Adding A New Neck To The Cable Jumper – Definitely Finished This Time

When I posted about the finished jumper last week I mentioned that I wasn’t completely happy with the roll neck and was planning to knit a new piece and take the first attempt off.

For the second attempt I knitted a straight piece of ribbing, I had worked out that I needed approx. 144 stitches to get the width of neck I needed and knitted it 15cm deep. To check I was happy with the appearance I knitted the last row on to a circular needle which gave me the flexibility to wrap it around the neck on the dummy.

Then came the time consuming bit. I took off the original neck by cutting off the casting off row and unravelling, which was harder than expected and left me with lots of small bits of wool everywhere. I had to be careful and make sure I picked up all the live stitches that were at the centre front and centre back. I then had to graft the new piece on to the neckline which was still on the circular needle. It took me a while to work out the instructions for the grafting were the same as Kitchener stitch which is used for finishing off the toe when knitting socks.

That was fine for the stitches at the front and back but there were no instructions for when you are grafting with stitches on just one needle and a finished neckline but I managed to make something up that worked. Anyway, it took ages, I had to do it in two sittings. Once grafted all the way around I stitched up the seam on the neck piece and finished.

cable-jumper-complete

Last week when I put this garment on I wasn’t knocked out by it which was disappointing considering how long I’d spent knitting but I’m much happier with the look of the new neck and I’ve been wearing it over the last couple of days and I do really like it. It’s super comfy and really warm, I wore it out today in place of a coat. I really enjoyed knitting this but it was a real commitment! That was a quarter of year taken up with the making of one garment but it’s one garment I’ll probably still have in my wardrobe and wear when I am an old lady.

Now it’s done I’m going to think about sewing a few things.

 

Cable Knit Aran Jumper Completed

After 3 1/2 months of knitting, the jumper is finally finished. I got there in the end. I can’t even imagine how many hours have been spent on it!

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I finished last weekend and tried it on and there was something not quite right and after thinking it came down to the size of the roll neck. The jumper has a bit of an oversized fit and I think the neck is just too small. So I’m going to re-do it. There’s a story to the neck so I’ll start at the beginning.

I decided that I’d knit the neck on a circular needle so I stitched up both shoulder seams ready. The rib areas on the jumper use 3.5 needles and I had a circular needle that was 4.5 which I thought would be OK to use. So starting at the left shoulder seam I picked up and knitted the stitches I needed all around the neckline. Because I’m not knitting to any specific pattern, just merging patterns together, I didn’t really know how many stitches were required. I knitted a few rows of rib and it just didn’t look right. What I hadn’t thought about was how long the circular needle was supposed to be and I was using one that was 80cm in length. It was just a massive hoop that was way too big.

I unpicked what I had knitted and didn’t know what to do next. I regretted sewing both shoulder seams together as if I hadn’t I could have knitted on straight needles then sewn the open shoulder and side of the neck up when finished. I even thought about unpicking the left shoulder seam. I sat with the knitting on my lap with a pair of scissors in hand staring at the seam trying to decide what part was the seam stitching and what part was actual knitting. Luckily common sense prevailed and I stopped myself from doing something stupid. Before I went to bed that evening I logged onto Love Knitting and ordered a 3.5 size 50cm circular needle.

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When the needle arrived I picked up less stitches than the first time and used a whole ball of yarn to knit the neck. I would have made it a few cms longer but I wasn’t sure with knitting the rib on a circular needle how well and secure a join would be.

When it came to cast the neck stitches off I ending up doing it 3 times. First time I got half way and realised I didn’t have enough yarn left from the ball to do it. So I unpicked the cast off and knitted stitches ensuring I had enough yarn.

When I had finished I realised that I had started the cast off on the front of the neck, I thought I’d unpicked back to the left shoulder seam but obviously not. Knitting circular means there is a bit of a step which you can improve the appearance of when stitching in the ends but you wouldn’t want it in an obvious place. So had to unpick and it was 3rd time lucky.

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What am I going to do about it? Well. There is a roll neck jumper in the pattern book which suggests knitting the neck on straight needles as a piece on it’s own and then grafting it on. I did read this but I haven’t grafted before, you knit a neck trim by picking up stitches around a neckline because that’s how I’ve always done it before….and I want to do it on a circular needle.

