Category Archives: knitting

CardiganBook

Vintage baby knits: Audrey Hoodie

CardiganBook

Over the summer i’ve been dabbling in quite a bit of knitting for small people, with several friends expecting this autumn. The first of these is the Audrey Cardigan, taken from a book called Vintage Baby Knits by Kristen Rengren.

I picked this book up some time ago in a bargain book shop for a few pounds, although you can also buy it on Amazon for slightly more pounds. It is full of a good number of patterns ranging from the 1920s to 1950s, some of which have aged better than others!

I chose the Audrey Cardigan as it was touted as “an example of the quick-to-knit patterns so popular in the late 1950s”.

Hmm.

Pretty it may be, but quick-to-knit it sure isn’t, as anyone in my monthly craft group can testify! The pattern is fairly simple, and the cardigan is knit in one piece with the only seams to sew up being the underarms and sides, however the whole thing is knit in moss stitch which is not the speediest stitch. I was well and truly fed up of this stitch by the time this cardigan was complete!

WholeCardigan

The yarn I used was Sidar Snuggly Baby Speckle, a 60% cotton and 40% acrylic blend, in colourway 128 “Billy Blue”. As the name suggests this yarn is super soft but yet feels quite robust, especially knit in moss stitch as it is here.

When I begun this hoodie I was unsure whether my friend was having a girl or a boy. As it turned out she had a little boy, but I personally would still have gifted this cardigan if she had had a little girl instead. Due to the flecks in the colour, I think this would have worked for either – although I am aware that some of you may disagree, and that’s ok.

An interesting feature of this cardigan is the shell edging, which is added in double crochet. My crochet is a bit rusty and so the edging is not quite as neat as shown in the photos in the book – however I think the desired effect still comes across.

CardiganCloseUp

One frustration I had was down to the fact that I am a perpetually loose knitter, and despite knitting a tension square and already going down a needle size, the finished cardigan still turned out bigger than expected. Given this is for a child it’s not such a big problem, as it will just fit the little one at a slightly older age, but I do find my tension an issue. If any knitters out there have any wise words of wisdom to manage tension, I would greatly welcome your tips.

CardiganOnDoor

Despite being a considerably less quick-knit than anticipated, I was pleased with the result, as was my friend to whom it has been gifted. So I wouldn’t completely discount knitting this again in the future – just perhaps with the knowledge than it might be a slow burner!

What’s on your knitting needles at the moment?

Kat x

Owls cardigan

Hello everyone and happy Saturday. It’s been a long and busy week and I am very glad that it’s the weekend. Today I can finally share with you my owls cardigan! Cast on here as part of the owls knitalong, I shamelessly missed my May deadline, although not by as long as it may appear as it also took a bit of time for it to be cool enough for me to be able to bear putting it on to photograph. It has been WARM in these parts! Even when it hasn’t been sunny, it has been muggy. But I now have pictures!

The pattern is a jumper, Owls by Kate Davies, but knowing that I wear cardigans a lot more than jumpers I have made it into a cardigan. This was really easy to do following the instructions on converting this pattern to a cardigan which I found on Ravelry. Jenny WIllknitt has kindly shared her guide to “cardiganising” the jumper and taken all the effort away from this adaption, with great results.

I love the colour of this yarn. It is Cascade Eco+ in Pumpkin Spice, purchased from The Knitting Shop.  It is also super soft and i know it will be super warm come the winter.

This jumper is meant to be knit with 2 inches of negative ease to make it quite snug, but I completely missed this and have made it according to my actual measurements. This is fine, as I like big and snuggly jumpers, but something to bear in mind if you prefer your jumpers more fitted. I also added a good bit to the length so that it just covers the top of my bum, which is my ideal cardigan length. This will be a great addition to my autumn wardrobe where it is not quite cool enough to wear a coat but a chunky cardigan thrown over a dress does nicely (the dress here is my Simplicity Amazing Fit 1652, in case you were wondering).

