Tag Archives: fair isle

An abrupt change of plans

There are several bits and bobs to report on the knitting front, my fellow knitters.
Firstly, I have a guest post over at Let’s Knit! It’s about tension squares, a worthy subject. They’ve also put lovely flattering words about my blog in their actual magazine, which I’m pretty chuffed about!

Also, a few weeks ago Susan Crawford put out a call for sample knitters for her next vintage knitting project. Naturally I was all over that like a kitten on a laser pointer. So as of now I’m thoroughly stuck into recreating a piece of knitwear from the Shetland Isles museum. It’s a lot of fun but unfortunately there will be no advance sneak peeks of this one! The blog will have to go a bit quiet whilst I go hogwild with sample knitting.

Perhaps of more interest: My Tyrolean Cardigan pattern, originally featured in The Knitter, is now up on sale on Ravelry for your convenience and knitting pleasure. It’s a good Autumn cardigan, so if you start making it now, you’ll be done in time!

(C) The Knitter

(C) The Knitter

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Pattern: Pipsqueak Shawl

My first shawl pattern! Another little milestone, and another step in my ongoing mission to put fair isle on everything.

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I’m so pleased with how cute this came out! This is a bit smaller than a standard shawl, more of a shawlette, and is great as a wrap, or folded as a scarf. As of now, it’s a bit too hot (tropical almost??) in the UK for wearing such a thing, but I figure if you cast on now it’ll be ready just in time for the first Autumn breezes to hit.

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As always, my patterns are available for sale on Ravelry, and you can buy Pipsqueak by hitting this button right here:

Pattern Details:

Dimensions:
The finished shawl is intended to be approximately 160 cm wide and 30 cm deep at its deepest point.

Tools:
3.0 mm (US size 2)circular 100cm
3.25 mm (US size 3)circular 100cm

Also required – tapestry needle

Gauge:
Matching gauge is not essential but recommended if you want to achieve the stated dimensions.
Garter stitch is 5sts/13rws per inch on smaller needles
One repeat of Chart B is 7.5cm/ 3” wide and 5cm/ 2” high on larger needles

Yarn Requirements:
4-ply wool or wool mix yarn in the following quantities :
Yarn A (Red) – 684 m/750 yds
Yarn B (White) – 184m/ 200 yds
Yarn C (Green) – 12m /25 yds
Yarn D (Brown) – 1m /1 yd

Sample uses Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight (114 m/125 yd per 25g ball)

 

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A little prototype

So back when I was still high on Christmas leftovers I wrote a few sentences about how there was a certain disconnect between the things I like to wear and the things I like to knit. What I meant was, I received a sudden flood of really really freakin cute ideas for things I could totally knit, but might not fit into my wardrobe. As I said: high on Christmas leftovers. And crack.*

Eventually one of these ideas made it as an Idea To Make Happen, and I made it so:

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What you see here is a teensy little shawlette covered in adorable apples. So cute! Worth it! It also proved to be an excellent stashbusting exercise. If there’s any white 4-ply left in my flat then I’d like to hear about it. This isn’t a full size wrap, but as experiments go I’m pretty excited about it. In fact I’ve already acquired the wool to make a ‘proper’ version! Hopefully I can post more updates soon, because the world needs more knitted apples, and I need something to make up for the cardigan

*I am lying about the crack.

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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…

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.

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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.

fiy-before

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.

fiy-2

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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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!

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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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New pattern in The Knitter!

Issue 63 of The Knitter is out on the 17th September and…(drumroll please)…I’m in it! My latest cardigan pattern is now yours to own in a delightful papery format. (The Ravelry page is already up and located here.)

(C) The Knitter

(C) The Knitter

This is a modern twist on the classic Tyrolean cardigans of the 50s. Whereas traditionally these cardigans had embroidered flowers running down the front I elected to knit them on instead. I will put Fair Isle on literally anything if you give me half a chance.

The body is knitted with DK weight yarn and flowers are knitted on sideways in 4-ply. Because they’re knitted on last, you could basically use any pattern you want. Hey, I included a few variant charts in the magazine just in case! It’s a cardigan of possibilities. I can see it in white with an eye-popping traditional fair isle pattern, or in red and white for a Christmassy theme, or in bright yellow or icing pink if you want to look like a delicious knitted cupcake…I’ll keep quiet for now!

As well as this, Issue 63 contains Faye’s latest hat pattern and a massive tutorial she’s written on designing a hat of your own. Do you want to be awesome at hats like Faye? Then you have yet another reason to buy an already great magazine. Get on it! This week will we mostly be chinking glasses and basking in our statuses as Published Knitters. These are heady times for knitting indeed. Maybe there will even be fistbumps, who knows?

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