August 23, 2013

Biston and a few WIPs

Filed under:Knitting,Sleeves,Sweaters,Works In Progress — Aileen @ 12:56

Apologies for the dead air… I was feeling quite under the weather the last week and when I did rallied, I rallied in the direction of my summer to-do list. Anyway, the winners from my last post’s competition were Kimberly and Kim. Congrats!

Here’s what I’ve been working on lately. I knit the entire body and one sleeve of the Honey cardigan only to completely run out of yarn. I got a little bit more but as you can see, the colour was way off.

As it turned out, when I tried it on with just the one sleeve, I realised that I really didn’t like how it looked on me and I didn’t want to finish it. So I’ve ripped it out and I look forward to knitting it into a Hudson sweater. Sometimes it’s best to face facts.

Speaking of reknits, I became so infuriated by the errors in my orange Chuck sweater that I ripped the whole thing out to the armholes and reknit it. It had many, many errors in the front chart and the sleeve caps were awful. It never sat right no matter what I wore under it and consequently, only wore it once. I adore the sweater as well as the colour so I am going to give this another go.

Yet another reknit! Well, sort of. I fell in love with Helene about the time we left on honeymoon and started knitting it up in a woolly sport weight. The yarn in itself is wonderful but not suited to such a drapey design. It languished until I released it about a week ago. I think the yarn will be fantastic for something else and in the meantime, have cast on in a linen.

The recommended Quince and Co linen worked out at about £10 a skein (!!!) so I went with my local option, the Katia linen from This is Knit. It’s about €5 a ball and I only need 5. Linen, as a yarn, is very off-putting, I think. My swatch was very scratchy and scraggly-looking when I knit it up. However, when I blocked it out, it draped beautifully:

Speaking of drape, here’s my Biston shug.

It’s from Wool People 3 and I knit it up in Jamieson & Smith Jumper weight. I think it took about 4 and a bit of the big balls (I think they’re 50g?). I made a few modifications. I knit the sleeves in the round and then turned them inside out. I also didn’t knit the back as wide as directed because I have really narrow shoulders. Even as it is, it’s a bit lumpy. The border was a pain to knit but it was worth it. I blocked it and found the border simply did not want to behave at all. So, I reblocked it there the other day and stretched the life out of it. The result is more drapey. I think, maybe, for a more drapey effect overall, you could go for a slightly thinner yarn. I love this colour, though, and am a big fan of the J&S wool for its sheer wearability (damp-proof, always the right temperature, perfect neutral colours, feels like it’s indestructable).


January 13, 2013

A quick one

Just to show a quick peek at my blouse that I finished yesterday.


I tried it in when I had basted both sleeves in and to my surprise, no fitting for the shoulders was necessary. It’s a miracle! I suppose I could have fiddled about with then to make them a little more sleek but that leads on to the problem of making both sleeve caps the same… So I left well enough alone.

I also may have started sewing a small fur cape. I sewed the lining first to make sure of the fit.


I bought this satin lining as a remnant along with half a metre of fur about 18 months ago, maybe more. There was never enough of the satin to make a top of any substance, and the fur, short though it may be, was taking up a lot of space. I’ve been meaning to make the pattern since I bought the fur so no time like the present.

I sewed a quick muslin of the skirt I’m going to make to go with the blouse; it fits just fine. In the course of my rummaging and stash clearing, I found a wonderful peacock lining in teal and I think I will just about have enough for both the skirt and jacket!


January 23, 2012

Liverpool Blouse

Filed under:Finished Objects,Sewing,Sleeves,Stash Down — Aileen @ 14:21

Here we go!

Pattern: ‘Liverpool’ by Amy Butler. This comes with tunic and dress, as well as shorter sleeve length options. I made the Blouse with long sleeves.

Fabric: 1.5m of 100% cotton from my K&S stash. I think it was €8 a metre, so this cost €12 along with something like €4 for the buttons to cover. I’m pretty happy with the cost of this project.

I am happiest with how the collar and sleeves turned out. When I made my mock-up, I had trouble getting the collar stand to fit properly so I took my time when I was making it up this time. My mum helped me fit the sleeve caps. I ended up having to take them in quite a lot and basted them maybe three or four times. I was prepared to do it, though, and it paid off.

This was my first project with buttonholes so it forced me to take out my manual and finally learn how to make them. They’re really not that hard but I probably sewed about 15 practice ones before I did my blouse. Even so, one of the holes in the middle is just a touch too small. This was also my first project with covered buttons. They were lots of fun to make but the downside to having such a long shank is that they’re kind of tricky to sew on! Seeing them all sewn on now, though, makes me happy with my choice because I can’t envisage any other kind of button.

Here’s the smaller button that I used for the cuffs. Initially, when I first mocked up the pattern, I wasn’t thrilled with the cuffs. They’re kind of wide. But it meant that I didn’t have to sew a placket or gather the sleeve into a cuff, so that was the compromise. Now that it’s finished, I actually really like the cuff. I think this is more to do with the finished length of the sleeve with the cuff turned up – I can turn the cuff up over the cuff of my jumper. (I’m a bit of a show-off, really.)

So aside from fitting the sleeve cap, the one main adjustment I made was to add 1.5″ to the front – so 3/4″ to each front. I did this by marking the extra distance parallel to the bust dart and then grading it gently away up to the neckline. What I did initially was just add the extra to the whole front but my Mum pointed out that the collar fitted really well and I didn’t need the extra at the neckline. So I graded it down but kept the extra from the bustline all the way to the hem. I didn’t make any adjustments to the back at all.

