Tag Archives: cardigan

Road trip!

I have had a lovely holiday, thank you very much. We saw sights! We ate nearly a whole family-sized sack of haribo sweets! I got stranded on a zip-line over a quarry, which was possibly the highlight of the week.

My Hetty cardigan is looking much more like clothing now. I got as far as one sleeve and then decided I wanted it to be a full-length sleeve rather than the pattern’s shorter sleeves. I took diligent pictures each day of the trip and am not letting my recently accquired gif skills go to waste:

HettyprogressYou’ll notice I made some pretty spectacular progress after the first day, when we drove straight to Scotland. We went to Edinburgh Zoo (penguin parade!!!) and ate all the Scottish food.

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We went to Newcastle and had a good drive around the whole area, including a slightly terrifying late night drive up to Kielder Waters and the observatory. It’s a fantastic ‘dark skies’ area. At one point we drove past an owl, just casually sitting on the side of the road, which made the whole trip worth it alone.

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For some reason we thought it would be a good idea to drive to Bangor the morning after that! In a historic slate mine in the area, there exists the longest zip-line in the country. It’s about a mile long – you get strapped into a very large harness and trussed up superman style before coming down at 60mph from the peak of this hill…

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right over the lake, and to a platform some distance away. You might be able to see the zip-line in this one, although you can’t in the previous pic.

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It was absolutely flippin glorious, only muggins here got hit by a crosswind halfway down and stopped about 10m short of the platform before sloooowly sliding all the way out to the edge of the lake. Naturally the instructors had procedures for this kind of thing and soon a guy on a rope was hauling himself out to rescue me. The really fun part was that he was in a sitting position and every time the ground team gave another pull on the rescue rope I went facefirst into his thighs, which is a hell of way to introduce yourself to someone. My only regret is not cementing the awkwardness of the situation by calling him a sight for sore thighs.

After that we stopped by Chester and headed off to our final destination of Alton Towers. Not much point showing ride pictures here, as they’re all the same: T looks mildly pleased and I look like I’ve just been slapped awake.

But the main thing is I ended up with this!

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Oh and here’s a final pic for any Stewart Lee fans in the house…

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WIP: Hetty

I’ve managed to make some spectacular progress on the Hetty cardigan. Even using 4-ply instead of worsted, it’s still a quick knit. Tight, cropped cardigans are handy like that. So after a false start where I miscounted the stitch gauge and 10 days of correctly calculated knitting, I’m already over halfway through the body. Not too shabby!

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What’s more I intend to make even more spectacular progress. We’re spending the whole of next week having a road trip around the UK to see some touristy things we’ve always liked the sound of, but been too far away from to just go casually visit. I’m looking forward to it a lot. Me and T actually have quite good fun sharing long car journeys. We commute to work together, which I think makes learning to chill out in a car a necessity. Otherwise, every commute becomes The Commute of Feelings: Airing Of Work Problems and Why Are You Driving Like That. We throw some good car dance parties. We’ve become very good at placing snacks in each other’s mouths. It’s very harmonising.

In between my turns at the wheel will of course be knitting. How much will get done? Up to one sleeve? One and a half? The whole flippin thing? Tune in next week and find out!

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Taking my own advice

I should’ve put this up last week but oh well – I have a masterclass about using Excel in Issue 72 of The Knitter! Out right now!

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I haven’t properly upped the nerd quotient around these parts and this tutorial is a step in the right direction. I feel like Excel is a handy (not saying it’s the best!) place to start picking up the concept of using computers as logic tools, linking together lots of simple operations into a complex database processing machine. That’s without getting into simple macro-writing, which I like to futz around with occasionally. Anyway, the above masterclass is nothing so complicated, just a way to dip your toes into applying gauge changes to a pattern.