I don’t think you can see in the pictures, but each of the 20 owls have tiny buttons for eyes. I managed to find buttons which blend in nicely with the colour of the yarn, so from a distance you can’t see the individual eyes; I like this, it’s kind of a surprise when you view the owls close up and this subtlety makes the jumper more wearable. I also decided to only add three buttons to the front of the cardigan, and leave the rest open. I have another jumper in which the buttons are placed in this way, and I really like how it looks.

As I’m sure you can tell, I love this jumper! The only thing I would change if I could is that the buttons pull slightly which you can see in the photos. I have the same problem with my Corrine cardigan as well as some shop-bought cardigans.If anyone has any tips to fix this I would be most grateful.

I seem to be knitting up a storm this year, with three knitted garments under my belt already. And there is no time for a rest; I’ve already cast on the Miette cardigan after seeing so many lovely versions around the blogosphere. My autumn wardrobe is going to be bursting with homemade knits :)

What’s on your knitting needles or sewing table at the moment?

Kat xx

Letitia jumper

Well hello there strangers. How time flies! I can’t believe that it has been so long since I’ve been around these parts. Life happened, as it has a tendency to, in both good ways and bad. The last few months have been hectic and full of ups as well as downs, and sewing and blogging have unfortunately taken a bit of a back seat. To be honest with you, I haven’t really felt like it. But you know what – thats ok. I never want blogging or making things to become a chore, otherwise what’s the point? I knew that eventually my mojo would return, and I think its getting there.

Today I can finally share with you a jumper that has been a long time in the making. The pattern is the Letitia Jumper designed by Sarah Hatton from Issue 42 of The Knitter. The yarn I have used here is a 100% cotton dk yarn from Patons which is actually a beautiful deep red rather than the fluorescent pink it looks like in some of the photos; you’ll have to take my word for it.

letita2

Letitia first popped up on the blog way back in July 2012 where, it must be said, she was looking in pretty reasonable shape. Despite the lace work, this is a reasonably straightforward knit, and the repeating eyelet pattern keeps you on your toes just the right amount. It’s simple enough to knit in front of your favourite TV programme, but with enough intrigue to keep things interesting. I soon finished knitting and sewed her up. I even wore her once. But – there was a problem (in all likelihood with my calculations!) and the jumper came up much too short. There are no pictures, for which I am very grateful as it was not a good look! Slightly despondent, I put this jumper to one side, where it languished for a good while.

letita1

Eventually I decided I really needed to do something, and turned to Google for help, where I discovered this excellent video which shows you a handy method to lengthen a jumper knitted from the bottom up. So off I went, extending the jumper by a good few inches. I tried it on…and still wasn’t satisfied. Fussy me! This time I felt it was too long and didn’t sit quite right. This may have been overly picky, but I knew that if I wasn’t completely happy I wouldn’t wear it, which would have been a waste. So to one side the jumper went again, until I picked it up a few weeks ago. A few evenings of knitting later, and I have a finished jumper that I am happy with and know I will wear. Here I am wearing it over a blouse with a peter-pan collar, I did this almost by accident but I really love this look!

letitia3

So this jumper really has been a lesson in perseverance, but I am glad I didn’t give up. Sadly (well, not really!) it is far to warm to wear this jumper now, but never mind.

I’m going to leave you with a picture of another long-awaited knit, my owls cardigan, which has been waiting patiently to be blocked for a good month or two now, but look! Progress….

owls1

Blog post coming soon. Yet another weather appropriate make…not!

Kat xx

Corrine cardigan

Hello Everyone and happy Sunday. Phew it’s been a while! I’ve been a busy bee behind the scenes and have a number of odds and sods to share with you, starting with my finished Corrine cardigan.

This project has been on the go for quite some time. It is a simple loose-fit cardigan and the pattern is freely available on Knitty. This is a great beginners pattern as it is very straightforward – if you can do a knit stitch you can knit this cardigan. There is no complicated stitches involved, and not even any purl rows to worry about. Instead the shaping is achieved using the “short row” technique. Basically, you place markers at defined intervals and knit to the first marker, turn and knit back to the start, then knit to the to the second marker and back to the start, and so on. This is a clever way of creating shaping that I hadn’t come across before, and creates a pattern in the finished garment which you can just about see in the back view below.