We have a new guy in senior management who last week in a getting to know you chat mentioned how one phrase he really dislikes is “that’s how we’ve always done it before”. Yep – guilty!

So, I reference the old beige jumper that I knitted years ago which has bigger neck, it measured 60cm around the top edge. The neckline edge of my new jumper was measuring 60cm and the top opening 48cm. So to make my new roll neck piece I measured how many stitches were in 10cm of width. Which was 24 then multiplied by 60 to get 144 stitches then I added a couple on for luck. So I have started knitting a separate piece.

I haven’t taken the first neck off yet, I’ll leave it until I’m sure I’m happy with the new neck. So if all goes well I’ll have an updated jumper to show you next week.

Pattern – a mish mash of patterns from  this book of patterns from Bergere De France.
Yarn – . recycled yarn from Bergere De France ordered from Love Knitting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still Knitting The Jumper…And An Adapted Cowl Neck For The Sewaholic Renfrew

Happy New Year and yes I’m still knitting the jumper. The end is near, I have another 5 or 6cm to do on the sleeves and then it’s the roll neck and sewing up. I took the advice I was given and knitted the two sleeves at the same time. One set of needles, two balls of wool. Half way up the sleeves I swapped to slightly longer needles to cope with the width. 40cm instead of the 35cm I had been using. 5cm does make a bit of difference and they were only £2 to buy.

cable-sleeves

I have found that this jumper has taken over my life. I feel like I should be knitting now and not typing a post…. The sleeves have taken longer than anticipated, manly due to evenings out in the run up to Christmas and no knitting was done during Christmas week.

Knitting hasn’t left much time for sewing but I did manage to run up a Sewaholic Renfrew in November. I’ve made a few of these now but this time I wanted to alter the cowl neck line. I wanted more of a roll neck look. The neck line on the original pattern is quite wide and deep so I raised the neck line on both the centre front and back and extended the shoulder up closer to the neck. I had some polyester stretch fabric which I used for a toile, it took me a couple of tries to get it fitting how I wanted it to.

The collar piece isn’t quite a straight tube. The edge sewn to the neckline has a slight curve, just like the original pattern and the centre back seam slants outwards so the top width is slightly wider than the bottom width.

I really love the fabric and it was such a bargain. It is a wool mix, I bought it in Abakhan so I don’t know the exact fibre composition but I’m supposing it is mixed with polyester and I think there maybe some elastane in it. The piece I bought measured 2.20mts at 150wide and cost only £7.50 when weighed. It is a light weight rib construction, maybe referred to as a ‘sweater knit’ and it is seriously warm.

When doing some Christmas shopping I came across this thimble shaped desk tidy in John Lewis, I just had to have one!

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So hopefully the  jumper will be finished in the next few weeks and I can get back to making myself some new clothes. I could do with some inspiration. I popped into John Lewis last week and was seriously disappointed with the fabric offering, in the past I’ve picked up some really bargains in the sales. I was hoping for some interesting prints  but there was nothing. Every other area in the shop was busy but the fabric and yarn department was dead.

The latest Boden catalogue has just come through the door and I really like the look of the printed trousers. The fabric is cotton with 3% elastane, I remember trying to find similar printed fabric in a trouser weight last year but didn’t have much luck so if anybody knows a source I’d be grateful. I have the pattern I made for these trousers which would be perfect. I also like the printed shirts and haven’t made myself a shirt for a while so maybe that’s where I should start.

 

 

 

Aran Cable Jumper Update

After nearly 4 weeks of knitting the front of the Aran jumper is finished. It was very exciting to reach the point of shaping for the neck.

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So far so good. There was a tiny bit of unpicking when I realised I had cabled one of the plaits the wrong way. I was dreading sorting it out but I found the quickest way was to lay flat on a table pull out the needles and gently unravel until you’ve got back to where you went wrong then carefully pick up all the stitches again with the needle. I was thinking I’d have to unpick one stitch at a time but this worked and was undoubtedly much quicker.

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I’m now about 1/5 up the back and I think I’m getting quicker.

You can see from the photos that one of the outer strands of the plait is thicker than the others, on the back I’m now trying to knit my cable twists more loosely and tighten the tension when I come out of the plait, this seems to be giving a more even appearance.

