February 6, 2014

Classic Worsted Cabled socks & a review

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 08:00

(ETA: I wrote this over a week ago and forgot to hit post! I’m all better now!) In hindsight, I’m not surprised that my last post was full of little frustrations because immediately after that, I got sick. Today is the first day in over a week that I haven’t woken up dizzy with a headache. I’ll be glad to see the back of January! Although I still managed to struggle in to work, I also managed to do things like pick up a puncture on the bike and not close the car boot properly so when I went to go to work on Sunday, the battery was dodo. Luckily for us, a friend was able to give us a jump so the car is ok. I’ll be able to retrieve my bike from school and fix the puncture tomorrow.

All this to say that there are times when one really needs a good pair of comforting socks – to knit and to wear.


image

I used Patons Diploma Gold DK which is a 55% wool/25% acrylic/20% nylon blend and very soft and squishy. I was really pleased with the definition in the cables considering the high artificial content. I tried out a new cast on, a stretchy rib cast-on that I found in the ‘Cast on, Bind off’ book (reviewed here). It worked very well but I would prefer a neater edge. It is very stretchy though.

image

I used a new (to me) type of heel – eye of partridge – and I love it!


image

They have star toes as well. They’re ok. I’m not sure if I like them or not. They’re very comfortable but since my toes turn my foot into a sort of triangle at the top, I’m wondering if I should stick to the wedge toe I usually make.


image

The pattern is one from this magazine, a seemingly once-off edition of ‘Hand Knit Socks’ from the publisher of Threads magazine. Here it is listed on the publisher website. I paid €6.94 for it in Easons (O’Connell St) and they had a big stack of them about two weeks ago so they still might have some.


image

It’s more like a book than a magazine to be honest. They cover pretty much everything you would want from a sock. It starts with tube socks in a variety of weights and sizes. Most of the patterns range from childrens (sometimes even babies) sizes all the way up to large mens.

image

There are sections for textured socks…

image

…lace socks…

image

…as well as colourwork socks and more crazy-looking socks with bobbles, beading or thrumming. There’s a big variety in terms of yarn weights used so the possibilities for shopping your stash are high. The other thing I really liked about it is that at the back, there is a comprehensive reference section for heels and toes. They give the numbers and methods for all of the toes and heels used, such as short row heels, flaps and gussets, wedge toes, star toes and so on. The patterns refer you to this appendix according to what size you’re knitting. It’s quite clear and a really handy reference to have if you’re knitting a different sock but want to change the toes or heels. You can match up your stitch count to the reference and continue on.

I found an error in the written instructions for this sock – one or two of the twists are reversed. In this instance, a chart would have been clearer but I just adjusted my knitting so it looked like the photo.

end

February 3, 2014

January outfit #2

Nobody probably noticed but I was foiled in my attempts to post an outfit for October. There were two reasons. Firstly, all my photos were out of focus thanks to user error and secondly, in said photos, I noticed a fitting problem that I couldn’t rectify. So I have put the blouse of said post to one side and here’s the skirt that I made in another combination.

image

The skirt is Sewaholic’s Hollyburn, a flared number that comes in three lengths – this is the middle length. I used a chocolate brown wool crepe from Truro fabrics. It was my first time using a wool crepe but it won’t be my last! It’s one of the easiest fabrics I’ve ever seen and pressed like a dream. Swoon! The pattern is very straight forward, with a high waist and pockets. I’ll definitely be making this in a shorter length for summer!

image

The shirt is the Grainline Archer modified into a henley. I kind of tore my hair out over this one (needlessly) but I learned lots from doing it and it turned out well. I used a lovely light, pale blue chambray that I got before Christmas.

image

I don’t think this is necessarily the best blouse to wear with this skirt but I do like pale blue and brown together.

image

I also finished my Larch cardigan! Short row shawl collars are sloooow to knit. Everything looked a bit uneven so I blocked it with great results.

For this, I used eight balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply so as cardigans go, definitely not the most expensive.

image

It has a really, really nice drape which I think will go even better over skinny jeans or belted with a pencil skirt.

The instructions say to work the shawl collar and then sew the side edge to the cardigan. I didn’t think that would be easy to accomplish neatly so I attached it as I went, picking up a stitch each time and working two together. It worked fine but because I was working back and forth, the two sides ended up a bit different.

image

In the end, I sewed in a little ridge in the inside to make them both look the same. Upon close examination I guess it’s not undetectable but I doubt many will care to examine.

image

I’ve been wearing this a lot recently! It’s been so stormy and miserable here, I just love pulling this on.

end

January 29, 2014

A pincushion

Filed under:News! — Aileen @ 08:00

In my limited experience, making those little things that accompany activities are not quick to make! You know, project bags, needle books, pincushions, things for the kitchen – they can take a few hours. So, I don’t tend to make a lot of them because I’d rather be making clothes.

That said, this was a particular need. I’m quite a clumsy person despite trying to be careful. I can do very delicate things with my hands and I’m good at visualising things, especially in 3D, but I tend to forget where I am and that, my friends, is a recipe for tripping, knocking things over and falling up and down stairs. So I can imagine myself on the stairs with a cup of tea and where each foot is in relation to each step but when I am actually ON the stairs, my mind is at my sewing machine and that is when my cup of tea meets the stairs.

