Thursday, September 09, 2010

Vivian -- April-October 2009

To disguise the lack of FOs in 2010, have another post which recaptures an FO from 2009 (this one, as it goes, is coming up to its anniversary of completion, gosh).

Here's the photoshoot of me modelling Vivian, by Ysolda. An absolute joy to knit, despite (or perhaps because of!) the variety of ways I ended up knitting the hood.

As I become more of an advanced knitter, I've noticed I feel more comfortable with critiquing projects (in terms of how they fit me) -- in the past I might not have wanted to admit that something had its flaws, but I think it's more helpful to recognise them than pretend they don't exist.

With Vivian, then, there are a few elements to it which I'd change if I could. One was the length of the sleeves, which actually I did change -- originally they came all the way to my fingertips which just wasn't practical. I loved it so much more after I'd cut the cuffs back by almost a full repeat (funnily enough, I have done some steeking with Venezia in the last couple of months, and the prospect of cutting my knitting in a controlled way is much less horrifying than it was last year when I did it to Vivian [not fun, still, and I'd recommend doing it on your own with no distractions, but not so scary]).

The other things, which are all about my body shape, are the length of the jumper and the broadness of the shoulders. In fact the length would probably be perfect (I like jumpers longer and Vivian's nice and long compared to most patterns) were it not for the shoulders -- this is faintly ironic, as I don't have very defined shoulders and generally set-in sleeves are more flattering on me than a raglan fit. Vivian has ingenious knitted-in saddle shoulders, which were a treat to knit, but when I wear it my shoulders look a bit too broad. This is largely avoided by wearing it zipped enough so that the front makes a V-shape, but that in turn is another shape which doesn't flatter me as much as it could because I've got a smaller bust than some. Notice that there aren't many pictures of me front-on in this post? Yeah, some not so subtle self-editing going on when I decided which photos to keep and make public!

Despite these things, which are niggles more than complaints, this is a jumper which I thoroughly enjoyed making and have found extremely useful. Last Christmas and winter we had actual proper snow in London for several weeks, and as this jumper is by far the warmest thing I own it made an appearance many times over the winter and I couldn't value it more. It's also, despite what I've said above, a lovely looking thing and mostly flattering. It's genuinely really pleasing and I'd recommend the pattern to anyone. (And I'm still pleased with how I eventually altered the hood, and also that other people have chosen to do the same thing!)

Details: Vivian by Ysolda Teague, knitted in 100% wool natural aran (yarn a gift from Glitz Knits several moons ago, and I'm so glad I found a pattern to suit it) on 4.5mm bamboo circular needles. Ravelry link.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Percy -- November 2007 - August 2009

Remember Percy?

No? I don't blame you. Short version: I started this bag at the end of 2007 and only finished it last summer. The worst thing? All it took for me to finish it was for me to suck it up and attach the lovely metalwork cover my mother had made to hide the magnetic clasp I used. I was so nervous of damaging both the metalwork and my bag that I sat on that final stage for nearly a year. And then one day just picked it up and did it in 30 minutes. THIRTY MINUTES. Argh.

Anyway, here it is. The lining has actually come a little loose recently so it needs some repairwork right now, but it's a cute little bag.

(Oh, such lovely flowers last year! We have a new garden this year, I hope we can get blooms as gorgeous as we had back then.)

Details: Percy, knitted in Elann Sonata cotton on 3mm bamboo needles. Ravelry link.

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Ribby Cardi -- December 2006 - July 2009

Hey, look what I finished last year! Remember the disaster? And remember how I put it away and tried to forget it existed instead of fixing it? (hence the 2.5 year time-span on this one, yowser)

Well, in July last year I was coming close to finishing Vivian, was a little nervy about sewing in the zip, and was casting about for something to practice on. And I remembered my Ribby Cardi, and... well, I didn't reknit it -- I blocked it like mad and pretended the gauge difference had never happened. And got it finished (though in the pictures it's still needing a ribbon backing on the zip -- in fact, it still needs a ribbon on one side of the zip, because I did one and then got bored...). I think it turned out pretty well. It's very warm and the yarn's pretty soft (especially considering how cheap it was), but it's not something I wear out and about -- even with adding a few inches to the length it's still a little short for my taste (and the sleeves are a bit short for me too). Handy in this cold weather though, and I do wear it when lounging about the flat.

