A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: rainbow

I already wrote about the substantive making of my Port Charlotte jumper, but I added a few elements to make it ‘more Christmassy.’ Even though I knit this sweater specifically for Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, I was very clear that if I was going to invest so much time (and money) in a project, it had to be something I would love in its own right.

The words on the front are simply some chain-stitch embroidery. A top tip that really helped with this (thanks Jane) was to baste on the design with cotton first, to give myself a guideline. The only time I had to do it was on the train from London to Dorset, hence the uneven appearance. I’m definitely going to remove the embroidery once Xmas is over and done with.

I wore my jumper out and about on lovely day out in Bristol with my friend Jane to get some pictures. Here we are being geeks on the open-topped bus tour.

The yoke looks just as beautiful from the back.

I think this jumper fulfils its purpose of looking good with waisted skirts and dresses.

I STILL cannot pose for pictures.

Something that I wish I’d had some more time to work on was the light-up element of this jumper. I’ve been interested in incorporating lights into my knits for a few years now- this was my reason for backing a project on Kickstarter about making light-up cards.

The card kit didn’t really translate into wearable tech, but I backed another TehnoChic project that came with a load of cool LEDs, which were perfect for this. If I’d had more time, I would probably have knitted little pockets behind the sweater to hold the batteries. In the end, I just slapped them on using Velcro! I’ve been too lazy to get the LEDs out again since the filming, so they’re not pictured in this post.

If you want to see more about this sweater and see how I got on in the Christmas jumper knitting competition, you can see my second small screen appearance of the year at 5pm on Thursday 14th December on Channel 4. I imagine it will be available on demand after that (I hope so because I won’t actually be home when it’s on).

Pattern: Port Charlotte by Kate Davies. I made size 4 and my gauge was pretty much spot on.

Yarn: Titus by Baa Ram Ewe. Around 2 skeins White Rose, Gobstopper mini skeins and some Jamieson&Smith jumper weight from my stash

Ravelry project page

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I can finally reveal the sweater that took up every minute of time I had available in late September. It’s Port Charlotte by Kate Davies, and I made it for a secret reason that I hope I will be able to talk about soon.

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I had three weeks and two days to knit a whole jumper. Including getting hold of the wool.

Port Charlotte is a pattern I coveted from the moment I saw Kate Davies post about it on Instagram. I have always been obsessed with rainbows, and I thought the design looked so clean.

I used a tubular cast-on throughout. I just love how it looks even though it’s a massive pain to do. I used Ysolda’s method, since I couldn’t figure out how many stitches I needed to cast on using the Brooklyn Tweed method.

Note for future me: do not use a smaller needle for the Ysolda tubular CO. After knitting the cuff, I realised that the cast-on was way too tight, so I decided to knit on a bit and use the sleeve as a swatch-in-the-round. It’s just as well I did- the gauge on the sleeve was quite different to the gauge square I knitted (back and forth) on the same size needles for my League sweater. The difference is so substantial that I need to knit a different size (4 rather than 3). So this was definitely one of those mistakes that turned out to be important.

Made some errors due to the lack of planning time I had for this project. I forgot to take into account that this pattern has bracelet-length sleeves, which is not a design choice I would normally make. However, the sleeves are made to fit that way so I just decided to follow the pattern.

I also cast on the body (the tubular CO took FOREVER) without thinking, and forgot that I am making this a cropped jumper. This means that I really cast on too many stitches. Rather than re-doing the CO, which would have destroyed my soul and taken too long, I decided to make the waist decreases in the ribbing. I’d never seen this done in a pattern so  worried it would look bad, but I have so little time for this project that I just have to plough on and hope for the best.

I did most of the knitting on a yoga retreat I happened to be going on during this time. I managed to finish the first sleeve in London, then cast on the rest of the pieces before setting off. I knew there wouldn’t be any wifi on Silver Island, so I didn’t want to risk drama with the tubular CO. This is what the sweater looked like when I was in Athens, the evening before I got the bus to the retreat.

For the week of the retreat, if I wasn’t doing yoga or eating, I was knitting.

Fortunately I had nice surroundings while I knit yard after yard of plain white stocking stitch.

