It is nearly the end of the year and I have not been too productive in 2018 compared to previous years, but I have knitted a couple of jumpers and achieved some things such as learning new techniques and designing my first jumper from scratch.
Below you can see the completed projects of 2018. I have two pairs of socks on the go and am nearly finished with a cardigan but I am moving house this week so am unlikely to finish anything before the end of the year.
In my previous round up of 2017 I noted some highlights and new to me yarns and techniques so will try to do the same here.
Makes of 2018
3 selfless knits:
1 pair of mittens to go with a hat from last year.
I have also donated some previously made items to charity.
The other things I am most proud of are the self designed jumper (writing patterns and grading them is hard!) and I loved making the Boko Boko cowl as that was a knit-along with 2 amazing ladies here in Brighton.
I also learned to call it quits and sometimes just rip back and frog a project. There may be more of that to come in the future. I think I have one more WIP to rip back.
Techniques of 2018
Sock knitting – top down
Designing a jumper and grading the pattern
Experimenting with 3D knitting
Knitting cables without a cable needle
Not sure if it counts but I also used mohair for the first time and it is currently a WIP.
Looking at the plans for 2018
If I look back at my Make Nine plans for 2018 I have been quite bad and only completed 2 of those. But then bad may be the wrong word. I am still happy with what I made and where the year took me. 🙂
If anyone took part in Fringe Association’s knit along in 2016 they would have already seen this beautiful design by Sari Nordlund. She designed a beautiful top down jumper with a cabled front and reverse stockinette body. The body shape itself is straight without any shaping opening it up for being as designed with 2-5cm positive ease or you could push the boat out and go really oversized. I think that would be awesome!
As I was a test knitter I kept to the instructions and chose a size with 2-5cm positive ease based on my upper bust measurement. The only modification I made was aim for slightly longer sleeves, simply because I have really long arms.
If you search #narwhalsweater on instagram you will also be able to see the other test knitter versions. The cable pattern is super clever and you will be able to remember it, don’t worry! And once you do it will make you feel amazing. It is a joy to watch this sweater grow.
The trickiest part of the design is reading the charts of the left and right hand side of the yoke and getting the increases right, but Sari has been really good at providing hints and tips throughout the pattern.
I especially love her tip about knitting the sleeves inside out, which really sped up my knitting. By knitting them inside out you can knit in stockinette and are creating the reverse stockinette effect. Be conscious of potential gauge issues doing this though.
This jumper is made using light sport weight (always swatch to get gauge) and hence will be a great transitional piece or even for colder summer evenings. In the pictures I was on the windy south coast one summer’s eve, when the wind chill picked up.
It was a buttery soft yarn to knit with and the colour is stunning in the light. It will look sort of mustard yellow and go into gold tones as well. Just my perfect colour palette at the moment. 😀 All in all I had a blast knitting this and can’t wait to see more versions of this beautiful jumper appear now that it will be released tomorrow! I will update my ravelry project to link to it as soon as I can.
This title is a bit funny, as this pattern is anything but uncommon! There are nearly 4000 versions of this on Ravelry already!
I finished this a while ago and have worn it as much as I could before the weather got to warm. I am talking about the infamous Boxy which I knitted in a gorgeous green colour way by “The Uncommon Thread”, which I talk about here.
This pattern is a sea of stockinette which made it a perfect travel project. I cast this on on new year’s day if I remember correctly and it did take me a while to finish, but that was mostly because until you get to the upper body where some clever detail is hidden it is just stockinette for hours.
It is a great pattern to try a fade on or use a variegated yarn. You basically make a rectangle and the some magic happens that I don’t really remember and suddenly you add the neckline ribbing and sleeves and you are done.
The bit I am sort of annoyed about is not thinking about the fact that the yarn was hand-dyed and I should have knitted with alternate balls throughout to blend the colour but I have a subtle colour blocked version of this now, which is also fine.
My favourites bits are the detail at the top of the shoulders and along the back. It is a nice touch and makes the pattern more exciting to knit right at the end. I feel like Joji is very clever like that. She makes beautiful addictive to knit patterns that are accessible and fun to make. You still feel like you are learning something.
