Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Ishnana Cardigan

Last July, I embarked on what turned out to be a fairly labour-intensive (but enjoyable) knitting project.

I'd got a sweater's worth of King Cole Merino Blend 4ply yarn in Damson, a dark purple colour and when Isolda Teague released the Ishnana cardigan pattern, I decided I'd use that yarn to make the version that has the cables down the centre fronts and the sleeves (the other version has different fronts and sleeves).

First off, I knitted a swatch to check my tension/gauge was going to be ok.  It wasn't; I had to go down a needle size to 3mm.  I also decided to lengthen the body of the cardigan by a couple of inches.

The back had 260-odd stitches per row, with the large cable-and-lace panel on the back.  Each row seemed to take ages, so I knew this wasn't going to be a quick project.

Then, I went off it a bit (all those long rows) and although I was still knitting it, it wasn't with particular enthusiasm and so I found myself getting waylaid by other projects, so progress was slow.  On top of that, a few weeks before Christmas I managed to break one of my needle tips so had to order another set and then a lot of my crafting things got put away because we had guests for Christmas Day and it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I got the cardigan down again to continue with it.  There was also the matter of banging out the Stopover sweater, which was much more fun as it was part of a knitalong.

Anyway, I finished the body part up to the armholes.  I divided for back and fronts.  I knitted the back, then I knitted one front, then I was nearly up to the shoulders of the second front when I took it to knitting group and, whilst showing someone, I noticed a cable crossed the wrong way in the centre-back panel, before the division for the fronts and back.  I debated trying to fix it by snipping yarn, re-knitting and then grafting; knitting a patch to sew over the offending mis-crossed cable; pretending there was nothing wrong (that wasn't really an option, to be honest; I would have known and wouldn't have worn the cardigan once finished).  In the end, I dropped back about eight stitches 113 rows down the knitting, hoping I'd be able to just knit that section.  It was very tedious and slow-going and, after about 20 rows of doing that, I admitted defeat and ripped out the back of the cardigan back to where I'd divided into back and fronts, knitted up the remaining rows and then re-knitted the back.

I wasn't sure how much yarn I'd have for the sleeves and bands, so I did the collar, button and buttonhole bands and then knitted the sleeves, keeping an eye on how much yarn I was using for the first sleeve in case I needed to do three-quarter length sleeves to prevent running out.  In the event, I had a ball and a half of yarn left and the sleeves are bracelet length, which is how I like them.

I also had trouble finding buttons that would match the yarn, so went with clear acrylic ones, as I often do.

I concentrated on this cardigan all last week and knitted both sleeves and finished it off on Sunday.


Now for photos (which aren't brilliant because the light wasn't good when I took them).

Front View
Centre Back Panel

Back View

Would you believe me if I said the next sweater I'm planning on making also has a centre lace/cable pattern as well?  On the back and the front?  In black? 

It's also a child's sweater, originally knit in a fingering/sport-weight yarn, so I'll be having to work out which size of the pattern to make at my tension/gauge.

I must be mad!

Monday, 15 February 2016

A Go-To Pattern

Like many other knitters, over the years I've amassed a sizeable stash of yarn and I often find myself wondering what to make with the odd ball or two I've got in a particular colour.

It was therefore rather pleasing to a free pattern from Wendy Johnson that she'd devised for a garter stitch scarf.  You may wonder what's so special about a garter stitch scarf, but this one is a little different and, whilst being simple to knit, there's a bit of interest for the knitter as it's knitted diagonally.  It's Jennifer's Easy Diagonal Scarf.  You start out by casting on three stitches, then increase at the end of every row until you've got enough stitches to make the scarf the width you want, and then you carrying on knitting a very simple two-row pattern where on one row you decrease at the beginning and increase at the end of the row and for the second row, knit plain.  This means that, if using a multi-coloured yarn, you end up with a very pleasing diagonal stripe effect.  At the end of the knitting, you then decrease at the beginning of every row until you're back to three stitches, do a double decrease to leave one stitch, secure that and it's done.

So far, I've knitted three scarves using this pattern and I can see more in the future (I'm toying with the idea of adding in a row with eyelets every eight rows to add a bit of interest to a plain yarn).

The first scarf I made using this pattern was with two 100g balls of King Cole Splash.  As it was quite a manly colour, I increased up to 60 stitches.  The scarf was put into our knitting group's box of 'giveaway' knits and has now been donated to a local group that distributes warm clothing to those in need.

The second version I made, I increased to 42sts using a ball of King Cole Cabaret yarn.  This yarn has long colour repeats, with a sparkly thread running the whole way through it - very girly!  This was destined for the knitting group box as well, but DD2 had other ideas as she liked it, so as it's very difficult to get her to wear a hat or scarf (I used a second ball of this yarn to make a matching hat for her) I've let her have it.

The third scarf using the same pattern I finished last week (it makes for good TV-knitting, or for doing at knitting group when there's lots of chatting going on).  This one is in King Cole Melody DK and I used a 4.5mm needle and increased to 38sts.  This has come out rather prettily, I think (it's also for the giveaway box).  This one came out at 5" wide and 66" long, using a 100g ball that's 292 metres in length.

