Thursday, 26 November 2015

My First Jumper: Neckline and Shoulders

Things are taking shape

It's happening! My first jumper is taking shape and I am loving it. I am very much aware of how long it will take me to finish this project. Finishing a round is taking a while - and I am still increasing every other round by 4 stitches, so this will take longer and longer as I progress.

As you can see, I have started adding red to the grey and it was very fiddly at the start. I hope the tension is okay. My stranded knitting can be rather disappointing when working on small projects, so goodness knows what this jumper will be like in the end. At the time of writing, I am actually nearly done with this pattern section and am just about to knit only in red. It's exciting!

Proof that I do use my own stitch markers

I am using my new ChiaoGoo interchangeable needles for this project and I think I will have to buy another cable and a connector soon because the jumper is getting wider. I won't be able to try it on unless I have a longer cable. Using these needles is a lot of fun and I haven't had any problems with them at all.

The yarn is beautiful to work with, too. Cascade 220 Superwash is definitely on my list for future jumpers, should this one turn out okay. It is very soft and feels wonderful while knitting. The fabric you get is beautiful, too, and I can just imagine wearing this jumper next to the skin and loving it. I am glad I gave this yarn a go at last, it is definitely worth trying to get your hands on it if you can. Let's hope the fabric will remain as good as it is now once it has been washed.

Seen from the wrong side

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Knitting and Crochet Inspiration: Winter

For us knitters, autumn is the time we think about what to knit that will keep us warm in winter. While we are having a very mild autumn where I am (and I am not complaining), the dreaded winter cold is always looming in the back of my mind. So if like me you need some knitting and crochet inspiration, I have put together four patterns that appealed to me during my recent forages through Ravelry's bottomless database. Enjoy!

 1. Nothing screams cosy winter nights like Snow White's cardigan. I love the colour and patterning of the yoke. It's the perfect piece for the season so I just had to show it to you. The pattern is available for free in English and Norwegian.

2. Ysolda Teague's Cadeautje features an intriguing bit of thrumming that is very easy to do, but I have not yet tried. Thrumming, as demonstrated by Ysolda herself in her Technique Thursday post, results in extremely cosy slippers that will keep your feet toasty no matter the weather. One day I will have to give these a go myself!

3. If you're tired of knitting, how about crocheting this festive bauble instead? Snow Swells is an intermediate pattern that won't take too long to finish. If you hurry, you might have enough to hang on your tree come Christmas.

4. These Snow Flurry Mittens are beautiful and I am loving that turquoise. The colour combination definitely makes me think of crisp winter days with deep layers of snow. This pattern is available in one size with two different lengths, so check any measurement on the pattern page to make sure they will fit you.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Waiting to Cast On: My first Jumper

Now, I don't know about you, but jumpers (or sweaters for you are the most daunting thing for me when it comes to knitting. On the whole they are no different from other knits: you have a pattern and you go ahead and knit it. Yet there is so much customisation involved in knitting a jumper that is meant to fit me that I haven't dared to try it yet.

Now this is going to change. I jumped in at the deep end an bought a sackful of yarn. Literally. I went for Cascade 220 Superwash in ruby red and charcoal. I had to guess how much I'd need, but I feel quite confident that 15 balls in total should be enough even for my size. I may be wrong, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.

I have narrowed down my pattern search to two possibilities: I will either design my own jumper based on the formula in the Big Girl Knits books I have or, ideally, I'll give the Pixelated Pullover by Jennifer Beaumont a go.

Source: Pixelated Pullover

A fellow knitter at #knittinghour on Twitter posted a link to this jumper and I love it. I spent a lot of time going through everyone's projects there to see which colour combinations people have chosen. My favourite is the one in dark blue, grey and yellow - so unusual and striking. 

So Pixelated is my first choice now, I have finished my swatch and that's quite an achievement considering I hate doing that and usually just wing it, but this jumper is supposed to fit, so I better do things properly. Mind, it may take ages to finish this jumper and I am not sure I will finish it by the end of the year. 

Right now I am taking a Craftsy class, Curvy Knits by Marly Bird, to learn how to make changes to patterns so that the finished jumper will fit well in the right places. Once I have finished this class I will finally be able to cast on. I have to say I am very tempted to cast on already and at least start with the neckline - not a lot of alterations needed there. We'll see how long I can resist.

