Half FO – baby sweater

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’ve been knitting a very squishy and very pretty sweater with the aim of having it ready for some professional pictures that we’re having taken ahead of Mabel’s first birthday.

They were taken a couple of weeks ago and the sweater was…kind of done? After staying up until 1  a.m. knitting and distracting Mabel with Strictly Come Dancing in the morning, I just got it into a wearable state 30 minutes before the photographer arrived & sewed on a button while she set up. A victory of sorts, though annoyingly she only just fit into it and taking it off was a challenge. Oops. Also, the neckline just didn’t work, possibly because I was literally knitting fast and loose. Suffice it to say yesterday was not my best day. There may or may not have also been tears of mum guilt in the afternoon for prioritizing knitting over, well, everything.

She did look very cute, though, so I am going to persevere with trying to correct/modify it. Blocking it post-photo session made a massive difference, though the neckline is still a mess. I think I may try to block it again as well; it still looks a little short to me.

I am unsure what to do about the neckline. Starting over might be best. It was definitely the hardest part to knit, but somehow it hasn’t turned out to be the right shape. It is the cable pattern, just knitted on larger needles sideways using short rows. The stitches kept slipping off, partly due to my speed which made my tension go off kilter and partly due to extremely slippery needles.

Faults aside, it is quite a pretty sweater and I’m glad I made it!

FO: Baby blanket

 

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Hello, everyone! It’s nice to be back on the blog, though I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to update it in the next few months. I won’t apologise – looking after a newborn apparently means having your hands literally full most of the time! And when they’re not, there’s a choice between sleeping, eating, and doing stuff (including writing blog posts). In the interest of my sanity, I nearly always choose sleeping, though it does mean the house is a state and that I am neglecting my blog & crafting. I’m sure I’ll learn to balance things eventually.

I did want to write up the baby blanket I made for Mabel nonetheless. It was my first attempt at knitting from scratch rather than using a pattern, so it was particularly challenging. In the end I wasn’t entirely happy with it, but I’ve been told it’s the thought that counts. 🙂

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The yarn in the center of the blanket inspired the whole thing. I bought it at Unravelled in Farnham several years ago with the intention of making a shawl. However, the more I looked at it the more I became convinced it would make a beautiful baby blanket, so I’ve been saving it. According to the label, the wool by Little Owl Crafts is:

Organic Devon Wensleydale

Hand dyed and handspun in Devon

Colorway: Dawn Chorus

There were 120g and 220 meters, which meant making anything would be a real challenge. Making a central block and working my way out seemed the most sensible plan.

After looking through Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns, I settled on Indian Cross Stitch. I wanted to maximize the size of the blanket by using lace, but because parts of the yarn are quite chunky, a traditional lace pattern didn’t look right. This stitch seemed like just the right compromise, and I’m glad I picked it.

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Then there was the border, knitted in a mystery undyed yarn (merino?) I bought at Wonderwool Wales back in April. It took 2 skeins. I spent ages looking up how to do mitered corners. But as you can see, I didn’t end up doing them (which is the main reason I’m disappointed with the blanket). I didn’t know how many rows I would need and instead of sensibly swatching I kind of gave up and opted to pick up stitches all around instead, which means it isn’t really a rectangle.

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I added a few inches of seed stitch to add some size, then used a Victorian edging pattern to finish it off. Unfortunately I can’t remember/find the one I used, but it is similar to a lot of the ones found on this website. Funnily enough, I had already added the three rows of eyelets, so this pattern was a natural fit.

Overall, I think the blanket is quite pretty, even if I’m not thrilled with it. I suppose the moral here is to always do a trial run! I haven’t decided yet whether I want to have another attempt at it & write up a proper pattern (something I’ve never done, but that might be a nice challenge).

FO: Maile baby cardigan

P1090510Finally, I’ve accomplished something knitting-related this year! This week I finished the Maile cardigan from What to Knit When You’re Expecting. This isn’t for me, but for a friend who had a baby in June. I knit it using Rico Baby Dream DK, which is one of the most gloriously soft & smooshy yarns I’ve had the pleasure to knit with. Technically this cardigan’s meant to be in 4-ply, but I had this yarn on hand & it turned out just fine, if possibly a little bigger than intended. The buttons are vintage cloth-covered ones that I had in my stash already.

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This was a pretty straightforward knit, but I’m not sure I’d knit it again. I prefer top-down cardigans; this one had slightly odd construction. To her credit, the author does acknowledge that it’s a difficult sleeve join & offers tips (i.e. the magic loop method) to help. It was still a faff, though, and resulted in some awkward seaming.

