knitting

Three new things

I’ve been working on building up my wardrobe of winter clothes, as well as sewing some distraction projects – the ones that I feel like sewing as opposed to actually needing!

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I’ll start with the things in the ‘need’ category. This Grainline Studio Driftless cardigan is so cozy!! I made it with the same merino blend fabric as this dress. It was heavily inspired by Lisa’s version, posted on the Tessuti blog, where she used the wrong side of a thickish knit. I wasn’t brave enough to go all-in with the wrong side so instead I just used it for the hem, cuff and front bands. It’s very warm and each time I wear it I feel like I’m wearing a big hug. What could be better?

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The cowl is another essential item, but I knitted it way back in March. At the time I had a major obsession with this colour, rusty red, which admittedly I’m still in love with. I found my dream pattern/yarn combo with the Elena cowl and Quince and Co Chickadee. The cables look impressive but they were simple and fun to knit. The colour is bold but seems to go with everything in my wardrobe.

Now for the top that I probably didn’t need but that I really love!

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This is a Rachel Comey for Vogue pattern. I’ve probably said this here before but I LOVE Rachel Comey. I want to own/wear pretty much everything she designs. This pattern (Vogue 1503) came out in the most recent release from Vogue, along with some other beauties, all of which I snapped up in a hurry. Recently I made my first version of this pattern out of some linen scraps (posted on Instagram) and pretty soon I decided to made a second one.

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The coolest feature of this design is probably the shoulder, where the back overlaps to the front. It’s very simple to construct but is a really great detail. The sleeve cuffs and front ruffle are also bonuses in my book.

For this version I used some Marimekko linen that I had been coveting for some time. It was pricey so I only bought 0.8m! Pattern matching was out of the question, and I had to use the selvedge at the CB and the sides of the ruffle. One of the sleeves is cut on the cross grain, and due to fabric shortages I used a black linen from my stash for the lower back and the cuffs. The scraps from this top are non existent.

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I kind of like how you can see the designer’s name on the CB join. The laundering instructions from the selvedge are visible on one of the side seams but I’m just rolling with it.

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The only drawback to this pattern is that the armholes are cut quite low, so range of motion is slightly impaired, but only if you want to do some arm swings. I like the way that it fits with my arms down and it’s still very comfortable, so I didn’t make any adjustments. I’d guess that raising the armhole would not have helped my range of motion issues considering how loose this is under the arms anyway. This is a Vogue size 12 which is the size that corresponds to my measurements. I’m happy with the fit but some people might want to size down depending on ease preferences.

So there you have it! Two cozy things and one thing that I just felt like sewing. Now back to sewing the pile of merino tees that I actually need 🙂

 

A Penguin Sweater

My latest knitting project is the Humboldt Sweater from Anna Maltz’s incredible book of knitting patterns, Penguin. As soon as I first laid eyes on this book I was in love! Every project is unique and interesting. I immediately coveted a Humboldt of my own and got to work finding some local Kiwi wool.

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NZ has a lot of sheep. I was on the plane recently and during an idle moment took part in the quiz that they play on the inflight TV screens. I learned that we have roughly six sheep per person (30 million sheep). I’ve been on a real NZ-made kick lately, seeking out shoes and knitwear that’s been made locally. It made sense that I should also find local knitting yarn given the high ruminant population around here! Pretty quickly I found Ashford Tekapo, a hardworking yarn that’s been around for ages and is named for the very beautiful Lake Tekapo. Colour choice was extremely tricky and a lot of dithering took place before I settled on the colours that Anna used in her sample, white and charcoal. Not very original! But why mess with perfection?!

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Humboldt is named for a type of penguin, and given the fact that I saw a Little Blue Penguin while swimming at this beach last summer (smallest penguin in the world!) it was a good excuse to take photos here. Also, a nice day for a walk.

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Humboldt features a technique called Marlisle. It’s a cross between marled and Fair Isle. Two yarn weights/colours are held together the majority of the time, and occasionally only the heavier yarn is used, in this case white, to create the pattern on the front and the decorative raglan sleeves. Anna puts it much better, and more eloquently, here. The whole garment is knit in garter stitch, resulting in a very cozy fabric with lots of body. I love the way that this sweater holds its shape. I think that this thick fabric works especially well in a cropped, boxy design like this.

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For now I’m wearing it over jeans and a Marthe top, but am seeking ideas for an appropriate dress pattern to go under it. I like the idea of a gathered skirt coming out from underneath and I might do another Simplicity 1366 bodice with a gathered skirt in some sort of winter weight fabric. I am finding winter dress-wearing quite tricky as I refuse to wear a slip and skirts keep sticking to my tights! I should probably just get over my slip phobia and get on with it 🙂

Anybody else knitting at the moment? Any exciting projects on the go?

 

Knitted things

I’m on a cold weather holiday at the moment, so to prepare for it I made myself some cozy new clothes. Most were sewn, but some were knitted. Over the next few weeks I’m planning to share what I made as I wear it, but for now I’ll start with some woollies!

Bellbird/Elsa

I knitted this cowl from a lovely Rowan wool, Cocoon, an early Christmas present from my Mum. It’s such a gorgeously soft wool, being 80% wool and 20% mohair. It sheds a lot so I end up looking extra hairy, but I’ll accept that in exchange for a warm neck!

