A few knitting bits and pieces

For some reason this year has been a bit slow on the knitting front. Last November I started a summer cardigan which I had planned to wear during my trip to New Zealand in February. Progress has been very slow, so slow in fact that not only did I not wear it during the antipodean summer but I also didn’t wear it during the UK summer. In fact I only finished it last week (well almost finished it still needs some buttons).

The pattern is Gabriela and comes from Whisper by Kim Hargreaves. The lacey, cabled stitch was remarkably simple to remember and it should have come together very quickly. I think the reason it took so long is that I don’t really like knitting with cotton, I find it a bit tough on my hands and prefer the elasticity of wool. The yarn I used was Rowan Siena and the colour is Tandoori (although it looks very unlike any Tandoori I have ever seen). I think this will grow on me and I will probably get quite a lot of use out of it. At present I’m just feeling a bit fed up with it because it took so long to knit.

After the cardigan I needed a quick and simple project to get me back in the swing of knitting again so I picked up my Toft Alpaca Giant Bulb bag kit. I had seen this kit for sale several times but it was only last year, at a show in London that I got around to buying it. Toft not only make lovely yarn but they also make very stylish patterns, they apparently only sell items they would use or wear themselves which I think gives them the edge on other specialist yarn manufacturers.

The bag is knitted on 20mm(!) circular needles. There usually isn’t much call for 20mm needles and shops don’t often stock them so my lovely friend Gilly at Knit and Yarn ordered me a set from Addi. Unfortunately I broke these about a third of the way into the project, so Gilly lent me her set. These also broke but by then I had mended the first pair with some superglue so all was not lost.

I have finished the knitting but now need to sew the handle onto the bag and then felt it. I am not sure how my washing machine is going to feel about this.

Having my knitting mojo back I then started a third project. This is the Netherton Cardigan shown on the front cover of the first issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. It’s proving to be a very simple and quick; I’ve almost finished the body despite only starting on Wednesday. The entire cardigan is knitted in one piece starting at the top and working down. Most of it is stocking stitch but it has nice detailing around the bottom, on the ribs, the button bands and raglan shaping. There is the option of putting buttons at the bottom, as shown in the picture, or at the top, which most people on Ravelry have opted for. I have decided to go for buttons at the bottom

My original plan was to knit this in a Rowan yarn but for some reason they don’t have any decent reds in their range. Debbie Bliss makes a lovely red in her Rialto yarn but I decided this was too solid. In the end I opted for Shilasdair Luxury DK (the yarn recommended in the magazine) in Rowan Berry. The website doesn’t really do justice to the feel and depth of colour in this yarn (but then what website does?). The red I selected is very subtly mottled with shades of Autumn. I don’t really go for self-striping or hand-painted yarns much but I do like a bit of flecking or dappling. At 300m in 100g I only needed 3 hanks for this project which struck me as being a bit of a bargain.

It feels as if we are moving towards Autumn at present; we’ve had some pretty atrocious weather in the last couple of weeks (and also some nice days). September reminds me of the new school year and seems a good time to start to pick up knitting again. I don’t want to hurry the winter in but I am looking forward to needing a good woolly jumper again soon.

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5 thoughts on “A few knitting bits and pieces

  1. That cardigan looks lovely, I want it! I’m still trying to finish a scarf I started so many years ago! All your talk about these beautiful yarns and different patterns makes me think I absolutely must finish my scarf so i can learn to do other knitting!

  2. Yes you must finish your scarf! I can sympathise however, scarf knitting can be very repetitive and boring. Most beginners start with scarves but I tend to think something small like a simple pair of fingerless mittens is a much better project because you can start to see results in a relatively short time.

  3. Didn’t realise you were a knitter as well! I too have the Toft bag but not started it yer, although have made my own pattern felted bags many times. Dont be afraid of felting, I just put the item in a pillowcase to “wash ” to prevent fluff clogging up the washer. Don’t overspin as creases can be difficult to get out. You need to do this now as the warm weather we are having means that you can stuff and dry the bag outside in the sun! Good luck, post it when you have done it

    • Thank you. I currently have a big furry lump of damp wool stuffed with plastic bags sitting on a towel. I’ll let you know how I get on once it’s had a chance to dry. The washing machine was full of woolly fluff but I washed a couple of towels in it and I think it’s clear now.

  4. I should do more knitting as my kiddos are growing out of everything again! The cardi looks very pretty and would be rather useful here in February depending on which bits of NZ you are visiting. Its can be lovely and warm/hot though nippy of an evening too. So, you’ve plenty of time to finish it :o)

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