Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Upcoming knitting projects and a request for advice

Having finished my Myrna, and with a holiday coming up pretty quickly (knitting on the plane FTW!), last weekend I pored over Ravelry trying to choose my next knitting project. I eventually managed to narrow it down to 6 options. So on Sunday I dragged the boy to Morris and Sons to look at my yarn options, make a decision and buy the yarn.

After much indecision, I ended up buying yarn for two sweaters and a beanie. I blame the boy for ending up with yarn for two sweaters; he encouraged me to get them both if I really liked them, rather than going through all this indecision again next time. As seems to be my new usual, all the yarn is merino.

"Scarlet Twist" Corazon Sweater
This Morris and Sons Empire 8ply yarn in "Scarlet Twist" will be made into the Corazon pattern, a lovely simple lace detail raglan sweater I've had my eye on for a while. Previously I've been concerned that I won't wear sweaters with a high neckline like this one, but after making the Aiken and seeing how much I wear that I don't have that concern as much any more.

Some more Morris and Sons Empire 8ply yarn, will become a Lysa Sweater, with "Seascape Twist" for the main colour, and "Biscuit" for the contrast. This pattern has also been in my favourites for a while, but I was a little cautious about the colurwork as I've never done it before. However, my knitting confidence is slowly growing so that doesn't scare me too much anymore, the only potential limitation was choosing a nice colour combination. 

As soon as I saw the grey(ish) colour that's for the main body of the sweater I loved it; it's made of a twist of pale blue and beige threads, so it's a really interesting colour up close. We spent quite a while choosing the contrast colour, there were many different possibilities. I didn't want anything too strong a contrast on the pale solid as I was worried how that would look, giving an illusion of footballers shoulders or something. I also wanted to keep the sweater neutral. There was a lovely olive green yarn that looked great with the grey, but I'd told myself that I wasn't going to make another blue or green knit. In the end we settled with the 'biscuit' colour as it complements the beige colour in the grey twist, and hopefully will stand out just the right amount.

Lastly, this Manos Maxmia in Royal will become a Aesderina beanie. I'm inspired by Tasia's versions of this pattern to give it a go, and will hopefully knit it up before, or on the way to, my upcoming trip to Canada, so that my softy Aussie-aclimatised head will be kept warm while we're there.

Since buying the yarn on the weekend I've knit a couple of gauge swatches; stockinette for the lysa and the lace for the corazon. The lace for the corazon seems spot on for the pattern. However the stockinette isn't quite right for the Lysa. It has the right number of stitches (19) but the rows aren't quite right - I have 28 stitches over 4" but the pattern calls for 26.

And here comes my request for advice...

Knitting experts; is this different enough to worry about adding extra rows to the pattern or will I be ok? I'm mostly concerned about the circular yoke and raglan section of the sweater, as I'll work out exactly how long I want the body and sleeves of the sweater to be and check the numbers of rows.

I've checked the pattern, and there are about 51 rows in the shoulder section before I split for the sleeves. In the correct gauge this would be 7.85", and in my gauge it's 7.28". I'm currently thinking of just following the pattern as written, knowing that it'll be a little shorter, but figuring that I have fairly small shoulders for my bust size and therefore it'll hopefully be ok being a tad smaller. Does this seem reasonable?

I've not made anything in this kind of style before (circular yoke), so I have no idea how to measure myself to work out the sizing for the shoulder area ... any tips or useful links for this?

Similarly, does anybody know of any good books about sizing (or design) of knitted garments? I've got a couple of knitting books but they're fairly basic and not helpful in this case.

But, to end with something a exciting rather than a problem, I had a little practice with the colourwork design with some scrap yarn and it's worked out really well, hooray!

Thanks for any advice!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Royal Blue Myrna

Today I am sharing my latest finished knitting project. The yarn is Morris & Sons Empire Merino in 10 ply in "Imperial". I originally bought the yarn to make another Miette as my first two have been such successes, but instead of the cotton I'd used previously, I wanted to try using some wool.

