FO: Askews me shawl

I have finally done it and finished the Askews me shawl by Stephen West. This DK squishy brioche wonder of asymmetricalness alluded me for a while. Once I knew a bit more about brioche, I had the confidence to start the project but then didn’t know what colours to make it in.

I am trying to be better with my stash and not just buy things for new projects all the time but see what I have and what I can make from it. I realised I had a fade from madelintosh in white and speckles that I wanted to make a cardigan from but never did and I had some more DK colours in tonal variations in Brooklyn tweed arbor. I felt like both yarns were special and needed a special dedicated project and I nearly did not use them but in the end it is better for something to be used and hopefully then be loved than sit in a box forever. At least that was my thinking and I cast on.

Then I cast on several more times because I did not understand the brioche garter tab. If you can call it that but eventually it made sense and then this project is a breeze. I do suggest using markers to mark the sections where you increase and later decrease to make sure this is a mindless knit.

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I took this everywhere even though it grew so big and heavy. I must have looked crazy with my massive back pack and then getting this project out of my fringe field bag. The bag wouldn’t even close. Overall this was a simple and fun knit and I love the result. The wrap is squishy and warm and lovely to use.

The edge is finished with an icord which is a new to me technique and I loved it. It made for a great finish and I have seen some versions of people using bits of random bright colours in the icord. This is really effective.

Do you ever block brioche? I did not block this wrap,… well yet anyways. I am worried about the colourful underside leaking and staining the other bits of the wrap. I would not pin this but wondered if it could use a little relaxing bath.

I will ponder and then decide. I’ll be sure to take before and after pics.

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Those are before pictures. What happened when blocking? The wrap grew massive. It hardly fits on my double bed now. It’s also less squishy and the brioche has sort of expanded.

You can see in these pictures that there are now gaps between the ridges. For me that works quite well as now the shawl drapes more for wrapping myself in and I like the colours showing through.

For the actual blocking process I only soaked the shawl in luke warm water for about 20 mins with a bit of Soak in it. I like using this because it smells amazing and you don’t need to rinse it out but you can use whatever you prefer. I used to use softener and rinse it out.

I then rolled the wet shawl between two towels and jumped on it to get some moisture out and then laid it gently on a towel on my spare sofa bed. The shawl was gently placed and not pinned or stretched in any way. I just laid it flat. Two days later it was dry and wearable. 🙂

How do you wear your askews me?

FO: Galloway Cardigan

In 2017 I wanted to try to knit some different garments such as socks and cardigans and I had my mind set on trying a few new techniques such as a tubular cast on (I love it) and possibly steeking.

Here enters the Galloway Cardigan release in the lead up to winter knitting by Brooklyn Tweed. I fell in love immediately and knew I had to have a version if not two. But the pattern was advanced and after buying and reading it I got a bit worried if I could actually accomplish this. My local yarn shop came to the rescue with their perfectly timed “Christmas Jumper Along”. You get to knit in a group with a teacher of a period of time and it’s a great safe environment to try new things.

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Excuse the wonky button band. It needs re-blocking and maybe fixing! ha!

I started the project with some Stone Wool Cormo that I got in a sale from Loop in London. The yardage should have been perfect and even though more sticky yarn is recommended for steeking, I learned that using a sewn reinforced steek you could technically steek most if not all yarns. So off I go.

Now as I mentioned above this pattern is classed as Advanced and it really was, in terms of how it was layed out. You need to read and re-read the pattern ahead of time, to make sure you do not miss any decreases or increases that are meant to happen at the same time as something else. I completely misread part of the body section and my rows did not match up. After doing the maths several times, I contacted the Brooklyn tweed team on Ravelry and they helped me discover my mistake. Now all it really did was make the body about 36 rows longer and being tall I wanted to add some lengths anyways and had done so unknowingly. Win!

However this win had an annoying side effect. I would run out of grey yarn before reaching the yoke and also would not have any yarn for the button band. I tried to buy some more but there was none left unless I ordered it from the US which for 1 skein did not seem worth it. So into the stash I went and found some Brooklyn tweed shelter in a marled grey called Narwhal. It actually went quite well with the cardigan and I love the outcome. It truly is mine now.

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The scariest part for me was picking up the button band after steeking the cardigan. I had done neither technique before and did loads of research and found some great tips for steeking.

  1. If you have lose ends then tape them to one side with normal cellophane before sewing your lines of stitching
  2. Place a piece of cardboard or thin wood between your cardigan layers to avoid cutting the other side.
  3. Use sharp small scissors
  4. Go slow.

I am so glad I saw the tip about the lose ends. They so would have gotten in the way in my sewing machine when I reinforced the steek.

Steeking itself was actually fine and mesmerising. I want to do it again, as soon as I can. But picking up the stitches, was really difficult and I maybe should have waited for some help. I will definitely get some more advise on this topic. I think I need to improve how to read my knitting.

