Beginning A Rainbow Striped Jumper

I had mentioned during the post for the last jumper I’d knitted that I’d seen a photo of Jools Oliver in a recipe book wearing a white jumper with rainbow stripes across the chest. I really liked the look of this and wanted to knit something similar for myself. I found out the original jumper is from Chloe with the price tag of £465.

To me this seemed just a straightforward crew neck jumper. Looking at the patterns on Love Knitting I found a Breton style jumper knitted in DK. I had used the Paintbox DK yarn for my daughters jumper but even though I didn’t have a problem with it I wanted something better than 100% acrylic so I found a yarn that was 50% wool / 50% acrylic. For the rainbow stripes Paintbox do 10gm mini balls in a range of 60 colours so I picked the 7 colours of the rainbow I needed.

I wasn’t totally convinced by the knitting pattern. I thought that it wasn’t a great fit on the model, too wide across the chest but thought I could alter if necessary.

love knitting breton

The fit of this looks dodgy, especially around the neck.

 

I knitted up my tension square to check the gauge and I hated it. It just reminded me of something you’d knit for a baby. I also thought it was too white. So time for a re-think. I thought I needed a finer knit so looked at patterns for 4ply yarn and found another free pattern on love knitting. It’s the basic shape I was after and I could easily adjust the body length.

I sent back the white dk yarn I had bought, I had to keep the ball I had started. When I was looking at yarns I came across ‘sport weight’ which is described as somewhere between 4ply and DK and decided that this was what I needed. This time I went for a cotton yarn which gives a much smoother knit. When it arrived I knitted a tension square and was happy with the look and feel. Also by using 3mm needles I got the exact tension that was required on the pattern so I know that the my finished measurements should be the same.

guage square (1824 x 1368)

On the left is the sport weight cotton knitted on 3mm needles and on the right the 50% wool 50% acrylic DK knitted on 4mm needles

 

In hindsight I think the DK cotton would have work for me, the bug with knitting with the sport weight and 3mm needles is that it’s going to take longer to knit. I did even think about sending the second lot back and trying a cotton DK but as the gauge was exactly the same as the pattern I had found I decided to plough on.

I wasn’t sure if the DK mini balls would still work with the yarn but I tried 2 stripes in colours that I already had and they look fine, you can see that there is a bit more fluff in the texture but I don’t think that is a problem.

knitted stripe swatch (1824 x 1368)

I didn’t like the original green colour I ordered as it was very bright so I chose another two, one is a paler spearmint and the other a jade. I’m still not quite decided on which to use – I think I’m favouring the spearmint.

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You can’t quite tell in this photo but the green at the front is very bright and I’ve decided to use either the paler spearmint or the jade

 

I’ve started by knitting the sleeves together on the same set of needles and I’m nearly up to the armhole, so a few more cm and I’ll start the stripes.

My thoughts on making this swing wildly from one view to another, I either think it’s going to be horrendous or it’ll be a success and I’ll get the look I’m after. This is one of the problems with kitting, it’s going to take about 5 or 6 weeks of an hour or so every evening, it’s a time commitment and in the end it could be a damp squib.

I should be able to show you the finished sleeves next week and hopefully I’ll be in a positive mood about them! 🙂

Purl Alpaca Mayan Jumper – Downsized

When I was knitting the cable jumper for myself earlier this year my 9 year old was asking if I could knit her one. I couldn’t really face months of knitting another Aran jumper but didn’t want to disappoint. I had ordered myself the Mayan Jumper pattern from Purl Alpaca, I found this company from reading a post on Kate’s Fabricated blog. I showed my daughter this pattern and it was to her liking.

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With a fair bit of stocking stitch and simpler cables this looked like a reasonable quick knit. In fact I spent 5 weeks working on this, which after 3 1/2 months was a quick knit.

I didn’t go with the Purl Alpaca yarn. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something that she would grow out of in a year and worst of all may not even like when finished. So I went for Paintbox yarns DK acrylic from Love Knitting. I struggled a bit with it just being too cheap, 4 balls for £9 and time will tell how it washes and wears. I wasn’t sure of the colour either but as she tells me, mustard is her 2nd favourite colour.

Now I did mean to knit a tension square but completely forgot. Because I was sizing down to a 26″ chest I studied the pattern and reduced stitches accordingly and started knitting away. It was very narrow, way too narrow! I then stopped and did a tension square and realised I was going to need a lot more stitches, I also found that knitting with size 4 rather than 4.5 needles gave the stocking stitch a much neater appearance. So I needed to order a size 4 60cm circular needle. Whilst I was waiting for my new needle I started on the sleeves which I knitted two at the same time on straight needles. This helped me sort out the issue of how many stitches I needed for the body as it was easy to see on the flat knitting how wide it was working out.

2017-03-06 20.04.49

Top knitting is the first attempt, you can see how small it is! Plus I’d made a mistake in the cable which I couldn’t live with.

