Finished Object: Looking Back

It’s done! Its off the needles! Actually, it came off the needles a week ago but the photos requested to marinate a while… it wasn’t because I was too lazy to carve out blogging time at all…

This is my completed Looking Back cardigan by Joji Locatelli.

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I love it.

I love how easy it was to get into a rhythm – lace panels included!
I love how fast projects in DK grow – this only took 2 weeks (including blocking).
I love the fit – as in, this cardigan actually fits.
I love that I learned new techniques – particularly tubular bind off (see below).
I love that I dyed this yarn – even though it’s not a colour I would usually wear.

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A success!

This wee beauty made its public debut on Friday at work.  Casual Friday + autumn = perfect timing.  There were plenty of compliments from people who knew I am a knitter, and no “ew gross!” comments from those who didn’t.

And it was comfortable!  At the end of the day, it could make me look like a gorgeous Amazonian beauty with legs up to my armpits, but if it’s not comfortable, I wont wear it.

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Learn all the things!

Plenty of firsts in this cardigan – the two stand outs are the cardigan construction, and my chosen bind off (not called for in the pattern).

Cardigan construction –  this is my first seamless cardigan with set in sleeves.  All the other seamless patterns I’ve made (mostly baby knits) have had raglan sleeves, which were worked from the top down so you work the shoulders and top of the sleeves at the same time as the neckline.

I really like the way the set in sleeves sit.  I think the finished object looks a lot more tailored – not that raglan shaping looks messy…

Tubular cast off –  I think I have my new favourite bind off.  I used this bind off on all edges – and I love it. I’ve used this technique since and I see a lot more of it in my future.

If you haven’t seen a tubular cast off before, it’s basically a way of grafting your ribbing so it looks like a continuous knit that wraps around from the right side to the wrong side.  Like you didn’t bind off, you just folded your ribbing over and sewed it in a seam – like you would with ribbed fabric on the sewing machine.

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It’s a bit fiddly – you knit the ribbing in a particular way (slipping alternate stitches) for 2 rows to make two separate pieces of fabric before grafting.  You end up with a ribbed tube along the edge.  Hence; tubular bind off.

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This wasn’t called for in the pattern, but I saw this on a knitting video podcast and was intrigued.  I used this tutorial from Purl Bee.

It adds a fantastic finish.  Having done this now, I’m not sure I would like the finish any other way.

If I do this again…

… I would probably chose a different colour.  Something like a navy blue (which would be harder to knit in artificial light so ‘swings and round abouts’…maybe I wouldn’t enjoy knitting it as much as I did this one).

I really like the colour I used, but it ended up being really, really bright.  Like… really bright.  I didn’t realise just how bright until I was on my way to work and saw it in morning natural light.  Nothing wrong with bright yarn – I just don’t wear it was much as perhaps I should…

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On My Needles: Looking Back

A little while ago I posted about a cardigan I was looking forward to cast on for myself, using my own hand dyed yarn (you can see the post here).  Since finishing my Drachenfels, I have cast on and I’m going great guns!

Working in DK weight yarn is a great change – I work most of my projects in fingering weight – so the knitted fabric grows quickly and the pattern is interesting enough to entice biscuit logic.  You know, ‘oh, just one more won’t hurt’.

IMG_7870My gauge swatch showed what I’ve learned to expect from my knitting – I am a relatively ‘loose’ knitter, so I dropped down a needle size from what was in the pattern and dropped down a size.  From medium to small.  The thought was terrifying, but I had to have faith that the maths would not lie.

Was it the right decision?  I’m still not entirely sure.

Being a seamless pattern, I’ve been able to try it on as I go.  I think I’ll be okay in the bust because I added some extra stitches on those rows (I would’ve had to on the M size if I’d gotten gauge, too), and I’ve added a few for the hips too (what can I say?  I gots the curves).

The back worries me a little, though.  The logical part of my brain says that it’s fine, and it just looks bad when I try it on because the stockinette stitch is rolling up on itself and the button band isn’t on there yet.  Makes sense.  But, the emotional knitter in me just doesn’t know.  This cardigan is so close to being my best fitting garment yet, I just don’t want to jinx it.

The pattern itself is a joy to knit.  Looking Back by Joji Locatelli.  I am loving it.  The pattern document is clear, and well presented – I haven’t had any questions that weren’t answered by reading a few rows ahead.

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The lace pattern makes me smile.  There’s no simpler way to put it – I love how easily memorised it is, how pretty it is, and how it makes me look far more talented than I am when it comes to lace.  The large lace panel down the front, surrounded by stockinette, is really impressive.