I say intended because when I checked my gauge with the merino it was waaaay off for the required gauge for the miette; while the stitches were right, the rows were out by a LOT. So, rather than risk ruining the cardigan, or try and work out how to alter the raglan sleeves of the miette pattern to work with the number of rows I have, I decided to use a different pattern; the Myrna.

Another beautiful pattern from Andi Sutterland, the myrna is knit in one piece, top down, with set in short row sleeves. I'm a really big fan of this method of construction, as the one time I've tried seaming I really didn't like it. And, since I've actually learnt how to pick up stitches properly (I found this video really helpful), and also used the tips in this post.

I really like the simplicity of the pattern. The row of holes around the edge gives the cardigan some interest but it is still a nice 'basic'.

I knit the small, which is probably a little too small across the bust, but the next size up would have been too big. If anybody has any tips on how or where I'd add some extra stitches into the front to give a tad more ease I'd be very grateful.

I omitted the keyhole in the upper back and also added a couple extra repeats to the length.

Wearing it with a dress it's a good length, but wearing it with a skirt this week it was that tiny bit too short, and I think for wearing with skirts I would prefer it about as long as the ribbing again.

How do you decide on your ideal length?
Do you think this cardigan would be too long with dresses like this if it were longer?
Do you have skirt cardigans and dress cardigans?


The last change I made to the pattern was the sleeves. I wanted long sleeves on this cardigan, so I substituted in the sleeves from the Aiken pattern, which Andi assured me on Twitter would work out fine and it thankfully did. To make the sleeves the right length I just kept going, at the same rate of decreases until they were the length I wanted.

I was really pleased when I'd finished the sleeves, until I realised that I had forgotten to add the row of holes before the ribbing... I asked my instagram followers if they thought I should fix it and it was a unanimous YES, so I begrudgingly unravelled the ribbing and added the holes into the sleeves.

And lastly, the buttons. Oh the buttons. They really are so beautiful. The buttons are glass buttons from Buttonmania, that I was informed are from the 1940s. They have a lovely flower pattern in them with a foil back which makes them really shine.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Blog Hop...

The lovely Jen from The Stitcher and Gatherer has nominated me for the blog hop that's doing the rounds at the moment... I'm a little delayed in posting my answers, so hopefully she'll forgive me!

If you haven't visited Jen's blog, you really should. I only discovered Jen and her blog at Frocktails, but had the pleasure of sitting with her for dinner and have pronounced her one of my new friends.

Anyway, onto the questions...

Why do you write? 

There are three main reasons that I write:

  1. To share my sewing adventures with my Gran
  2. To document my sewing progress so that I can come back to remind myself of stuff later, basically a creative diary/journal.
  3. To be able to participate in the amazing online sewing community. Definitely one of the nicer parts of the internet, and in combination with other mediums such as twitter and instagram it's allowed me to connect with others from all over the globe that have this shared interest in sewing.

What are you working on?

I've had a few things on the go lately that I'm slowly working away at when the mood strikes. A quilting project, a knitted project (that I finished yesterday, woo!) and a dress (in progress pic shared on instagram shown below because I couldn't bear a whole post with no pictures).


How does it differ from others of it’s genre? 

I don't know, and you know what? I don't care. Sorry, couldn't come up with a more elegant answer to this question!

How does your writing process work?

Process is a bit of a grand word to use for how I write blog posts... Usually I get the pictures I want to show together first, then start writing down my thoughts, and slot the pictures in where they seem to best fit, As mentioned in answer to the first question, my blog is basically my creative diary/journal so I just write what comes to mind.

So there you go, my quick answers to the four blog hop questions. I would like to nominate Sarah of SewSquirrel and Oanh of Unique Schmuck; I'm looking forward to hearing your answers ladies!

PS: Social Sewing dates for 2015 (aargh! scary!) have been booked, and are all listed on the social sewing page.
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