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Posts Tagged ‘cardigan’

Due to my Dutch heritage I’m an avid coffee drinker, but living with an Irish man has shown me the joy of tea. Recently we switched from tea bags to loose tea leaves and we moved on from brewing in a cup to brewing in a new, shiny Brown Betty:

FW_TeaPot

The latest addition to our ever-expanding collection of crockery

But it looks like there’s something missing in this knitter’s household. One, where are the biscuits? And two, what about a Tea Cosy?

FW_TeaCozy

Tea pot with the obligatory tea cosy and biscuit tins

The stitch pattern is a classic honeycomb stitch, which, despite appearances, is a very easy slip stitch pattern. In other words, you only knit one colour at a time. However, I did use a genius technique to avoid the jog in the stripes on crown of the cozy. TECHknitter explains all on her blog – I used her so-called travelling jogless stripes variation. Can you see where I changed colour?

FW_TeaCozy_Stripes

Invisible change of colour on the crown of the cozy.

When I had finished the cosy, it looked a bit bare. In my mind a tea cosy needs a whimsical flourish on top. Enter i-cord. I made a long cord using all available colours, and added it to the crown of the cosy.

FW_TeaCozy_Top

I-cord crown in all its glory

I knitted this tea cosy using left-overs from a number of Fair Isle swatches, using Foula wool. Magnus and Justyna from Foula Wool have asked me to write a knitting pattern for a men’s cardigan, so I’ve been swatching like crazy. Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Instragram will have seen some swatches already.

FW_Cardigan_Swatch1

Foula Swatch Number 1

FW_Cardigan_Swatch2

Foula Swatch Number 2

FW_Cardigan_Swatch3

Foula Swatch Number 3

Knitting the swatches and the tea cozy has allowed me to get to know the yarn. It has a great handle and is full of character. And of course, I love the seven natural colours it comes in. As it’s a DK weight, it knits up quickly. As somebody asked me this on twitter: the swatches are knitted in the round, with additional steek stitches. These are knitted with both colours together. I only casted off the fabric, not the steek stitches, as these were all dropped down all the way. Then I cut all the loose strands and knotted them in pairs using a reef knot. For swatch two I made a calculation error, so I ended up with only three steek stitches, so I used a crochet reinforcement instead.

I have now selected the stitch patterns I want to use. If you want to know how the cardigan will turn out, you will have to be patient, as I will reveal the cardigan and knitting pattern during Wovember 2013. But don’t be surprised if I post some teaser pictures in the meantime.

The Tea Cosy is Ravelled here.

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Item #11 in The Visible Mending Programme mixes new mending techniques with a familiar story. Zoë had heard of my Visible Mending Programme through word of mouth. She had a gorgeous green cardigan with some fraying cuffs, welts and pockets that urgently required my attention. Oh, and one horrifying hole:

Zoë’s cardigan story will be familiar to many people: when she spent some time in New York, Zoë did the inevitable thing, and went shopping. The sales were on and she spotted a beautiful green cashmere cardigan which was reduced in price. However, it was still very expensive, it wasn’t in her size, and she didn’t really have the money for it. With a sad heart, she left the shop. But you know what it’s like: the cardigan  stuck in her mind, and when she spotted another concession of the same shop, she just had to go in and check. Because you can never know. And there it was: THAT green cardigan. In her size. On sale. The only one left. What can one do?

Needless to say, Zoë returned to the UK with said cardigan. It has held up really well – I think the cashmere used is of superior quality. However, favourite items in your wardrobe make many outings, and get love worn around the edges: this frayed cuff shows signs of a mending attempt:

Stress points at pockets started to unravel, the welt started to fray, and of course, there was that hole in the elbow. The chunky knit meant I could try out some new ideas about cuff fixing and elbow patching, and I’m really pleased with the result. I used 100% Jacob wool in aran weight, as I like the contrast: the cardigan made of dyed 100% cashmere, a delicate and luxurious very soft fibre from goats. The mending done in undyed 100% jacob wool, which is very strong and has a more sturdy feel to it.