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The best thing about this knit was that it was my first knit using my set of interchangeable Hiya Hiya super sharp needles. And they were delightful! It was also a novelty to have spare cables, which meant I could just slip sections onto a spare cable & reuse the same size needles, rather than needing either spare needles or scrap yarn (which is useful, but I do find transferring the stitches back onto a needle annoying because I am terribly lazy).P1090511

FO: Oven mitt

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This project hails from my metaphorical (or maybe literal…) pile of unfinished projects. Specifically, this mitt was supposed to be a Christmas present for a friend in 2015. Oops. In my defence, that is the Christmas we moved house! Anyway, I finally managed to finish it & gave it to her last week. She loved it – as expected given how much she loves foxes.

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Making oven mitts was pretty straightforward. I didn’t buy a pattern, but instead just traced my own double oven mitt. I have concerns about how heat-proof it is, given I just used polycotton quilt wadding, but I’ve asked her to let me know (I forgot to test them).

Overall, I was pretty happy with these. It was my first time using bias binding on a curve, and as you can see I had mixed levels of success with being even. I was pretty disappointed with it, but I did find sewing it so stressful that I just couldn’t go back and redo it. I was really pleased with my pattern matching, though, and with the binding on the pockets. Next time I’ll practice a bit more before I take on bias binding.

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FO: Zitronenmelisse

At last, the Zitronenmelisse not-quite-kneehighs are finished. Whew. Never again will I forget to make sure I have enough yarn for a project!

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I’m fairly happy with them, or at least with how the pattern looks. I still need to add some elastic to the cuffs. That might help with my main issue with the socks, which is that due to their weird length (mid-calf), they just keep falling down. They do feel absolutely glorious on my feet, though, as they’re an alpaca, merino, and silk blend by John Arbon. I think they will be quite hardwearing, but unfortunately they have already started pilling. I’m glad I got this wool in an offer, as otherwise it’d be a shame to waste it on socks. I’m not so happy with the yarn for the cuff, but sometimes you just have to use what you have in your stash.

I haven’t decided what I’m knitting next, but I think it’s between an Audrey in Unst cardigan or the Diamonds Are Forever. For purely practical reasons, I think it’s likely to be the Audrey; I already have some yarn I can use for it.

Any knitting projects?

Thrifty Gift Swap

I hope you are all having a wonderful break. I have had a whole week off, and also have Monday off. I’ ve been shamelessly lazy. The house is still a bit of a mess, but I feel rested for the first time in absolutely ages. I don’t expect it to last for long, so I’m enjoying it while I can. Can you believe it’s already New Year’s Eve?

In the run-up to Christmas, I shared that one of my happy things was the Thrifty Gift Swap, arranged by Janet. That’s mostly because I love buying presents so much, but it does also have the bonus of getting presents, too. This year my giver was Hannah McIntosh Burke, who makes gorgeous creatures, and also happens to be pretty good at giving gifts!

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It was really lovely to get some chocolates from the U.S.! I also really liked these tiny earrings, which I’ve already worn. The highlight, though, is this alpaca yarn, which Hannah said comes from the alpaca in her village. How lovely! It’s so soft. I’ve spent ages looking at patterns, and am wondering if I might try designing my own at last. The 200 grams she sent is enough to do something cozy with, but not quite enough for a sweater. Hm. I won’t be rushing into picking a project, but I admit I’m very keen to start using this!

On the other side of the Thrifty Gift Swap, I can now reveal that I had the delight of picking presents for Alex. I won’t share most of what I got, but I did want to share the main present as I’d hinted at it on here previously. It was these fingerless mittens, another Kate Davies design. You may recognise this yarn from one of my yarnalongs. I was really happy with them, so I hope they keep her hands very toasty.

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Finished: lace jumper

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That lace jumper that I’ve been blogging about for months? It’s finally done! I finished on Sunday and may have had an evening of gleeful dancing around the living room. Or maybe I was responsible and prepared for my interview the next day. Who knows? I’m not telling. 😉

Overall I am happy with the jumper, and of course I’m delighted that I met my goal of finishing it in May. That means it only (!) took 3 months to make. It is lightweight, weighing only 150 grams, but because it’s a blend of merino and alpaca, it’s also quite warm & cozy. I also like the colour a lot more than I expected to. I got lots of compliments on the colour of the wool while I was knitting it, but wasn’t sure I could actually wear it. After wearing it to work today, I’ve decided I like it. I think it makes my complexion look kind of peachy, always a good thing. I am still a little undecided on the sleeves, which are puffier than I anticipated. What do you think?

All in all, I think this is a great English summer jumper, and it feels great to finish something I’ve wanted to make for years (I bought the magazine that has the pattern in it about 3 years ago). Now on to the next knitting project! Any suggestions? I’ve got no ideas at the moment.

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