Aside from increasing the length, not a lot of modifications to the pattern -- I did knit the collar longer and swapped the colours about, but otherwise stuck to it pretty faithfully. Oh, and I used a standard zip because I couldn't find a two-way one.

Details: Ribby Cardi by Bonne Marie Burns, knitted in Elann Peruvian Highland Wool on 4mm and 4.5mm bamboo circular needles. Ravelry link.

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Comfort shawl -- June 2009

Would you believe I still haven't blogged about more than half the projects I finished in 2009? Tsk, must do better! Here's one more for you, a simple little comfort project from early last summer.

It's a slightly enlarged version of Orlane's textured shawl recipe. It's still only a wee little shawl but it's very cosy and the yarn's just stunning.

I did:
  • (16 rows st st, 16 rows textured pattern) x3

  • 16 rows st st

  • 8 rows textured pattern

  • 28 rows garter stitch

  • cast-off by purling two together, twisting the second stitch each time (made a great and not too tight cast-off which is attractive on both sides)

Details: Textured shawl recipe by Orlane, knitted in Rowan RYC Silk Wool DK (six skeins) on (help! I can't remember! 4mm I think?) bamboo circular needles. Ravelry link.

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Happy 2010!

Another lovely Christmas spent at home with family, too much food, and lots of knitting (no cats now though, alas -- I'm glad that one at least has been featured in this blog from time to time). I hope you all had lovely holiday seasons too.

Here's a thing. D'you know what's handy when you're a knitter? Having a mother who makes jewellery. Two examples for you.

1. This nifty bit of metalwork features on the front of my Percy bag (which, yes, is finished! maybe a blog post at some point!) and also handily covers the clasp I used. Mum came up with a particularly ingenious solution for me here and it works beautifully.

2. Stitchmarkers! Made to request and within mere hours of me musing aloud "hmm... if only I had a few more stitchmarkers with me... err, Mum?" Aren't they ace? The first is onyx and jade, and the second is (I think) opal and new jade. I have two of each.

(And ah, yes, those stitchmarker pictures give you a sneak preview of my 2009 Christmas project -- not something self-completing this Christmas, but rather a decent headstart on my version of Eunny Jang's Venezia -- a pattern I've adored from afar since it was published, right up until Interweave Knits started selling it online for download, woohoo!)

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gretel -- February-March 2009

Not one of my successes, this. Lovely pattern but another in my can't-quite-find-a-knitted-hat-that-works-on-me list. Fun to make though.

Details: Ysolda's Gretel, knitted in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran on 3.75mm bamboo double-pointed needles. Ravelry link.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Dainty hoodie -- July 2008 - January 2009

I love this jumper. I like the fact that it's form-fitting and flattering. It weighs almost nothing, the yarn's very soft, and the lace pattern makes it both a really warm heat-trapping layer under a coat and something good to pull on over a strappy top on a summer evening when the sun goes down and the temperature starts to cool.

I'm really pleased with it. It didn't stretch out the way I feared when I blocked it, and actually fits like a dream. It's the perfect length on me.

Mods: knitted body and sleeves in the round up to the shoulder shaping. Took one pattern repeat out of the front and back (if I hadn't it would have been MASSIVE). Knitted the body a few inches longer.

Details: 15 Hooded Sweater with Lace Pattern from Rebecca #32, knitted in Rowan RYC Cashcotton DK on 5mm bamboo circular and double-pointed needles. Ravelry link.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cabley Goodness socks -- December 2008 - January 2009

In the spirit of actually posting something, as begun yesterday, I've decided there's no reason you shouldn't see pictures of what I've been up to, even if I don't have much in the way of words. First up, here's my project from last Christmas.

This was an exceedingly satisfying and interesting pair of socks and another beautiful pattern from Eunny Jang. If I were to knit them again my only modifications would be to make the heel a little shorter (fewer rows than the pattern states) and pluck up the courage to knit the heel flap in pattern. Otherwise these are very pleasing (and ultra-warm!) -- they only suffer from my own mental block about actually wearing them lest I damage them! Winter's on its way again though so I think I'll get over that soon enough.

Details: Eunny Jang's Chuck's Cabled Socks, knitted in Rowan RYC Cashsoft 4 Ply on 3.25mm bamboo double-pointed needles. Ravelry link.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Vivian - my hood saga

And there was me seeing if I could go a year without blog posts! Hi there knitting blog, I have missed you, honestly. How've you been? The place looks lovely. I have had such a year for knitting too -- eight projects to show you! Eight! And the year's not over yet. Watch this space.

