Category Archives: Finished Objects

The end of all my hard work

Oh hi there

Wow I really broke my blogging habit huh? Let it not be said my procrastination is half-arsed. Undisplayable secret knitting aside, I haven’t really had many successful knitting episodes to talk about. I finished my Hetty cardigan and it turned out slightly too small. Not because my gauge was off, but because I was being overly optimistic with how much negative ease a cardigan can withstand and still button up. Whoooops. I am still throwing it over things though, because it was too lovely to ignore.

Mostly, I’ve been sewing*.
It seems to take me longer, or at least more effort, but I am actually managing to finish things along the way. Behold! A fashionable t-shirt that is literally just a t-shape. Bless the 90s revival for lowering everyone’s expectations of fit.

tee

This is made in a relatively stiff pointe roma jersey, which was a delight to sew. I tried making a second version out much floppier material and it looked terrible. I then decided that maybe I’m not quite at the level of draft my own sewing patterns from scratch just yet and resolved to actually buy some in the future. So just this weekend I finished View A of Simplicity 1321. It’s so fresh I haven’t even ironed the hem yet, excuse me.

skirt2

This took far longer than it should have because I insisted on vertically aligning the fabric pattern at all points. It’s a 6 panel skirt and I only got one seam right first time. Never mind, I didn’t get to where I am in life by looking at things that don’t quite line up and saying “that’s fine”.

skirt

It’s very odd fabric actually. My grandma gave me 4m of the stuff, and it looks great but it has no stretch. Despite being incredibly thin, slippery knitted jersey fabric. Makes no sense! I ended up underlining most of it with cheap gabardine which made it a lot easier to handle. However I suspect it’s gone the other way and is now slightly too thick for it’s purpose. I still have plenty of the check jesery left and now I’m thinking a bomber jacket would be a great idea, as long I cover the whole lot in interfacing first. One day I’ll get the hang of using the right fabric thickness…one day.

*and playing doge 2048

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FO: Triangle Check Cardigan

Oh dear, I’m not happy with this one. (You can tell because of my Definitely Not Happy Face)

cardi1

I had such high hopes for this cardigan, and fun knitting it, but the swatch lied. Now the shoulders are far, far too wide. What you see above is a cardigan held in place with a lot of hitching and hiking. What it naturally wants to do is this:

cardi2

And then it wants to slowly succumb to gravity and sliiiiide off my arms onto the floor. There’s an insouciant off-shoulder cardigan and then there’s this one. It’s got no stay-up-itude!

So close to the cardigan I had in my head and yet so far.  The body is knit entirely in one piece, so a re-knit is frankly not on the cards. All I can do now is block it to within an inch of it’s life and perform cardigan surgery.

I think the main lesson here is that slip-stitch knitting motifs are tricksy little things that need better swatching. I’m not angry at the swatch, I’m just very disappointed.

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FO: Fancy Winter Gloves

gloves

One of these gloves took a reasonable amount of time to make, the other did not. I kept putting it down and getting distracted by newer, shinier knitting projects that did not involve quite so much repeated twisted rib on tiny little needles. The coming signs of winter were what spurred me into finishing the second glove properly: the smell of frost in the air, the bite in the wind, the newspaper headlines of “SNOW: WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE” or words to that effect anyway.

The pattern is His & Hers Gloves by Dagmar Mora. My apparent mental block against twisted rib aside, it’s a great pattern. It’s extremely well-written and thoughtful, the construction is a masterstroke in simplicity and the end result is guaranteed to fit you like a second skin.

You know that little brain tingle you get when putting on clothing that fits you snugly and just-so without any tugging or fighting it? The perfect dress; the right walking shoes; these gloves. They slip on and suddenly all is right with the world. Maybe it’s the same part of your brain that enjoys order. Regardless, they’ve been treating my hands very well. New favourite gloves! Success!

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Impromptu Jumper Surgery Pt.2

In my last post I demonstrated the “hacking wildly” technique of jumper reconstruction. I wasn’t expecting such lovely words of encouragement in response! Thank you to everyone who commented, it was very reassuring.

In this post I have calmed down a bit as I sew and stitch up the mess. Here is your mood music for today.

As much as Shetland wool binds to itself, I still didn’t feel quite able to let the edges go unsecured. So I got out the sewing machine for some quick reinforcements. Sewing onto knitting is fairly similar to sewing with jersey fabric, only the scale of the fabric is much larger. After playing around with the cutting scraps I determined that a straight stitch is best for securing horizontal edges and a simple zigzag stitch does the job for vertical edges:

2edge

2secure

And whilst the sewing machine was sitting there I thought I might as well save time and use it to sew up the seams as well. Now please don’t go thinking this is the expert handiwork of someone knows what they’re doing. It’s actually the late-night stitching of someone with nothing to lose. Oh, I might end up with a piece of knitting I might wear instead of one I never wear? What a decision!

Just like when you’re sewing regular fabric, every seam needs to be disciplined with a steam iron straight away. It took me a while to twig this and I was wondering why my seams looked so bad until the lightbulb went on. Eventually I was merrily steaming away like it was any other sewing project.

