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

 

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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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.

Today I’m Making… a duck a day

Last year me and another local woman took over the admin of a Facebook page for local knitter and crocheters when the owner decided she wanted to step down.  We changed it to include all crafts and if you’re interested and close to Fleet in Hampshire you’ll find us here.

It has been fantastic, we have set up meet ups on Sunday afternoons, Friday evenings and now one of the members has started one on Wednesday afternoons too. We’ve just over 100 members and we also have impromptu meet-ups and excursions.As well as an excuse to eat cake and craft in public we support charities as a group.  We’ve just finished making hats for Innocent Smoothies’ The Big Knit (119 hats between us) and our official charity for this year is Project Linus.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t jump in when help is needed!  A local young girl has done something fantastic, she decided to make 200+ ducklings that hold a Creme Egg and sell them for a charity that is close to her family’s hearts – Great Ormand Street Hospital.  Anyway if that wasn’t enough she contacted all the local supermarkets and they’ve all offered her creme eggs as a donation.  How great is that? She’s 11.

So one of the supermarkets has promised her the whole 200 eggs so now she’s got the potential to sell an awful lot of them, but its a lot of knitting for her to do on her own so our group is going to pitch in and make some for her.  This is my first one.  I really liked knitting it, it was such an easy and cute knit so I’m going to aim for making one duck a day until the deadline in mid February.  I’m so impressed with her, what a great girl to take on something like this and and to do it so well too.

When she has confirmation of the date she’s selling them I’ll let you know, and if you’re nearby please drop by and buy one. They’ll need good homes.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

Yeah I know, they’re a bit tragic but I’m doing it anyway.

  1. Read at least 34 books this year.  Easy peasy, I’m on Goodreads so I’ve set myself a reading challenge.  Click here to see how I’m doing.  Right now I’m doing fantastically well, I have read no books yet this year and I’m apparently bang on target.
  2. Lose 20kgs.  Thought I’d chuck in the traditional fat bum challenge.  Though my bum isn’t actually that fat I have spotted a bit of thigh bulge today that has to be got rid of immediately if not sooner.  Then once I’ve lost 20kgs I’ll still want to lose another 10.  Then perhaps another 5.  We’ll see. I work for a law firm and the cakeage is immense and I loathe exercising so this one is a bit challenging. I also hate exercise clothes and seriously object to any heel lower than a kitten heel.  Keep thinking about taking up running but I also very much dislike outdoorsiness. And running.
  3. Do more embroidery.  I very rarely sew. Its the one thing I absolutely love doing and yet I hardly ever do it because I used to hand sew for a living and now I don’t and it may sound pathetic but its quite emotional for me and I’m a bit frightened I’ve lost all my skills. So much as I’ve amassed a huge quantity of yarn and patterns and stuff I’m going to scale back the knitting and crochet (except for snoods and Gin Poodles of course) and get back into embroidery.  I had a small test piece framed a few years ago and the framers asked me if I’d like to make more for them to sell.  So I might not be a complete ham-fisted duffer.
  4. Stop buying mass-produced junk.  You know that ‘make it, don’t buy it’ idea floating around at Christmas? Well I’m going to stop buying things from major chains and only buy handmade wherever possible.  I’ve had my last clothes shopping spree in 2016 so from now on I’m going to make my own clothes, at least they’ll fit properly and I won’t bump into anyone else wearing the same thing. I can try out embroidery on my own cuffs and that too can’t I? I’ve got a sewing machine up in the loft and I expect that is where it will stay because I don’t really like sewing machines.  Hand made clothes last longer because they’re better and every stitch is beautiful. I’m not expecting anyone else to agree or even see the simple beauty of a white cotton tacking stitch or go into ecstasy over a button hole, but your loss and all that.
  5. New Etsy shop. Once I’ve got my fingers back to being able to pick up with a needle a single thread in any fabric without looking I’ll be able to produce work worth selling. These are not going to sit well with super kitsch knitted poodle bottle cosies or even lovely vintage style hair accessories so they’ll need their own space.

Five resolutions are enough.

6. Oh but hang on. Food. Must stop eating things that make me ill, like fried things, fatty things, dairy, and eggs.  A doctor told me years ago that the odd sensation of my throat going all thick and gagging for hours after eating isn’t really normal and should be avoided. Spose he might have a point.

7. Bugger it I’ve thought of another.  I have a half brother somewhere.  Not even sure what his name is but I should find him in case he’s the head of membership of a major ballet company or something and can get me a hefty discount.