Chris at Make and Wear gave me a great tip for knitting the sleeves.

“It can be hard to keep the enthusiasm going ..! I haven’t knitted a flat jumper in a while, but if I do, I’d like to try knitting both sleeves at once – on the same needles, using separate balls of wool – it seems like it would be easier to keep on track !”

I think I will follow this advice and give it a go. I’m currently using 35cm long needles so I thought I’d get a longer pair but it seems that 40cm is the longest you can get and I’m not sure that 5cm will make that much of a difference.

My projected finish is the first week in January, I just can’t help working out how long things are going to take!

Starting An Aran Cable Knit Jumper

Over the last few years the only thing I have knitted is socks and I not even started a pair this year. A while back I found a jumper in a suitcase in the attic that I had knitted about 20 years ago which I had forgotten about. I’m amazed I ever had the patience to knit it. I can’t really remember knitting this but I do remember knitting a long cardigan with a simpler cable pattern.

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Cable Patterned Jumper

I wanted to challenge myself again and earlier this year I bookmarked this site selling vintage Aran patterns and I would keep going back to it. I didn’t get a pattern from this site in the end but I was in John Lewis and picked up this book of patterns, £7.95 for a good selection of Aran styles. 30 patterns in total for men and women. JL did have a single pattern for an aran cable roll neck jumper by Erika Knight but at £2.95 for the one pattern didn’t seem good value when you looked at the prices of the pattern books.

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Once I had the pattern it was time to get the yarn. I spent ages on this. I was needing approx. 800gm of yarn.  I didn’t want to spend a fortune but neither did I want to buy too cheap. In my price range the Aran yarns I was looking at would have around 20 – 25% wool with the rest being acrylic. You can by large 400gm balls or Aran for about £11 with 20% wool but in the end after a lot of procrastinating about quality and colour I opted for a recycled yarn from Bergere De France which was £1.95 for 50gms. What swung it was that it was the same company as the pattern book and the fact 50% is recycled ‘other fibres’ with it also having 20% wool and 30% acrylic. Straight after I bought this on-line from Love Knitting I clicked on to a story on the Guardian all about how damaging acrylic fibres are to the environment……

In my planning I had also found a book in my local library all about Aran knitting. It spoke about the history and as gave details of a wide number of cable pattern as well as patterns for jumpers and cardigans.

Both the book and the pattern magazine pointed out home important it was to do a  tension square and the book also advised practicing the cable patterns separately. So I did both, I cheated on the tension square and just did an oblong . I needed to size down my needles by half a size.

The jumper I’m knitting is a bit made up. I’m taking the pattern from one but altering it to have normal sleeves rather than raglan and then instead of just a round neck, adding on a roll neck.

For the design of the cable I’m following this men’s jumper below. It has a honeycomb panel in the middle with a plait either side. It does  have another design at the side but I’m leaving this out and just having moss stitch. For the size the men’s small chest measurements will work for me and I’ll follow the length for the body  from women’s jumper further on in the book.

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So far, so good. I’m half way up the front body. I’ve also ordered some more yarn as I’m not sure I’ll have enough. I had ordered 17 balls, 16 = 800gm and then decided on 1 extra but looking at what I have already knitted I’m thinking it’ll take 5 for each of the front and back, one for the roll neck which would only leave 3 for each sleeve. I’ve ordered another 2 and was able to check with Love Knitting that I would receive the same dye lot number.

The men’s jumper in size small requires 16 balls but I now realised that not all 50gm balls are equal. There is a handy chart in my pattern book which tells you which quality of yarn takes what size needles and how many metres are in the ball. My chosen yarn has 85mts where as other 50gm balls could have up to 120mts.

I can get a bit obsessed about how long something is going to take me to make. I do this with sewing and note out what parts will get sewn each evening and when I am likely to finish.  It’s taken me about 10 evenings of knitting for 90 mins to get half way up the front, if I go on  like this I think it’ll take about 2 1/2 months but then it’s already taking up all my free time….( I should be knitting not typing….). I even timed myself knitting a cable row, 12 minutes! 120 stitches. A normal row is taking about 5 minutes. A pattern repeat is 8 rows and I can just about do one repeat an evening.