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I’ve been wearing this with a brown belt cinched at the waist. It makes it less dressing gown like. LOL

Here are my few modifications/ maker’s marks on this project:

  1. I did not size down for the lice pattern but used a 5mm needle throughout the main body which added volume and more positive ease.
  2. I made a slight colour-work error in the yoke.
  3. Substituted background yarn near the yoke.
  4. The button band was doubled in length and then folded to create a thicker edging more in line with the Stone Wool thickness.
  5. I whip stitched the folded button band down to cover the steeked edge.

 

And because we all love lists, my thumbs up on this pattern:

  1. Attention to detail – tubular cast on finishes the edges beautifully (there is a tubular cast off included but I did not try it).
  2. The chart included a dominant colour guide.
  3. Notes on different types of steeks are included. This was really helpful.
  4. The unusual shape makes for a one of a kind item.

 

In terms of criticism, I only have a couple of things:

  1. The layout of the pattern. It used way more pages than you needed to and it was hard to find your place sometimes.
  2. I found the decreases that had to happen at the same time a bit overwhelming and I recommend spending the time to chart this out or make a list or whatever works for you.
  3. And the other part that was new to me was that the section where the underarms join was bound off instead of kept live. I think next time I would keep those stitches live as I like doing the effect of grafting live stitched together mere.

 

Overall I am super happy with this project and my yarn choices worked well and were a dream to knit with.

Jumper-along – Ondawa

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My lovely little local yarn shop YAK held a jumper-along for the last 10 weeks or so. The idea is that you are in a small group with a teacher and each pick out a jumper pattern. The fact you have a teacher guiding you, means you can choose a challenging pattern and then get advice on yarn choices and swatching.

When I thought of what I wanted to learn it was all about seaming. I have never knitted anything flat before. Well actually I had knitted a sleeve flat before and tried to seam it with mixed results.

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Another thing I was fascinated with was a cropped jumper and all over cable patterns. So I decided on Ondawa. This pattern is basically 4 rectangles that get seamed up into a boxy sweater.

The way the jumper along worked was great. It is over 10 weeks and you meet 5 times in this period for 2 hours on a Sunday. I will really miss the get together with the group, although most of us will still see each other at the local knit night I am sure.

I learned so much during this knit along because we each had different patterns. Things I got to experience and learn were:

  1. Seaming
  2. Modding
  3. Three needle bind off
  4. Reading charts and knitting from them
  5. Importance of swatching
  6. Steeking techniques
  7. Cables and colour work!
  8. General inspiration for other patterns in the future

I actually finished my jumper and we have another get together Sunday in a week, so I will continue with another one.

The mods I did were:

Arms:

  • Knit third size in sleeves
  • Knit 2 inches more of pattern repeat of sleeves

Body:

  • Knitted smallest size
  • Knit the front piece about an inch longer than pattern
  • Kept front and back stitches live piece for three needle bind off. ( I did wrong sides together creating a ridge which I kinda like)
  • Back piece will be mostly twisted rib but keeping the cable from the triangle in the bottom ribbing as I’ve seen in another post.
  • Back piece 2 inches longer for hi-low hem

Some pics of my finished jumper below and more on my Ravelry.

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The Skiff hat

This pattern by Brooklyn Tweed has been on my list for ages and beginning of 2017 I finally bought the pattern and gave it a go.

I have since made 2 versions. Initially I put the pattern off because it suggests a tubular cast on that I was petrified off. The instructions always read like nonsense to me, but following Brooklyn Tweed’s version of it made sense and came out rather nice, if I do say so myself. 🙂

Version 1: Skiff hat in Hedhegogfibres Merino DK

For my 30th I got a voucher for YAK and I bought a couple of skeins in this awesome yarn. I loved the colour way if you can call it that and it is so soft. I was worried that the speckles detract from the design of the hat but there are several versions on ravelry using speckled yarn that I really liked so I gave it a go.

The pattern actually calls for worsted weight yarn, but I had read that it knits up rather slouchy and my head circumference is rather small so I thought a DK is a good attempt to make it fit. I never swatch for hats as they so far have always been to big, so I tend to go down a needle size either way.

Knitting the pattern was a joy, if you like reading from charts. I do actually like charts or don’t mind them. It also felt like I levelled up as a knitter as I started to understand the cabled details and did not have to check what every symbols means each time I encountered it. Whoop!

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As a finished object I like the hat a lot. It blocked really big though, even using a DK yarn, so I chucked it into the tumble dryer for a bit and that seemed to help. I am not suggesting everyone try this. I was just giving it a go. The yarn is very soft and drapey, probably adding to the slouchy ness. It is great though for my morning commute covering pony tail and headphones.

