but as I bought 7 skeins, I traded the two I did not need in at Loop in London and bought other colours to knit my third linen sweater for the season.