All this to say that I am sick of knocking my box of pins over and inevitably coming up a few short each time. A pincushion was needed. But why make an ordinary pincushion? I could use this as a reason to try something out. I thought that perhaps something in cross-stitch would give a good firmness to the cushion. I looked on etsy and found this design as a digital download from this shop. Upon visiting now, I see that this particular design is not offered for sale at the moment but it will probably be listed again.

image

I had most of the colours already in my little floss stash, as well as some blank aida. The design says that it’s for tapestry yarn and for a much bigger type of canvas but I didn’t want anything too big or heavy, so I stuck with what I had.

I used a little Tanya Whelan fat quarter for the backing. It was in my embroidery box and I had forgotten about it, so it was a nice surprise that it matches so well.

image

I stuffed it with some polyfill and let me tell you, it really took a lot! For such a small thing!

image

The pattern was very clear and easy to follow. I probably could have made life easier for myself by using a few less strands of floss – I used the full six strands – but I didn’t want to risk having less than full coverage. I wasn’t bothered filling in the white patches with white floss but other than that, I worked it as per the pattern.

I’m not going to say that that’s the end of pins on the floor but it’s a start!

end

January 22, 2014

Frustrations

Filed under:Works In Progress — Aileen @ 08:00

Last week was incredibly frustrating. Sometimes I have these days where I hit a roadblock and am able to overcome it the next day, but last week was a doozy.

Let’s start with a skirt. I – thankfully – sensed impending stagnation and eschewed thoughts of lining it. So I found myself at the final buttonhole very quickly and was feeling very pleased with things. I even found some matching thread to work it in. I got about half way through it when I couldn’t go any further. Not an inch would my needle move. I cut it out…

Looks ok, right?

Wrong! That is the needle plate stuck in the middle of that mess.

Needless to say I had no more matching thread after that one. I adjusted my tension (only by 1 notch!) and it worked fine the next time around. Phew! The skirt turned out great and I can’t wait to show it to you.

Prompted by thoughts of showing it here, I thought that maybe I would make something to go with it. I think pale blue is an interesting match with a tweedy brown so I got going on some beautiful chambray I got here. I always had it in my mind to make a shirt with a henley opening at the front so I got to work adapting my Archer pattern.

Well. A combination of a full teaching week, extra rehearsals and coaching for a project (at least five hours), cold weather, childrens’ germs and staying up late for no reason got the better of me. For a start, I decided to use a tutorial I found on Flickr. I love Flickr but it’s not very good for following a tutorial. Confusion was compounded by the fact that this tutorial was not exactly for what I wanted. Do you think I could find the centre front of the pattern piece? Do you think I could compute measurements for plackets and seam allowances? Do you think I could make two pieces the same length? Dear God, it was a mess. I cut five plackets, fused interfacing to the wrong sides of two, cut two plackets half the needed width, sewed one on upside down, sewed it on again back to front, sewed on the other upside down AND back to front… it took me five sessions to just get the plackets on. What is up, brain?

The good news: the plackets are straight, stay flat and line up. The bad news: I somehow removed about an inch at the neckline. Upside: I never wear shirts buttoned all the way up and it’s not too much work to adjust the collar accordingly.

Despite my befuddled state, it was a good lesson in understanding fully what I want to achieve. I admit that I wasn’t entirely clear what needed to be where. Now that I have it done, I will do it again my own way knowing what I want in the finish.

My knitting wasn’t safe, either. Using my strong desire to cast on a spring sweater (it’s not too early to dream, right?), I bit the bullet and finally picked up all the stitches to work the button band and collar on my Larch cardigan. I ended up ripping out the collar four times thanks to picking up on the wrong sides/the wrong way/lopsided/right the first time.

My patience has been well and truly tested but I think I’m through it. Sigh!

end

January 20, 2014

FO: Pomegranate sweater

Filed under:Knitting,Summer Wardrobe '13,Sweaters — Aileen @ 08:00

I realised in my last Knitting round-up that I never got proper photos of my Pomegranate sweater. Last shown here at the beginning of last April, this was a pleasant spring knit.

I started out wanting to knit the ‘real’ Pomegranate sweater. I loved the colour and was thrilled to find something similar in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK (now discontinued I think?!). Sadly, the pattern was way, way beyond my attention span at the time. I think it is definitely something I will come back to but it wasn’t going to happen then. So, I just knit a top-down raglan a la Barbara Walker and used yarn overs for the raglan decreases. A few waist decreases and increases, long sleeves, basic round neck, absolutely run-of-the-mill.

I’m really happy with how it turned out and the colour makes me really happy. It goes well with navy and grey, which are two colours I wear a lot too. I have it on here with a white blouse and navy culottes that I wrote about here.

It’s funny that I wrote recently that I haven’t felt much need for sweater knitting given my well-appointed sweater shelf. Ever since then, I’ve been full of ideas!

end