 

Version 2: The uncommon Skiff

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This yarn is also from YAK. I think from my first visit to the shop ever. I previously knitted another brooklyn tweed pattern in the yarn and loved how the cables came out, so I thought I would try this in the Skiff hat too.

If you ever get a chance to knit with the Everyday Worsted Yarn by the Uncommon thread, give it a go. I personally love it! It has great stitch definition and elasticity. Even though this was worsted weight yarn the hat seems to be tighter. I think because it does not drape like the merino did.

Overall this pattern is a great one to challenge you but not too much that you get frustrated. If you wanted to make a cabled hat I highly recommend this one or why not start with my other cabled favourite (which is free), the Seathwaite? 🙂

Guernsey Wrap

I’ve had my eye on this pattern for a little while, but I did not try it because it looked so complicated. It is of course the Guernsey Wrap by Jared Flood. There are literally over 1000 versions of this on ravelry and I was so jealous of everyone being good enough to knit it.

Until I finally bit the bullet and bought the pattern and realised the most difficult thing is reading the charted pattern, but I loved charted patterns so win for me!

The main thing I found super confusing was that the wrong side of the chart was not charted so you would knit the opposite. So if it stated to knit a purl you had to knit a knit stitch so it is a purl on the right side. I am not sure if I am making much sense.

What I did to help this was simply colour in all knit stitches and this helped until I memorised the sections.

Now here is my version of the wrap.

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What I did not realise is that the wrap is simply a combination of left and right stitches, or knits and purls. I tend to say left and right as that is what I grew up with in Germany.

And as the sections repeat it was actually great commute knitting, until it got so big I kept accidentally draping my knitting over other people. Oops.

I did mess this up a little bit by missing a complete section out but because I improvised the middle section I am only missing 50 odd rows.

So things I did differently to the pattern were:

  1. Yarn – I held Brooklyntweed shelter yarn double. I wanted something thick and squishy. In hindsight it may be too thick as it doesn’t drape as much as I’d like but I loved this experiment.
  2. I repeated the pattern A section twice, Then omitted the next 50 rows (by accident, but I actually would not have had enough yarn, so it was kinda a good thing).
  3. The middle section I added a section from the pattern A and then reversed pattern B. I also knitted this in a different colour yarn and love the effect.

So the wrap is missing a few rows but after blocking it did turn into a super long wrap. I am slightly sad it took me this long to knit this but it really is so simple, but looks so impressive!

Question: Have you ever been put off by a complicated looking project only to start it and realise it was simple?

 

Bray Cap

 

Knitting Bray Cap

In September of 2015 I started to commute to London on a regular basis for work, which means I spend around 3 hours on average in a train. I often spend this time reading for work or finishing documents but also started knitting, especially hats as they are small and portable and often the patterns are easy enough remember to knit.

One of those projects was Brooklyn tweed’s Bray Cap.

I would describe myself as an advanced but fearless beginner when it comes to knitting. So this hat was a challenge for me the first time round. I had not done any sort of lace knitting and only basic cable knitting before this.

Version 1: Bray Cap in Malabrigo Rios

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The first version I made, I used a dark blue Malabrigo Rios yarn that I bought in Brighton from YAK. I followed the instructions (or tried to), but did not do the tubular cast on. I am yet to try the tubular cast on to be fair. What I did was use the provisional cast on as described here and made a folded brim. I have a small head so a folded brim tends to fit me better.

As you can see I did the first big horseshoe cable wrong but I loved the effect so much and then felt really stupid when I looked at other finished hats.

The yarn was great to work with and had a nice shimmer to it. I had a brief shock moment when I realised that the hat was unravelling from the top but using a crochet hook I managed to fix it.

Here I am wearing the hat in Iceland in July this year.

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Version 2: Bray Cap in The Uncommon Thread Lush WorstedIMG_7040_small2

This second version is actually flawless knitting wise which is the first time ever this has happened to me. I normally miscount at some point. But After nearly 2 years of frequent knitting I am starting to be able to read the knitted fabric as I go along and it is really helped me to make sure I am not messing the pattern up as I go.

This version I knitted using smaller needles for the brim than the pattern suggests, for a closer fit. I also added a pom pom and used up every single bit of my skein in the process which is a nice feeling too.

The yarn I used was The Uncommon Thread in lush worsted which I bought at Loop London. The colour way is a Loop shop exclusive if I remember correctly. I love the The Uncommon Thread yarns a lot. They are very nice to knit with and make some lovely cables.

The only issue I had was that when I blocked this hat, it became massive. So I made the hat a bit damp again and briefly chucked it into the dryer. This made it go back to a perfect size.

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It was nerve wrecking, chucking something into the dryer but so worth it. I have worn this hat exclusively for a week now.

Question: Have you ever saved your knitting by chucking it in the dryer?