Posts Tagged drew boyfriend cardigan

Casting Off

For one reason or another, this has been a year more dedicated to the woolly crafts than the fabric ones.

I started this first project last November but, by the time it was ready for ‘the sewing up bit’ the weather was far too warm to wear it so I left it until this November to assemble it.  It was my second oversized or ‘boyfriend’ cardigan from Kim Hargreaves ‘Storm’ book of patterns using one strand of Rowan kidsilk haze and one of Kid Classic throughout giving it that nice fuzzy look.  One reason I’ve showed it on the mannequin rather than me is that the photos of the mannequin wearing it show the fuzziness better than the ones of me and the second reason is, despite being over 100 years old, she looks slightly less raddled than I do at the moment.

I like it but I don’t love it as much as the silvery grey one I made.  It will be worn around the house when I can’t be bothered to light the log burner and will make me a magnet for cats seeking comfort which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


Since I re-taught myself to crochet, there has been quite a bit of hooking going on this year.  I was enticed by these gorgeous colours in Attic 24’s Hydrangea blanket and the dense stitch pattern was an easy one to do in front of the T.V. which means I get on with it more quickly.

I didn’t register the measurements of the blanket which is single bed size so I’ve only just finished it but love it to bits.

Most of the crochet projects I’ve done so far have been in rows so I thought I’d challenge myself a bit.  Sheila over at Sewchet started on this lovely blanket called Persian Tiles in the Eastern Jewels colourway and, although I’d already spotted it, I thought it might be a bit complicated but after reading about it on Sheila’s blog I thought I’d give it a go.

Unfortunately, that is not me holding up the finished blanket – I’m nowhere near that finished, blonde or young.

I’m really enjoying it so far – although I’ve only done two and a half octagons – but it’s something a bit different for me to get stuck in to and I’m gaining a bit of experience ‘in the round’ at the same time.

I’m weaving my ends in as I go along because there are multitudinous ones and it will be a mammoth task at the end if I don’t.

Thinking that I would work on both that project and one other over the Christmas holidays, I got out two balls of sock yarn I bought last year and cast on for a pair of socks.  As this is only my third pair in as many years I have to keep going back to the tutorials to see what to do.

I like to do both socks at once so I don’t fall prey to the dreaded ‘second sock syndrome’ which I know I would be prone to and there is, apparently, no cure.  Also, I knit from the toe up for various reasons but not least because at this stage it looks as if I’m knitting a teeny bikini top or a pair of woolly sunglasses.  I am easily amused.  This method works for me but involves tricksy beginnings such as Judy’s Magic Cast On and the Magic Loop Method which I need to remind myself of when I embark on my annual sockfest.

All is not so successful.

Remember the Sunshine and Showers Crochet-A-Long I embarked on a while back? Another crochet challenge I thought I’d set myself.   Well, I got off to a flying start and then came the flowers.

The flowers are done separately, joined up and then attached to the existing piece.

This is where they are now.  It might have been a challenge too far.

I might go back to this project at some future stage but I am also fearful that the edges of the blanket will be less than straight because of all the different stitches and patterns in each section and, in my inexpert hands, it is more likely to happen than not as I’ve noticed other people, more experienced in the ways of crochet, have had this problem.

Unfortunately, having had a pair of needles or a hook in my hands almost permanently for some time now, I think I’ve got some sort of repetitive strain injury in the fat part at the base of my thumb so I might have to resort to an ice pack, some ibuprofen, massage and a few days of yarn deprivation to see if it will right itself.

In the meantime, I will gaze at my lovely hydrangea blanket – repelling all dogs and cats until the novelty wears off –  and, because I’m so chuffed with it, put a second photo on, which is almost exactly the same as the first one,  just to make myself feel better about not completing the Sunshine and Showers one.

Plus, I will read the book I asked Mr. T. for for Christmas and try to finally get to grips with pattern cutting.

So, in more ways than one I am casting off until the new year which is only two sleeps away but I will raise a glass of something sparkly to you all on New Year’s Eve and I will make the most of it because I am intending to test myself again this year by doing ‘dry January’ when I will try to maintain my sanity (and my liver)  while not drinking any wine (or any other alcoholic beverage) until 1st February.

Thank you for your support, comments, good wishes, contributions, virtual hugs and all those other things bloggers are so good at, in 2017 and I hope you will stick with me in 2018 – even though I might be a touch grouchy in January 😉

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Snow? It Must Be Time To Get Out The Knitting.