The yoga helped stave off the RSI I’d started to feel in my wrist after a few days of intensive knitting. Having a digital detox was also a big help as I seem to use exactly the same muscles and tendons for knitting and swiping.

I did my cast off on the plane back to London.

Used Ysolda’s tubular BO. It was a stressful experience because I didn’t put in a lifeline, so couldn’t afford any mistakes. Fortunately it turned out fine.

I added some extra decoration to the sweater to make it more Christmassy. I’ll reveal all in a Friday post once I know when the episode is going to be aired.

Pattern: Port Charlotte by Kate Davies. I made size 4 and my gauge was pretty much spot on.

Yarn: Titus by Baa Ram Ewe. Around 2 skeins White Rose, Gobstopper mini skeins and some Jamieson&Smith jumper weight from my stash

Ravelry project page


After a very long pause, I have finally finished knitting this jumper. As you may be able to see, this made me happy.

Here she is looking less inspiring on the blocking board. I tried to stretch the jumper out a bit but decided against using pins.

My friend (and fellow crafty crusader) Jane very kindly helped me to take some pictures of this sweater on a recent short trip to Belfast. We managed to find a beautiful mural that I felt echoed the colours in my jumper. Unfortunately there were some issues with sun.

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Here I am raising my arm for some reason. I am so crap at posing.

Managed to squint a bit less in one of the pics.

Overall I am very happy with how this sweater turned out, despite the fact that the yarn was a different colour than I had seen in the shop. The fit is pretty good, especially in the shoulders, and the yarn is lovely and warm, and not itchy at all.

Pattern: Better Breton

Yarn: Squoosh FiberArts Merino Cashmere Sock in Eggplant, and The Lemonade Shop mini skeins

Ravelry project page

 


Fortunately everything does seem to have gone okay with my move, and I’m getting settled into a little house, for the first time, south of the river (Thames, for any curious non-British readers).

I did the cutting out before I had actually bought my sewing machine. This now brings the tally of projects I have cut out but not started to three. Think I had better actually sew something before I cut anything else out. This Japanese double gauze was pretty expensive, so I decided to take a risk and buy only 1.25m, and I’m very glad that I did! I was able to squeak all of the pieces out, with very little stress. If you’re looking at this post to see how much fabric you need to buy for a Silk Cami, please note that buying a smaller amount will only work for non-directional prints. If you’re using a directional print, you should probably stick with the amount of fabric stated in the pattern.

At the rather disastrous Intro to Drapey Fabrics workshop at SOI, the instructor kindly gave me a modified pattern to take away. In every other SOI pattern I have used, I have been a size 10 despite my measurements often being very different to those stated. In general, I always wear a size 10 in RTW clothing too. So I felt fairly confident cutting the 12 in the Silk Cami. This was a big mistake, and the finished garment really pulls across the chest, which is why I have never worn it.

Anyway, I didn’t really look before I started cutting (this could prove costly) but the pattern I now have is basically the 12 in the shoulders, with the 14 measurements in the sides. Fingers crossed it will fit!

Pattern: Silk Cami by Sew Over It

Fabric: 1.25m Japanese double gauze from Fondant Fabrics


So I learnt that it wasn’t possible for me to knit a fingering weight jumper in sixteen days while working full-time. However, it did take me less than a month to make this sweater, which is pretty quick actually. Despite my initial anxiety about how the colours were looking, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s looking.

The only real point of stress for me was the cast off. The pattern calls for an ordinary cast off in pattern, but having made some more advanced patterns lately, plus hearing some of my most respected bloggers denounce casting off in pattern, I wondered if I should go for something a little more polished.

I finished my body and first sleeve when I still thought I might complete this project before the end of the Olympics, so I did an ordinary cast off partially for speed. However, on the second sleeve I decided to give the tubular cast off a go, adding a green lifeline to the end of the ribbing for safety.

You can’t really see in the pic, but the tubular CO is too tight. Although I can get the sweater on and off, it would restrict my ability to push the sleeves up.

