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Posts Tagged ‘cashmere’

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 preparation for my Hand in Glove Workshop at Prick Your Finger, I have knitted a pair of gloves for my friend Howard. He liked my Sanquhar Gloves and houndstooth patterns, so I decided to throw them together. Although we will be knitting a plain stocking stitch glove for the Hand in glove Workshop, you still need to make the same measurements and calculations, so I tried out a few things for the workshop with my very patient friend.

Apart from trying on whilst knitting and using some stitch markers, there are various methods of trying to calculate the number of stitches needed to construct the fingers and I have tried out a few:

If you can’t try out whilst knitting, which was the very reason I wanted to make some gloves for somebody else I couldn’t readily meet up with, then I think that the maths provided in Hand-Knitting Techniques from Threads Magazine (although long out of print, try to get your hands on a copy, it has so many good articles in it) is your best bet.

After a reknitting the fingers three times (don’t ask), I finally produced some gloves I was happy with:

The back-of-hand shows a simple houndstooth pattern:

I say simple, but I did have difficulty getting the tension right for the row that makes the top of the brown check. Whatever I tried, the grey stitch immediately left to the brown stitch just disappears. However much I love my Shetland Spindrift, the sholmit (that’s the Shetland name for this particular colour of natural grey) was a bit thicker than the brown, which made even tensioning that little bit harder still. Luckily blocking has sorted most of it out.

The palm of the hand shows a check pattern I designed myself:

However, the thing I most pleased about is the cuff:

We have the wearer’s initials! We have a small split! We have i-cord edging! But best of all: we have cashmere lining! Even if Shetland wool softens considerably after washing and blocking, the cashmere is so much softer still, it gives a very luxurious feeling when you slip these on. I’m pleased to report that Howard loves his gloves. As the weather is turning cold again, I have no doubt he will be sporting them every day. As for me, I want to line the cuffs of all my gloves with cashmere now…

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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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A couple of weeks ago a friend gave me her favourite red cashmere jumper. Moths had a feast and they left holes all over the place. Otherwise it was still a lovely jumper, so it was the perfect candidate to enter The Visible Mending Programme. So this is what I came up with:

After going over the jumper with a comb to make sure I didn’t leave a hole uncovered, I used some Jamieson’s Shetland Ultra 2ply to chain stitched from hole to hole. I darned each hole with some judicious weaving. Then I got my crochet hook out and crocheted a ruffle made up from double, triple and quadruple sts. I bunched up the ruffle over each darned hole.

The hole on the back is slightly different: it has been closed by needle felting.

It’s my friend’s birthday tomorrow, so I think it makes a perfect gift!

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My friend has a lovely red cashmere jumper. But MOTHS have had a feast on it! As you can see, I have carefully gone over the jumper to find out where they had their starter, main course and pudding. I think they may have had a cheeseboard too. I marked all the holes with coilless safety pins, as I think this is a perfect candidate for the Visible Mending Programme.

I’m planning to use some Jamieson’s Ultra 2ply shetland laceweight to connect all the holes with a fine ruffle. Let’s hope the MOTHS won’t find out.

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