The first snow has appeared on the mountains opposite our house.  Despite taking this from my bedroom window on the top floor, I couldn’t omit the wires but there you go – that’s the reality, I won’t whitewash it.  I could have gone out in the back garden and taken it I suppose but I happened to be in the bedroom when the photography mood came upon me.

First Snow on Pyrenees

Anyway, with the snow my knitting mojo comes back into play although this embryonic lacy scarf doesn’t look as if it would keep anybody particularly warm but I had a 25g ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze left over from the boyfriend cardigan I made last year and Sheila at Sewchet made some beautiful scarves with this pattern last year so I was inspired.  I’ve never knitted lace before and I found the first few rows a little difficult – I kept losing count of the stitches because the yarn is so fine  – but once the pattern started to establish itself I was away.  I didn’t thread beads on to the first row as the pattern (available here for free) has you do because I’m not sure the intended recipient is a ‘beady’ person and also, that might have been a step too far for my tolerance with ‘fiddly’.

Lace Knitting

What bothers me a little is how this scarf is going to grow long enough to go round somebody’s neck.  I appear to have used about a third of the 25g ball already and it’s supposed to end up around 53inches (135cm) long and the bit above is only about 8 inches so I can’t see that happening.  Does a miracle happen at the blocking stage?

Unlike with sewing, I don’t normally have two knitting projects on the go at once but, as the lace will be a gift, I had to make a start on it and I had already begun a second Drew (boyfriend cardigan) in a different colourway as I already had half the yarn I needed to make another one.  As you can see below, the fine Kidsilk Haze is knitted together with Rowan Kid Classic so is much easier to handle than the skinny one on its own.

Kim Hargreaves Drew Cardigan no.2

Last year I knit a jumper while my Mum was visiting because she knits and we can have some mother daughter bonding time over the needles.  I sort of knew I wasn’t going to like it much so, once finished, it languished in my ‘I Like Big Balls and I Cannot Lie’ knitting bag all summer waiting to be sewn up.

Marble Chunky Jumper

The sleeves were supposed to be holey too but I didn’t do that for a reason I now can’t remember but I’m glad anyway.

It’s O.K. but I don’t love it.

What I do like is the shape – it’s quite hard to find a knitting pattern that is fitted and has a nice scoop neck.

The yarn – and pattern – is from James C. Brett and it’s called Marble Chunky, in case you’re interested.

Marble Chunky Jumper Back VIew

I like the variegated colour and, if I were to knit it again, which I won’t, but if I did, I would omit the holes from the front too.

As with the vast majority of my knitted garments, I will probably only wear this ‘around the house’ as, although I love to knit, I’m not a big knitwear wearer.  Bizarre I know.

It’s always good to end with a cat (or dog) photo in my opinion so here is one of Mac who climbed into my antique bowl while I was trying to photograph it for my shop. (It is a very big bowl)

Cat in Antique French Confit Bowl

I was going to use it as a product photo but thought it might put people off who are allergic to cats but it was too cute to waste so I’m sharing it with you instead.

 

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Boyfriend Cardigan Finished – Orangutans Need Not Apply

Remember the fuss I made trying to choose between two different colours of yarn to make the  ‘boyfriend’ cardigan from the knitting book Storm by Kim Hargreaves?   I blogged about it back at the end of last year and, having canvassed your opinions, I went with my instincts anyway and chose the dark grey fine mohair instead of the purple to knit together  with the pale grey thicker ‘base’ yarn and here’s the result.

My boyfriend cardigan 1

(Note that I have opted not to frighten the horses and, as promised,  haven’t styled it with shorts and ankle boots as they did with the (very young) model in the book for which, I’m sure you are truly grateful.)

It’s soft and squishy and nicely oversized but not by too much .  My worries about the sleeves only fitting an orangutan were unfounded – it’s just that, being raglan sleeves, they seemed to go on forever when they were on my needles.

Here it looks a bit like your Grandad’s cardie rather than your boyfriend’s but I like the stitch used which gives you that wide rib stitch effect in relief.

MyBoyfriendCardigan (3)

I sewed the silver metal buttons on then, for a touch of femininity and also for strength, I backed them with some little floral buttons.

MyBoyfriendCardigan (4)

MyBoyfriendCardigan (1)

I really am pleased with it and to prove to Kate who always tells me off for being too self critical  that I can, in fact, be proud of my work, I’m not going to point out any faults because there aren’t any.  Ha!!

This is what’s on my needles at the moment but, even though, I like the yarn (James C. Brett Marble Chunky) and it knits up quickly and is reasonably priced and even though it’s fairly unusual to find a knitting pattern for a jumper with a scooped neck and a fitted shape I know I’m not going to love it as much.

