FO: The Uncommon Boxy

IMG_3244_medium2

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. 😀

 

Designing: What comes first for you?

I was wondering the other day about my own design process and other peoples. I am currently attending a “Design Masterclass” at my local yarn store and the format means we meet once a month for 4 months and explore designing our own garment or accessory based on some sort of inspiration.

During the process I got very blocked for the first 6 weeks. I was swatching and blocking swatch after swatch but never settling on anything to actually make. This got me thinking about other items I have made in the past and how I made them.

 

Fringe and Friends Knitalong 2016

This was a knit along hosted by Karen Templer of Fringe Association and she even provided a pattern for calculating your own raglan design. I kinda of knew what yarn I wanted to use, as I had just fallen in love with Brooklyn tweed shelter and wanted a marled jumper but with some black accents.

IMG_6734

So I knew it was going to be a top down raglan jumper and I wanted it to be simple to let the yarn sing. Hence you could say my main inspiration came from the yarn.

Wingit Top Down jumper

My Wingit top down jumper was started in a class with Anna Maltz at the lovely Wild and Wooly shop. I loved this class. I feel so free. For me this was mostly about designing something and getting good at 2 colour work. I grabbed a stitch dictionary for simple 2 colour charts and some yarn that was roughly the same weight and played with colours and shapes. It was such a freeing experience.

After each section was done I would think about what colours to use next and which sort of shape they should use. I used a variegated yarn I may not have used otherwise and it really pulls the whole design together.

IMG_8672 3

So this one was more of a process inspiration.

 

Cosmonaut Hat

My first ever design that I then wrote down as a pattern was my Cosmonaut Hat. This was purely inspired by Countess Ablaze’s amazing Space Cadet yarn. It sparkles! I wanted something simple to let her dye work be really shown off and ideally a massive pom pom.

29DEDB2F-0207-4953-A4A7-B36FE94DB2EC_medium2

So inspired by the yarn I can up with a really simple chunky hat.

 

Current design

IMG_3071

My current design I am working on as part of a class started with a yarn again. I knew that I wanted to use Foxen meets merino to make a jumper or cardigan that has some lovely texture in it. When I started swatching the yarn though I felt it was a bit thin in terms of weight for my liking. It is kind of sport weight maybe even a light sport weight.

So I then went through my stash and found some Madelintosh merino light that I had a similar amount of. In an attempt to not buy anything extra and make use of my stash I started swatching.

Now I dislike purling but I really did like the purl side of my swatches. But I was determined to find a different textured stitch that I liked. But I couldn’t. I did think i’d be happy with the effect of stockinette and started making my jumper. However when I turned it inside out I really liked it. So I continuing to knit this in stockinette but the end result will be turned inside out.

IMG_3342

This one started with yarn and I got creative by just using my stash and my knitting preferences. 🙂

I guess I like winging it and experimenting as I go. This alongside some creative chaos provides me my happy place. 🙂

 

 

Test Knitting the Caradon Hill Jumper

Having never considered myself a fast or really accomplished knitter I always shied away from opportunities to test knit something.

We once spoke about the act of test knitting at my local knit night. Some people who knit samples get paid for doing so, but is this a viable other income? Some designers will provide the yarn as payment. It just depends who and what it is I guess. I don’t have much experience. Also often a sample or test knit needs to be secret and I like taking my projects to knit night or out and about and want to be able to share what I am doing, so in short test knitting wasn’t really something I ever considered I’d be doing.

img_0351img_0349

But then Blacker Yarns came along and showed a line drawing of a cabled jumper, ideally knit in shetland yarn and you got to knit as much as you could in the given time and just had to give feedback on a regular basis and you were encouraged to share pics on instagram! I was in!

We got a discount code for the yarn for 20%. I have been meaning to try shetland yarn so I was more than happy with that and I love cables so knew this would be a nice project for me.

We were a small group of test knitters regularly posting in the dedicated revelry forum and sharing yarn choices and progress and also problem solving techniques when we found something we stumbled on in the pattern. Katie from Blacker yarns was also always on hand to guide us and answer questions and clarify anything.

img_0587

The whole process was rather enjoyable and I actually got to the yoke by the deadline. I did not quite finish in the 3-4 weeks but took a week longer which I think for an all over cabled design was pretty impressive.

To be honest this project made me feel more confident in my knitting ability and my ability to understand challenging patterns and make up my own mind how it could be written. I am no tech editor yet though, mind. One day maybe?
Fav bits of the pattern:

My favourite part of the pattern were the sleeves! Look at those cables all the way along. So interesting.

img_0526

I also liked finished the neck with elisabeth Zimmermann’s elastic bind off method. After attempting it on 3 socks I finally understood how to do it and how it looks nice. 🙂

What I learned:

My favourite new stitch discovery was the broken rib, mostly seen on the underside of the sleeve. Really nice and interesting effect.