 

When I got around to starting the body for the 3rd time – second time I only had done the rib before I thought that more stitches were needed – I found that following the stitch amounts for the size M actually gave me what I wanted.

I had to think carefully about the sleeve head shape and the armhole on the body, I just couldn’t follow the pattern as  ‘knit x amount of rows’ wouldn’t have worked out with the different yarn and smaller needles that I was using. The pattern had the measurements of the armhole depth so I followed that.

When casting off the neck the pattern advises to ‘cast off loosely’. Luckily I had my wits about me and remembered the stretchy bind off I needed when I knitted a pair of toe up socks. Jenny’s surprising stretchy bind off. In this method you wrap the yarn around the needle before each stitch, the extra stretch you get is really noticeable.

cast off edges (2160 x 1620)

The top sock shows the standard cast off method and the bottom sock shows the stretch cast off method

The body up to the armhole is knitted in the round on a circular needle. This is the first time I had done this and found knitting like this quite different from having straight needles. My only issue is when you need to start a new ball. I’m not sure of the best way of finishing off and starting. I made sure the join was at the side body and I when I came to sew in all the ends I knotted and wove the loose ends in. It looks OK but not perfect from the right side as you can tell that small area is just a bit thicker. I did Google this this but didn’t come up with any solutions. So I actually would prefer a side seam to finish the loose ends.

Anyway, the customer likes it. It’s better than I thought it would be, I was worried about the width and then about the length of the arms but it’s worked out fine. It doesn’t look it’s best being modelled with a royal blue netball dress.

I think I’ll make this later in the year for myself but will probably use a better quality yarn and will definitely do a tension square first. In fact I will never knit anything again without doing a tension square first!

What to knit next. At Christmas a friend bought me the Jamie’s family superfood cookbook and there is a picture of his wife Jools wearing a white jumper with a rainbow stripe across the chest and sleeves and I’m quite taken with it. Looking closely it seems as if the white area is stocking stitch and the stripes are purl, giving a different texture. It’s a basic crew neck pattern so I shall investigate and see what I can come up with.

As for sewing, I’m finding it hard to run sewing and knitting projects along side each other but I am slowly working on a shirt which if I try could be done by the end of the week.

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!

2017-01-23-14-25-04

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.

2017-01-23-14-16-20

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

2015-08-19 14.57.10

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.

knitting-magazine

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.

knitting-design

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.

 

 

Broken seed stitch socks and the first steps in knitting for a 7 year old

At the end of August I finally finished the pair of socks I started back in February. At times I didn’t think I’d ever finish them. The pattern is Broken Seed Stitch Socks, a free download on Ravelry. This wasn’t my first choice of pattern.

Broken Seed Socks

Broken Seed Socks

I thought I’d stretch myself with sock knitting this year and try a more complicated pattern. The first pattern I tried was Kyma, there is a fee to download this one from Ravelry but was on offer for free when I was searching for a pattern earlier in the year. I tried knitting a swatch before starting the sock but I just couldn’t get it right. There are holes in the pattern and it just wasn’t working for me. So the next pattern I looked at was My Cup Of Tea socks, also on Ravelry. No holes so I thought just maybe I could manage it. My practice swatch worked out ok-ish but when I started on the real thing I got stuck on row two of the pattern and gave up.

the pattern at the bottom is the Kyma and 'my cup of tea' is the top pattern - neither really working out well

the pattern at the bottom is the Kyma and ‘my cup of tea’ is the top pattern – neither really working out well

That’s when I settled on the Broken Seed Stitch. I had the plain blue yarn which was from Red Heart ordered from Love Knitting so I also needed a variegated yarn. I found the same quality from Red Heart and it had the same denim blue colour in. Broken Seed stitch is just a mix of knit & purl stitches so I couldn’t really go wrong.

I did find if a faff having the two balls of yarn, which kept getting twisted and they were both 100gm balls which was way more than I needed for one pair. I lost the momentum and they dragged on for months. I’m pleased with them now they are done but I’m a little bit disillusioned with my sock knitting. I find I never quite get a perfect fit. They normally turn out slightly too long despite trying hard to get the length right. Then they are also slightly too loose.  Out of the socks I’ve knitted for myself the best pair have been these plain grey Hermione’s every day socks. Maybe it was the yarn which is cotton based so the socks aren’t too ‘wooly’ and thick. I knit socks for myself using 60 stitches and I think using 2.5 needles. So it could be the case I either go down to 56 or use smaller needles?

I was also a bit fed up that I was incapable of knitting a pattern, neither of the ones I initially chose looked that difficult. Then I remembered how much I love knitting cables. At the beginning of the year I found this jumper in a suitcase in the attic. I remember knitting this in my early 20’s so over 20 years ago (!) I gave it a wash and it became my house jumper to keep out the chills in the winter months.