James c brett jumper

  The yarn for the cardigan was Rowan Kid Classic – a wool and mohair blend and Rowan Kidsilk Haze, a mohair and silk blend which were knitted together and it has produced such a soft, luxurious garment that anything made with acryclic is going to pale into comparison.  Having said that, the Rowan yarn was expensive – despite me scoring both the yarns on Ebay – so, unless you’re going for a ‘special’ knitted item, I guess the  cheaper yarns will always have their place.  Of course, I do still have the purple Kidsilk Haze I didn’t use for this cardigan so I might keep my eye open for some coordinating Kid Classic in the sales and then I can make another one in a purple shade – if I can face those never ending sleeves again that is.

Mac, the kitten, likes it anyway.  He appeared from nowhere.  Knitting and cats – it really is like moths to a flame.

marble chunky kitten with knitting needles

How do you feel about knitting (or crochet) yarns?   Do you prefer to wait until you can splash out a bit and use the best quality or do you prefer acrylic blends for their easy care qualities which, for some projects is a big consideration of course,  or perhaps you can’t wear wool next to your skin?

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A Woolly Jumper

 

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that title with my lead photo.

Woolly Jumper

My Mum has been visiting and, usually, I save up or start a knitting project to be companionable as she always brings some knitting.  However, this time, she has decided she wants to get into sewing and so I have been helping her with some of the basics – and I mean the real basics.    She wanted to go into the only local fabric shop so I had to walk past the fabric with my eyes straight ahead  (due to fabric fast) until I got to the woolly bit.  There’s not much choice to be honest and it’s all Bergère de France stuff which I can take or leave and what stock they do have is of the more boring  standard variety and nothing to get excited about.  However, they did have two very large sheep made of wood with thick woollen fleeces.  They were a bit pricey but then I spotted the mini one with hanging string and Mum added it to her magnetic pincushion and cord purchases* and gave it to me as a little gift.

I mentioned before that I was planning on knitting a Kim Hargreaves pattern called ‘Drew’ which is from her ‘Storm’ pattern book.  It is a little different from the humungus blankets I’ve been knitting in that it is only two strands of wool (not six) and quite skinny wool at that.  The needles are 4mm and 5mm rather than 20mm so I’m finding the transition – and rate of growth – a little hard.

From this –

2ndHugeBlanketDuckEggBlue

to this

Drew Boyfriend Cardigan Kim Hargreaves

Should keep me going for a while.

The yarn used is one strand of Rowan Kidsilk Haze and a one of Kid Classic- both with mohair – and they are delightfully soft and luxurious and, therefore, expensive.  I found the Kid Classic in a pale grey – exactly 11 balls which is what the pattern calls for – on Ebay and bid high (although not as high as it would be full price) in order to knock the competition out of the water.  Which I did.  Just.  Then I found the dark grey Kidsilk Haze from another seller and it was, miraculously, only £4 a ball.  So I bought it and waited.  Then I got an email to say the Hazy one was out of stock but should be in by the end of the week.  Then they cancelled the order and refunded me.  I was not a happy knitter.  So I sent them an email and complained because I don’t like it when people sell you stuff they haven’t even got in stock.

Meanwhile, I scoured the internet to find some more hazy stuff because I wanted to knit the cardi but didn’t want to pay umpteen pounds for it.  Of course, I had to find a colour that went with the light grey as you knit the two strands together.  I found a young lad selling some of his mother’s yarn stash and it wasn’t a bad price so I bought it to see how it would look and I figured, if I didn’t like it, a bargain would still have been struck and I could use it on another project.

Then, the seller of the dark grey – chastened by my complaint no doubt – came back and said it would be coming back into stock and, when it did, they would send it to me free of charge.  So, to cut a long story not very short, I ended up with both hazy ones and made a swatch with both to see which combination I liked best and I was going to ask you which you preferred.

This –

AlternativeColourChoiceDrew

or this

Drew Boyfriend Cardigan

but please don’t answer me now, unless you were going to say the second one because, as you can see by the continuation from rib into pattern, I decided on the dark grey.

Another problem I had was with the pattern because when I did the swatch, I cast on 21 sts and knit 28 rows over the pattern, as instructed  to obtain a 10cm square .  However the pattern just wasn’t working out so I contacted the Kim Hargreaves U.K. site and begged asked for help.  Apparently, the pattern is worked out in sets of 4 stitches plus 3 and they suggested I cast on 27 stitches and try again.  Which I did and it worked.  But, dear knitters, should I have known this? If the swatch is knitted over the pattern is it normal to have to work out the pattern first before casting on for the test square?  I have never come across this before.  Shouldn’t they just have you do the swatch in stocking stitch or something.  Is it me?  I will say though, that I was impressed with the speed with which they answered my query.