The elbow patch was knitted in (you can see stitches being picked up in the first picture). I used moss stitch, as Zoë mistakenly believed the cardigan was knitted in moss stitch:

The welt and cuffs were mended by picking up stitches and knitting a 1×1 ribbing. I used a tubular cast-off as it looks good and is very elastic. Jacob wool is strong and has lots of spring, so I’m sure it will keep up for a long time. I mended the pocket corner with a little bit of crochet:

I met up with Zoë earlier today. I’m pleased to report that she was delighted with Visible Mend #11. We had a nice chat and a coffee, when it turned out that she has another horrific hole in her wardrobe. That, however, will be the subject of another post.

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In spring this year, I was asked by Louise from Prick Your Finger if I could help out a lady in distress: Susan Crawford was about to release A Stitch In Time 2, and she urgently needed somebody to help her out knitting a jumper for the book. I’ll be posting about that jumper in part two. To show me what her new book was about, she sent a link to this video. When I told Susan I’d love to help her out, I also casually mentioned I would really like to knit that embossed golden cardigan you see in the beginning… The rest, as they say, is history.

And so about 2.5 months ago I received some squishy cashmere from The Skein Queen to knit Kasha (as it has since been named) for Susan herself.

Here’s a close-up of the gorgeous lace pattern:

The little bells (I think they’re flower buds, what do you think?) are made by making five stitches in a yarn-over and after a few rows you need to decrease them back to one. I decided to use Barbara Walker’s method of purling five stitches together. It’s a somewhat involved method, but it makes for a very symmetric decrease (all slipped stitches are slipped purlwise):

  1. slip three stitches from the left needle to the right needle
  2. lift the second stitch on the right needle over the first stitch and off the needle
  3. slip the first stitch on the right needle back to the left needle
  4. lift the second stitch on the left needle over the first stitch and off the needle
  5. slip the first stitch on the left needle to the right needle
  6. repeat steps 2, 3 and 4, then purl the remaining stitch

Once you get used to it, it is quite quick to execute. Promise!

An extraordinary cardigan requires extraordinary finishing touches, so I used the Italian cast-on, as it looks really good with a 1×1 ribbing, as evidenced by these pictures of the welt and the collar:

The beauty of this cast-on means you can match it with a tubular cast-off at the top of the buttonband:

Two other things I did to do this cardigan justice was knitting the last stitch of each row through the back loop, and slipping the first stitch purlwise to make a neat selvedge on the buttonband and collar. For the buttonholes I tried TECHKnitter’s tulips buttonhole. Also somewhat involved, but look at how symmetrical it is:

The keen observer will notice that there are no buttons sewn on as yet. Susan just couldn’t find the right ones in time for me to sew them on, but she has assured me see found the perfect ones now. I hope she will send me a picture soon – apparently it fits her perfectly. Keep an eye out for Susan – if she’s wearing a red cardigan, it could well be this one.

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I popped into my friend Alex’s shop recently, and she was wearing a vintage cardigan with roled up sleeves. We were chatting away over a nice cuppa and the conversation turned to mending and darning clothes and soon it became apparent why her sleeves were roled up:

Look at those HOLES!

A challenge I couldn’t resist. A Prime Visible Mending Programme Item. This was clearly a love-worn garment. Upon inspection it appeared the damage was mainly due to general wear and tear. The right sleeve had worn through completely and the left sleeve showed thinning in the same area. And what better to use than vintage wool? Ms. Busby’s wool in clear blue seemed to go very well with the green cardigan.

Here’s how I tackled it:

To fill the huge hole I knitted a patch on the right sleeve and ‘duplicate’ stitched thin areas (clearly, this isn’t true duplicate stitching as I used a different gauge) in order to keep the inherent stretch of knitted fabric:

The left sleeve has lots of lovely darning and loads more duplicate stitching to inforce the thin areas. Duplicate stitching is the new darning!

Both cuffs were badly frayed and Alex had made an attempt to fix that with embroidery thread. However, whip stitching around ribbing makes it flare out, so I unpicked it and folded the cuffs double, and on the inside I herringbone stitched it down. This ensures maximum stretch is maintained. I like how it gives a pinstripe effect around the cuff. Here’s the end result. What do you think?

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