Archive for February, 2011

So, last year…

I finished this…

It just took me aaaages to sew on the buttons and photograph it. It is just far too hot to wear this right now, even for a photo shoot really. I’m glad to both get it finished, and to get pictures of it though.  It took much too long to knit, and much of the time I felt rather ambivalent about the whole thing, so getting it finsihed seemed like a bit accomplishment for me – much bigger than knitting a cardigan almost entirely in garter stitch should be!

The pattern is from New England Knits which I reviewed last year, and it called the Greenfield Cardigan.   I adore the pattern and so wish I had knit it in nicer yarn.  I’ve definitely learnt my lesson and intend to be a yarn snob from now no. Well, maybe not that bad, but essentially, knitting this in Cleckheaton Country Silk DK was never that great of an idea. The girls from knitting night have heard me wonder, whinge and generally moan about my yarn choice. I knit a good chunk of it in September/October last year and then set it aside, trying to decide if I should rip it back.  When I picked it up again in December, I was pleasantly surprised to find the body (measured from the underarms) was already 8 inches, and thus I thought I may as well keep knitting.  It allowed me to knit up all the rest of the balls I had bought for this, and get rid of it! I think I’ll be glad I did come wintertime as I do love the layering effect of cardigans.

You can see from the detail shot above the real flecky-ness of the yarn. I must have been a little naive in the shop, because I didn’t realise how prominent it would be, and this is my chief complaint. In reality the yarn is soft, and quite cosy. It’s nice to knit with, and a knitting night girl who has knit a child’s garment with it assures me it washes well too.  I guess time will tell.   It doesn’t show the cute leaf detail to its best advantage though, which is a shame.

I haven’t any complaints about the pattern – except perhaps that I’d forgotten how incredibly slowly garter stitch grows! These were long rows to knit, as the garment is knit all in one from the top down.  And then of course you’ve got to knit and purl the sleeves in the round… The lazy in me objects.  But that’s not the pattern’s fault – I’m delighted with the ease of knitting, the instructions, pattern layout, photos and everything else about the pattern. It’s just *my* choices (and attitudes) that were at fault.

So, if you want a gorgeous Greenfield Cardigan, I’d suggest you choose a yarn closer to the designer’s suggestion… or do what some clever people did on Ravelry and knit it in Madeline Tosh DK – yum!!

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Hope

For almost five years now I have been part of an internet forum group on The Nappy Network, a group that promotes the use of cloth nappies. Some of my best IRL friends have  been made from their number, and I’ve had the privledge of sharing highs and lows with many of the mums on TNN over the years.

One such mum has had to deal with the news no parent wants to hear: her beautiful, soon to be four year old daughter, who has been fighting cancer for the past two years, is no longer in remission. The cancer has come back, and she will be receiving palliative care only, and they have a terribly short time frame  left given to them to spend with their precious daughter. 

It is a gut-wrenching situation, and it makes you want to do all you can for the family.  The lovely TNN ladies are pulling together to organise some financial support, as well as practical support.  One wonderful mummy has put together a raffle on her blog, with all proceeds going towards Hope’s family.

You can find all the details on Julia’s blog here, along with some stunning pictures of Hope and her wonderful family.

Mum’s Blankets

Like many knitters, I was taught how to knit by my mother as a child.  I remember Mum knitting a lot when we were growing up.  She knit us cardigans and jerseys, hats, mittens and the ever-popular fingerless gloves. When the children were born, she crocheted their much loved blankets, and made cute newborn cardigans for each child.  Given that we are all pretty self-sufficient when it comes to knitted goods now, Mum would be able to retire her knitting needles, but does a true knitter ever do that?  Of course not! Mum has been knitting blankets (and singlets) for charity for a number of years now, and when we were in the South Island I was able to knit alongside her, and to photograph some of her knitting.

This gorgeous blanket was still a work in progress when I arrived, but it was finished quickly and ready to send.  Each mitred square is knit onto the next one so there is no sewing up at the end.  Just a million ends to sew in of course!

Organised by Misson Without Borders, Operation Coverup organises knitters throughout the country to knit and donate blankets, socks, singlets, hats and more to be sent to countries where these items are needed. Mostly they go to Eastern Europe – Moldova, Romania and the Ukraine.  Each country has a massive proportion of the population who live below the poverty line, and of course with the cold cold winters these woolies are much needed and appreciated.

You can find out more about Mission Without Borders in NZ here.

And you can see more of Mum’s knitting.. here!

In addition to these blankets, Mum also knits strips of garter stitch squares to be joined together for a plainer blanket.  She had a blanket’s worth finished too, but not quite as exciting to photograph!

As you can imagine, all this blanket knitting takes a lot of wool.  The blankets need to be made from 100% wool, and Mum uses Dk/8ply or 4ply doubled.  She sources wool from second hand shops, pulls apart knitted garments, and other thrifty means, If you could help out with a donation of suitable yarn, please feel free to leave me a message and I’ll give you her details. If you’d like to support Mission Without Borders in some other way, please take a look at their website. It has heaps of details on the different things that they do to support the communities in these countries that need our help.

Yes, I do still knit

Contrary to what you might have been thinking, I have neither disappeared off the edge of the universe, nor have I forgotten how to knit. I’ve been knitting steadily through a few projects over January, so I will eek them out so as to keep coming back and posting.

The biggest knitting accomplishment so far this year has been my Cecilia cardigan.

I cast on for this sucker on Boxing Day. Without swatching. Silly me.  I then ripped it back when I realised it was waaay bigger than it should be the next day.  So, cast on officially on December 27th, and I didn’t finish it until January 17th. And I knitted a lot over the holidays. A lot!  There is a heap of knitting in this top!  Seriously – I spent an  entire weekend doing just the body ribbing!  I made it from Vintage Purls sock yarn, in the colourway Taimi, which was  a sock club colourway a few seasons ago.  I adored the yarn, and when I scored a second skein in a swap, I thought I might as well knit something significant with it.  I chose this pattern because I liked it, and I had enough yarn. But I wasn’t sure if it would suit my figure. I like it on now that its done though.

Of course, all of that would be too easy – in fact I did not have enough yarn, something that became apparent to me when I was knitting the ribbing. I stopped the body ribbing ten rows early to conserve yarn (nooothing to do with my ribbing aversion, not at all!) and even then it was clear that I would need more. I was able to get enough to finish from a very kind Raveller, and whilst the dyelot was clearly different, I just used it on the arm ribbing, so I don’t feel the difference is noticable to the casual observer.

I ended up knitting the body quite a bit longer than the pattern recommended – I really wanted it to fit over the boobage!  So, I did fittings as I went, and slowed the rate of increase down on the fronts so they didn’t get too wide. I’m glad I did as I prefer this look to seeing the ribbing up higher, which looks like a mistake to me – I guess it’s the benefits of making something for yourself – a much better fit.

The arms are a bit tight – I’d suggest if you have arms that are less than petite  you might want to cast on extra under the arm and add an extra pattern repeat to the arms. I don’t think you’ll regret it!

Proof #1 I’ve not given up knitting yet. But stay tuned to see what my mum was knitting beside me when I was knitting this.  Check back tomorrow!


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