The pressing concern which has brought me out of blogging retirement today is the need for somewhere with a little more space to write than a Ravelry project page, so I could keep a note of something. One of my biggest achievements this year has been completing the utterly sumptious Vivian, by Ysolda. And one of my biggest achievements within that project has been altering the way the hood is constructed (after knitting that damn hood not once, not twice, but three times). The first couple of times I just added extra length to the hood (18 rows the first time, and 30 rows the second) but I didn't like the way the hood hung as a result -- it was too long and scoopy and didn't look as polished as the rest of the garment. So I went back to the drawing board and came up with something I liked better, and wanted to share how I did it with the rest of the world in case it helps somebody else.

(Other big thing done while completing Vivian -- cutting my knitting. More on that another time, but do know that when the scissors had made the cut which put me beyond the point of no return I did actually break out into a cold sweat. Horrible, but worth it.)

So anyway, Vivian hood. These are my instructions for making the hood larger and with a more rounded approach to shaping the crown, in the 34-inch size. All of the increases and decreases are contained within the seed stitch panel, which lets the gorgeous cable pattern on either side of the hood continue uninterrupted all the way to the top. For the very top of the hood (the parts I've called 'crown panel' sections) I've used Ysolda's approach to the saddle shoulders, which is very pleasing and works neatly. (These instructions are really specific to the 34-inch size but you could apply the process to all the other sizes -- increase and decrease in the seed stitch panel, and then when the top of the seed stitch panel is at the length you want the hood to be and the right width, work either side of the crown using Ysolda's saddle shoulder approach for the appropriate number of pattern rows. If that makes no sense and you're desperate, you could ask me!)
I've put the hood row numbers and the pattern row numbers, as I found distinguishing between the two a bit confusing.

(This is a personal alteration to the pattern and isn't a criticism of it -- aside from the hood this has been one of the best and most satisfying patterns I've ever followed. If anything my interpretation of the hood is inspired by how awesome the rest of the pattern is. And hopefully one day soon [by my interpretation of 'soon'] you can see photos of my finished project!)

Felinity's Vivian hood

Begin the hood as set in pattern.

Rows 1-14 (20-33 in pattern) - Work straight in pattern.

Rows 15-51 (34-70 in pattern) - Increase 14 stitches in seed stitch panel as follows: increase 1 stitch at either end of seed stitch panel (pfb) on rows: 15 (34 in pattern), 21 (40), 27 (46), 33 (52), 39 (58), 45 (64), 51 (70) - 22 stitches in seed stitch panel

Rows 52-64 (71-83 in pattern) - Work straight in pattern

Rows 65-81 (84-100 in pattern) - Decrease 10 stitches in seed stitch panel as follows: decrease 1 stitch at either end of seed stitch panel on rows: 65 (84 in pattern), 69 (88), 73 (92), 77 (96), 81 (100) - 12 stitches in seed stitch panel

Start crown panel section.

Lefthand crown panel (6 rows)
Row 82 (101 in pattern) (WS) - Work in pattern until one stitch before seed stitch panel begins, p3tog, turn

Row 83 (102) (RS) - Sl1, work in pattern to end of row

Rows 84-87 (103-106) - Repeat Rows 82-83 twice. Break yarn leaving a long tail. Put the 41 stitches just worked on a stitch holder.

Righthand crown panel (6 rows)

Row 82 (101 in pattern) (WS) - Join yarn and start row after seed stitch panel. Sl1, work in pattern to end of row.

Row 83 (102) (RS) - Work in pattern until one stitch before seed stitch panel begins, sssk, turn

Row 84 (103) - Sl1, work in pattern to end of row.

Row 85 (104) - Repeat row 102.

Rows 86-87 (105-106) - Repeat rows 84-85 once. Break yarn.

All seed stitch panel stitches should now have been worked. Put the stitches from the lefthand crown panel back on a separate needle. Kitchener the two crown panels together from the outside in. (Note: it's worth putting the effort in to graft the panels together appropriately depending on whether it's knit or purl. For my first two versions of the hood I did a three-needle bind-off after grafting the i-cord section, which was easy but doesn't look nearly as nice. Grafting knit/purl will still be half a stitch out, but even so looks much more attractive.)


