Long, Dry January

I don’t make New Year resolutions or set myself lists of targets or challenges – I don’t like the pressure.  I don’t need it.  That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t randomly decide to do things that stretch me a bit.

For instance, I made a pair of jeans recently that stretched me but, ironically, didn’t stretch enough themselves to fit me comfortably.  As you know, I’m making a coat at the moment which is also promising to be a challenge but, hopefully, will fit me at the end of it.

I also decided to do Dry January again which is a challenge every year and I’m sure they add extra days to the calendar. (For those who are not overly concerned by alcohol related matters, this means not a drop to pass my lips throughout the month of January 😱).  I did briefly consider continuing the abstinence forever but, as I found myself literally counting up how many days were left until 1st February when I was out walking the dogs the other morning, I really don’t think that’s going to happen.  It’s been harder this year as Mr. Tialys didn’t join in so I’ve had to watch him glugging sipping  a glass of wine with his dinner while I’ve noticed that both the frequency and quality of my kitchen dancing has deteriorated since the 31st December.

Anyway, back to the crafting.  I spotted a new yarn by Rowan the other day and also a lovely book of patterns using the yarn designed by Martin Storey.  I fell in love with this cardigan and decided to ditch the hook for a little while and take the needles up again.

My last knitting projects were a pair of socks knitted on a teeny circular needle and a cabled blanket knitted on a massive circular needle.  It felt strange to be holding a pair of needles again and even stranger to contemplate working from a chart.  I usually prefer written instructions and have actually translated the first couple of rows but I think, once I’ve got those under my belt, I’ll be able to just go with the chart.

The beautiful yarn used is Rowan Moordale with is made with British wool and alpaca – however, it costs around £16 for a 100g skein which would make this cardigan cost almost £100.  I baulked at that a bit – especially since I haven’t knitted anything this complicated in a while.  The patterns says ‘expert knitter’ which, although I’ve been knitting since I was knee high to my mother, I’m not sure is how I’d describe myself.

I recently found a site called Yarnsub which will suggest alternative yarns to use if you can’t afford/can’t find/don’t like the one specified by the pattern.  They grade the suggested alternatives by taking into account the density, the ply, the appearance, the cost, etc. and put them in order of suitability.  One of the top ones in this case was a Bergère de France yarn called ‘Lima’ which has the same amount of wool (though French rather than British)  and alpaca and the same ‘haze’ on the finish.  Lima comes in 50g balls – as opposed to the 100g Moordale skeins so I needed to buy double the amount, with a little extra just to be safe.   I went on the Bergère de France site and found Lima to be discontinued so they had it on sale for half price – only £2.20 for 50g which means, if I ever finish it, it will cost me less than a third.  You’ve got to love the internet at times like these.

This is the colour I’m using, it’s a muddy kind of green called ‘Mangrove’ which sounds horrible I know but I think it’s a colour that will be useful as it will make a change from the greys and blues I usually go for.

As I had purchased the pattern book, and there’s some other nice items in there, I went back online and bought some more Lima in a blue colour.  I’m thinking about using it for this one but Mr. Tialys says it looks like it’s been put in the wash and shrunk.

Personally, I like the cropped body, but do you think it would spoil the style if I made the sleeves full length?  I will have plenty of time to make a decision as I don’t anticipate finishing the heavily cabled cardigan before next autumn – it’s not one I can do in front of a Netflix box set that’s for sure.

There is a baby on the way in the family though (for my niece) and I can crochet a stripey blanket while immersed in real life crime stories or a drama that manages to drag on for 24 episodes or so.  I’m using the ‘Little River Blanket’ pattern again but, as I am reliably informed by my sister and  Cathy who is given very particular instructions when knitting for her grandchildren, grey is on trend for the tot about town.  Who would have thought it?

I can’t possibly make it all in grey though – even if those greys are in slightly different shades.  I’ve got two big packs of cotton yarn – one 50g ball in each colour of the Paintbox range and also, in my stash, some sunny yellow Rowan cotton yarn which I thought I’d use for the first and last rows, and the highlight on every 5th row as stated in the original pattern.

This is it so far.  I’m intending to switch subtly between grey through lilac through duck egg blues – don’t know about the middle yet – then repeat in the opposite direction for the other end.  The gender of the baby is unknown. The niece might consider the yellow too bright.