I was a little worried that the colour variations in the yarn would detract from the lace pattern, which really should be the star of the garment, but it doesn’t look too bad.  The real test will come when the cardigan is finished and there is sleeve patterning, too.

So, watch this space!

Finished Object: My Aunt Doris

I’ve been a busy busy knitter over the last week – I have a bunch to show you.  Each project deserves it’s own time in the spotlight, so expect some more posts over the next couple of days!

First off the needles was Lilith’s birthday cardigan – My Aunt Doris (pattern by Kelly Brooker).

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This is so cute, bright and soft that I want to snuggle with and do nothing else, ever.  It fits Lilith’s blooming personality to a tee and I’m excited to surprise her with it for her birthday.

It was hard to settle on buttons.  I had a few options in my button collection and I was open to buy something especially, if some just screamed to be the cherry on the top of this project.  The key contenders were some cute wooden buttons shaped like apples, small clear (boring) ones and the little black ones I opted for in the end.

I’m totally happy with my choice – I think it finishes the cardigan well.  I would usually avoid using black anything on baby clothes, but I think they keep the garment sophisticated and clean.  They’re not standing out as a show piece, so don’t draw your attention away from the star of the show – the yarn (okay, and the baby).

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Sadly, her birthday isn’t for another couple of months so I may well buckle and give it to her before then.  I just want to see her cute-as-a-button face giggling in this cardigan!

But, it sits sensibly in wait for now.

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On My Needles: My Aunt Doris

This is one work in progress that I’m really excited to share with the world.  A quick knit that I am desperately trying to slow down.  To delay the cast off, and savour every stitch.

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I’m knitting this with yarn I dyed myself.  It’s a reddish pick with splashes of purple and flecks of orange, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better.

This yarn is the star of the project.  None of these photos have been edited – these colours are captured perfectly already (at least, on my computer…)

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The pattern is beautiful; a very sweet knit for a very sweet little girl.  It’s  My Aunt Doris, by Kelly Brooker of pekapeka design studio.  There are 3 versions of the pattern, depending on the weight of yarn you’ve got – fingering, sport or DK.

This project is fingering weight, but I bought the ebook with all three weights because I plan to knit this over, and over, and over again.

Lace on the front and plain stocking stitch on the back – this is a fantastic compromise of pretty and practical.   It shows off the colours in the yarn, and keeps enough interest in the patterning to be fancy.

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This particular cardigan is going to my niece, Lilith, for her first birthday.

If I can bear to part with it, of course.   (I kid. I think).

First Post Goodness; Obligatory Introductions

Woah, first post.  The pressure is on.  I’ve got to be clever enough that you want to come back… let my personality shine through, so you feel like you can get to know me, and I should probably wow you with some pretty sweet photography skills, too.  You know, for good measure.

I’ll try my best, but promise me you won’t hold your breath – okay?

Who the heck am I?

I’m me.  Amy.

I’ve been blogging over at peonut.com for a while.  It’s my personal blog with a focus on my attempts at healthier living.  That blog’s still going, so if you’re after insight into my personality I recommend you head over there.  Expect sarcasm, disturbingly personal details and – at times – a scary positivity toward ‘fitspo’ that can only be described as ‘fake it ’til you make it’.

I’m much better at knitting than I am at sport, or anything that requires speed with my co-ordination.

Broadly, I’m a twenty-something female in Wellington, New Zealand (in the south Pacific) who has an accounting-based desk job during the day.  I turn to yarn and fibre to feed my creativity in the evening.

I also watch a lot of television.  A lot.  It’s best we don’t talk about that.
(But it also means I have a lot of knitting time, so really… it’s all a solid investment in my personal development and mental health…)

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So what’s going on here?

Right now? Not a lot.

Ultimately, this is intended to be my outlet for yarny adventures that just aren’t suited to my other blog (not all runners want fawn over my hand knits).

What are my ‘yarny adventures’?  At the moment, mostly knitting.  In the short term I also want to get into hand dyeing my own yarn.  And learn to crochet.  And design my own patterns.

Longer term?  I have my eye on weaving (mostly, I just want to weave a scarf… I’m not too fussed beyond that), and ultimately – when I win the lottery – I want to buy a spinning wheel.  I don’t know what kind yet… when I research something I tend to get carried away and my credit card suffers.  I’ll save for one first.

What am you supposed to do with that information?

Read or don’t read, all the power is with you – this blog is really just another creative outlet for me; a place to collate my photos, stories, planning and whims in a way that my Ravelry projects page doesn’t really do.

Sound like something you’re interested in?  Follow along!  And while you’re waiting for the next post, head on over to Ravelry and add me as a friend – I love seeing what other people are up to.

Not so sure?  That’s cool, but try to check in again later – things will keep getting better and better!