Bellbird/Elsa

The pattern I used is Elsa by Carrie Bostick Hoge. It features a beautiful herringbone pattern, and knit up so quickly in the bulky cocoon. Although the final product looks complicated, it was really simple to knit and very easy to memorise.

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The jersey I’m wearing is the Lila pattern, also by Carrie Bostick Hoge. What a talented lady! I absolutely love this pattern and would knit it again in a heartbeat. I really like the interest added by the garter edging and curved hem, but the simplicity of the shape makes it easy to wear with just about anything.

Bellbird/Lila

For this, I used a merino/possum blend called Zealana Heron from Holland Road Yarn in Wellington. I had never used this yarn before, but I’m really pleased with the way it knitted up. It’s very soft and a bit fuzzy due to the possum, but somehow feels quite hardy at the same time. I would definitely knit with it again, especially since possums are a huge pest at home in NZ. Let’s just say I’m doing my bit for the environment by buying this stuff!

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All in all I’m pleased with this knit, although next time I will make the underarms a bit deeper as I hate things to be snug there. Also I will do a stretchier bind off on the neck. Maybe it’s not too late to fix this one but it will have to wait until I get home.

Hope you enjoyed this little knit-erlude! I’ll be back soon with more travel makes!

Sundottir in Wellington

It’s time for me to admit that not a lot of sewing has been happening around here! Today I present the main reason why…. my new Sundottir jersey.

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This jersey is my second completed knitted garment! I am rather pleased with it. The wool (Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Long Johns) was given to me for my birthday by Ben, who also patiently took these blog photos on a recent visit to Wellington. If you’re a New Zealander then you’ll know that Wellington is wild of weather, so it was the perfect place to debut my new woolly jumper. Thankfully the wind and rain abated for a time and I was able to get some nice photos by the harbour. As they say, you can’t beat Wellington on a good day.

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I really enjoyed knitting this jersey! Throughout the whole process I just couldn’t wait to wear it, which is always a great motivator. The wool is very soft, much softer than the Lett Lopi that I used for my Strokkur, however I do think that it will have a tendency to pill a bit. I really love the deep red of this wool and it’s quickly becoming a favourite colour. For my next knitted project I’m thinking about making a dark red cardigan to wear over dresses, however at this rate I’ll never do any sewing again, so I might take a bit of a knitting break over the next few weeks.

I think we can all agree that no trip is complete without a haberdashery purchase of some kind. I got these five vintage Vogue sewing patterns at the Minerva craft bookshop for $20! Woooo! So much great style inspiration! My younger sister is getting married next year and I already have grand plans to make something to wear from one of these beauties.

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On the fabric front I picked up this cream and black striped cotton jersey, with which I might make a tshirt, as well as a lovely mottled silk in pink and mauve tones. Any ideas for what I should make with that? I only got 1.5m so it’ll probably have to be a top of some description. Oh and I found two lovely buttons!

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I’m sure both will be relegated to my stash for a little while. The cupboard is bursting at the seams with amazing fabric, which is both a beautiful and overwhelming thing! How do you decide what to make next when you have an embarrassment of riches from which to choose??? I feel a bit paralysed. Must…stop….buying…fabric….

Anyway I’ll finish up with a photo I took of Wellington’s Oriental Bay. What a view!

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Strokkur!

I knitted my first jersey! This is the Strokkur pattern by Ysolda Teague.

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I had so much fun knitting this. I am fairly new to knitting, having only knitted a very simple hat and half of a cardigan (currently lingering in the unfinished object zone), so I’ll admit that it was a slightly ambitious project to take on. The educational potential of YouTube is unlimited though, so with the help of numerous videos I had no trouble knitting this up.

Throughout all my years of sewing, knitting always seemed kind of slow and a bit boring. However there is a lot to be said for it, I am discovering! For one thing, it is so portable! You can take it anywhere. Planes, trains, your couch while watching TV. Also, the slow pace allows for plenty of learning on the job. There is no potential for ruinous foot pedal acceleration or overlocker mishap in knitting! Plus, wool is just so beautiful.

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The wool recommended for this pattern is Lett Lopi, an Icelandic yarn. It turns out that Icelandic sheep are pretty special! For centuries there has been only one breed of sheep on the island, and over time it has evolved under exposure to the sub-arctic climate. The Icelandic sheep have a tough water repellent outer layer of wool with a softer insulating layer underneath. As you can see in the photo above, the wool has lots of hairy bits, for want of a better description! It does feel a bit scratchy to wear, however it doesn’t bother me, and with a light top on underneath I don’t notice it at all. It will certainly be cozy this winter.

I had a great deal of trouble choosing colours for this project. I ordered the wool online (here), so it was impossible to judge the true nature of the colours, especially my main colour. I didn’t want a black sweater, more of a natural brown one, and to my delight the colour I chose (black sheep heather) is an un-dyed brownish black. I think it looks great with the high contrast yoke!

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I definitely want to make another one of these. Next time I think I’ll take inspiration from Jaime’s gorgeous version and use rust colours. Check out my Ravelry notes here for technical deets!