It seems that the Amy Butler garment patterns run quite long – it was something I noticed in the Anna pattern too. The blouse length on this pattern comes down below my bum so I saved myself a decent amount of fabric not cutting it out. Maybe if you’re short like me and you’re thinking about sewing this pattern, this will be of some help.

The pattern overall was really clear to follow and was a perfect introduction to making a blouse. I’m looking forward to making another!


January 31, 2011

Many fingers, many pies

Things have been busy: I got a job! I am now a part-time music lecturer and accompanist, for this semester anyway. I have three hours of lectures and three hours of coaching. The coaching is kein Problem. The lectures… well. I had a week’s notice and a very vague outline of what I was supposed to cover in the term. Luckily, I have some friends who lent me some materials and after a few days of panic/photocopying, I had something to start off with. I think it’s going to be fine. I’m only in until Easter, after which I play for everyone’s exams and then I’m done. So these days it’s very much a case of making hay while the sun shines.

And, of course, it never rains but it pours: I have two recitals in February, competitions in March, two recitals in April, exams in both Maynooth university and the IT where I’m working in May. Of course, I have my own recital exam, thesis, wedding and errr, I’m trying to put together a concert series with my friends from college for June. Don’t worry, it will all be fine. Here, soothe your soul with some knitting.

This is a very bedraggled-looking Harvest Moon. I am trying to knit my way through the various stratae of my stash. This is very old yarn (oh God, 2006!). I tried to turn it into a jumper but all I ended up with was one of those Frankenstein moments. I denied its very existence.

I think this reincarnation is much better. I love the collar: you work a stockinette edge on one side and it makes the curve all by itself. Then you just pick up all along that edge and continue on in the round for the yoke. I had reservations about picking up along the collar because I don’t know about you but I always find it nigh on impossible to get the number specified in the pattern. With this you couldn’t go wrong; it was simply pick one stitch for each row.

The pockets were a good bit of knitting but I think they’ll be worth it. Check out the hem there. It’s a 4-stitch i-cord cast-off. I’m still not sure about it. I know it’s lying flat in the picture but when I pick it up, it rolls up at the back. I think I might take it out and put in a garter edging instead. I did it with the first cuff and I think I prefer it.

I really needed some mindless knitting the other night – I had some very long days last week – so I cast on for a Hap Blanket. This was entirely thanks to She Knit Up That Ball, who cast on for one in a flurry and sucked me in while she was at it. Again, this stuff is deep stash from our 2007 trip to Donegal. I had such a good time there I couldn’t bring myself to knit it up.

The cream is leftover Tivoli Celtic Aran superwash and the whole thing is surprisingly soft. I know it looks a bit small but there’s a gigantic border to go around it. It is fantastically soothing.

I have been chipping away at my Ishbel shawl and it is growing exponentially.

…and for some reason, the urge overcame me to dig out a very old WIP. A crocheted bathmat. Very easy but there are a lot of ends.

Last week was really very trying. Between two half days of lectures, I had six extra hours of vocal coaching because I filled in for a singing teacher that was sick. With all the stash knitting I’ve been doing, I thought I deserved something special for a change… and what could possibly be more special than something from Hedgehog Fibres in Cork. Beware: therein lies a rabbit hole of the yarn equivalent of chocolate cake.

I got some Wenslydale roving for a hat…

…and some mixed fibre batts – mostly merino and alpaca I think – which I think will make a nice, simple, garter moebius.

Sincerely hoping that this week will be more straight forward and I get some time with Margot (my wheel).


November 5, 2009

FO – Multnomah

Filed under:Black Hole,Cardigans,Finished Objects,Lace,Shawls,Sleeves — Aileen @ 16:17

The one thing I love about studying and working as an accompanist is the variety of work. For example, I’ve got competitions and concerts coming up for violin, flute, bassoon, choir, and singers. It sounds a bit much but really, it makes for an interesting working day and a decent amount of knitting time. The only problem I have found so far is that my available time to show things here has diminished. It’s not all bad because when I do get the chance to, I have lots to show.

First up, there’s the Multnomah shawl which has been keeping me snug since.

Pattern: Multnomah… there’s a link to the free pattern download on that page somewhere.

Needles: 3.5mm Knitpicks.

Yarn: Wollmeise sock yarn that I got from Clare about a year ago. Yummy!

Modifications: I got a bit carried away with the garter stitch bit at the beginning and ended up with about a hundred extra stitches than I needed – about 350 if I remember correctly. Anyway, I took out the extra stitches at each edge and in the middle as specified in the pattern and then fiddled my numbers a bit to get a stitch count that worked with the stitch pattern. I fudged it a bit but the colours are so busy, you’d never tell.

I love how the garter stitch runs right through the border pattern. It really shows off the colours of the yarn without pooling getting in the way. The other thing I love is how the feather-and-fan pattern affects the garter stitch body of the shawl. Kind of like a ripple effect.

This was perfect mindless knitting and I will probably knit another again some time.

Since I finished that up, I have been working on Liesl.

I actually finished it off last night. I knitted the 34″ size because there’s no 36″ size offered in the pattern and most of the notes I read on Ravelry about it said that it stretched out when they blocked it. So, I knitted it about an inch shorter in the body and sleeves in the hope that this does happen. Even if it doesn’t, I have an extra ball of wool left over and it was knit from the top down so I can remedy if I need to.

The only problem with finishing off fun, frivolous knits like those guys is that it’s back to the goat knitting. I am still cranking out that second sleeve. I am seriously beginning to think that the people who wrote about praying for strength and patience were definitely knitters.