Thursday, 31 December 2015

Knitting wishlist for 2016

Recently I've been browsing vintage patterns on Ravelry and elsewhere on the net and there have also been several lovely cardigans and jumpers appearing on my instagram feed and Ravelry friends' activity- so lots of inspiration there too. I now have a very long wish list to knit!  I started a cardigan before Christmas, so that will be the first finish, but for the rest of 2016 I hope to get some of the following knitted up.

Two more cardigans in Excelana - lovely wool from Susan Crawford.

A jumper in Malabrigo Arroyo - this yarn is divine and I can't wait to knit with it again - and I like the fitted style of this pattern, which has saddle shoulders - I haven't knitted anything with these before, so this will be a first.

A cotton DK cardigan

A rather lovely cardigan which, unless it turns out that I hate knitting the pattern, I'm sure I'll knit more than once.  This first version will have the waist ribbing in the darker/brighter pink, and the bodice and sleeves in the paler shade, although I'm not sure that I'll shape the ribbing at the front, might be a bit too much of a faff to keep the two colours separate on the same row (should have read the pattern through before deciding on the colour combination...).  And long sleeves I think.

This one I love - I first spotted the jumper being worn by Trixie in one of the early series of Call the Midwife (different colours from the pattern though) and I've wanted to knit the cardigan ever since.

I'll be reversing the colours in this, with the body in yellow and the yoke in blue, white and a paler yellow.

A cardigan in Malabrigo sock - the lace pattern on this looks rather lovely and I can't wait to get started on this, Mal sock is just as lovely to knit with as the slightly thicker Arroyo.

Then a couple of cardigans in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock - another pleasure to knit with.

And finally, one that's been in my queue for ages and is from a book - I love the look of this one.

Actually, if I only get half of these done next year I shall be happy!

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Knitting and sewing review of 2015

Well, another year has nearly finished and looking back on my intentions (here) I've clearly achieved very few of them!

The frugal thing hasn't gone as well as I'd hoped - I've bought both knitting and sewing patterns, and yarn and fabric - although on the plus side I've destashed a lot more yarn than I've bought so there has been a net decrease in my stash which I'm pleased about, and I haven't really bought much fabric this year (although probably more yardage than I took to the sewbrum meet up for the fabric and pattern swap, so more in than out...).

The one very good thing though is that I have not bought any clothes except an orange coat.  I had a bit of a binge-watching session of Audrey Hepburn films after going to see the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery earlier this year, and she wore a fabulous (presumably designed by Givenchy) orange coat in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  I took some screenshots thinking I would try and hunt out a vintage pattern and some orange wool cloth to make one, and then made the mistake of idly doing a google image search for orange coats...  But, you know, I love it, it's a great fit, it's not a 'fashion' item (well, I say that mainly because I have no idea what's 'in fashion'), and if I ever do find the perfect pattern and fabric and make one then this can go to Oxfam.  Oh, and I also bought a pair of Freddies jeans earlier this month.

I've also done virtually no mending or altering of clothes which need one or the other, or both, so maybe next year I'll make some progress on those.  In fact, I've done very little sewing at all this year - I finished two dresses which I started last year, and made three others.  And that's it!  No making of separates, no dipping my toe into the sewing-with-knit-fabrics water, no dresses with buttonholes.  Well, there's always next year.  I've therefore completely failed on the vintage pattern pledge front - I've made loads of dresses in my head, just not in reality.  Yet...

I haven't read any of my sewing books either; the most recent book I read was this,

and I've now just started on the Lucy Siegle one.

I've been much more productive on the knitting front though, with seven cardigans and three jumpers for me, and four baby items, all of which I've blogged about.  Which doesn't sound like much when I say it out loud, but was quite a few miles of knitting! I've also just noticed that the first item I finished this year, and the one I shall still be knitting at the end of this year are both purple.  Coincidence rather than intention I think!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Baby/toddler knitting

While I'm in end-of-year catch up mode, I realise that there is a cardigan which I knitted for my grandson back in February which I haven't blogged about.  He's obviously grown out of it now, but it did last for a few months!  This is the second version I've made from this pattern, but I made a larger size than the first, and used different colours and stripe sequence.
He's a happy little chap

The second item is a simple pom-pom hat for one of my daughter's friends who had a baby girl in the summer.

And the third and final bit of not-for-me knitting this year is a hat for my grandson.  This pattern originally came up as a project in my friends' activity feed on Ravelry and I thought it was so cute that I wanted to knit it anyway whether grandson wears it or not (we haven't really had much hat weather yet this winter).  It made a nice change to be knitting with 2.5mm needles rather than the 5mms I used for the ten of hearts cardigan, although I'm glad it was for a small item rather than an adult-sized cardigan!
Three different pom-poms - red, navy, and mixed
I wrapped this up and gave it to him for Christmas - it fits but didn't stay on his head for long, after all, who needs to wear a hat when it's warm indoors!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Ten of hearts cardigan

I finished a version of this earlier in the year and decided that I wanted one that actually looked like the picture on the pattern - this doesn't happen often, usually there's some small detail that I want to change in a pattern, whether it's the colour, the yarn, the shaping, the length...

Pattern from Subversive Femme on etsy

I bought the yarn from Wool Warehouse in Leamington Spa - I'd called in there and had a look at several of the Cascade 220 colours and ended up picking three - this one, enough for an Agatha (so now I have no excuse not to knit this pattern - this is the recommended yarn), and one other colour although I haven't quite decided which cardigan that will become.
And here's my version

This was a very quick and easy knit because it's thick wool (well, for me anyway), although I did have to go down a needle size to get tension.  And exceptionally, I actually got the same stitch and row tension as the pattern!  Almost always one or other and usually both of these are different and I end up having to get the calculator out (or wing it and hope for the best, ssshhhh....).  The lace pattern is easy to memorise, and the back and sleeves are plain stocking stitch, so the knitting was done in a week.
Easy to memorise lace

I love the buttons - vintage ones from The Swagman's Daughter and a perfect colour match - yay!  It's always a bit of a leap of faith buying buttons online, because of the possibility that the colours will not be exactly as they appear on my monitor, but I struck lucky with these.

Close up of the buttons
All in all, I'm really pleased with how this has turned out and I can see me getting lots of wear out of it (I might even knit another version...).
And one more photo for good measure

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Sparks in the stream

And there seems to have been another blogging hiatus...

Fortunately, I've now finished work for the Christmas / New Year break, presents have been wrapped, food has been bought and the house tidied and decorated, so I can do some guilt-free blog-catching-up and scheduling of posts for the next week or so.

At the beginning of last month I decided that I wanted a bit of mindless knitting - a simple stocking stitch jumper - and this is it.  Perfect TV knitting and possibly my most favourite jumper at the moment.  The yarn - Malabrigo Arroyo - is super soft and absolutely lovely to knit with and to wear.  The name is basically a translation from the Spanish Arroyo = stream, and the colourway is Chispas = sparks.  Not very original but there it is.

The body is knitted straight and seamed, with no shaping until the armholes and the sleeves are picked up and knitted top down.

As I was knitting I thought that maybe it could do with a bit of a lift, and on one of these occasions I was wearing a mustard cord skirt and thought 'well, I like that colour combination' and that's why there is i-cord edging round the hem, cuffs and neckline in some leftover tosh sock from this project.
knitting in progress

I'm rather pleased with how it looks.

There are actually quite a lot of colours in this yarn!

I'm very happy with how this turned out, and the fact that it fits how I hoped it would. It's a great casual jumper and makes a change from the fitted styles I've been knitting for the rest of this year.