I used yarn from the Sidar Click range in a lovely variegated shade. This yarn is beautifully soft and I love the colour. The buttons I used were picked up at the Birmingham Rag Market last month. They are quite large, and I think that if I were to knit this again I would widen the button band, as there is some pull here which you can see in the pictures.

All in all this is a simple knit, although I must admit that I did get a tiny bit bored towards the end because it is literally just knitting up and down! Another great thing about this pattern is that the sleeves are knit by putting stitches on hold, knitting the sleeves and then picking up the body stitches later, so the only seams to knit are at the bottom of the sleeves. If you’ve been dabbling in knitting for a bit and want to branch out to your first garment, I would definitely recommend this pattern. I am pleased I stuck it out as this is a great cardigan and perfect for the spring weather we are currently experiencing.

I do have a bit of news to share with you and well; the boy and I went away for a lovely weekend in the Lake District at the end of March, and while we were there we got engaged! It was all a bit spontaneous, were were walking around one of the many lakes in the vicinity and he asked me if I wanted to get married. Of course I did (and do!). I wanted to wait until I had a ring to share the good news, and while I don’t quite have it yet, I did pick one yesterday when we went shopping in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.

ring

Obviously I’m biased, but I think this is quite possibly the most beautiful ring I have ever seen. I was debating whether or not to get a coloured stone and when I saw this ring I knew it was the one. Sadly I couldn’t take it home with me as I have to wait two weeks for mine to be made – I’m so impatient but I suppose two weeks is not too long to wait for something that I plan to wear for the rest of my life.

Wedding plans are still in the early stages, we are thinking April next year, probably somewhere in Derbyshire. We want something quite informal, laid back and very us. I’m not so keen on the term “DIY wedding” but we do plan to do a lot of it ourselves – for me this is one of the most exciting parts! I can’t wait to put my own (our own!) stamp on things. So exciting! Any hints, tips and wedding blog links would be greatly appreciated!!

Kat xx

 

Owls knitalong: Choosing yarn and knitting a swatch

Hello Everyone! Today is the first day of the owls knitalong. There is a small group of us knitting along to make this great jumper pattern by Kate Davies, led by myself and the lovely Sabs. We are largely doing thing via email, but there will be a few blog posts along the way so you can keep up with our progress should you desire.

owlsAfter a bit of Ravelry research I decided to modify this pattern slightly to make a cardigan. As far as I can tell this basically means that rather than knitting in the round, I will not join the stitches and knit back and forth instead. The reasoning behind this decision is that I tend to wear chunky cardigans more than chunky jumpers, and I really want to get a lot of wear out of this garment.

The first two steps of any knitting project are arguabley the most important: choosing your yarn and knitting a swatch. You may remember a few weeks ago I frogged my St James jumper with the plan to repurpose the yarn for this project. Well, I should have read the pattern first. The owls pattern calls for chunky yarn, not aran/worsted weight yarn which is slightly thinner. You can sometimes get away with using a different sized knitting needles to get the correct guage, but it does explicitly state that this is not recommended for this pattern as the all important owls loose their definition. I would have known this, of course, had I read the pattern before blindly frogging my St James. The lesson here is READ THE PATTERN! It is a good idea to know what weight of yarn you are looking for before you start the hunt, and it’s also helpful to have a look on Ravelry and see what yarns others have used for the same project. Oh well. All is not lost as it has been brought to my attention that the miette cardigan calls for worsted weight yarn. I think I may have just lined up my next knitting project…

frogged

Anyway. Back to the owls. With my original plan out the window I had to go on the hunt for some new yarn. I chose Cascade Eco+ in Pumpkin Spice, purchased from The Knitting Shop.  I think this particular colourway is currently out of stock, but it is a lovely orangey-brown and the yarn is just so super soft – I love it.