Do you remember knitting your first jumper? How did it go? Let me know your top tips!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Elefante: The Cutest Knitted Elephant There Ever Was

Can you believe I found yet another project I never blogged about? How did this happen? Somehow I missed out a few knitted toys and am playing catch up now that I have noticed their absence.

Exactly a year ago, I finally knitted Elefante, a pattern I had had on my to-knit list for a very long time. It is the perfect project for using up yarn scraps, which is exactly what I did. You can see a huge number of Elefante made by other knitters on Ravelry to get an idea of what colours might go well together in this pattern. 

The odd thing is that I always had the impression this was a small elephant, but it is in fact quite large! I was surprised when I finished the body and wondered how much bigger the final toy would be. Turns out it is pretty big for something that looks so small on photos. This does not distract from its cuteness, though, and I love it. As you can see, I used small black buttons for eyes and I am especially happy with the crocheted ears (finding a bit of crochet in the pattern was a bit of a surprise), the tail and the way the colours have lined up.

Doesn't it look cute when it is stood up on its legs (love those legs) and its trunk? It stands up very well and can sit up, too. You will need quite a lot of toy filling for this. It is amazing how much stuffing is needed to give Elefante a decent shape. 

This is an easy toy to knit so if you are comfortable knitting in the round, give it a go. And if you aren't, this could be a great opportunity to get to grips with DPNs.

Have you knitted any toys lately or are you perhaps making some as Christmas gifts this year? Let me know!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Finlay the Fox: Armless and Stubby Tailed

Poor little Finlay. He did not turn out the way he was meant to. If you read my last post, you will remember that I mentioned being rather unlucky with knitting kits. Finlay was the first kit I got as part of Knit Now magazine and it didn't go well at all.

As you can see, Finlay has no arms, unfortunately. He does have a tail, but it is a little stumpy compared to what the pattern called for, but I ran out of orange yarn so quickly that I had to stop before his tail was at its full size. These are my projects note from Ravelry at the time:
Rubbish kit from Knit Now. It does not contain eyes or yarn for the features, but only the two main colours of the body. Also, there isn’t enough of the orange yarn and my fox has therefore got no arms and less orange in the tail. Very disappointed. Contacted the magazine to see what they say. Yarn could have been saved by knitting in the round instead of flat. The ears should be pointier. I used some dark blue scrap yarn for the face.
Obviously, I was not a happy bunny! I was contacted by the editor of Knit Now who happened to see my Finlay on Ravelry and she said she would send me more yarn. That never happened, so I completely forgot to blog about this project at the time. It's been exactly a year since I finished him so it is high time he made an appearance, don't you think?

Despite his armlessness and stubby tail, Finlay is fun anyway and he is perfectly at home with all my other knitted creatures. 

Have you ever had problems with a kit? What did you do?

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Santa Knitting Kit from Let's Knit Magazine

Not long now till Christmas! I assume you are knee deep in seasonal gift knitting right now. I have to admit that I am not knitting at all for Christmas this year and have decided to just knit for myself instead. It's not that seasonal gift knitting has ever been particularly stressful for me so far, but I no longer have as much time to knit now that I have a new(ish) job. Though I must say that buying the right present for people seems unusually difficult for me this time around. Somehow knitting was easier.

Anyway, I wanted to show you my little knitted Santa that came as a knitting kit with Let's Knit Magazine in October. One weekend I felt the need to buy all Christmas craft magazines I liked the look of and so this magazine became part of the loot. I am very happy with this little Santa despite a few problems. It turns out that the pattern got the yarn colours wrong and I ended up knitting Santa with a black face at first. I thought that was meant to be his belt so his head would be added separately and didn't spot the error till I finished that section. Sadly, there were no clear pictured of what was hidden under his beard or I wold have realised the mistake right away.

The kit contained slightly too little yarn as well. This always happens to me! (Actually, I wanted to add a link here to another kit that contained too little yarn, but I realised I never blogged about it because it was so frustrating. I shall have to add a post about it soon.) Luckily, Santa had enough yarn for me to finish up all the pieces. The final arm had to be sewn on with some leftover sock yarn I happened to have in a similar shade.

I am not sure about his boots, though. I would have made them round instead of long, I think, just to make them look neater. Other than that I am very happy with him and he is now sitting on my desk at work, making sure I don't behave too naughtily. 

Did you knit this kit as well? Please leave your links in the comments so we can all have a look.