Cable Patterned Jumper

Cable Patterned Jumper

Anyway – my 7 year old daughter has been asking me to teach her to knit and at the weekend she was watching CBBC and there is a programme called ‘how to be epic @ everything’ and they had a lady called Suzie showing you how to speed knit. (if you watch the link it starts at 2.55 mins). It does only last 2 mins but shows casting on and the knit stitch. It was enough to give me the push to get my daughter some big needles and a ball of wool. I cast the stitches on for her as I remember I didn’t learn this at first and we spent a quiet half hour slowly going through the steps of the knit stitch.

So far so good and she is knitting a blanket for her teddy.

First steps in knitting....

First steps in knitting….

We started with 18 stitches but now at 21....

We started with 18 stitches but now at 21….

Cable Pattern Socks – and spot the mistake…..

As my first pair of socks was looking a bit plain and simple I felt I needed to try something new. After the success of the ribbed pair I decided on rib with a bit of cable.

cable socks (1669 x 1452)

So back to LOVE KNITTING for some wool. I fell for a 10% off offer but it was still more expensive than the other sock yarns I had bought. Then when it arrived I realised it needed size 3.25 needles rather than the 2.5 I had used on the previous two pairs so I needed to buy more needles.

I like the colour but it’s not quite a vivid as it was on-line which was a little bit disappointing. Looking back at the site I’m beginning to think I didn’t order what I thought or I was sent the wrong one. They are actually a lot more pinker than the photo shows. Here’s what I think I got.

cable socks 2 (1368 x 1824)

I didn’t use a pattern I just worked it out myself. I had learnt that the number of stitches you use must be divisible by 4. I was using a circumference of 56 stitches. To work out the rib and cable pattern I drew up a grid split numbered 1 – 28 for half the sock.

knit chart

I started off with a cuff of 1 x 1 rib for 12 rows. Initially I didn’t like the feel of the bigger needles after using the slimmer 2.5 size but I got used to it and with a bigger stitch the sock grew faster.

Spot the mistake.

left foot 3 ribs between cables, right foot 1 rib between cables

left foot 3 ribs between cables, right foot 1 rib between cables

The first sock knitted had 3 rows of ribbing between the two cables on the instep of the sock, the second only has one. It wasn’t until I was nearly at the end of the foot on the second sock that I noticed. I now realise it is the second sock that’s wrong. What must have happened is that when I started knitting the pattern after the cuff ribbing I’ve started on the wrong needle. Doh! But looking at them I think I prefer the sock with the mistake. And I was so proud of my chart!

Overall I’m a bit disappointed with the yarn. The colour is nice but not what I thought it was going to be. I think I prefer the smaller stitch and tension of the Regia 4ply.

It’s going to be socks for the children next. We took a trip to the local wool shop and despite me trying to suggest lovely subtle colours the 6 year old chose this. I’m going to need my sunglasses to knit!

flouro wool (1368 x 1824)

A Bit More Sock Knitting

There was a comment on pattern for the first pair of socks I made ‘WARNING sock knitting is highly addictive’. I think it’s true. I feel like I know how to improve on the first pair and want to prove to myself the next pair will be better. I’ve knitted a pair for my other half using the same yarn from Love Knitting, 75% wool, 25% nylon 4 ply sock yarn but in a different colour. I love the way the stripes knitted up.

during knitting (1824 x 1368)

The pattern was free download from Ravelry, Rams Wool Basic Socks I picked it mainly because it was simple and sized for men.

I think when it comes to socks staying up rib is the way to go. So the leg and instep are knitted in 2 x 2 rib, which gives quite a skinny looking sock but compared to stocking stitch has much more stretch. The heel, toe and under foot are stocking stitch, actually the heel was a repeat of *k1 slip1* which in itself gives a bit of a rib appearance. There is probably a good reason for this; I think it makes the heel thicker in an area that gets a lot of wear.

I feel like I am getting the hang of grafting the toe ends together, no knobbly bits this time around.

(these have been worn, hence the bits of sawdust attached to the bottom of the foot)

(these have been worn, hence the bits of sawdust attached to the bottom of the foot)

What I really loved about this pattern was the instructions on how to split the stitches between your 3 needles. This is probably basic stuff for a seasoned sock knitter but for me it was a light bulb moment. On my first pair of socks I just divided the stitches evenly between the 3 needles and had to use fiddly stitch markers. This pattern explained to have half the number of stitches on 1 needle and the other half split equally between the other two needles.

So in this case I had 72 stiches
Needle 1 – 36stitches
Needle 2 – 18 stitches
Needle 3 – 18 stitches

This remains constant throughout the sock (except when the amounts increase and decrease when you are turning the heel). When you are knitting the ankle the 36 stitches are the back of sock and extend down to the heel. When you are knitting the foot the stitches get shuffled around and the needle with 36 stitches forms the instep.

The first pair I knitted for myself now look a bit basic in comparison, so I’m starting another pair for myself in rib with a bit of cable thrown in.