All cosied up – Beth from Kim Hargreaves

Beth from Kim HargreavesThere seems to be a lot of knitting going on round here. I blame the weather. I’m afraid that when I look outside and it’s dark, damp and dismal all I can think of are cosy cardigans and sumptuous sweaters.

I have been eyeing up ‘Beth’ from Kim Hargreaves Amber – A winter gathering book for quite some time. I always thought it would take ages to knit (double moss stitch, need I say more?) and the 8 balls of Rowan Big Wool are probably enough to put all but the über affluent off.

But then my lovely friend Sharon asked me if I might be able to alter a cardigan for her. It’s one that she had in her maternity days and is clearly now too big.  I took one look at it, and said “err, not really. Your best bet would be to unpick it and start again” and then I found myself with a job!

Double moss stitchThe unpicking was probably the hardest bit – trying to find the ends and then actually undo the seams was laborious and tedious to say the least. I weighed up all the yarn and figured I had a good 800 grams of yarn. My tension square was perfect – so I can say with reasonable confidence that the yarn is Rowan Big Wool as I know that most of the similar yarns knit to ever so slightly different tensions.

I used a tip that I’d picked up and knitted the back and one sleeve first. This takes you to roughly the half way point of the project so if you’re half way through your yarn you should have enough to finish. I didn’t want a repeat of the whole Edie saga!

I was really surprised by how quick it all knitted up. I was expecting it to take ages – yep the big needles, the double moss stitch all make for slow knitting BUT the simple pattern and bulky wool means that it grows almost as quickly as Jack’s beanstalk!

I made the 34in chest version and it fits beautifully on ‘Dolly’ – it’s too big for me, so if I were to knit if for myself I would probably knit the 32in and definitely make it shorter. Now just to finance it…..

The most challenging bit about this make was finding the buttons! It needed 3 large and 2 medium buttons. In the end I managed to find some on Ebay.

And there we have it – a speedy make to keep you nice and cosy over the coming wintery months.

The buttons

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Edie Sweater – how not to knit

Edie-sweater It’s been a while – almost 2 months to the day to be precise.

Mind you, not as long as it has taken me to make this sweater! It’s probably been about 3 years in the making. I am having a bit of a splurge on UFO’s at the moment and this one was top of the list.

If you haven’t discovered Kim Hargreaves patterns yet – then go out any buy one of her books now! They are beautiful to behold and even if you don’t knit anything from them, the photography, attention to detail and sumptuous yarns are enough to keep anyone inspired.

Edie, is a “deep raglan sweater with a wide neck” and has been designed to be knit in Rowan Kid Classic. For anyone who knows their Rowan yarns, this contains mohair – which well, is never going to work for me. I will spend my life itching and sneezing!! That said it’s a beautiful yarn and because of its mohair content is wonderfully light.

Instead, I knit it up in Louisa Harding’s Thistle.

Here are where my problems started….

First off, when putting a project down for a significant amount of time, it helps to take notes about little things like TENSION, NEEDLE SIZE and so on. I have a hunch that the front is knitted on 4mm and the rest on 4.5mm.

Second, after having knitted the front, back & one sleeve, it was pretty clear I wasn’t going to have enough yarn – arrggghh. So I decided to safety pin it together and try it on.

It was huge!! About 3 inches too long and the arms were all baggy. I wasn’t sold on the style and I wasn’t going to undo it all and start again 😦

Edie sweater - the sleeves

Batwing, dolman or deep raglan?

In a bid to cheer me up, I bought and downloaded Andi Saterlund’s Agatha determined to frog poor Edie and put it down to experience.

I then started looking around at how to fix the length issue.

Always up for a challenge, I followed this tutorial and shorted the front & back by 3 1/2 inches and the arms by 3 cms (yep, I know a great mixture of metric and imperial!!) WITHOUT having to start again. I was pretty confident that I had saved enough yarn to finish the last sleeve but with 6 rows to go….

I ran out!!! I nearly cried.

Louisa Harding’s Thistle is now discontinued. I knew there was no chance I would be able to get the same lot but decided that with only a few rows and the neckband to go that any variation in colours between lots should hopefully be minimal.

I was lucky. I can’t even tell I’ve used different lots.

Feeling pretty good with myself, I started blocking and making up.

The front was about 1 inch shorter than the back and as for the raglan sleeves….. inches too long. Luckily I’m creative with my mattress stitch and a good steam block after sewing means everything fits perfectly. At last – a result!!

And all my problems boil down to not keeping notes … but it does go to show that wool is quite forgiving after all 🙂

Am I going to keep notes from now on? Maybe…..

Me and Edie

Bud – the boyfriend cardigan

Kim Hargreaves - Bud

Kim Hargreaves – Bud

The summer holidays are over and so, by the looks of things is summer.

Whilst sewing and knitting trundle along when the girls are at home, sitting down at my computer is more challenging. If it’s not someone wanting to know what  you’re doing, and ‘can they join in?’, it’s someone needing a box opening, a snack fetching, a doll dressing or an arbitrator in some random dispute.

It always takes me a good few weeks to settle back into being at home and the school run routine.

So what do I have to share? Well both my sewing machines are off at the repairers so I’ve been printing, taping and tracing patterns in preparation and getting down to some serious needle time with my knitting. I have a fair few UFO’s (unfinished objects) lingering and I feel in the right place to sort them out.

First up is Bud (from Misty by Kim Hargreaves). If you’re not familiar with Kim’s patterns or her pattern books, then get down to your LYS (local yarn store) or onto Ravelry and take a peak. The pattern books  – even if you end up not knitting a sausage from them – are beautiful to behold.

Bud has a real eighties thing going on. It has a checkerboard edging to the bottom and the cuffs and the front is a long swathe of double moss stitch. Other than that, it’s stocking stitch all the way!

I knitted this in the smallest size using Rowan Silky Tweed (discontinued), and made the shorter version (making it a tad shorter as height is not on my side 😉 ).  I finished the seams using mattress stitch. I’m sure many of you find this really time consuming (and dare I say it ‘tedious’) but I have to say I think it makes garments look soooo much better. If you’ve put all your effort into knitting, then surely, spending those extra few hours on the finishing is worth it?

I cannot fault these patterns. They are beautifully written and turn out fabulous results time after time.

The only change I would make, would be do to a single row button hole. I don’t know why I didn’t do it this time – but I really wish I had, they don’t stretch into holes and are just much sturdier.

Now, if I can just sort out my Edie sweater, we’ll be away!

Look - stripey feet!!

Look – stripey feet!!