Marvellous Mustard 1949 cardigan

Yesterday, I finished making one of these cardigans from my Etsy shop – Ginpoodle.  I love this cardigan, it is made following an original pattern from 1949 that I have resized.  It is a lot of work but the stitch pattern is just so gorgeous and its very forgiving because the the stitch makes it quite stretchy.

First of all the customer requested a mustard colour in pure wool, so that meant several very happy hours online trying to track down a mustard colour wool in the right weight and in the right quantity.  Turns out there were very few options and the prices ranged from affordable to eye-watering.  The nicest shade of mustard turned out to be the cheapest one – hurrahs all round.  So off I go to order it, only to find out the colour is discontinued so there was only the odd ball to be had here and there. Disaster.  After a couple of days I managed to find an eBay seller who had it in stock so I hit ‘Buy Now’ faster than I’d move if you told me there was a free buffet.  The next day I received an email from the seller to say he didn’t actually have the quantity I’d ordered. Grrrr. Now at this point I know there is very little of this stuff to be had anywhere so I’m feeling a bit panicky, but then I remembered my usual snood yarn supplier also stock pure wool and thank god for them they had the same yarn, but on a cone. I love them so much.

All this meant that by the time the yarn arrived it was two weeks after I’d received the order so the delivery date had to be adjusted. That’s the thing with custom orders, if I need to order in a special colour yarn it will take longer to complete because of course I can’t start until I have the yarn in my hands.

This stuff was worth the wait though. This yarn is beautiful, the colour isn’t flat at all, it has tones of gold and orange that you only really see if you’re knitting with it, it just gives the most beautiful shade of mustard I’ve ever seen. Why they have discontinued the shade I don’t know because everyone that has seen it loved it.

It starts off with a teensy bit of ribbing, then goes into a broad rib pattern (note excellent nail colour matching that I am very proud of) before going into the cathedral stitch repeats.  Now, if you can see, they’re  like little lacework arches a bit like cathedral windows, I’m fairly sure I’ve seen this same stitch in a stitch directory somewhere with a different name so if anyone can jog my memory please do.

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The fronts of cardigans are nice and quick to do because they’re so narrow, which can lull you into a fall sense of security of how long its going to take you to make the whole thing because at this point you’re so pleased with your progress you’ve completely forgotten the way sleeves take over your entire life with no end in sight.  Look at this picture and you’ll see I’ve already started the back, I’m just at the start of the cathedral stitch.  I’m using my gorgeous KnitPro carbonz which I love despite the ‘z’ that should be an ‘s’ irritating me.  Normally that sort of nonsense would put me off buying them altogether but they’re so chic in black and silver and my partner works with carbon fibre so it makes me feel like he’s nearby when I knit with them.   At this point I really should have blocked those two front pieces because they look pretty ropey and uneven to my eyes until they’ve been blocked.

In rare moments when I was not knitting I read this book, several years after all the other knitters in the world have read it.  Its very funny indeed, if you are a knitter and you haven’t read it already please do get a copy, you’ll see yourself on every page.  The lighting in the middle pic is horrendous because that’s my desk at work, I’m knitting at my desk in my lunchbreak and everyone else is pretending that’s normal.  The third pic is back home with the back piece finished on my vintage trunk.

All I’m going to say here is… arrrrgh sleeve hell. Though as I was making them I realised a jumper with a plainish body and cathedral stitch sleeves would be lovely and I should make one for myself.  Remind me would you?

img_0537After sleeve hell comes blocking hell. I don’t know why I hate blocking so much but I do. I think it’s all those pins and stretching.  I always worry its going to ruin all my work or not dry properly and smell of damp.  This never ever happens, the knitting is always vastly improved and it does always dry much more quickly than you expect. But blocking always gives me The Fear.

Last week I visited the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally on the Wednesday, and despite having already bought about a ton of buttons in various colours and materials for this cardigan I bought these beauties from the Italian Button stand.  I couldn’t resist, they’re perfect aren’t they? There are 14 buttons on this cardigan. If you don’t like doing up buttons or are always in a frightful rush do not buy this cardigan.

I taught myself a better way of doing buttonholes too so they came out all neat and perfect first try, normally I oversew them afterwards but no need now.

So here it is, the finished cardigan.  I love it. I know I made it and its not very British to blow your own trumpet but I think it’s beautiful. I am very happy with it and fingers crossed it’s new owner will feel the same. The flat feels a bit empty without it.

 

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Today I’m Making… Fuss Free Festival Shawl

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I am a member of the excellent FaceBook group Everyday Knitter run by the knitting designer Louise Tilbrook.  I’ve watched for ages people making her simple garter knit shawl and finally got around to casting one on while on holiday in Bulgaria last month.  To be honest I didn’t really enjoy the holiday so I was glad of it.  It was like a home for sausage obsessed grumps.