Now I’m back up to the workroom to help make another  *drawstring bag  😉

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Second Stab Shale Blazer

Some time last year I made a knitted jacket called ‘Shale’ from Kim Hargreaves’ Storm collection.  I wasn’t 100% happy with how it turned out, mainly because I had substituted the wool and it came out too big for me but also because I wasn’t keen on some of the features such as the back vent, buttoned cuffs and one too few buttons (to my mind anyway) on the front.  I blogged about it here
BlackberryShaleJacket (1)

 

 Despite those things, I really liked the texture the stitch created and the style of the jacket so, nothing daunted, I bought more yarn and made it in the XS size, omitting the fancy details and adding a button a little higher up.

Shale Jacket Storm Kim Hargreaves

I’ve used these vintage buttons for now because it’s hard deciding what to use but, if I see something I like better, I’ll change them.

Shale Jacket Storm Kim Hargreaves

I really like the texture and it does actually feel like a jacket rather than a cardigan.

Shale Jacket Storm Kim Hargreaves

The mannequin is sporting the buttoned up version because I’m such a lazy baggage I couldn’t be bothered to change so I pulled some jeans on under my dress and then just folded the hem of the dress up a few times to make it look like a top with the result that it made me look hippy when I buttoned the jacket up.  So I’ve just used the photo of me demonstrating the open version.

This is the next thing I’m doing from the same pattern book and this really is supposed to be a ‘boyfriend’ cardigan.

Drew Boyfriend Cardigan Kim Hargreaves

I promise I won’t accessorize it like this. ( If only I could get away with such things any more).

I decided to knit this using the Rowan wools recommended but as you use one strand of Kidsilk Haze and one strand of Kid Classic throughout it worked out rather expensive.  I scoured Ebay until I came up with somebody who, miraculously, had the 11 balls of  Kid Classic I needed in a soft grey colour so I bid quite high as I was determined to get it and it still worked out a lot cheaper than any of the other sellers.  I found somebody selling the Kidsilk Haze to go with it at £4 a ball – which is about half the price of everywhere else – bought and paid for it and then they told me they were waiting for stock.  The next day they refunded my money.  I threw a bit of a hissy fit as I probably wouldn’t have embarked upon this project if I’d had to pay full price – or I’d have found substitutes – now they’re saying it is still in the system and, when it comes in, they’ll send it to me anyway without charging me again.  If that happens it’s a good result for me but, if it doesn’t, I’ll be naming and shaming them as I don’t like the practice, becoming more and more common, where sellers take your money for something they need to order from another supplier without always knowing they’ll be able to get hold of it.  Rant over (for now).

Do you think I’m compensating for not being able to add to my fabric stash because of my fabric fast by knitting like a woman possessed?  I must confess that I nearly fell off the wagon on Thursday.  I went to Ikea in Toulouse with a friend and, as we were walking round, I spotted the curtains and blinds section and noted again the fact that their fabric selection is diminishing.  My friend realised she needed the loo which we had just gone past so she backtracked, leaving me alone and unsupervised.  I vaguely wandered over to the fabrics and wasn’t interested in any of the home furnishing weight stuff but noted the plain cottons they have for 3.99 euros a metre and, as my stash is sadly lacking in ‘plains’, I thought I’d buy a metre of the black cotton.  If you have ever bought fabric in Ikea you will know that you cut your own and then weigh it and stick the resulting ticket on it.

This is how far I got – literally –  the scissors were open and the fabric was between the blades – before I remembered that I have 11 months to go until I can do such a thing again.

 

Scissors cutting cloth

Still, I’ve cast on for another one of my huge blankets.  The weather has an autumnal feel in the mornings and evenings now and I think I can bear to be covered in wool from time to time and this will be for my Mum’s Christmas present.  It’s a funny colour – lilac mist I think – it’s beige with a lilac fleck in it but, to be honest, it’s mostly beige unless you look very carefully in good daylight.

Erin Black's Cable Blanket Cast

Do you do ‘research’ when you’re making something?  By which I mean trying to find the materials at the best possible price.  It does take up a lot of time and sometimes I think I’d rather just pay the top end price and be done with it but, to be honest, I secretly enjoy it.

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