Posts Tagged kim hargreaves

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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Christmas Knits and Cute Kits

I have finished another big blanket and, this time, it is for my Mum’s Christmas present.  Sssh!!  I don’t quite know how she’s going to get it back on the plane but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Mum'sChristmasBlanket

It has actually got a lilac fleck in it – to go with her soft lilac sofa – but it is very subtle and hasn’t come out in the photos where it looks creamy beige which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

DrewBackinProgress

Despite having the wool for several more of these, I’m continuing with my Kim Hargreaves boyfriend cardigan ‘Drew’ from her ‘Storm’ book.  I’m really liking how it’s knitting up a sort of steely grey and it is sooo soft I can’t wait for it to be finished so I can wear it, although I’m not holding my breath.

Last Saturday night saw two of my baby kittens off to their new homes.  I was sad to see them go but very grateful that I managed to get them adopted as France is positively seething with unwanted cats and kittens.

Yuki is making great progress.  She still looks a little like a guinea pig crossed with a gremlin but now she is a fat one.  Being left alone with just one sibling, far from getting her bullied, is making her more playful and very strong.

DSC_0061

I think she’s going to be a diva though.

Her brother – temporarily called Mac (short for mackerel because of his fur markings) may henceforth be called Mog.  If you live in the U.K. you will no doubt be aware of the T.V. advert Sainsbury’s has produced for Christmas.  A mini story featuring Mog the cat that has taken the viewing public by storm (usually it’s the John Lewis ad).   My daughters grew up with Mog books  – delightful stories by Judith Kerr – so despite the fact the real Mog is a girl and has a white chest and paws,  they think we should call Mac, Mog.

This is what he thinks of that idea.

DSC_0047

For those of you who haven’t seen it (can there be anyone left in the U.K. who hasn’t) have a look.  It’s very cute and Christmassy and has a lovely message – plus the cat is hilarious.

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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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A Boyfriend Blazer

I know boyfriend jeans and boyfriend cardigans exist but, until now, I wasn’t sure about boyfriend blazers.  Anyway, I appear to have knitted one.  Which is unfortunate as I haven’t got a boyfriend.  I have got a husband but he’s 6’4″ so that might be a bit of a stretch – literally.  Plus, I’m not sure it’s his colour.

BlackberryShaleJacket (1)

I’ve had some trials and tribulations with this jacket and, if you are interested, I have gone into more detail on my Ravelry page here .

Suffice it to say, I won’t be putting in a back vent again

BlackberryShaleJacket (3)

Why?

and I won’t be dividing the sleeves for cuffs again just sewing on buttons in the appropriate place.

BlackberryShaleJacket (2)

Love that double moss stitch and those buttons though.

The reason it I’m calling it a ‘boyfriend blazer’ is because it’s too big for me – mostly in the sleeves.  Maybe my fault as I used a different yarn although I did do a swatch beforehand and the gauge seemed fine.

I will wear it though as I love it.  The stitch and the chunky yarn really make it feel like a jacket rather than a cardigan.  I’ve ordered some more yarn, this time in a denim blue colour.  I will do another swatch and make the next size down.

The pattern is Shale by Kim Hargreaves from her collection called ‘Storm’ – a great collection of patterns, almost all of which I’d like to knit.

The recommended wool is Rowan Big Wool, I used Sirdar Denim Ultra in blackberry (much cheaper and is great to knit with).  It’s on 8mm needles, though I used 7mm to get the right gauge.

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Clearing the decks before decking the halls

 

I have my Mum coming over for Christmas – she arrives this evening – and Mlle. Tialys the elder arrives Saturday as long as she catches her early morning flight by showing restraint at the bar and, like Cinderella, leaving before midnight from her office ‘do’ the night before.  I’m worried, I cannot lie.

As it is a bit antisocial to disappear upstairs to my workroom when there are the proverbial halls to be decked, meals to be cooked and eaten, chocolates to be scoffed, the Muppets Christmas Carol to be watched (again) and general merriment to be made, I will be abandoning the sewing for a couple of weeks.  So I attempted to finish projects I had started and clear my cutting table for use as a gift wrapping surface.

Here is the finished Butterick pattern (can’t remember which one) that Mlle T. the younger requested as she likes the bell sleeves.  There’s a bit of a 70s vibe going on here.  A nice easy pattern cut on the bias so no messing with fastenings – just some bias binding round the neck.

 

BlogPostDec14 Makes (2)I bought the new Grainline sweatshirt pattern, called Linden because I fancied making a couple of tops to wear for yoga even though my yoga teacher has disappeared to Mexico for a few months so I will have to be very disciplined and do it in front of the T.V. with DVDs.  Hmmmm………

Anyway, I made a muslin in some plain french terry for the short sleeved boxy version first but it turned out well, if a bit boring, so I added an image and will wear it to classes when they resume.  If you’re wondering, yes, I can do that pose but only once.

Grainline Linden Sweat Yoga TopThis version has no cuffs at waist or sleeves but the other version of the pattern has.  I wasn’t going to add them but my double stitching didn’t come out right around the ends of the sleeves so I added cuffs to hide it.  Then I added the hem cuff for consistency.   I wouldn’t do that again though as I don’t really like cuffs on things – especially trousers/pants – and especially tight ones, I don’t know why, I just don’t.   I made the mistake of making it with stripy french terry and spent a merry couple of hours trying to match stripes until I Googled it and realised that, with raglan sleeves, you have to match what you can in the most visible areas and leave the rest to do what they will.  So I did. Sort of.  The side seams match, in my defense.

Grainline Linden Sweat Long Sleeved VersionI think I’m going to give sewing clothes a bit of a rest for a while now.  I bought Colette’s Dahlia pattern and had the fabric lined up for it – although it is the dreaded plaid – looked at a few finished versions, read some of the comments and just couldn’t get motivated to make it.  This after buying the PDF version and printing out gazillions of pages and then sticking them all together – something else I won’t be doing in future.  Anything bigger than a skirt or top will be ordered as a paper pattern.

Anyway, never fear, my Mum will soon be here and, as you may remember from previous posts, when she is here we knit.

I’m hoping to finish the Kim Hargreaves jacket I started a couple of weeks ago which is going well.  I had a bit of a contretemps with the rear vent – considering I didn’t even know it was there until I thought the pattern had gone nuts – rear photographs of designs which have features on the back please publishers!  Actually, the pattern for the vent wasn’t particularly well explained in my opinion and I had to call in reinforcements.  However, it is done.

BlogPostDec14 Makes (4)

Love that blackberry colour and, so far, the Sirdar yarn is proving a good alternative to the Rowan.

When that looks more like this

5aa98-shale_1

I am going to tackle a knitted throw.  I don’t know why, I just saw the photo of it and got the urge.  I can’t show you the photo here as the designer doesn’t want her photos shared but you can see it here. You have to use 6 strands of  worsted weight yarn (thats dk or aran to us that speak U.K. knitting terms ) and monster needles such as these.

Huge Knitting & Crochet Needles

Those little circular ones with the blue wire are what I used to knit my socks and are there for size comparison as they are 3.5mm and the monsters are 20mm.  That is a 450g ball of wool by the way.  Reading the feedback on the pattern, one reviewer says knitting it was a bit like ‘wrestling a bear’.  I will let you know.

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