It is a very simple design so perfect for showing off a nice interesting yarn, and because it’s lovely and simple to knit it is perfect for holidays and knitting in front of the telly.

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I am making mine using 200g of DK yarn, its a Rico Design Creative Galaxy that I bought in a sale at Pack Lane Wools in Basingstoke earlier this year.  I’m pretty sure I only paid a couple of pounds for it. It’s lovely yarn, really soft and a little bit fuzzy which offsets any scratchiness you might have felt from the hundreds and hundreds of little holographic sequins it is shot through with.  The pattern only asks for 100g of sock yarn but I love a big snuggly shawl so I’m doubling up and using DK. This is mine at the half way point.

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So far I have knitted it on holiday by the pool in Bulgaria, in front of the telly at home, commuting to work by train and at my new Saturday afternoon knitting group at the library café in Fleet, Hampshire.  Tomorrow I have a hospitable appointment I am frankly dreading so I’m going to take it with me as a sort of comforter.

Here is a link to my one on Ravelry, where you can also buy the pattern though I think Louise is still sending you a free one if you sign up to her newsletter so check that out first!img_0394

 

Task/Treat organiser update

It’s the first of September so time to start a fresh list.

I’ve decided to colour code my tasks and treats, I had a bit of time on my hands today because I am stuck at home with a stinking cold.  If you fancy giving this a go you will need several differently coloured pens and a notebook.  Following the usual method in a previous post I started writing out my September list but this time I colour-coded the type of activity.  Here are mine but you should choose your own categories –

img_0390I don’t think it needs very much explanation, green for things I want to buy, entertainment is for things like reading books, watching a film or finding a new playlist on Spotify.  You will see the orange craft category fills up quite a lot space in my organiser because it’s my favourite treat.  Housework/Admin in pencil includes things like paying bills or having a bit of a tidy-up.  Red for places to go, whether it is a day out or somewhere different to go shopping.  Social/online to remind me to update all the various social media I’m not in the least bit addicted to or even to remind me to actually speak to a real life person using my voice. Health & pamper in red for exercise, manicures and supplements.

So this is what it looks like:  img_0389

 

It makes it much easier to see what’s on offer if you know you should really be doing more or less of a particular activity.  I’m thinking about housework and adminny things like doing my accounts, but there are times when I need to focus more on exercise and health.

The pink and the red are perhaps a bit too close in colour for the difference to be obvious in evening light so perhaps next month I’ll swap the red for purple.

 

 

Today I’m Making… Fireflies Rising Shawl

This year for the first time I’ve managed to remember to buy a ticket for Yarn in the City’s Great London Yarn Crawl, this is their fifth year anniversary so I’m counting myself as double-lucky for bagging a ticket on the Metropolitan route.  Do have a look, it is going to be fantastic and I’m not just telling you this because I’m so pleased with myself, sometimes they get a cancellation so keep an eye on their Ravelry thread for ticket swaps.

Yarn in the City have a KAL for the yarn crawl, its the gorgeous Fireflies Rising shawlette by Helen Stewart, and at the time I bought it she was donating money to the charity Refuge which pretty much decided it for me.  One of the things I love about this pattern is she has a column showing in percentages how far you are along, I’ve just passed the 55% mark, I’m on 107 with 321 stitches on the needle!

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A row is taking a fair old while to complete now so I’m not knitting this on the train to work anymore. Though thinking about it I travel in to Waterloo and with the huge engineering works in August I might well have time to do 3 rows per journey and read 50 pages of my book.  If I get a seat.

My yarn is from Once Upon a Time Skeins, who is a local indie dyer based in Basingstoke which isn’t that far from me but I don’t think she sells in any local shops.  I bought my skeins directly from her (she’s lovely) at the Yarnporium.  There is only one more skein left of the colour I’m on now and I had been wishing I’d made the shawlette just from this colour because its all lovely gingerish shades and knits so beautifully.  I’m going back to my natural red hair too so I think its going to look really nice on. The thing is, I’ve just spotted someone else has finished one in a very similar colour and it looks incredible, but, that means mine is still unique so I’m happy to stick with what I have now.

This pattern is such a joy to knit I’m very tempted to cast on another one straight after finishing this one. The fireflies are some very easy and satisfying yarn overs and double decreases, though having said that when I did the first set I made an almighty mess of it through trying to do it late at night after wine.  I pulled it back and redid it and just look how great it looks even before blocking, its a bit cableish looking while its on the needles.

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I’m still trying to match my nails to my knitting and doing pretty well I think. I’m all up to date with snood orders too so no sudden nail colour changes to contend with.

 

I really want to wear mine on the day so please keep your fingers crossed for me that it doesn’t rain on 9th September and if you’re on the same route as me I am looking forward to meet you on the 9th and dying to hit the shops.