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Early Christmas -- July-November 2008

Does it sound trite to call something 'my new favourite' every other item? This one is, though, and it'll take some beating. It's Eunny Jang's Print o the Wave stole, knitted in Handmaiden Lace Silk. It's the most beautiful thing I have ever made.

You'd have had regular updates on this throughout the latter half of last year had it not been a Christmas present for my mum and therefore super-secret.

I was quite nervous right up until blocking that I'd made it too tiny and it was going to be more of a scarf/handkerchief than a stole. But turns out they're not lying, and blocking lace is genuinely magic. Clever, eh?

(Can I just point out that the pictures of me were all taken the morning after the night before, in a rush while we had a bit of blessed sunshine, and my slightly glazed squinty look is due to tiredness and the sun being in my eyes? It's not representative of my normal facial expression. No, honestly!)

It weighs almost nothing, it's warm and crisp and soft all at once. Clever, lovely pattern, stunning yarn. And my mum really loves it. I am thrilled with this whole project.

Details: Eunny Jang's Print O' the Wave Stole, knitted in Handmaiden Fine Yarn Lace Silk on 3.25mm circular bamboo needles. Ravelry link.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sister-in-law Mitts -- September 2008

The words aren't really coming, but I have the pictures*, so let's actually get an FO post up shall we? These were a 2008 Christmas present for (surprise) my sister-in-law. It is a satisfying little cable project, and the yarn made a dense and very warm fabric while still remaining quite soft (though SIL has reported they were slightly itchy to start with, however she has since adjusted -- I should probably have washed them in some fabric softener before gifting them). I did an extra pattern repeat to bring them over the knuckles, and did a bit of a tricksy sewn cast-off to stop them flaring. If I made them again (which I might, you know, I liked this pattern) I think I'd add some ribbing at the start.

I like them, and thankfully my sister-in-law does too!

Details: Linda K's Yummy Mummy wristwarmers (ugh, crappy pattern name, also I can only find the pattern on Ravelry, sorry), knitted in Artesano Ltd Inca Cloud on 3mm double-pointed bamboo needles. My Ravelry link here.

* Albeit slightly ropey ones -- my fault, not the model's!

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

I'm still alive! Look!

Oh BLOG! I am sorry! Left you out there in July and tripped off for five months with nary a backwards glance. In my defence, it was largely because I spent a goodly portion of those five months knitting unbloggable Christmas presents -- this has reinforced my already quite strong suspicion that I am a slooow knitter. But there we go.

So there are a couple of FOs which require their own special posts, but in the meantime here's some bits and pieces, starting with an update on the lacy jumper I left you with in July:

So, er, not actually finished yet, but I'll pick it up again soon. I finished the body and arms in September and it's been hibernating ever since while I finished the unbloggable gifts. Just the hood and a bit of finishing to go, and if I'm sensible and finish it in the next few weeks, it might actually help ward off some of the ICY COLD that we're facing at the moment (I go back to walking to work tomorrow -- eek!).

Aww, getting it out for photographing it tonight has reminded me how lovely it is! It weighs almost nothing and is ultra-soft (and warm). I'm a wee bit trepidacious that it's going to grow quite a lot when blocked, but I'm choosing to ignore that.

(Apologies, by the way, for the truly awful photography appearing in a couple of places in this post. Can you tell which two are the results of me hurriedly trying to take pictures on the bed in dreadful artificial light this evening? Neither this jumper nor the aran are done any justice at all in these pics. Sorry!)

Some yarn pictures for you:

Seriously Gorgeous Swiss Cashmere, bought at the Knitwitches stall at I Knit London in September. I have to really work hard at not using this yarn as a pillow every night. It's eye-wateringly expensive, but also the softest and most gorgeous yarn I've ever touched. And it's mine! Ha ha!

Also bought at I Knit, this is some Angel Lace. I might dye it, or I might just leave it natural. And as a polar opposite to the cashmere, this cost a teeny-tiny £8 for 1,200 metres!

This is 1kg of non-specific 100% natural aran-weight, sweetly donated to my stash by the beautiful Mme Glitz of Glitzknits. It's going to be, clearly, an aran jumper, and I'm thinking either this (not a great photo) or possibly this. Of course, I should probably finish at least one of the three jumpers I currently have on the needles first (actually, that last one is likely to be frogged).

And, go on, have a sneak peak at a few upcoming blogging items.

More soon! (Well, by my definition of 'soon'.)

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