Free yarn!!

There are few things I like more than a free knitting project, as I’m generally thoroughly broke, and when a sweater has proved unsatisfactory it’s better to frog it and knit Something Better.

This sweater started out life as this one:

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It was very generously knitted for her – unfortunately a bit too generous. The neck was so large that the whole thing would just slide off her like a gigantic cowl – cotton is pretty stretchy anyway and the moss stitch made the situation worse. So, obv, I frogged it.

That time, it got turned into a Debbie Bliss hoodie from Junior Knits. I wasn’t especially happy with it so I don’t have a photo of the completed sweater. It wasn’t great because, like a lot of knitted hoodies, the hood part was so heavy that it dragged the whole thing backwards, meaning that you end up with a bare tummy. Also, like a lot of Debbie Bliss’s patterns for children, the length of body is short compared to the length of the arms. I always find with her patterns that I have to add a few centimetres to the body length otherwise by the time the sleeves fit the body is too short.

So, it didn’t get photographed until I was casting around for a new project. I’d started a new sweater for Smallest Boy and had run out of yarn (of which more later) but I really liked the pattern – Rowan’s Jack Pullover. Frogging seemed like the best option. So, here it is after the start of frogging:

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I was hauling the yarn directly off the old sweater and knitting it into the new, as I couldn’t see any reason to pull it all apart before starting, so after a bit it looked like this:

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And now it’s this:

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It got the ultimate vote of approval, which was that Oldest Daughter immediately started wearing it and hasn’t taken it off since yesterday. Definitely Better.

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Finally! The beaded nightmare is over.

It’s taken almost exactly four years. Started (according to my notes on Ravelry) 22 August 2008 and finished 5 August 2012. (Not completely finished, because I don’t have any buttons. Apparently four years’ notice is insufficient time for me to buy buttons.) This cardigan has accompanied me through four years of my return-to-knitting after a decade’s hiatus. It’s also seen me get considerably better as a knitter and a finisher. Which is why some of the cast-ons are different and the increases and decreases progress towards greater smoothness as I’ve learned new techniques and applied them every time I’ve returned to it. It also shows some other things that I learned too late – there are three little lumps in the back which are from before I discovered you really shouldn’t join on a new ball in the middle of a row, and you definitely shouldn’t if you’re knitting with cotton.

The pattern’s called Faye – it’s a Kim Hargreaves from a Rowan collection whose name escapes me (I got it out of the library – you’re allowed to photocopy up to 10% of a book without breaching copyright) as it was so long ago.

The proportions aren’t as nice as the picture when you knit the largest size (which is only a medium – 36” chest) – it’s short in proportion and therefore a bit boxier. It’s also difficult to get the buttonholes spaced evenly as the pattern asks you to mark out the buttons on one front-band and then knit the buttonholes on the other as you get up to the button-places. The amount of stretch in the bands means that you can get quite different numbers of rows between buttonholes. If I was doing it again (unlikely!) I’d set a particular number of rows for between-buttonholes and then sew the buttons on to match the holes. In the largest size about every 40 rows of moss stitch between each buttonholes would be right, I think.

Photos of it being modelled when I have good weather, husband, camera and cardigan all in one place!

Hello, finish line

Well, the socks are done – ironically (as I’d busted a move to finish them) their recipients won’t be here to get them, but at least they’re ready! 

They’ll look a lot prettier when modelled by their owners, though that might not be for a few weeks. All of which means I can go back to the Bear’s Debbie Bliss hoodie – currently in this state:

I’m altering Debbie’s pattern slightly on the sleeve as I don’t like the look of an additional cable coming in halfway up the sleeve, so I’m just moss-stitching it. I’ve been faithfully following Sharon’s instructions for the shoulder seam, and I’m very pleased with how it looks:

No bump, no bulky seam, just a nice smooth join.

Durable yarn

The other thing on the needles at the moment is the Bear’s cotton sweater – the zipped jacket with hood from Debbie Bliss’s Baby & Toddler Knits. It’s being knit out of twice-frogged yarn – Debbie Bliss cotton DK. It gives me new respect for the toughness of the yarn! First it was a sweater for me that I didn’t like

then it was a bathrobe for Bear which was very cute but she never wore (because at the time of making it hadn’t occurred to me that babies don’t really need bathrobes)

so now it’s going to be a jacket that she hopefully will get some use out of!

Finally an FO!

I can’t remember the last time I actually finished something – I think it was the baby berets. Maybe making baby knits has accustomed me to finishing things every week! But after  the trial that was the alphabet blanket, it was nice to finish off a little cardigan for The Bear this week. Needs blocking, of course.

Little Cable and Cable

It’s for her to wear to a wedding we’re going to in a couple of weeks (I have no idea at this point what I’m going to wear, but given that The Bump seems to be increasing by the day at the moment, I may have to decide simply on the basis of whatever still fits!)

I stuffed up the pattern very slightly, skipping a pattern repeat, but that was no bad thing as otherwise I’d have run out of yarn, and the repeats vary depending on the sizing anyway. It’s pretty though – I might knit her another in a different yarn a couple of sizes up.

The pattern was a freebie from Prima (originally from the Sublime Organic Cotton book). Not brilliantly clearly explained, but not too bad. I used Rowan Organic DK Cotton, which does actually knit to a dk tension, unlike some (stand up Debbie Bliss, whose cotton dk knits up to an aran tension). And now I get to ask again, what’s next?  Hello mojo!

Just in time for the Australian winter

Some final pics of the bedspread before it gets packaged up and sent to Queensland. I absolutely love the attached i-cord edging – there’s a very helpful video here that I used.

Attached i-cord

You do need a needle size bigger than the one used to knit the main section (tried it with one the same size and it puckered like mad). It took ages to weave in all the ends – at least four ends per block and then the sewing-together ends – and I hate weaving in ends. But it’s done now!

Crunchy snowspread

God bless John Lewis

I had some John Lewis vouchers as a wedding present and my lovely parents-in-law gave me vouchers for a birthday present too. I cannot stress enough how much immense enjoyment I had going around the yarn department of John Lewis in Reading humming quietly and plucking a few balls of this, a few balls of that…

Quite a lot of yarn

I have four balls of Rowan Purelife Organic cotton, six balls of Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino in gender-neutral colours, four balls of Regia sockyarn and six balls of Patons Fairytale 3ply (the 100% wool one). At the moment I don’t have any real idea of what I’m going to do with it, I’m just gloating over my Pile o’ Yarn. Happy days.