Since I had the stirrings of a wish to knit while I was laid up ill on the sofa, I bought a Wowligan kit from the Kate Davies website. Ever since Kate started producing her own wool, I’ve been itching to try it. None of the kits were quite speaking to me until these ones for cute baby cardigans were released.
I knit up a couple of swatches and soon cast on. I got gauge on 3mm needles. Since I couldn’t find any other small circulars, I used 2.25mm needles for the rib. I was a bit worried that the ribbing would be too small and look silly, but actually it looks great.
I was wondering whether Buachaille might replace Titus as my go-to yarn for sweaters. I think Buachaille is wonderful for wool. It softens up after blocking and has a lovely drape. However, it is still a tad itchy for my sensitive skin. Still, great to try a new product made by a small business that I’m keen to support.
Quite a few American knitting bloggers I follow mention knitting during meetings and at conferences. I never know whether this is a standard ‘thing’ in America, or something they have pioneered themselves, but it’s definitely not common here in the UK. As a psychologist, I know that keeping your hands busy with activities such as doodling can actually enhance concentration. However, it’s not widely accepted for adults to do anything other than stare in rapt concentration at the speaker (or play with their phone under the table).
While I don’t feel comfortable enough to ask to knit in team meetings at work (yet), it is something I’ve started doing when I’m attending training. I think I feel freer because I generally don’t know the other people there. Anyway, doing so really works for me, and gave me several hours of free knitting time on the body of this little cardi, which otherwise might have been quite dull going.
The sleeves are going super speedily! I used 2.5mm DPS for the rib and went back to 3.5mm for the stocking portion.
Yarn: 3 skeins Buachaille in the Furze colourway, provided in kit from website
I realised that I haven’t posted a satisfactory knitting update in some time, so here is my attempt to redress the balance. My knitting libido (knitbido?) is still quite low this year. I wonder if that’s due in part to taking a sabbatical from the HPKCHC. I’m still working on most of the projects I mentioned in my will-it-ever-end Wednesday post.
I’m still making slow but steady progress on my League sweater. I have finished the back, and I just did the second set of decreases on the front, which means I’m over halfway towards starting the armhole shaping, which is a little more interesting.
I’ve still got both sleeves to do next, so this jumper isn’t going to be finished any time soon. That’s okay, because it’s not woolly jumper weather right now, but if I continue at this pace, maybe I can have it finished for the autumn.
I’ve also made a small amount of progress on this cardigan. I’ve finished the waist increases. I’m going to add some shaping at the back hem for interest.
The most exciting knitting on my needles is the swatch I’m making for a possible Humboldt sweater. This pattern, in particular the use of marl, has really grown on me as the designer occasionally posts about in on Instagram. I’m thinking this would be a lovely cropped jumper to wear over dresses- less boring and warmer than a cardigan. I would probably knit this in Lemonade Shop speckled yarns, like the purple used in the swatch, so this sweater would be a pretty big financial investment. However, I also think that a sweater like this in worsted weight yarn would spark my interest more than the two small gauge projects I’ve got on the go at the moment. Plus, it would plug a gap in my wardrobe.
I picked up some beautiful merino and silk yarn on sale a couple of months ago. The blue is right up my street but the purple… I’m not so sure about. Don’t get me wrong, Old Maiden Aunt’s colours are stunning, this is a matter of taste. I like my colours poppy and highly saturated, and this is a little more muted and smoky than I normally choose. This is a peril of buying yarn online. I’ve since been a little uncertain about what to make. After swatching, I cast on for a second Waterlily top but I still wasn’t feeling it.
At the same time, I cast on a simple Featherweight cardigan in the sock yarn that I was generously given by the receptionist at one of my schools. After a few rows, I realised this was a poor marriage of yarn and pattern. The variegation makes the cardigan a little too handmade-looking for me.
It’s just as well that I made this decision as I didn’t swatch (due to normally getting similar gauge with fingering weight yarns) and once I checked gauge, I knew that the cardigan would have turned out a little small.
ANYWAY all of these little stops and starts led me to cast on Featherweight in the purple. I’ve tinkered with the cast-on numbers as some of the finished Featherweights on Ravelry look a little baggy in the shoulders. Hopefully my maths is correct!
So far it’s looking good and an advantage of top-down jumpers is being able to try them on throughout the process.
As you may be able to see, the fit on the shoulders looks okay. Maybe a little big across the back, but not enough to re-knit the yoke. After trying on and doing some knitting maths over the weekend, I’ve decided to do a few more rows with sleeve increases only to make sure the sleeves will be wide enough.