Yarn purchased, the next step is to knit a swatch. I’m as lazy as the next person and if I can get away with skipping a step I generally do. However, even I am resigned to the fact that knitting a swatch is the boring but necessary bit. The pattern will call for a certain gauge, which is basically the number of stitches and rows there are in a certain size segment (or swatch) of knitting. Often this is a 4 inches/10cm square. For some patterns, such as a scarf, gauge is not important, however for a jumper or cardigan which is knit to a certain size, if the gauge is even slightly out you may find that you end up with a jumper that is too small, which would be heart-breaking after all that work! The owls pattern suggests using chunky wool and states that on 6.5mm needles there should be 13 stitches and 20 rows to 4 inches in stocking stitch. You may find that your swatch measures slightly differently, which could be due to the yarn or your knitting style – everyone knits slightly differently and you may knit slightly tight or loose. To resolve this, you can go up or down a needle size to get the correct gauge. You can see my swatch below – this photo is also a pretty accurate representation of the colour of my yarn. Gorgeous.

swatch

Swatch done it’s time to get knitting for real (always the best bit). If you would like to knit along, it’s not too late to join in! Below is a rough schedule. Each each stage has either one or two weeks allowed for it. The pattern is nicely split into numbered steps and I have indicted which steps are included in each stage. Timings are quite generous but hopefully this allows for a lot of flexibility and if you have a busy week or two hopefully there will be plenty of time to catch up.

  • By 17th March – Swatch and get everything ready
  • 17th March – Cast on and begin body (step 1)
  • 24th March – Waist increases/decreases (steps 2 & 3)
  • 31st March – Side increases, knit to underarm, divide (steps 4, 5 & 6)
  • 14th April – Sleeves (step 7)
  • 28th April – Knit the owls! (step 8)
  • 12th May – Decreases, neckline, cast off (steps 9, 10 & 11)
  • 19th May – Finish and block (step 12)

By happy co-incidence the knitalong will finish the week of my birthday. This gives me an extra incentive to finish on time – who doesn’t want to wear owls on their birthday?!

Kat xx

Decision made…

Thank you for all your comments and tweets relating to my last post on whether or not I should frog my St James jumper. Also apologies for the temporary blip in commenting – somehow I accidentally and mysteriously unchecked a box somewhere…but it’s all sorted now!

I think in my heart I knew what had to be done, and I can now report that this…

stjames

…has become this…

froggedBring on the owls!

owls

I am so excited to knit this jumper. Firstly, owls! Secondly, I have seen so many lovely versions around the blogosphere, most recently Tasia’s. Sabs and I are planning a mini knitalong for this jumper starting in March – if anyone else fancies joining us, you would be most welcome! Firstly I have to finish my Corrine cardigan though…I’m on the finish straight now and hope to be able to share it (and wear it!) soon.

What’s on your knitting needles?

Kat xx

To frog or not to frog? That is the question.

*Apologies to anyone who tried to comment on this blog post previously but were unable to, there was an issue with the comments box not showing up but everything is fixed now so you should be able to comment as normal. If not, please let me know!*

I have a dilemma and I need your help.

Some of you may remember my St James’ jumper, my biggest knitting project to date.

stjames

I was so proud of this jumper, but I do have a little confession to make. I don’t love it. Since I finished it, almost two years ago now, I have worn it a total of once. And that was just after I finished it. It has not seen the light of day since.

So the question I have for you is: do I keep this jumper in my cupboard, knowing that it is unlikely to be worn, or do I frog the whole thing and use the yarn to make a jumper I know I will love so much more? You may ask how I know I will love my next make more. Wait to you see what it is going to be…..

owls

Yep, Owls by Kate Davies. Predictable? Moi? I don’t know what you mean.

I think in my heart I know what I should do, but I am loath to pull apart a jumper I spent so many hours on. Have you ever knitted or sewn something you didn’t love? What did you do? Have you ever repurposed another knitted make? Did you ever regret it? I would welcome your advice!

Kat xx

Jumping on the 2012 review bandwagon….

Yes I know I’m a little bit late to the party, but I’ve really enjoyed reading all the 2012 review posts and I couldn’t resist sneaking in with one of my own!