So after the reinforcing and basic seaming, it’s time to go straight back to the knitting needles and leftover scrap yarn. The buttonband is picked up through the fabric and knitted on just like a regular knitted cardigan. Let’s see how the body is fitting now…

2body

Much better. I even bagged some legit vintage buttons from Beshley’s (her vintage button collection is quite substantial these days!) That just leaves the sleeves to sort out. I picked up along the top of the cuff, and added an extra band of fair isle for length. Joining it all back onto the main sleeve body was a right faff though. It was basically impossible to keep the stitch count straight so I just whipped out the sewing machine again. It’s not terribly neat, but at least it doesn’t look like an accident.

2sleeve

I seamed the sleeves with the sewing machine, but when it came to setting them in, I resorted to a proper hand-sewn backstitch. It’s just easier to get an even result that way, as far as I’m concerned. One thing I noticed on undoing the jumper was how crappy my stitching was back when I first made it. Nowadays my stitches are both smaller and faster and I have a solid method for setting properly (it involves a lot of safety pins). It’s nice to see how far you’ve come sometimes.

2final

Done! The cardigan still has a very boxy shape, but that’s ok. It keeps it vintage-looking. The new neckline and sleeves are a massive improvement in my book. It’s not perfect but it feels a whole lot more me when I throw it on over my existing outfits.

This was an interesting mixed-media experiment. If there’s anything to be learned from this, it’s that steaming Shetland wool like there’s no tomorrow is absolutely ok and should possibly be encouraged.

On top of this I get to feel as if I’ve made a whole new garment from scratch in a week!

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FO: Snowdrift Jumper

sd_Fin

So can you tell I’m pleased with this one? It is a jumper that has sprung into my head and sprung out again in a relatively short time, and it totally works! Fair Isle everywhere, just like in my dreams!

sd_side

My ideas for a faux-seam even worked out ok too, hiding the jog in the colourwork/shaping and neatly bordering the yoke pattern. I think it looks sort of like I’m wearing a strappy vest over a regular jumper from a distance (a cami-jumper?)

Also, I will continue to bleat on about how great Excelana yarn is until you are all using it for colourwork projects because it is great – it is so, so smooth and warm and stretchy once it’s been blocked out. There was a point in this project where the unblocked sleeves were making me a bit nervous because when I tried them on they were cutting off the circulation somewhat. They had a lot of long floats and very little stretch but after a good wash and a ruthless blocking they were ok. It is good when sleeves do not cling onto your arms like chinese fingertraps.

Now I seem to recall I had some other knitting lying around somewhere. I’m off to look down the back of the sofa…

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FO: Ilene Bag

All my projects are fiddly right now. They’re 75% sewing, 25% ribbing on small needles. It was a nice break to make the first official FO of my Knit The Queue challenge: The Ilene bag. It conveniently uses up an entire ball of light green cotton yarn that’s been at the bottom of my stash forever. Plus a lady can never have too many bags right?

Incidentally, it occurs to me that a ladies’ handbag is an excellent illustration of the concept of quantum states.

You know how whenever you reach in the exact item you want is always at the bottom, every time? Well it’s the same thing as Schrodinger’s russian-roulette-playing Cat: Any objects within a closed container will exist in a superposition of all possible physical states until the container is opened and the contents observed, whereupon the superposition will be forced to collapse to a single outcome and now your cat is dead and you can’t find your keys.

Oh, I can guess your comments already: “But Ellen! Schrodinger was only using that analogy to talk about closed systems on a sub-atomic scale! Your handbag problem is probably just down to granular convection and the amount of crap you insist on keeping in it!”

Hush. This is a knitting blog. Look at this bag I knitted.

ilene bag

It’s an entirely practical item for once. It seemed rather small once finished, but then I put things in it. You know how mesh bags are – they’ll hit the floor given half a chance. Luckily this one holds a full shopping trip’s worth of food without whacking me in the knees, so I consider it a success.

Back to the fiddly projects then…

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Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

I had a lovely christmas break. I ate a lot. I some work done. I made hats. All the hats. I suppose these are officially the  last knitting projects of 2012.

Nordic Lace hat

This is the Nordic Lace hat as designed by Faye from Buttons and Beeswax. It’s a delightful hat, but I decided to make it way slouchier than the original by knocking the needle size up a bit. Surprisingly enough it turned out a bit loose! But it’s ok. The nice thing about the tubular ribbing cast-on, which I use constantly, is that you can easily thread elastic through it.

And then having plenty of leftover yarn from the Acer Cardigan, I made an Acer-inspired hat. Now it looks simple, but I assure you, I decreased those cables at the top like a boss. I just couldn’t get a good picture! It’s rather fuzzy yarn and I suspect something else would show it off a little better. Still, not bad for basically winging it I think.

Hat

Did you know? I have the kind of marvellous boyfriend who picks me up wool when he’s out doing the Christmas shopping. Two balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky no less! ❤

It clearly needed using, so I knocked up a beanie using the Ringwood stitch, which is stockinette stitch, with 1×1 ribbing on every 3rd row/round. I love the effect. I think this is actually my favourite hat out of the three. It’s very solid and warm because I used slightly smaller needles than recommended. I like it so much I put in some extra effort into the pictures (which means I put make up  on). Here I am working the sexy lumberjack look. Sort of.

Rialto Beanie

Does Christmas bring out any bursts of activity in you? Or are you too busy eating and drinking? Hats off to anyone who’s managed all three at the same time!

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