The only amendment I made was make the sleeves full length. I felt like for my wardrobe this was a better choice, but since I made the jumper I want to make more versions of it so I may also try the recommended sleeve length on those. 🙂
This was a major success and it goes so well in my wardrobe. I can’t believe it has taken me two years to start this knit. If you are thinking about it, knit it now. You won’t regret it. 😀
A good friend of mine is an avid spinner and has been dabbling in dyeing yarn as well. For either my birthday or Christmas last year she gave me a very generous gift of some hand spun sock yarn that she also hand dyed.
The sock yarn is a unique blend of Southdown/Corriedale/yak/silk. This means it is all natural fibres and no nylon in sight. By also adding a high ply to it the yarn is super strong and not felting with the first wears. And no nylon means no sweaty feet. 😉
I used Kate Atherley’s trusty custom socks book to make a plain ankle sock top down. I have used the book for all the socks I have made so far, here and here.
Thinking about it though, I should have done toe up as I wasn’t sure how much yarn I would have. So top tip, if you are unsure of how much yarn you do have – just use a toe up method and you can then wing an ankle sock. 🙂
The sock yarns were dyed slightly differently so the pair is more of a sibling pair than a twin pair but they are so comfy and nice to wear. And they are wearing really well. Hardly any piling or felting! I have worn them on long walks and in the house and no issues so far. When my friend spins up more of this blend and opens her shop I’ll be sure to be there!
Other nice details were, that I tried a reinforced heel pattern that I hadn’t done before that makes these ridges. I think it looks nice. I think I am ready to try more patterns now. Do you have a favourite sock pattern?
My love affair with Stone Wool Cormo continues. When I purchased Laine Magazine number three this hat design was a must make on my list.
As you may know by know I love a nice cabled hat design as seen here, here and here. 😀
This one is not only cabled but was designed using one of my favourite yarns namely Stone Wool Cormo. The Brackett hat contains a horse shoe cable, as the eye catcher and then has smaller cables and a lace section. Some people have used seed stitch in the lace section but I stuck to the pattern as is.
The design uses 2 skeins, so I started with a dark red colour as I only had one skein of Tobacco. I like the contrasting brim look, but were I to do this again, I think I would knit with one colour as far as possible and then use another at the top to give it a dip dye effect. I really like the idea of that.
I did use a half size smaller needle as I almost always have to size down and the hat still ended up quite large on my head. I may try to shrink it in the dryer, wish me luck!
The texture of the cables and lace is just lovely to knit and the suggested yarn has such lovely stitch definition that I highly recommend knitting this as suggested. You will love it.
Back in the summer of 2017 I attended Pomfest. This was a mix of yarn fest and talks and I think there may have also been workshops but I only attended a couple of talks and browsed the beautiful stalls.
One of the talks was by Olga Buraya-Kefelian who talked about her knitting career and her journey through creating 3D textures and shapes with a Japanese influence. I had known of some of Olga’s designs but I wasn’t sure if her designs would be for me. But her talk was THE thing I kept talking about with my knitting friends.
2 knitting friends from the local community also saw her talk and were as fascinated as me by her Boko Boko Cowl and decided to organise a knit along.
Like I tend to do I had some ideas but decided to try and put my own spin on this pattern and see if I can use a lovely gradient of Brooklyn Tweed Arbor that I had in my stash already. This yarn is DK and as it is not too tightly spun I added in the recommended fine laceweight yarn with some steel content to help the spikes keep their shape.
The pattern is relatively simple. The trickiest bit was holding the lace weight steel yarn and not dropping it, as it did not always like to behave like the other yarn.
Once you have the pattern memorised it is a very quick satisfying knit. Not as boring as stockinette but also not too challenging for TV. And you are creating a cool 3D texture.
I used Brooklyn Tweed Arbor for the first time and really enjoyed knitting with it. The colours were great and the yarn never split. The twist seems to help bring out the lovely texture and ridges created by the yarn overs and decreases. It feels soft but not like merino, there is a slight sturdiness to it.
