Posts Tagged ‘cardigan’

Cabled and green

April 14, 2011

Remember that box of yarn that came in the post last November? Some of it has become a cardigan.

This is Metro by Connie Chang Chinchio, a pattern I fell in love with as soon as I saw it in Twist Collective. Those three-quarter sleeves! That understated cabling, growing from ribbing, flowering briefly, and dissolving back unto that whence it came! The seamless construction! That casual-but-pretty, throw-on-with-any-outfit charm! Perfect.

And then there was that WEBS special of free postage for Knitting Daily subscribers, where they forgot to add ‘US addresses only’. Forty dollars worth of international postage at no charge? Yes, please. I wanted to make this a trans-seasonal cardigan and so set out in search of a good wool/cotton blend yarn (having read somewhere that fibre composed of 50% wool and 50% cotton is greater than the sum of its parts). A user review pretty much made the decision for me: ‘Just buy it. You won’t be disappointed.’ And the winner is Spud & Chloe Sweater.

That anonymous reviewer was totally right. This yarn would be a bargain at twice the price. When you’re knitting it feels like wool, soft, bouncy and without the crispness that cotton and cotton-blend yarns often have, but it’s cool enough to wear in spring and autumn. And according to the manufacturers you can machine wash and tumble dry it (though of course I’ve no plans for any such sacrilege). It’s marketed as a children’s yarn and most of the colourways are pretty strong, but if you can go with that it’s amazing. I would definitely use this again and again.

Knitting such a beautiful, cleverly-constructed pattern from such fantastic yarn was a joy. I hate seaming and tend to choose patterns that allow me to avoid it, but raglans often don’t flatter broad shoulders. Metro’s sleeves are picked up around the armhole, the cap shaped with short rows, and the sleeve worked in the round. I’d heard of this sleeve technique and was anxious to try it. Now having done it twice (once for each sleeve, see) I am convinced this is the only way to knit sleeves. Ever.

The only modifications I made to this pattern were to graft the shoulders instead of using a three-needle bind off, and to knit the sleeves to fit my long arms instead of to the written measurement. I’d be very tempted to make this again, and the only thing I’d change is the size. You’ll notice it looks fairly snug on me, which is a result of the evil gauge gremlins changing my gauge between swatch and garment (again). However the difference wasn’t enough to make it unwearable so I decided not to frog.

Pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself. Everything about this was good: great yarn, fun to knit, great to wear, good-looking, and a pretty good fit. My green metro is ravelled here.

My favourite FO this year

November 27, 2009

Is without doubt my purple Liesl cardigan. You can tell by the silly grin on my face!

I’ve been wanting to knit this for ages, so I’m understandably ecstatic that it’s done. The pattern is Liesl by Ysolda Teague, and I used the beautifully bulky, squishy single-ply Freedom Wool by Twilleys of Stamford. It’s a thicker yarn than the pattern calls for—something I didn’t realise until I swatched—but luckily that meant I just had to knit one size down to get the size I wanted. A nice change from having to knit several sizes up for my owls sweater. And I’m in love with the buttons too—purple-dyed shell, which I got at Tangled Yarns when I was in Brisbane in September. They aren’t exactly the same tone, but they match the yarn better than these photos suggest.

The thick woolliness of the yarn I used has made my purple Liesl warmer to wear than I expected, but this means it will just be a Spring-and-Autumn cardigan instead of a Summer-evening cardigan. Given the number of cardigans I’m planning to knit in the next few months, I’m pretty okay with that.

A slight word of warning if you choose to use this yarn: it’s soft, and squishy, and smooth, and almost the opposite of itchy, but being a thick single it’s loosely spun and does develop something of a halo pretty quickly. I’ve heard it’s easy to felt too, but I’m being anally-retentive-careful with this cardigan so that shouldn’t be an issue. I’m hoping it won’t pill too badly, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, cue more silly grins at the lacy prettiness, more sly snuggles of the epic softness, and many, many boasts of the general purple loveliness. And probably a good deal of wearing it, even when the weather’s really a bit too warm.

I’m a knitting demon

October 20, 2009

Those purple socks really seem to have gotten me into the habit of doing a lot of knitting. I think I’m enjoying the process a little more these days, instead of thinking only of the day when I’ll be able to wear/use/give away the finished project. Or maybe it’s just that everything I’ve been knitting lately is either small-sized or large-gauge (or both), which means things are finished quickly and I get a lot of healthy variety in my knitting diet. Who cares? Maybe I should buy a bumper sticker that says ‘I’d rather be knitting’ and stop analysing.

Anyway, there are a couple of new things to show you. I made another cute baby hat for Liz, in a style that I like to think of as ‘Wee Willy Winky’.

wee willy winky hat

Isn’t it ADORABLE? I think she really liked it, and the pumpkin hat too. It’s the Candy Cane pattern from ‘Itty Bitty Hats’ by Susan B Anderson, made in Jo Sharp Desert Garden Aran Cotton, which is nice and thick and definitely the softest cotton yarn I’ve ever found. I modified the pattern very slightly by attaching a large bell to the point of the hat instead of a pom pom—I thought a bell would be a bit safer for a baby, and it was much cuter in the end anyway. ‘There’s something about a man who tinkles gently when he moves’ — Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies.

The project is Raveled here. There are two important lessons I’ve learnt from making this hat that I’d like to share with you:

1. Cotton dries much slower than wool. Block knitted cotton gifts with plenty of time, and

2. Balls of yarn make great baby-hat-models.

In any case I think this hat definitely gets the tick of approval—almost everyone I showed it to (including me) now wants an adult-sized one.

On Saturday night I finally started my Liesl cardigan! I’m using that gorgeous squishy bulky purple wool I bought with Amanda. It’s so soft and snuggly and beautiful that although I suspect it will probably develop a halo and pill pretty quickly, I don’t care very much. I’m getting a larger gauge than I should but hopefully knitting a size down means the cardigarn will fit me in the end. From the initial try-ons (I love knitting top-down!) it looks like once blocked, all should be good.

Apart from being a dream to knit with, the bulky yarn means Liesl is growing very quickly. Here she is on Saturday, after I’d downed tools for the night:

liesl1

and on Sunday at the same time:

liesl2

so much bigger! Although apparently I’d knitted too much to be able to take non-blurry photos. I’m making the sleeved version, so those cap sleeves are on spare circulars waiting their turn at the moment. I’m going through the wool quicker than I thought, but hopefully there will be enough for decent sleeves.

My owls jumper is just about done too—it’s still missing buttons, but that hasn’t stopped me from giving it two outings already. There will be proud pics as soon as all the owls have their eyes!