If it’s not ‘baby appropriate’ by the time I’ve finished it, I will still like it myself and I’ll just have to whip up a quick baby hat or something for the niece’s baby as it’s due in February some time.

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  1. #1 by claire93 on January 25, 2019 - 11:37

    lots of lovely knitting to admire then!
    After my first ever project, the 3/4 sleeve stripey sweater, I’m with Mr T on the second cardie lol. I think 3/4 sleeves look odd, and reckon you should make them full length. The short jacket part & full sleeves on cable don’t look odd, so why should they look odd on the second pattern?

    • #2 by tialys on January 25, 2019 - 11:48

      True – I did think that myself but wanted to canvas opinion.
      I do like three quarter length sleeves but only on tops and some dresses – it doesn’t quite seem right on woollen items.

  2. #3 by KerryCan on January 25, 2019 - 13:06

    Such fine projects–you’re taking on a lot of challenges! I agree that the 3/4 length sleeves are odd-looking–I think if it’s chilly enough for a sweater, I want my forearms covered. That business of gray for babies is a strange trend–I wove a baby blanket a couple of years ago and the parents requested gray and coral. I can’t say I loved the look.

    • #4 by tialys on January 25, 2019 - 15:55

      Exactly! It’s either cold enough for a jumper/cardigan/coat here or too hot for any of them so, although I do like three quarter length sleeve dresses and tops, depending on the style, I find it a little strange in knitwear unless it’s a very fine knit.
      Baby parents are bossy these days aren’t they?

  3. #5 by katechiconi on January 25, 2019 - 13:41

    The Husband of Chiconia is with M. Tialys on the sleeve length of cardigan 2. I must say, I tend to agree, but I’m not a fan of 3/4 length sleeves; what are you supposed to do with all the shirt sleeve sticking out the bottom, and if you’re not wearing sleeves under it, what’s the point of a cardigan? And so on. I’m really channelling grumpy old woman today, sorry about that. The mangrove colour is nicer than it sounds, like the colour of new oak leaves, and anyway, speaking as an expert on mangrove, the green is darker and the swamp mud is browner 😉 Love the colour combination of your baby blanket, too, so I hope the niece approves the yellow. Or perhaps I should hope she doesn’t, so you get to keep it? Oh, and bon courage, only 6 days to go….

    • #6 by tialys on January 25, 2019 - 16:01

      Sometimes ordinary men – by which I mean men not in ‘the business’ talk sense about women’s clothing don’t they? If I’m wearing 3/4 length sleeves I wouldn’t wear something long sleeved underneath it. I quite like fine knit cropped cardigans over a summer dress but don’t see the point on chunkier knits.
      By the sound of it, I’m pleased they didn’t take ‘mangrove’ literally when dying the yarn.
      I like the way the blanket’s progressing. I’m thinking of moving into the grey blues next, through lilacs and back down the other side to repeat the colour grading. I might not have enough different shades of those colours to keep it going right the way to the end but I suppose I could do two repeats. The first two blankets I made like this, I was using teensy 10g balls so could only use each colour once but I am going maverick with this one as I have more grammage (made up word) of each colour. I like playing with colours so I’m enjoying myself anyway.

  4. #7 by nanacathy2 on January 25, 2019 - 18:03

    B****y grey for babies, what is the world coming too? I think the yellow lifts it just wonderfully, and is on trend. I love the cardigan you plan on making, you brave brave lady, all that cabling. And yes to the longer sleeves. Imagine what a pain the shorter ones will be when you try to get a coat on over them. Good for you and dry January, and here’s to February kitchen dancing/

    • #8 by tialys on January 25, 2019 - 20:31

      I was in Ikea yesterday and made a point of looking in the baby department and, guess what, I saw a grey and yellow hooded towel thingy, so I was mollified.

  5. #9 by thecontentedcrafter on January 25, 2019 - 19:00

    I really don’t like this fashion of grey – on babies or anywhere really. Grey is a toning colour, used to make the proper colours pop in my opinion. Clearly I’m not in fashion any more – I wonder if I ever was….. There’s also grey in decor currently. Grey and black – oh my god!! It’s just plain ugly! I’ve noticed the house market is suddenly drenched with the renovated homes of the trendy young things who did them up in grey and black who now have an urgent need to move on 🙂 I like that cropped cardi, personally would make the sleeves a tad longer. I’m doing the exact opposite of you currently, I’m on my second cardi in garter stitch – I’m loving the texture of the thing 🙂

    • #10 by tialys on January 25, 2019 - 20:29

      Oh dear! You are definitely not a fan of grey are you – you were having quite the little rant there.

