Category Archives: Finished Projects 2013

Coming out of hibernation

It suddenly seems to be March! How did that happen? Now that the sun is finally showing itself after all the recent rain it seems like a good time to do some tidying up and catching up.

Quite a lot has happened since I wrote last. Last year we did a lot of sorting and packing, and in November we moved house. We haven’t gone too far, just from one side of the county to the other, and are now nearer to my in-laws, to the other-half’s work, and to knitting and spinning groups! A win all round 🙂 The new house is lovely and I even have a craft room which is absolutely wonderful 🙂 We are still in the process of bringing everything back from storage and sorting it out. I have got all my knitting books back on the shelves already and nearly all of the magazines and other folders, and am looking forward to having a nice big sort out of all my yarn and fibre – that may well be quite a mammoth project!

I have been doing a little bit of knitting over the winter though there hasn’t been anything too brain-taxing. That is another thing I am looking forward to getting back into, I would like to do a nice big slightly complicated project but I haven’t quite decided what yet.

So for a little bit of a round-up of what I have been up to. First there was an elephant for baby Rufus:


The pattern is Elijah by Ysolda Teague, it is a very pleasing pattern to knit. The yarn is Artesano Superwash Merino, a DK weight, and I used 3mm needles. As you can see he is a very erudite elephant 🙂

Next were some socks. I started these before we went to France in June and finally finished in November:


The pattern is Back to Basics by Deb Barnhill, and the yarn is Fortissima Colori – I think the yarn was a present from Mummy, and I used 2.25mm needles. The construction was very interesting, although I had to tinker with the pattern a bit because my yarn was a little thinner than that recommended and my feet are wider than the largest size. The shape has come out not quite right for my feet – the toes are too narrow and the instep a little baggy, but they were an interesting knit.

I finished off the year with some things for Christmas. First a series of hats, these are all made from the Quynn pattern by Woolly Wormhead, using Knit Picks Chroma yarn in different colours, and 4.5mm needles. My tension was a little tighter than that called for in the pattern so I made a larger size for each to have it come out big enough. This pattern makes a lovely cosy hat, the integral ear-flaps are great, and it stays on your head even when it is windy 🙂

First for my eldest niece Jenny:


Next for my nephew Aaron:


Then for my younger niece Holly:


And finally one for me 🙂


Here are the collection:


I also made a Christmas stocking for Holly for her first Christmas.

HollyStocking1 HollyStocking2

I used Cascade 220 yarn and 3mm needles to give a nice firm fabric.

I have finished a couple of other projects so far this year, but I need to get my act together and photograph them. Also this seems a suitable time to pause since this post is already getting unmanageably huge!

Vitamin D

Yet another finished knitting project! I am beginning not to recognise myself. Don’t worry I shall be back to my usual very slow projects now.


The pattern is Vitamin D by Heidi Kirrmaier, the yarn is my handspun 80% alpaca, 20% merino. I used 3mm needles, and 648g, 1356m yarn.


I tinkered with the pattern a bit because my yarn was a bit different to that called for in the pattern. I tried knitting my yarn on the recommended needles (3.5mm), but although the tension I was getting was just right I really didn’t like the feel of the fabric. My yarn was spun rather tightly (something I need to work on!) and on the larger needles instead of a lovely drapey fabric it just felt like knitted string – not nice! So after a bit of experimenting I ended up using 3mm needles. My fabric was quite a bit denser than the pattern recommended, but I thought the stitches looked better.

This meant I had to alter things a little so that the cardigan would fit me. I made the XL size, but also added in an extra row of increases in the yoke, and made the armholes deeper and the sleeves wider. I also added in an extra set of short rows to make the whole thing longer (I generally like my cardies to be long).

It was fun to knit. It is an interesting construction. You start at the neck and knit downwards. Knitting the sleeves first and then the body. The body has decorative eyelets (which don’t show up that well because my yarn was rather hairy and my fabric fairly dense), which also add circular yoke shaping. The sleeves are raglan. The short row shaping makes the fronts roughly quarter-circles.

It is very cosy and comfortable to wear – I especially like that the shoulders stay on even when the cardigan is worn open. I find so many cardigans I try on slip off one shoulder if I actually move at all. I like the idea of the drapey fronts but am not totally convinced that they like me. I am still on the search for a flattering cardi, I’m not sure that this is it – but I shall be wearing it a lot anyway because it is so lovely and snuggly 🙂

Blue Baroque Socks

It has been a busy week and a half since we came back from France. First a few days with my Mum, dragging her along to a couple of spinning group meetings. Then we went to visit my uncle and auntie, and then to some friends.

After having dropped her off for her next holiday, we had a day to ourselves, and then went to help my parents in law move house. Or get in the way while they moved house 🙂

I had to have a day off after that! Then this week has been spent catching up on everything. There is still some way to go!

One of the things I have managed to catch up on is to photograph my latest finished pair of socks.


The pattern is Baroque (a free pattern from Knitty). The yarn is handspun merino 3ply, the fibre was bought from Wingham Woolwork, but I don’t think it is part of their standard range. It is actually made from two very similar shades of navy blended together which makes it look like one colour, but it has a bit more depth than a totally flat one colour fibre. I used 2.25mm needles and made the large size, and used 123g which is 300m.BlueBaroqueSocks2

These were good fun to knit and I am very pleased with them. The yarn shows the pattern well – it was quite firmly twisted so shows up the cables.