Having an example spreadsheet saved on my computer has actually worked out really well: I have decided to knit Hetty by Andi Satterland, but in 4-ply instead of worsted/aran weight. It’s pretty much doubling the amount of stitches per inch. So whilst changing the numbers is easy enough, some other changes are needed to keep the original look. Specifically I have doubled the width and height of lace motif. This way the pattern will stay proportional even in thinner yarn (Jamieson & Smith 2-ply again, on sale!)swatch

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Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014 – Day 2: Knitting Dating Profile

Today’s topic involves an unusual way to describe your projects – by writing them a dating profile. I’m all for pushing the envelope of your writing abilities and that’s why I’ve decided to fill this profile with as many atrocious and over-laboured puns as I could think of. If I make at least one of you audibly groan today it’ll be worth it.

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This is my sexy face

Name: Marie…no, that’s actually a nickname. I am one of those Acer Cardigans though!

About me: I’m quite calm and laidback in general. I’ve been told I’m hard to gauge sometimes, but I never try to cause unnecessary tension. I have a quick wit too, I’m always making off-the-cuff remarks.

Would like to meet: Oh, just someone fun for a change. Last guy in my life who I met at the jazz festival Bluefest, Lester, turned out to be a real pill.

Currently listening to:  Needled 24/7. Oh, I may look buttoned-up but I love to rock out and I’m not sheepish about it!

Favourite place for a date: Can’t beat walking around any of the major museums in London, especially the most recent exhibition in the V&A. But I shan’t give the details away, you’ll have to guern-sey for yourself.

Sports: I like to play Badminton with my friends and I like to think I’m very good at it, although last time, Pearl won and I got quite the ribbing afterwards.

Religion: Well I’m not particularly superstitious, but this one time I had my Tarot read, and after pulling out the same cardigan and again I’m wondering if there really is something in it?

Pets: None, but I looove cats! Growing up, one of my neighbours had lots of them, all named after Disney characters. My favourite was this really friendly, oddly-proportioned siamese. Good ol’ long-tailed Gaston.

Something interesting that happened to you recently: I was shopping in Edinburgh Woollen Mill last weekend when this mad fight kicked off. Old ladies were pushing and shoving like crazy to get their hands on the weekly offer; it was a real free-fair-isle.

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All of my posts for this week are collected here. You can see what everyone else is posting today here.

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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)

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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:

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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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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:

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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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Impromptu Jumper Surgery

One of my earlier completed jumpers is the Fair Isle Yoke jumper from A Stitch in Time Volume 1. It’s knitted entirely in Jamieson & Smiths 2-ply Shetland wool. I think it looks great, with those colour choices and texture. But it fits horribly. That unflattering neckline, those badly gathered and awkwardly short sleeves, the weird boob-eliminating bagginess, ugh. Whenever I’ve worn it I’ve spent the entire day tugging it into place.

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The problem is, even though I have enough leftover wool for small alterations, I’ve already washed this jumper and the wool has matted just enough to make ripping and re-knitting an exercise in futility and madness. It sat neglected for some time, until I suddenly decided to take action. When ripping your jumper is no longer an option it is time to start treating it like fabric.

This post contains a fairly long photo sequence, so you may enjoy this background music to set the mood.

First things first is to unravel the collar. It’s messy, because of the aforementioned matting. On the plus side I have no problem cutting open all the seams. Then it’s just a quick steam and squish with the iron, and I have all these lovely pieces of knitted fabric just waiting to be measured and re-cut into a more suitable shape.

fiy-7Most of the increases are cut off the sides to reduce the blousiness. Bonus: watch as the winter sunset ruins most of my picture-taking.

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Then it’s time to deal with the neckline…

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I did this by eye because I am goddamn hardcore.

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That edges of that scrap are completely solid by the way. I know some of you would rather eat your own hands that cut into the colourwork you laboured over, but trust me, Shetland wool won’t let you down.

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I don’t know how the sleeves got so poofy originally. Total mistake on my part. Here is one sleeve laid atop t’other to show how much I ended up taking off!

Because the sleeves are too short I will be picking up and knitting along the bottom edge, then reattaching the cuff once I’ve inserted the extra length. It only needs an extra 1.5 inches to make it solidly elbow length, so it’ll be easy.

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And so, after all that, a new and slightly different garment begins to emerge…

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Join me in my next post where I will either be adding extra sleeve length and buttonbands or howling in despair at the realization of what I’ve done. Either way, fun times!

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