Looking back over my blog posts from the last year I was surprised to discover how many things I made in 2012. In April I started a new job which involves a moderately long commute and cuts down my sewing time considerably. I expected this to have a drastic effect on my stitching, and while it has meant that I have perhaps cut down the number of “big” projects I have completed, I seem to have balanced this out with a fair number of smaller projects. Below I have listed everything I have made this year split in to sewing and knitting:

Sewing

2 Pendrell blouses (here and here)
1 Truffle dress
1 New Look dress
3 Renfrews (only one blogged here)
1 Minoru jacket
1 pyjama bottoms

Sewaholic Minoru jacket – probably my most worn make this year

  
iPad case
4 knitting needle rolls
Childs apron
Tote bag

Knitting

1 snood
2 jumpers (1 currently unblogged)
2 bunnies
Owl cushion
3 meerkats



Knitted meerkats for my friends wedding

In terms of clothing, the vast majority of my makes were from Sewaholic Patterns. I have mentioned my love for Tasia’s designs many times on this blog. It is great to have found a series of patterns that I know fit me well with minimal alterations!

At the start of 2012 i set myself a number of goals for the year. So how did I do?

1. Sew more basics
This one I stuck to – sort of. I made a couple of Pendrell blouses and Renfrews which are routinely worn. However I could do with sewing even more basics, in particular for the bottom half!

2. Stashbust
Erm….yeah. Both my yarn and fabric stashes are bigger now than they were at the start of last year. Opps. What can I say, I just cannot resist beautiful things (or a good deal!)

3. Interact more with the blogging community
This one I definitely stuck to! I took part in 2 meet ups, one of which I co-organised, as well as two other sewing gatherings, including one where the fabulous Dibs taught us some milinary skills. I hope to attend more meet-ups this year – there is nothing better than a day of fabric shopping and nattering about stitching with people who understand! I am so grateful for the wonderful people I met last year and cannot wait to do it all again. Who knows, maybe a summer Birmingham meet-up is in order?

Birmingham bloggers meet-up

4. Be more patient
Sort of. My Minoru jacket was a slow burner and I did enjoy the leisurely process. However, I still do tend to set myself stupidly tight deadlines (I may have been finishing up the meerkats in a hotel room on the morning of my friends wedding, for example!) which is something I need to work on. Sewing should not be stressful!

5. Take part in a craft fair
This one did not happen unfortunately, due to starting my new job I just did not have time. However, 2013 is another year!

So I did so-so with my last years goals. But this will not deter me from making new aims for 2013 – no no it will not. However, I will restrict myself to 3:

1. Make more time for stitching
If i don’t have time to do the things I want to do, I get grumpy. However, most of the time it is my fault. Instead of waiting until I have hours to spare, I would like to make the most of the time available. 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there – it will soon add up!

2. Take better photos for my blog
Often I am lazy and snap a few shots on my iPhone rather than taking out my camera and doing things properly. This shows on my blog, and I feel guilty about not giving my makes the great presentation they deserve. There are many blogs I admire which have fantastic photography, and I think this really makes a difference. So this year I would like to stop being lazy and make an effort to do my handiwork justice!

3. Make progress on a hand-stitched work wardrobe
When I started my new job I purchased a small number of grown-up work clothes with the aim to add to this number with me-made garments. This never quite happened, aside from a few tops. This year I would like to work on more everyday garments that can become staples of my work wardrobe, in particular dresses which I love but lack!

What are your goals for the year? Does anyone else out there share any of my three? In particular, I am interested in anyone who plans to make more time for stitching this year – it would be great to share tips and follow how everyone gets on as the year progresses!

Happy New Year everyone – I hope 2013 is happy and healthy for you and your loved ones :)

K xx

FO: Andy the Owl

Hello everyone, here I am back from a lovely few days away at a spa, and with a brand new finished project to show you! Those of you who are regular readers of my blog will already know of my love of owls. They seem to be very “on trend” at the moment but I have collected them in various guises since I was very small and used to dress up in a brown poncho and flap my “wings”! I’m not really keen on the fact that owls are now “in fashion” and am secretly waiting for them to fade out so I can be unusual again…and so I am not tempted to purchase everything in owl shape I see in the shops!! Given my slight obsession, it was never going to be long before some of my feathered (or in this case, not so feathered!) friends started popping up around these parts. So with this in mind, I would like to introduce you too…Andy the Owl!