These did take me quite a while, I started them back in February. The pattern is quite dense with all the small twisted stitch cables, and so there are a lot of rows to the centimetre. Also knitting in navy in the winter wasn’t the world’s greatest plan 🙂

I nearly managed to shock you with two finished projects, but the other one is going back to the drawing board. I have been making the most simple Faroese shawl (just garter stitch with some eyelets round the edges) from Myrna Stahman’s Faroese Shawl book. I have been jiggling around with the shaping though to suit my yarn (a merino/tencel 4ply I dyed a few years ago), not entirely successfully. I widened the back panel which I think has worked, but made the shoulders wider and I think I have over-done it.


These pictures don’t show the worst of it, but it really looks like I should take up American Football or join the cast of Dynasty with shoulders like that.FaroeseShawl2

Because the shoulder shaping extends beyond my own shoulders by about an inch on each side it just emphasises that my shoulders are rather narrow and rounded. When I was doing my calculations I failed to take into account just how much the tencel would make the fabric drape once I had finished the whole shawl. I measured it all when it was only about 6 inches down (you knit this one from the top), and it seemed to be going fine, but of course at that point it didn’t have the weight of the other 250g of yarn pulling the shoulders down.

Anyway, the upshot is that I am going to undo it back to the shoulders and do some recalculations. The good news is that I really enjoyed knitting it the first time, it is a lovely slinky yarn but the merino adds enough elasticity to make it easy to knit with. I’m sure I shall enjoy it just as much the second time around (actually this is the third, but the first attempt had the shoulders far too small and didn’t actually get very far).

Escadaria socks

The Great Sort Out is still coming along. I am definitely making inroads, but there is a long way to go still. I am looking forward to getting to the City and Guilds work currently buried on the dining table and making another good stab at that, it has been on pause for too long.

In amongst the sorting I have managed a little bit of slow knitting, a couple of rows here and there. It is surprising what can be accomplished with a few sessions of waiting for appointments, the odd 20 bars rest at band, and a bit of skyping to my sister in New York – ah the delights of hands-free phoning – and with the web-cam I can bore her rigid with my knitting too 🙂 Their weather sounds even more horrid than ours, the hats I knitted for my niece and nephew for Christmas are getting a good work-out 🙂

Anyway, I have actually finished some socks (shock horror!). I am finding socks to be a conveniently achievable size of project at the moment, and have the added bonus of being very portable, hence I do actually work on them.


The pattern is called Escadaria (I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce it), and came from Sockupied, Spring 2011, one of the eMags from Interweave. I made the middle size (9in circumference), used 2.25mm needles and the yarn is some 75% superwash merino, 25% seacell fibre dyed by Fluff n Stuff and spun into a 3ply by me. Conveniently I used almost exactly the whole skein – only a couple of metres were left at the end.


The pale flashes are bits of the seacell which I didn’t manage to distribute evenly when I was spinning.

The yarn has come out rather hard and somewhat inelastic, although it is mostly wool it feels and looks like a mercerized cotton. This is something I am keen to work on with my spinning in the coming months. I would like to be able to spin a more elastic, squashier yarn. I am looking forward to some practising!

Hopefully in this case the fact that the yarn is quite strong should be a help rather than a hinderance, and will hopefully make the socks wear better. Also the very smooth solid nature of the yarn shows up the lace pattern well. I enjoyed knitting these, although I wasn’t that keen on the little pretend-cable pattern on the leg, and I didn’t really like the way the heel was done – the joins seemed a bit messy. It is fun trying out some different patterns, and different ways of working heels and toes. I am getting a feel for which I like to work, and how well different shapes fit my feet.

Back to the sorting I think. This week hopefully should see me finish cataloguing the rest of my knitting books.

First finished projects of 2013

Happy New Year! I hope that 2013 has got off to a good start for everyone. I have been plodding along with the Great Sort Out. The pile of magazines and books on my arm of the settee is still large but is decreasing by the day. It is now less likely to spontaneously avalanche and bury one (or both) of us alive.

I have been knitting away in the background. More socks from my handspun. I seem to be having a purple phase at the moment.


These are my first toe-up socks, and it was great fun! The pattern is called Having Hope by Diane Mulholland.


I used 2.5mm needles and 96g / 272m of handspun Southdown wool, and made the medium size.


Southdown is one of the softest of the down breeds of sheep, but it isn’t nearly as soft as merino or blue-faced leicester. It is very springy though, which should hopefully make good socks, and which shows the pattern up well. Hopefully it should wear well too. I like the way the colours have come out, a bit of variation for interest, but not so much that it obscures the pattern, and not too pink 🙂


The next pair used a pattern called Nemesis by Susan Dittrich (named for the Agatha Christie book).


Again I used 2.5mm needles, and made the larger size. As you can see I ran out of yarn on the toe of the second sock. I used a total of 125g / 280m. Most of the yarn is a handspun blend of merino wool in purples and greens from Wingham. I used a bit of the purple Southdown for the second toe. The socks will be in my shoes most of the time so I am going to call the different coloured toe an interesting design feature 🙂

I am looking forward to wearing both of these pairs of socks. I suspect the merino pair will wear less well over time, but I am enjoying experimenting with spinning for socks and seeing how the results come out. I am also getting a better feel for how much yarn I need for a pair of socks for me, which is handy for the future.