I also learned how to fix a cable even if you only notice 6-8 rows later. It was a bit fiddly but do-able.

Another discovery I made was that I can knit in the car! Yay! I was worried I’d feel travel sick but I was fine.

img_0724-1

 

Here my finished details pre blocking:

  • Size made: 38
  • Yoke depth – 23 cms
  • Body length – 30 cms (note I did shorten this by emitting one repeat, so I am happy)
  • Body circumference – 98 cm
  • Arm length – 48 cms
  • Cuff – 22cm
  • Neck circumference – 45cm

IMG_7993_medium2

Here my finished details post blocking:

  • Size made: 38
  • Yoke depth – 26 cms
  • Body length – 45 cms
  • Body circumference – 105cms
  • Arm length – 51 cms
  • Cuff – 22cm
  • Neck circumference – 46.5cm

 

Mods I’d make:

If I hadn’t test knitted the project I would have made a couple of changes. The back would be plain for one. I may have also played with attempting to knit the pattern top down instead which I much prefer.

I’d also try knitting the sleeves flat 2 at a time and then seam them.

Also the yoke is a tad deep for my liking but actually great for wearing a jersey jumper underneath.
In summary though I loved knitting this project and the interaction with everyone. My day job is all about usability  and making things better for user of software so this was a nice way to combine my hobby of knitting with some of the skills I have gained from my work. 🙂

My Ravelry page.

 

 

Jumper-along – Ondawa

18013702_139744499897540_3147787874905096192_n_medium2

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.

18646459_381847518877415_3222963752638873600_n_medium2

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.

IMG_5106_medium2IMG_1995_medium2

 

 

Wing-it topdown class and FO

How is it end of January already?

I haven’t really done the end of 2016 blog posts or anything like that but if you are interested in my knitting, you can see my makes here.

One of my main resolutions for 2017 is to go to more crafty things. Brighton has a weekly knit night at the lovely yarn shop called YAK, for example that I want to go to more. But with that resolution I decided to book what looked like a super interesting and fun class to kick start 2017, namely Anna Maltz’ top down jumper class incorporating colour work.

The class was held in London at Wild and Wooly, which is a great yarn shop. (I nearly bought all the Lettlopi!) It was an evening class over 2 weeks, which gave us time to go away start knitting and come up with questions and make mistakes to rectify the week after.

What I loved about this is that you do not have a pattern. You take your measurements, have your swatch ready and then make your jumper based on this and throw in random colour work patterns.

The maths can seem like a scary part but I would not let it put you off. You can always rip back. I did have to. I got my arm circumference completely wrong and had to rip back to where I separated the body. But this is fine and all part of the learning.

In my head I have already made several cardigans and other jumpers like this. The beauty of the technique is that you don’t need a sweater load of yarn anymore. You can make a jumper out of all the leftovers or random single balls you have providing they are a similar weight.

Need some more inspiration? There are some great examples on Anna’s Ravelry, here and here. Also on ravelry using the hashtag #wingittopdown.

If you get the chance to do this class you really can’t go wrong. Part of the fun is seeing what everyone else comes up with as well. 🙂

IMG_8569 2

A goal of mine is to get through my stash, well parts of it, before buying more yarn and this approach means I will even get some jumpers out of it rather than a million and 1 hats. Haha!

To make my designs so far I used  150 Scandinavian Knitting Designs as a guide for stitch patterns. Others in the class made theirs up completely.

The project was very interesting and creative. I loved the freeing aspect of not following a pattern and choosing designs based on stitch counts and what random balls of yarn I had left.

My finished jumper has several types of yarn. BFL, Merino, a merino and silk blend and some home spun yarn from a friend. Even though I feel it works. I love the sturdy slightly rough nature of the BFL contrasting with the soft merino.

My favourite bits are the colour changing properties of the BFL, on the arms it looks almost self striping, the cat motif of course, because it is knit in my friend’s home spun yarn and it is cats!

I have since heard it being described as, awesome, hard work, creative, interesting (not sure which kind) and also odd. The weather has started to warm up but I can wear it as outer wear and it makes me so happy. It isn’t without its faults though. There are a few things I’d do differently.

Currently the back has a seam line along it where you can see the colour work rows starting and finishing. I think I would move this to the side another time. For the sleeve cuffs I seem to have used different needle sizes, I used the one I wrote down for the second sleeve but I must have misread the size. Luckily this mostly blocked out.

I actually have enough yarn for at least one more in similar colours, so there may be more wing it top downs in my future. 🙂

 

Question:Have you booked any knitting classes this year?