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Task/Treat organiser

A friend was explaining bullet journals to me recently so I explained the system I’ve been using for a few years – and here it is for you to try too.

You will need:

A smallish notebook, something that will easily sit open on the arm of your sofa.

A variety of pens with different colour ink.

A clock

Put a heading of the date at the top of the page (not on the first line). This is to remind you when to refresh you lists. I don’t usually bother because I redo mine on the first of the month.IMG_0154

Starting with a zero and ending with 59 put a number at start of each line – every line now represents a minute of the hour.

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Take a different pen to the one you wrote the numbers with and add a task or treat next to each number. This could be dusting, a craft project, something you need to buy, exercise, admin, going out for a coffee, taking a vitamin, booking a manicure, updating your accounts… anything you would like a prompt to do. I put in all the craft projects I have started or would like to do. I also add the places I like to visit like the Fashion and Textile Museum and various markets.

When you have filled in all 60 lines, draw a vertical line next to each item to separate them from the next item. Now, change pens and add another 60 tasks/treats. Trust me, you will very soon fill up your lines. If you don’t fill them all up straight away don’t worry, you will add more things as they occur to you during the month. You will also cross out completed tasks that don’t need to be carried over each month like renewing insurance. My tip is to write small, you have way more things to add than you’d think. IMG_0158

Now that you have filled in as much as you can think of, take a look at the time. Say it is 11:25 go to line 25 and pick something to do from the entries on that line. If there is a craft project there, that is now your craft project for the day. Do a bit of it now. When you get to a stopping point take a look at the time again. Say it is now 11:35, you go to line 35 and pick something to do there, if you already have a craft project you have to ignore those now and choose the most sensible thing to do on that line – something that is more of a task than a treat. Now you can do a bit more of your craft treat. Say this task and treat have taken exactly one hour so the next time you look at the clock it is 12:35. Go back to that line and choose something else to do. You don’t have to do the same task over and over again, this is why it is good to have lots of items on each line. If there’s nothing you can do from that list, do a bit more crafting.

Try to keep space at the end of each line every month to add tasks in during the month. If you realise your garden is all raggedy you’re going to need add a task to book in an extra visit from the gardener or (heaven forbid) go outside and do something foul with a trowel yourself.

If you feel so inclined you could colour code your entries, black for housework task, purple for craft treats, blue for health things, green for shopping and so on.

Tasks that are one-offs you just strike through when complete, if you find they do crop up again you can just add them in to the next available space.

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A lot of things carry on from one month to the next, tasks like emptying bins or doing the ironing but also craft projects and reminders to go to the gym or have a sauna. To stop this being boring, (you don’t want ironing to always be at 22 minutes past or you’ll find yourself always avoiding 22 minutes past) at the end of the month you start again but mix everything up.  The way I do this sounds complicated but it’s actually simple as a pimple.

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Number the lines of your pages again. Now look at the time. Say it is 15:56, go to line 56 and copy all the tasks there as the first tasks on each line from 1 onwards in the new list.  Cross them off the old list.  Look at the time again, OK its only 15.57 so go to line 57 and copy all the tasks from that line to the next set of available numbers and cross them off the old list.  Keep doing this until all last month’s are crossed off and transferred to a new list.  It doesn’t take as long as you’d think and it’s satisfying to see gaps appear for tasks you completed last month.  Plus it reminds you that there are some things that carry on month after month that you really should have completed, like a tax return and it can give you a kick up the bum to get on with things.  When that happens I tend to duplicate them on other lines so there is more chance of you hitting on it before the end of the month.

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Chickyducks for charity

This is it! My final contribution to the chick/duck charity knitting project.  I think I like the stripey one best.  If you are in my area (Fleet in Hampshire) you have ONE day left to make one and bring it to More Than Coffee in the Hart Centre on the high street.

We have the March Sunday afternoon get-together there tomorrow, and Roxanne will be collecting up the last of them and will share a picture of them all together on our Fleet Crafters Facebook page.

I think I explained in a previous post but these are going to an 11 year old local girl whose family support Great Ormond Street Hospital.  She is going to sell them outside one of the supermarkets in Fleet, with each one stuffed with a creme egg donated by the shopkeepers of Fleet.  She had intended to make them all herself but the shops were so generous with the chocolate eggs she ended up needing to make more than 200!

The Fleet Crafters  were only too happy to help out, I’m looking forward to buying my stripey one back!

Fleet Crafters have changed our name from Fleet Knit, Stitch and Crochet – it was a bit of a mouthful.  Our next charity project is Project Linus – so blankets for babies, children and teens that are sewn, knitted or crocheted. Can’t wait to get started once I’ve finished a few Etsy orders.