Back to the pattern repeat, both the plait and the honeycomb are 8 rows with the cabling on row 3 and row 7. Luckily spending a lot of time planning this in my head I realised that having the two patterns working like this would make it much easier. I just need to have one row counter, otherwise I’d be sure to get muddled up.

Sewing seems to have gone out of the window. I do  have a few things ready to start. One being a new striped Renfrew for my daughter. The one I made earlier this year was from scraps and just a bit too short in the body and arms so I’ve bought the same fabric and will now make one that fits. I’ve already sized up the pattern I made but before I can start I need to sort out the tension on the overlocker which is putting me off.

I need to ease off on the manic knitting, I’m not sure it’ll be completed by Christmas but maybe in January. Note to self, if you want to knit a complicated jumper for winter start in July not October.

 

 

Turning The Unfinished Dress Into A Skirt

I decided to get this done quickly and out of the sewing room into the wardrobe. I took the unfinished dress I wrote about in my last post and just chopped off the bodice. I overlocked the raw edge and pressed about 1cm under and stitched down using a navy thread in the middle of the two rows of top stitching. You can hardly see the stitching. Then I added the buttonholes and jeans buttons.

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button though denim skirt salvaged from an unfinished dress

Because this was meant to be a dress rather than a skirt the waistband is slightly loose but it is still wearable. Also as it sits slightly lower at the waist than the dress would the length of the skirt is slightly longer then I’d planned. If I were to make this skirt from scratch it would also probably have a shaped waistband.

It’s had it’s first wearing today, that’s why it looks a little bit creased in the photos. It’s really comfortable, I can ride my bike in it so I can see me getting a lot of wear out of it all though the year.

I am really pleased with the top stitching. Using two strands of standard thread in the needle has really worked for me and my temperamental machine.

Giving Up On A Project – McCalls M6696 In Denim

Last Autumn I took a cutting from the Sunday Times Style magazine of a MIH denim dress which I just fell in love with. I bought the fabric in the spring but it wasn’t until July when I got around to sewing it up.  I decided to make use of the McCalls M6696 shirt dress pattern using option D but with the short sleeves. This pattern has a definite waistband and I preferred this to the plaited belt on the MIH dress.  I made this dress with the full skirt last year.

mih denim dress

I altered the skirt pattern by adding in some flare and I lengthened the sleeve and took out some of the sleeve head fullness as I remembered from the first make that the sleeves had so much fullness they were a pig to put in.

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MIH denim dress – what I was trying to aim for….

 

My first stumble came when I realised that I should have used the size 12 or even the 14 skirt pattern, but I had used the 10 as my bust corresponded with the 10 but I hadn’t  noticed my hips were 3″ bigger on the body than the measurements on the pattern envelope. I managed to get around this with the ease allowed in the hip measurement and using the smallest possible seam allowance. All seemed well.

I had got to the stage where all I needed to do was to stitch down the collar stand, sew on the front pockets and button hole and apply the jeans buttons. I always struggle with getting a good finish when finishing off the collar stand and with the thickness of the denim it was just about passable.

I fitted the dress and the bodice was just not right. The waist and bust fit OK but it is the area above the bust, it’s just too big and the neck opening too wide. So I calmly decided to call it a day with this dress before I wasted a load of jeans buttons.

I haven’t been doing well with my motivation to sew recently and every time I go into the sewing room I see this as a bit of a block which is in my way.

Where I went wrong here is that I think the fabric was too thick and I need to toile the bodice again, I had done it last year but there didn’t seem to be any major fitting problems on the first dress.

I need to take some positives from this…..
I learnt a new and much more successful way of topstitching.
I usually use the Gutermann extra strong thread but there is usually some tangling up in the bobbing and this time I just couldn’t get my second row of topstitching to look nice and I really wanted the twin needle look. In desperation I tried the method where you use two strands of standard thread in the needle and it worked much better than I had expected and looks just the same. So from now on I think this will be my preferred method.

I’m going to chop the bodice off this dress and turn it into a skirt. I think once I have done that I can get my enthusiasm back and start making plans for what I’d like to sew for the coming Autumn.

I would still like to make this dress but I think I’ll leave it for a while before attempting again. And once it is done I can go down the local park and style it like this fashion blogger who is wearing the real thing. 🙂

Also any good tips on getting a good finish on collar stand would be much appreciated!