I re-did the set-up rows on larger needles to try again, but managed to drop a stitch, meaning ripping back again. At this point I became pretty frustrated, so it was good to be able to take a break and work on seaming my League jumper instead.

There were also quite a few ends to weave in, though I carried the purple yarn and contrast yarn for same-colour stripes to reduce the ends a little bit.

Pattern: Better Breton

Yarn: Squoosh FiberArts Merino Cashmere Sock in Eggplant, and The Lemonade Shop mini skeins

Ravelry project page


Last Friday was the first session of my Carrie Trousers workshop at Sew Over It. It was a three hour workshop and most of it was spent cutting out, which is one of the stages of sewing I find most stressful. The pinning. The endless smoothing of fabric. The fear.

Managed to get a pile of pattern pieces without much fabric left over. I hadn’t realised before that this cotton lawn is pretty transparent so I will have to make careful underwear selections when wearing these.

The first step was constructing the pockets, which are the most important part of any pair of trousers. This stage was a lot more challenging than it should have been because there was something wrong with the sewing machine I was using. It kept making long stitches and the thread broke loads of times. My fabric is very fine so I don’t like unpicking as I’m scared of making holes. It wasn’t until I had to leave to catch my train that the instructor realised the bobbin thread had something wrong with it that had caused the problems.

I left feeling really frustrated as I’d hoped to get further, and very small things I tried to do had taken ages because I had to keep re-threading the machine. I wished the problem had been picked up on sooner.

Anyway, despite everything my pocket is looking pretty good and I’m hoping this week’s sewing will go much more smoothly.

I’ve also been continuing work on my Aubergine Rainbow sweater. Not long after my last post, I joined the front and back at the armpits and began working in the round, which made the knitting go a lot faster.

The stripes are also helping to keep up my motivation.

I’ve got to say I’m feeling relieved as the stripes progress. I was hating colours at first and worried that 2016 is just the year of bad yarn colour choices (far from the worst thing about 2016 but still). However, I’m liking it more with each additional colour and hopefully the sleeves will add to the effect. I just love the little speckles within the stripes.


So far the fit of the sweater is pretty good. It’s slightly tight, but the swatch relaxed a bit when I blocked it so I am imagining this will happen with the finished garment too.


Pattern: Better Breton

Yarn: Squoosh FiberArts Merino Cashmere Sock in Eggplant, and The Lemonade Shop mini skeins

Ravelry project page


I’ve been planning a project like this for a long time, since my early days of knitting. I mentioned a little of the pre-planning I did in this post. Funnily enough, the arrival of my expensive American yarn coincided with the week before the Olympics, so I’ve decided I’m going to enter the Ravellinics for the first time. This means taking a small break from my League sweater, but I actually started making excellent progress on that over the past few weeks, so that’s okay. Check my Instagram (@craftycrusader) if you want to see what I’ve been up to.

The Ravellinics are the knitter’s version of the Olympics, where you are supported by the knitting community to challenge yourself and complete a project within the timeframe of the Games.

I’m quite looking forward to working on my Breton sweater while some of my favourite athletes do their thing. Like most people, I only care about athletics once every four years, but I am looking forward to the tennis. I managed to get some tickets in the ballot at London 2012 and it was awesome.

Anyway, before the opening ceremony, all I was allowed to do was swatch. My gauge came out pretty close to the pattern gauge and I couldn’t be bothered to swatch again with different needles. After blocking, the fabric came out nice and drapey so I was ready to cast on at midnight local time.

At five days into the Olympics, I am making good progress on this top-down knit. Since one of my 3.5mm needle tips broke, I’m having to improvise with different needles until the replacement arrives.

This is the top back of the sweater, the first part to be constructed. I’ve picked up stitches for the front on the two needles at the top in this picture. I then knit down and cast on stitches in the middle to join the fronts.

This is what it looks like on at this stage. Still a long way to go!

I have to admit that this shirt choice was deliberate. My aunt has some sexist builders working in her garden at the moment, and the shirt indicates the response that any further misogynistic remarks will get.

Pattern: Better Breton

Yarn: Squoosh FiberArts Merino Cashmere Sock in Eggplant, and The Lemonade Shop mini skeins

Ravelry project page