The other yarn I used was the Habu textiles steel wrapped silk yarn. I decided to use a golden colour to match most of the colours throughout and I like the subtle shine it gives the finished piece. Holding it alongside the DK yarn was a bit tricky in places but otherwise it was fine to knit with.
Less repeats of each row and hence smaller spikes due to amount of yarn I had
Multicolour cowl – over 6-8 rows I would alternate colours to fade in the next colour
I didn’t pay attention to how many repeats I should do of the full pattern, just knitted til my yarn ran out
I seem to knit this pattern once or twice a year at the beginning of a new year. This version has been in my mind for ages now.
The yarn is Malabrigo Rios and was just lovely to knit with. It loves cables and the colour is great. I knew though that the colour is not quite right for me and when my friend Tracy visited me last autumn and tried all my hats on she loved me Seathwaite that I made from Three Irish Girls yarn shown in this post.
So I promised her to make her one and a few months later here we are. 🙂 I hope it fits her and she likes it.
Not much to say about this pattern apart from that I love it. It is so clever and soothing to knit and the cables are really fun. I also still cannot decide if I prefer a tubular cast on or a folded brim finish in a hat. Time will tell I guess.
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.
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.
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.
If you have lose ends then tape them to one side with normal cellophane before sewing your lines of stitching
Place a piece of cardboard or thin wood between your cardigan layers to avoid cutting the other side.
Use sharp small scissors
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.
Here are my few modifications/ maker’s marks on this project:
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.
I made a slight colour-work error in the yoke.
Substituted background yarn near the yoke.
The button band was doubled in length and then folded to create a thicker edging more in line with the Stone Wool thickness.
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:
Attention to detail – tubular cast on finishes the edges beautifully (there is a tubular cast off included but I did not try it).
The chart included a dominant colour guide.
Notes on different types of steeks are included. This was really helpful.
The unusual shape makes for a one of a kind item.
In terms of criticism, I only have a couple of things:
The layout of the pattern. It used way more pages than you needed to and it was hard to find your place sometimes.
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.
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.
This is my fourth pair of socks I’ve knitted not only this year but ever. So far I’ve knitted toe up and have done a class to knit socks from the cuff down.
That’s my plan for my next pair to see if I prefer it.
So far I’ve only knitted socks based on this book Custom Socks by Kathy Atherley. It does require a little maths but the idea is that you measure your feet and make a swatch and then calculate your perfect sock pattern. I’m still experimenting a bit. Mostly because for socks I haven’t bothered to swatch … 🙂
These socks are the 3×1 ribbed sock from the book which I have made before. I used countess ablaze sock yarn in a one off colourway. I really like this green with little dots of bright colours. The Yarn is 75% BFL with 25% nylon and makes great strong sock yarn. It knits up nicely and doesn’t split. You can even wash it at 30 degrees.
Durable and hardwearing, this machine washable blend of Bluefaced Leicester and nylon makes the perfect sock yarn. Not just limited to socks, this yarn also works wonders on all types of knitting and crochet projects, it’s a real workhorse yarn that is soft and spongy yet tough all in one. Once washed and blocked, this hand dyed yarn softens and blooms beautifully.
Just do not wash the yarn at 40 degrees celsius. I made that mistake before and I can still wear the socks but they have felted and the elasticity is gone and the first time I put them on post hot wash I could hear the nylon cracking.
Back to the finished pair. I knitted one of these on an 8 hour flight and got so into it and the tiny screen watching 3 films that I misread my pattern notes and only knitted 3 3/4 inches in length of the foot not 3 3/4 inches less than what I wanted. This means these are way too small for me but actually 1 cm longer than one of my best friends’ feet! Ha! Win. Merry christmas to my lovely friend. 🙂 I have this fear of making things for others as it may not be good enough but she is a crafter and will appreciate the effort.
She has also just moved to colder climate so has a need for these. 🙂 I think the socks really wanted to be for her as dark green is one of her favourite colours.
Next I will have to find some children/small sock blockers. Any recommendations?
Have you ever accidentally knitted someone a present?