I've now started a blanket using the same pattern for the shaping/design, with colour ideas from a different pattern.  I haven't taken any photos yet, so will leave talking about it for another post.

So, if you're in need of a quick and easy scarf pattern that gives effective results, this is one I'd recommend.  As the first stitch of each row is slipped, it even gives a nice edge.  I'd suggest going up a needle size to one you'd usually use with a particular yarn (as with the pastel scarf; i.e. 4.5mm needles for DK-weight yarn) as I found that gave a better drape.  The pattern also gives a tip of putting a stitch marker or piece of yarn on the side of the knitting that's facing you once you start the main part of the scarf, so you know that's the row where the shaping's done, which makes the process even easier.  I'd also suggest weighing how your ball of yarn before starting and again once you've finished increasing to your desired width, so that you know how much yarn you'll need to do the decrease section at the end, to make full use of your ball of yarn.

Who said garter stitch was boring? !!!

Thursday, 11 February 2016


I finished sewing in the last ends of my Stopover sweater earlier this morning and I'm really pleased with it.

I decided to soak and block the sweater before darning in the ends so I could wiggle about with the colourwork stitches if I needed to.  I looked on my Ravelry projects page to see when was the last time I'd done any stranded colourwork and it was exactly three years ago that I finished my Sheepheid hat, so overall, I'm pretty pleased with how this sweater turned out as I was out of practice when it came to carrying yarn behind the work.

Here's the finished sweater.  I had to hang it in the airing cupboard overnight to finish drying as it was getting in the way of everyone where I'd stretched it out on the floor, which is why there's a line across the middle (caused by the edge of the shelf).  I'm hoping it'll drop out with wear, otherwise I'll get the iron out and steam it a bit, although I'm not that fussed about it, to be honest).

I took photos every day throughout the process, but rather than upload them all here, as they're on my Ravelry project page, here's a link.  The top photo is the finished, blocked sweater and they work downwards in date order from there.

Not bad going really.  I started this sweater last Tuesday (2 Feb) and finished the knitting on Tuesday, then blocked it yesterday and sewed the ends in today, so that's 10 days in total.

I'm now going back to a cardigan I've been knitting for months.  It's in 4ply yarn and I'm using 3mm needles, so that's going to be a bit of a change!  I've also got a couple of other things on the go as well, so shall hopefully get up to speed with blogging about those before too long.

I'm having a bit of a lazy day today as I seem to have caught the cold that hubby and DD1 have had and woke up this morning feeling very congested and with a sore throat.  Hopefully it will be a short-lived thing and I'll feel better in a couple of days.

Friday, 5 February 2016

More Banging Out A Sweater

Progress has been steady on my Stopover sweater.

As I said, each morning, I've taken a photo of my progress from the day before.

Yesterday morning, I took this photo of where I'd got up to by the time I went to bed on Wednesday:

Progress up until bedtime yesterday was this:

As you can see, not a huge amount of progress was made yesterday, mostly because I've got a bit of a cold at the moment and I developed a headache which was sinus-related.

I've been knitting on it again this morning and the body's now long enough to stop and I've started the first sleeve.

Exciting times!

Joining in with a knitalong is quite fun, seeing other knitters' colour combinations, modifications and hints and tips.  A few people have already finished their sweaters (I'm not sure if they've slept since the knitalong started on Monday), some people are still waiting for their yarn to arrive and a few decided they didn't like what they were making (mostly for reasons of size, I think), so have frogged their sweaters and started anew.

I'm off now for some sleeve-knitting before I take Jess for a walk and the girls get home from school.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Banging out a Sweater

Hi there.

I know, it's been months and months.  I got out of the habit of blogging and Life took over somewhat in 2015 and then, every time I thought I should write something, I either didn't have much to write about, or something cropped up and, well, the longer it got, the harder I found it to start up again.

But, a new project has spurred me on to start blogging again.

I *could* blame those Mason-Dixon ladies for leading me down the path of temptation, but that wouldn't be fair as it's really just my weak will that's led to this.

This is the Stopover sweater by Mary Jane Mucklestone.

About ten days ago I read this post on the Mason-Dixon website about a knitalong for an Icelandic Lopapeysa-style sweater.  I'd been thinking about knitting such a sweater for a while and this seemed like a nice pattern, and joining in a knitalong is always fun.  So, out of the window went my resolution of Not Buying Yarn and I placed an order at Deramores (and found a 15% discount code in the copy of Let's Knit I'd bought).  My yarn arrived at the end of last week and I knitted a swatch on Saturday.  As I've been knitting something else, I concentrated on that during Sunday and Monday to get to a place where I could put it aside for a while and I cast on yesterday and knitted quite a lot, around household chores.  I decided that each morning, before I started knitting again, I'd take a photo, so this is where I'd got to when I went to bed yesterday evening.

I've had to do a bit of maths as I decided to knit a bigger size at a smaller tension/gauge than the pattern stated.  I've also added an extra couple of inches to the bottom before starting the waist shaping (my first round today was the first decrease) as I prefer my sweaters a bit longer than the original (don't like things that ride up above the waistband of my jeans when I bend over).

I'm hoping that before too long I'll have a nice, cosy sweater to wear.

I'll be back tomorrow with a progress update.