Regular readers of this blog have come to expect that I wont follow the pattern. The girls at the knitting club heave and sigh when they hear of yet another “modification” to a straightforward pattern I plan to make. Trust me readers I have tried to follow patterns… but as I am knitting along something will occur to me and I think, ” hey why don’t I add that other thing I saw on that website here, this is the perfect project for that” or “hang on, I can use this pattern of construction with that motif” etc. I have even given myself strict instructions on not to apply modifications on many occasions!
This wonderful Onesie was one such pattern. I was looking for a baby gift to make for my future niece/nephew and this was perfect.
I got my yarn out and casted on, so far so good. Well almost, no gauge conducted, just went with my gut feeling on the weight of yarn I was using. Come on, that is hardly not following a pattern (especially for someone as hardcore a non-follower as me). I made the raglan increases and it was going to be a straight forward knitting project following someone else’s instructions. But hey, no baby likes a plain onesie, what if I had a motif (it will break the monotony of just stockinette stitch as well). Yes that sounds fab, plus I am technically still following the pattern (“yeah right” mumbles boyfriend). So off I go and find a perfect gender neutral boat motif. This made the boring circular knitting fun and challenging enough for me to keep at it.
Now as I come closer to the shaping of the leg inserts, I think to myself, “Oh the bother of getting a crying baby in and out of this complicated outfit.” I am sure my sister-in-law would appreciate something simple to operate. Also, I have just seen this cool tutorial of the i-cord edging by a fellow blogger which I was dying to try and somehow the length of this onesie was just right to bind off as a jumper! This is perfect. I am doing my sis-in-law a favour and also learn something new. Surely I can make a onesie on the next go, I will give her two gifts. Yes thats what I will do. So thats exactly what I did. I bound off the supposed onesie as a finished jumper with a lovely darker colour edge.
Do you like it?
The story of my digressions do not end here, dear readers. It gets worse. My sister announces that she is going to have twins soon!! Oh the joy! that means twice the knitting! That’s it, the onesie can now be finally followed to the letter and I will redeem myself. You know where this is going don’t you?
Here are my faults all plain for you to
I have managed to learn a few more things with these new jumpers, a two colour long tail cast on (that totally eliminates that nuisance of guessing the amount of yarn you will need) and how to rib the neck before the raglan increases. Its funny but it is such small little steps forward in the learning process that makes knitting so addictive. To hell with plain ol’ stockinette… here is to more modifications and digressions from instruction sheets.
My first ever “big” project, not just in size but also in the complexity of construction moving on from hats and scarves.
Made from gorgeous pure shetland wool from the highlands, I took three strands of 3ply yarn and knitted them together. These were slightly tweedy on their own which has added a wonderful depth to the colours. I used two strands of deep reds and one of a more bottle green. This design is a simple raglan top down jumper from Ravelry. I didn’t want a jumper but an open cardigan I could slip in and out of. So I modified the pattern slightly (basically not joining in the round).
The top down raglan increase technique is simple, effective and so very versatile. I now knit many things with this construction. Particularly small baby garments that knit really quickly. So here is my initial effort of the raglan increase.
Once you achieve the increases then its just “TV knitting” from then on. Back and forth till you get the desired length. I wanted this cardi rather long so that I can also throw it on in springtime without a coat (I didn’t think it would be ready before then!). I also wanted my little cutie cat Hobbes to feature on my first major project.
Isn’t he just gorgeous! So this gave me an opportunity to try another technique I was quite keen to get going with – intarsia!! I got a bunch of cross stitch cat patterns and worked out the position of the motif and added that to the cardigan. Here is the complete cardi (sans sleeves) with my cat motif.
As much as I’d like to say, “isn’t the cat motif lovely?”, it does look a bit strange. My buddies at the knitting club did not even recognise the motif as a cat. So here is to better choice of motifs in the future. Well at least intarsia is no longer a mystery. Infact it was just a common sense approach, if you have a block of a different coloured yarn why bother carrying it all the way round? The trick is to drop it but wrap it with your primary yarn on your return, that’s it! If you don’t you get holes in your knitting. Even that is not any major stick as you can pick up the stitches later with a tapestry needle and some same coloured yarn. So all of you who always wanted to learn intarsia I say go for it. If you want more information on this I have re blogged a brilliant tutorial on intarsia from knitting daily.
Once I finished the sleeves and added the buttons, I then blocked the sweater and in about four days it was ready to go.
This has been quite a satisfying project and I am quite proud of it. I have learned some valuable construction techniques and importance of getting the shaping right, even though it is not perfect this time around. One of the biggest arrogance of mine was that I skipped swatching! Big mistake. It is a little less consequential with this loose fitted over the clothes cardigan but next time around I will swatch (as most good teachers will say to you).
This is by far my favourite yarn in my entire collection. A warm salmony pink that is feminine yet not girly. It’s also gorgeous to handle and work with, warm, coarse and pliable. I am slowly developing a very strong love for Shetland wool. So it’s little wonder I wanted to make something for myself with this yarn. Greedy, yes I know! But how decadent…
I started with a front panel for a vest. Now by this point I must confess – I hate measuring, anything. I am generally over confident that my approximations will be quite exact. And this from a scientist?! It’s just that measuring things means I can’t start knitting ASAP. So I casted on what I thought would be fine for my waist measurement and went to work. I love this little border pattern from Alice Starmore’s gorgeous Fairisle knitting book.
But soon I began to realise I was being rather optimistic about my cast on. I had a few options now, and one of them was unravel the whole thing and start again. But then the other problem that I wasn’t convinced I had enough yarn to make a vest for myself made me rethink the unraveling. Now here I display another unscientific nature of my personality. I buy yarns before I have any project in mind. In fact it almost always is the other way around, the yarn inspiring the project.
So I made the rookie decision to convert this vest panel into a beanie side panel. I was happy with its length if it were to transform into a beanie. So I set out and made a second panel exactly the same. Thus knitting my first beanie without any pattern help from the pros or circular needles.
Then I did the stupid thing of joining the two panels in flat!…
…realised this won’t work, and started watching some tutorials at last after eating my ego. It was at this point I knew that there was only one right thing to do, order a set of double pointed needles. I unravelled all the flat joining the top of the two panels, left the side joins intact. I then unravelled the two cast off rows and picked each stitch carefully on the double pointed needles.
Did I make sure I had equal stitches on each needles? Yes, approximately!
This is what I have now…
Phew! So have I learnt my lesson on making sure I know my measurements before starting? Well all I can say is, I have realised that the bigger and more ambitious the projects get the less of an escape route I will have If I don’t get more organised.
My recent excessive shopping spree of some gorgeous yarn has got me perked up and inspired for a challenging new project.
The hand dyed 90%mohair with a touch of merino (10%) is a lovely subdued shade of salmon.
This one is for me! I think I will make a vest of it. All these colours mean my fair-isle knitting books are out. My grandma used to make traditional hats with cross stitch patterned borders. She had a graph paper notebook she would draw her designs in.
I particularly like this rose pattern. I have filled in the original pattern with some colours I plan to use on the vest.
So here is a start to a new project that has been inspired simply by the colours of the yarn around me.