He was so named because I sewed him together whilst watching Andy Murray storm to victory in the tennis to claim a well-deserved gold medal. As I type this, I have just watched him win a silver in the mixed doubles. Isn’t the Olympics addictive?! Go Team GB! My boyfriend is displeased with the lack of alliteration in the naming, but I am currently drawing a blank at British Olympians starting with an O!

The pattern for this cushion come from a bumper pattern magazine/booklet called The Ultimate Knitting Stylebook, which I would highly recommend…there is so much I want to knit from here! I started knitting this on my commute to work a few months ago, although when it came to the coloured front it became too big to transport so I knitted the rest in front of the TV. This project was an opportunity to practise working with colour including intarsia and stranding…many a time I got all the balls of wool in a tangle and had to stop to unravel them! However, this did make for a nice neat wrong side, as you can see in one of the pictures below.

I also had a chance to practise my crochet skills for the front frills…it has been a while since my crochet class and I have not done any since then, but I was pleased that I was able to pick it up again quite quickly, once I had translated the instructions!

This was a great project to use up scraps of wool I had in my stash from other projects. Because of this I used wool of different thicknesses which has resulted in a little but of tightness around the eye area in particular where I was also stranding behind – however hopefully this is not too obvious! You may also notice that Andy is looking a little flat – this is because I ran out of stuffing, so poor Andy will have to wait until next weekend when I am able to pick up some more, but I just couldn’t wait to share him with you.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend. Anyone else out there enjoying the Olympics? It is so easy to just sit and watch it all day long – I am not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow where it will be so much harder to get my fix!!!

K xx

Intermediate Knitting #2/3: Increasing and Decreasing Fun

Hi Everyone!

This week was my second Intermediate Knitting Class. Technically it’s the third one, but i had to miss the second session. Having covered a number of ways to Cast On in the first session, we have now moved on to learning how to increase and decrease on both knit and purl stitches. It’s great to learn the correct techniques and methods since up until now i have been mainly self taught, so i think i have picked up a lot of bad habits and sometimes just guessed at how to do things. Naughty i know!

We were taught to increase or decrease two stitches from the start/end of the row, as this leaves a nice parallel edge to the knitting. I have attempted to take a few pictures to illustrate the techniques here…hopefully they make sense. If this is helpful, or if you would like more pictures, please let me know and i’ll see what i can do! (apologies for the very chipped nail varnish!!)

1) Increase on Knit Stitch
 To increase on a knit stitch, we were taught to use the “make” method. You first pick up the “ladder” which connects the previous stitch to the next.
Loop this around the needle to create a stitch, and then knit through the BACK of this loop, as below. Knitting through the front results in a hole, as i found out!
2) Increase on a Purl Stitch
Increasing on a purl stitch starts off the same way as for a knit stitch, by picking up the “ladder” between stitches, and looping it around the needle. Then purl the stitch through the back, as so…

3) Decrease on a Knit Stitch

Decreasing on a knit stitch basically involves knitting two stitches together. By knitting through the back of the stitches at the start of a row, and through the front at the end of the row, this creates a nice “triangular” pattern. Here i am decreasing at the start of a row.

  
4) Decrease on a Purl Stitch
As for increasing, decreasing on a purl stitch is very simialar to decreasing on a knit stitch. Again it involves knitting two stitches together, but the opposite way round as for knit – at the start of a row purl two together through the front, and at the end of the row purl together through the back.
Hopefully this made some kind of sense! Here is a bit of increasing in action…
This week i also started a new knitting project, a scarf for my boyfriend (he knows as i wanted to check the colours!!). It is basically a simple rib pattern of knit 2, purl 2. Here is a sneak peak!
K xx