Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Unfinished Jumper

It's been a long time, I know.

I guess my excuse is that I really haven't had anything knitting related to share in the last year. I'm still knitting, but probably not as much as before. I think the Easter Show shawl really took it out of me last year.

On the weekend I was over at my folks' place and raided my mum's stash. This sounds a lot more exciting than it really was, because my mum has a very tiny stash. The best find in amongst the acrylics and pastel baby yarn was 6 balls of Jaeger Matchmaker in a kind of navy. The receipt was still in the bag - bought in Hong Kong for HKD$10.50 a ball on 15/3. How I wish I knew the year.

Actually there were also 2 balls of yarn passed down from my (paternal) grandmother. Apparently she bought these in Shanghai - gotta be at least 50 years ago. The ball band doesn't even provide any information about the yarn. I'll post a picture if I remember to take one. It's a really soft fine yarn, probably a 2 ply weight, probably wool.

The most exciting discovery of the raid however was a half finished V-neck jumper my mum had been knitting for my dad, in Cleckheaton Country 12 ply, probably around 10 years ago? We found the half finished front (just one side of the V to go) first, and after a bit of hunting, found the whole of the back piece.

The pattern? Well thankfully it was in the same bag as the back piece, only it's in CHINESE, and there's only 1 page.

So now it's become a challenge for me to finish it. I'm thinking it could be a birthday present for my dad (22 April).

So far I've rewound all the odd balls into skeins, washed and dried them, worked out the stitch pattern, done a gauge swatch (seems my mum and I have the exact same tension), and started on the left front last night.

Watch this space.

Oh and I'll post pictures as soon as I remember to take them.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Blue Ribbon

I can't believe this but I won a first prize for the Sun Ray shawl at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Adriatic Sun Ray

This was the Sun Ray shawl by Marianne Kinzel from her book The First Book of Modern Lace Knitting. When I set out to do this I wanted to choose something that was challenging to knit and also had a varied enough pattern so I wouldn't get bored. This project was definitely both.

The yarn is the 2/36NM cashmere in Adriatic Blue from Colourmart, held doubled. I used 3mm circular KnitPicks.

Altogether I would probably describe the experience as nail biting. When I started the shawl in the new year, I never thought I would still be blocking it on the eve of submission day.

Nor did I anticipate running out of yarn with half the final round to go plus the bind off. I couldn't find any more of the same colour on the Colourmart website and out of desperation emailed them directly. Thankfully Sue at Colourmart found some and sent it to me FOR FREE. How generous is that? I received the extra yarn on the Tuesday before the Saturday deadline.

One of these days I'll work out how many stitches went into this. The final rounds which had over 2,000 stitches took me well over 2 hours each! I know the crochet bind off was roughly 4,800 stitches and that alone took me 2 nights. Didn't help that I don't really know how to crochet.

Here's a pic of the display in the category. I must say the competition was pretty stiff - especially that beautiful white shawl that came second.

Adriatic Sun Ray 2

A couple more pics on Ravelry.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Emily's Cardigan

Unlike the many generous knitters out there, I make it a rule never to knit anything for other people unless they specifically request something. Even then I'm quite cautious about agreeing to make something because in my experience, the requester usually has very little idea about the amount of investment that's involved (and I mean investment in terms of hours not dollars). I get the feeling some of them ask only because they think a handknitted garment is cheaper than a store bought one. Really, I'd much much much rather buy them one, or two, or three.

However, when a friend of mine asked me to make a cardigan for her unborn baby girl, I enthusiastically agreed. She and her husband were expecting their first child and they'd moved to Australia a little over a year ago so they don't have a lot of family around to help them. I know it's a small thing but I wanted this baby to have something handknitted. Afterall, a handknit baby is a loved baby, right?

That was a bit of a long introduction but here's the finished product...

fairisle box

The pattern I decided on was the beaded fair isle cardigan from Debbie Bliss' The Baby Knits Book. It took me months to pick a pattern because I wanted it to be something special but also interesting to knit. By the time I picked the pattern the baby was due in less than 4 weeks so I decided to make the 6-9 month size since it won't be cold enough to wear until next winter anyway.

I had 5 balls of Baby Cashmerino in lilac in my stash (purchased in Stockholm, of all places) for the main colour, and used contrast colours from single balls of 100% merino I bought from Wilfert's in Copenhagen and odd balls of Baby Cashmerino.

fairisle 1

I have to say the pattern was very difficult to understand. There was no schematic and no summary of how the cardigan is constructed. It was also impossible to work anything out from the 2 highly styled but very uninformative photos in the book.

Basically in the original design, the body is knitted up to the armpits, then the fronts and back are worked separately and a series of bind offs involving short rows creates the semi-circular yoke shape, then the remaining stitches are joined at the shoulders and stitches picked up along the cast off yoke shape, then the patterned yoke is knitted, incorporating decrease rows to shape the yoke and then finally using smaller and smaller needles to shape the neck. The sleeves are knitted separately and joined to the body in a drop sleeve style.

Is this over complicated or what???

fairisle yoke 2

I did some simple calculations with the help of EZ's Knitting Without Tears and ended up knitting the sleeves in the round, joining them with the body at the armpits, decreasing evenly to the number of stitches needed for the yoke, then followed the rest of the pattern.

Too easy.

I also used a rib tubular cast on and bind off to give a smooth edge. That's about all the changes I made and it meant virtually no seaming, except for the few stitches under the armpits.

More pics on ravelry.

Oh and Emily arrived early last Sunday. I hope she likes her new cardigan.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I've been neglecting the blog. Sorry. Here's a few things I've been doing...

stripey socks

silkroad aran swatch

Thursday, April 23, 2009


She makes "limited edition handmade knit ranges" according to the new Frankie.

Good things and those who wait

Well believe it or not I got my hot little hands on 3 extra balls of that elusive lilac DB Cashmerino Aran not only in the right colourway (which is discontinued), but in the right DYELOT. Amazing, eh?

All thanks to Ravelry with a little help from eBay. By searching in the 'Stash' section of Ravelry I found one person in the US who had the exact colour and dyelot AND she wanted to sell but she had just listed it on eBay so I had to bid for it. Talk about timing! Needless to say it was a somewhat nail biting experience especially as the auction ended in the early hours of a Saturday here. In the end I won the 3 balls I wanted easily enough but I feel sorry for the person who bid for 10 but only won 7.

Thankfully I had stopped working on that jumper - so now I'm remaking the sleeves into long sleeves, and I'll probably have enough to make the body longer too. Yay!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Golden Hook

Blog is working again! Yay!

Jerms came across this website while reading (of all things) business news and I had to share it with you.

Don't forget to check out the Grandmas!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

As promised

A few pics of what I've been doing knitting and sewing wise...

cashmere scarf 3

Haven scarf from Kim Hargreaves' Heartfelt book. I used this one skein of cashmere I got when we were in Denmark a couple of years ago. It's so soft. More pics on flickr.

cushion stack

A stack of cushions using fabric from our last Japan trip. More pics on flickr.

cashmerino jumper

I'm also making this jumper modified from a pattern in an old Rebecca magazine. Except I kind of ran out of yarn when I got to the sleeves and will probably have to make it a short-sleeve top (which is pretty impractical). Anyone with random balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in colour 300604 please contact me. Although since it's long discontinued I don't have high hopes.

There's something about the DB Cashmerino range that I find really appealing in a ball, but when it's made into a garment I just don't love it. And it pills.

I did really enjoy the stitch pattern, which is probably why I stubbornly ploughed on even though I knew I didn't have enough yarn.