Sweater weather

I’ve been knitting this sweater since forever, by which I mean, April or May this year. It’s enormous. But then, it’s for a giant.

I am not a giant. I’m a normal-sized person. Thankfully my stepdad was a better model than me! 

This is the Vika sweater by Brooklyn Tweed. I obviously ended up making up (unintentionally) the central cable motif, but at least I was wrong consistently. The main thing here is the yarn. It’s phenomenal. It’s Studio Donegal Aran Tweed, and I got a 2kg cone of it for around £80 from Springwools. So that works out as like £45 for what I used for this gigantic creation – much better than the roughly £400 it would have been using the suggested yarn! And this Donegal yarn is some of the best I’ve ever worked with – I’ve been looking at all the other colours and trying to decide what to make next.

I will say that the pattern was very hard to follow, despite being relatively easy knitting. It was written in such a way that it kept tripping me up; very verbose and confusing. Anyway, I got there in the end – but it was frustrating, especially considering the cost of the pattern. 

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Here comes the sun

I am ridiculously pleased with this shawl. I started knitting it on the plane to Istanbul in February, and it’s finally done! I still need to block it, but that can wait. It’s a birthday present for my mum, and her birthday isn’t until September. So for the time being it’s living scrunched up in a bag in my room.

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The pattern is Girasole by Brooklyn Tweed. With apologies for getting technical, the only weird thing in the pattern was the way it told you to do ssk (slip slip knit) which left odd twists in the decrease. I did the normal ssk instead.

The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in ochre. It’s 100% merino wool, and really great yarn to knit with. I love the slight colour variation that come from kettle dyeing. I used 3 skeins. For some reason the fnal skein was broken and knotted in several (my which I mean, EIGHT) places, which was incredibly annoying. But it’s all done now, and I love the shawl. Can’t wait to see what it looks like when I’ve blocked it.

Knitting Girasole involved some pretty hair-raising moments. The worst was when I realised I had shifted the pattern half a repeat to the left for a couple of repeats on the round where the points of the outermost petals of the flower design were formed. Here’s a pic of the rescue mission:

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I’ve moved on to knitting my first ever baby cardigan, for a friend who’s having a baby. How scary is that?! Only 4 years ago we were at uni together. I feel so old… I’m making the brand new and brilliantly-timed Wowligan cardigan by Kate Davies. She released the pattern only last week, and it’s perfect. I’m knitting it in teal with thin white stripes. It’s a helluva lot less complicated than Girasole!

Bundled up

After the intense crafting leading up to and over Christmas, making has had to take a back seat for the past month or so while I concentrate on work and study. But come April – term will be over, a new job will be underway; and I picture a paradise of endless craft time.

I also just went to Istanbul for my birthday with my mum (amazing! amazing! amazing!) and we checked out lots of textiles in the Bazaar and lots of wonderful Byzantine mosaics in the churches and museums. I am filled with wonderful quilt and embroidery ideas now – although I don’t think I’ll ever have the patience to embroider a whole suzani! Also there were millions of cats and it snowed and I was in heaven.

Suzani 1 Suzani 2Haghia Sophia mosaic detailIstanbul cats

So in the past month I’ve been doing portable and quick projects. I finished my first ever fair isle sock, using Georgina Parks’s Spots & Stripes pattern from her book Rowan Sock Knitting Workshop. I have to say that it’s a bit tight – I don’t think I got the tension of the floats quite right – but oh my goodness it is gorgeous. I used some Rowan Fine Art sock wool (the dark purple) and cheap sock yarn from Tiger (the pink/brown). I love the overall effect. When I was 4 years old I would have been completely transfixed (and even now at 25 I still am!). The very first dream I can remember was about an exotic fish in exactly these colours that was being sold in a pet shop in Toronto’s Chinatown.

fairisle sock fairisle sock floats

Not sure when I’ll have the appetite to start this sock’s mate. It might join my growing collection of single socks, especially given how tight it is. Although this would be unfortunate given how beautiful it is.

Next up is a Grainline Studio Linden sweatshirt which I made when I was ill a couple of weeks ago. I’ve made my own self-drafted sweatshirts before, and I think I actually might prefer them to the Linden. I don’t like raglan sleeves that much, and the fit on the Linden is a bit odd – a bit too avant-garde for my sweatshirt needs! It has surprisingly narrow sleeves, a wide body, and I think the ribbing for the cuffs and waist isn’t tight/small enough to lend the finished garment a good shape. In short, it’s a bit sack-like (…apart from the sleeves).

lindenlinden lindenlinden linden

However, the instructions were fantastic and yielded a great finish, the pattern was easy to follow, satisfying to make, and despite my reservations I love my Linden, especially with its Liberty print additions. The Liberty fabric is a design called Pinky, and it was made of drawings by children from a local primary school. I want to make so much more in this fabric! I’m thinking of maybe a Republique du Chiffon Maeva blouse, or another Emery dress…

Finally, I’ve started on an epic knitting challenge: a 60th birthday present for my mum. I’ve got until September to finish it, but given the rate I’m going I think I’ll need all the time I can get!

The pattern is Jared Flood’s Girasole. It is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

girasole

I’m using Malabrigo Sock in ochre to knit it – wonderful yarn. And it came fabulously packaged too, from LoveKnitting.com, which I’d never used before but seemed to be the only vendor with the colour I wanted. They posted me my three skeins of wool in a sparkly blue gauze bag.