      • #11 by thecontentedcrafter on January 25, 2019 - 20:41

        🙂 That’s out of my system then, thanks for ‘listening’ and reflecting back ❤ I maybe need to finish first coffee before commenting on blog posts 🙂

      • #12 by tialys on January 27, 2019 - 09:40

        No! Just let it all out, I don’t mind.

  6. #13 by rrita on January 25, 2019 - 21:04

    When I was little, my Grangma tried to teach me how to knit but as I recall i could ony finish two scarves. And then I gave up. Knitting wasn’t for me but it shoed me one thing: Those who can knit are magicians (at least to me)! And to knit a cardigan like this…. Wow! You truely must have magic! I can’t wait to see how you get on with this project! I also like that greenish color!
    And I just love the way how our men can comment on the projects we get so excited about and want to share the ideas with them. We always assume (or just hope) they will have the same reaction as we do but they surprise us often with their on view. It’s kind if funny how this phenomen appears in all crafters life. 😀

    • #14 by tialys on January 27, 2019 - 09:43

      We’ll wait and see if I’m able to work any magic on this project – so far I’m still at the easy peasy rib stage.
      It’s true what you say about our men but, in the end, I wonder how many of us take their views into consideration. I suppose it depends on how much we trust their taste 😉

  7. #15 by anne54 on January 25, 2019 - 22:46

    Well done on finding your cheaper wool. It’s the Internet Goddess telling you that this cardigan was meant to be! I’m with the others on the sleeve length issue. I can understand why it appealed ~ i like it too ~ but their advice is very sensible. Really, why bother with 3/4 sleeves in knitwear? It doesn’t help that the model’s wrists are very fine, and emphasis the shrunken look.
    As for the baby grey issue….There is such a nice fuss about colours before the baby arrives, and then reality hits! My niece wanted lime green and grey (which I quite like) for her baby. Now, as a working mum, I think she is quite happy to have something clean to put on him!

    • #16 by tialys on January 27, 2019 - 09:45

      Well, to be fair to my niece, I haven’t actually been told what colours to use, I just know that my sister knitted her a little all-in-one suit with rabbit ears and grey was requested for that. There’s logic in that though, grey’s a vaguely rabbity colour isn’t it?

  8. #17 by kathyreeves on January 26, 2019 - 02:10

    What a great internet site to he,p you swap out yarns so perfectly! I love you new sweater, such yummy texture, and while I like 3/4 sleeves, I am not fond of the ones on that 2nd sweater. I like the yellow in the blanket too!

    • #18 by tialys on January 27, 2019 - 09:46

      I’m definitely going with the longer sleeves if/when I ever get round to that pattern – or I might just choose something else to make with the bargain yarn.

  9. #19 by magpiesue on January 26, 2019 - 23:12

    Count me in on the longer sleeve length for the cardigan, for the same reason everyone else gave. And I’m with the (not so) contented crafter (!) when it comes to the current trend for grey in everything from clothing to home decor. 😉 Good luck with the cables!

    • #20 by tialys on January 27, 2019 - 09:47

      Yes, I think my feeling has proved to be right about those sleeves – not one person has come out in favour.

  10. #21 by Kim on January 27, 2019 - 07:24

    I like Rowan patterns but I’m not a fan of their yarns. It’s expensive and I’ve rarely felt happy with the results I’ve had. I haven’t seen the alternatives site you mentioned so I look forward to checking that out.
    Your cables cardigan looks lovely – and all those cables should keep your mind off the booze! I haven’t joined in with this as I know I would fail 😂

    • #22 by tialys on January 27, 2019 - 09:50

      They are hideously expensive aren’t they – that site is a godsend really especially as the Moordale is new so I wasn’t sure they’d have assessed it yet. I suppose if Rowan are using a particular breed of sheep for a wool it’s understandable but a hundred quid for a cardigan is a bit of an ask – especially when you have to make the thing yourself 🤣

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