Something I’m mulling as I knit is whether to make the collar in the same colour, or to colour block. At the moment I’m leaning towards colour blocking as the purple is a little less bright than I normally like, so I think a contrast collar could really lift it. I’m thinking maybe a nice navy, or I could overdye some of the purple with fuchsia to give a brighter, pinker, more saturated purple. Decisions, decisions…
Pattern: Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig
Yarn: Old Maiden Aunt Merino/Silk 4ply in Derelict Daughter
In other cardigan news, I think my turquoise D Minus cardigan is heading to the frog pond. I made a mistake with the front increases that means that the fronts would cross rather than be open as I wanted. The problem with knitting the sleeves before the body is that I can’t really correct this mistake without a lot of upheaval. Plus I’m not in love with the idea of a DK weight cardi. I imagined this as a light layer to throw over a dress or shirt, and this cardigan may not have met the brief. I don’t have an alternative project in mind for the yarn so I won’t rip it out just yet. But I think it’s gonna happen.
Currently on my knitting needles is a Vitamin D cardigan made with leftover yarn from a previous project. I wear cardigans a lot, but it’s quite difficult to find knitting patterns for simple, modern and basic garments that aren’t too bulky. I had decided against Vitamin D a while ago because I found the fronts a little fussy for my taste.
However, I fell in love with D Minus, which leaves off the short rows at the front, leaving a cardigan that is much more to my taste.
I was waiting to finish the body of my Orza to free up my 3.5mm tips, which has now happened. I haven’t got very far yet. I probably won’t make two back-to-back top-down raglan tops again as the beginning part is so laborious. I’m working on the increase rows around the shoulders currently, and each row is taking at least 20 minutes. But I’m very hopeful that the finished item will be worth it.
And some more progress.
I can’t knit in turquoise without thinking of peacocks. I just discovered that the park near my office has a whole flock (a gaggle? An arrogance? What is the collective noun for peacocks?) of them wandering about.
The males get all the attention with those flashy fans, but check out the iridescence on this friendly female.
Well, it turns out that mid February truly is the season for love, and I am delighted to say that I’ve fallen head over heels for the cardigan I just finished knitting. Behold.
I’m so pleased!
The pattern is Little Wave by Gudrun Johnston.
The yarn is Malabrigo Rios in Purple Mistery. I used just over five skeins. It’s knit up beautifully soft and snuggly. Time will tell whether it wears well.
This is an advanced pattern. New techniques I learnt from this cardigan:
Oh my god, I can hardly believe that I have finally finished knitting this beautiful beast. Amazingly, we have recently been having perfect weather for Opposite Pole, which is more of a coat than a cardigan. You are basically wearing a sheep. It’s been keeping me toasty when it’s 10C and windy. Without further ado, here is the back.
I’m really enjoying wearing OP. I was waiting for a nice clear day to try and get some decent pics but it appears that it will never be sunny in the UK again so I gave up and grabbed a couple of snaps this week.
I think the wool is going to get a bit bobbly so glad to have these pics while it still looks good. The only thing I’m not happy about is that I stretched the cardigan out a bit too much when I was blocking it. Incidentally, the blocking was so hard! When I finally get around to washing OP, I will try to encourage it to shrink back down.
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool
Pattern: Opposite Pole (link to Ravelry)
Man, this cardigan involved way more knitting than I anticipated! It is fairly chunky yarn but it’s also a lot of fabric. I’ve finally finished the circle, so if I wanted I could stop knitting here and have a rather snazzy gilet.
This is what the cardigan looks laid flat, and here is a link to yet another GIF showing how I constructed this garment.
Cool, eh? The only thing I’m unhappy with is the join between the two sides of the circular section. I spent ages grafting them together but the graft creates a ridge of reverse stocking stitch among the main garter pattern. See?
Okay, maybe it’s only super obvious to my perfectionistic eye. The green and yellow threads are lifelines in case I figure out a way to invisibly join garter stitch, and want to spend another two hours seaming. The real problem is the wrong side of the cardi, where you can see a ridge of stocking stitch that I find quite upsetting.
Craziness aside, I have just picked up stitches around the armhole and am working the first sleeve. I would love to have this cardi finished by the weekend, but that is nigh on impossible, especially as I cast on a new pair of gloves on Sunday to give me a break from the large projects I’ve been working on since September.
PS If anyone is concerned that my badass trainers are an indication of delusions of coolness, I have been reliably informed that any potential street cred I could garner from wearing them is nullified by what I had embroidered on to them.