Here Be Snaw!

Despite the fact it’s mid-March, there was snow to be seen in some parts of Yorkshire yesterday. Not our part, alas – and it always feels like you’ve been a bit short-changed when it’s cold enough to snow but you don’t actually get any.

Nonetheless, this is just an excuse to segue nicely into a trio of finished objects that were actually finished during the Christmas break. I have no excuse for having not shown them off earlier other than what appears to be the unplanned blogging hiatus that I seem to have taken. Life just does take over sometimes and I’ve found it tricky enough to keep up with everything in my RSS feeds, never mind writing content of my own.

Without further ado, to the finished objects!

I purchased the yarn for Kate Davies Snawheid and matching Snawpaws sometime around Christmas 2012. I bought some lovely Excelana yarn (one of the recommend yarns for the patterns) from Baa Ram Ewe in Headingley. I almost never use the recommended yarn but I was after a proper, woolly yarn and hadn’t yet tried Excelana so it worked out perfectly. I dithered for ages in the shop over whether to get the red or blue as the main colour. At times like this I’m very glad to have Trev handy to make the decision for me.

Blue.

Even getting started was a bit of an undertaking. I wanted to do the mitts first, to act as the swatch for my hat. A number of people noted that the hat ran small and I have a big head. The last thing you want is to spend all that time knitting a colour work hat and for it not to fit.

I also wanted to alter the mitts quite significantly from the original pattern. I wanted a proper thumb gusset as afterthought thumbs don’t fit me at all well. I wanted to combine both the mitt and mitten into a convertible flip-top number for maximum warmth and utility. And for added awesomeness and the elimination of needing to remove the mittens to use your phone, I wanted to add thumb slits.

How did we do?

And here’s a good close up of that gusset with added snowflake:

I’d say I did pretty good! Ticked all the boxes of what I wanted them to achieve although clearly some of my details could be better. I used an entire ball of blue yarn and just under half a ball of white.

Here’s more detail on my mods:

• Added a thumb gusset

• Knitted the mitt version but make them a convertible flip-top mitten

• Added a small slit on the inside of the thumb so I can use my thumbs for texting without having to fold the mittens down

Notes

• Went up a needle size for both ribbing and main pattern

• Added an extra plain row between pattern repeats – although only on the mitt as I forgot about doing this on the flip top of the mitten – turns out it was probably unnecessary

• Flip top knit as per mitten instructions (3 x snowflakes, decreases then graft shut)

• Started thumb gusset on row 11, inserting increases either side of the final stitch and separating these from the hand stitches with a marker

• Added a single snowflake for interest on the thumb gusset. On the right hand mitten it’s dead centre – the left hand one is a bit skewiff

• Once I had 19 sts, put them on waste yarn and cast on 4 sts to help cover the gap. These 4 sts are then decreased out over the next few rows to return the stitch count to normal

Thumb

• Pick up 5 stitches over the gap, plus 19 on waste yarn – total of 24.

• Knit 1 row plain.

• Decrease 2 sts.

• Repeat these two rows a total of 4 times – 16 sts.

• Bind off 4 sts on 1 row. Next round cast on 4 sts over the gap.

• Knit 5 rows plain.

• K2tog every st around, then knit a row plain.

• Repeat until 4 sts then cut a length of yarn and pull through the 4 sts – securing to the inside

Figuring out how to cast on for the white for the flip-top was a major pain. On reflection, I should have cut the white and joined it back in again. Trying to float it around the palm for ten rows has led to the ribbing being rather inelastic. I may yet cut the floats and weave them in.

Some of my floats across the thumb gusset aren’t great either – you can see lots of white peeking out in several places.

However, for a first attempt, not bad.

Now on to the hat!

I knew I wanted a giant pompom. The pattern includes one and I bought a special pompom maker just for this project. I managed to make one that used up 30g of yarn:

Not perfectly even mind you, but oh so good and woolly.

I went up a needle size for both ribbing and main body of the hat, as per the mittens.

Also tried to knit as loosely as possible with the colourwork to make it easier for the hat to fit my giant heid!

It turned out to be a Pretty quick knit – helped by being off work and multiple movie marathons in the background :) I think over Christmas we watched ALL the Marvel movies in the course of 36 hours, plus Frozen several times and other guilty pleasures such as Enchanted:

# How does she knoooooow…… #

The hat itself used 36g of Cornflower and 20g of Alabaster. The pompom took 29g of Alabaster. Ready for the big reveal?

I have so much love for this hat. I was worried about it being too short/small but it is probably a tiny fraction too long. But it covers my ears and eyebrows nicely and is a dream to wear on winter days. Every time we’ve had snow since Christmas I wear it out of the house on my walk to work and trips around the park – lovely and toasty.

There are some good walks near where we live. We are just around the corner from Roundhay Park which looks lovely even in the winter:

It also features its very own castle which was the backdrop for the photo shoot:

Very random!

Full notes are available on Ravelry for the hat here and the mittens here.

Plenty more updates to come hopefully. While I’ve not been doing much knitting recently as I’ve not really been in the mood for any crafting and when I have, I’ve been mostly spinning and sewing. Nonetheless there’s still a bit to share.

Anyone being blessed/cursed with any snow at the moment?

Still Here

And just like that 4+ months disappears in the blink of an eye! I can hardly believe that it's been so long since I blogged. Scary. But I'm not short of excuses – I'm pretty good when it comes to those :)

In the last few months I've done what are alleged to be two of the three most stressful things you can do – I've changed jobs and we've moved house. Since I can't get married again and the hubster tells me that divorce is off the cards hopefully there shan't be a third!

Now we've spent a couple of months in the new place and I'm starting to get into routines it's getting easier and at some point I'll give a rundown of what we've been up to.

There's been knitting:

Spinning:
Sewing:
And sadness:

I'm certainly not sad to see the back of 2014. It's been a tough year for us both in many ways and we are looking forward to the plans we've made and what we hope 2015 might bring. I certainly need to continue working on getting into (good!) routines and procrastinating less – I've got a lot I need to sink my teeth into and I have to be better at managing my time.

It's been lovely reading about other people's plans for 2015 – does anyone have anything special planned?

Colette Negroni Take 2

A little while back I made Trev a Colette Negroni shirt.

Here's a refresh – it was a success, although we thought it was a bit big on him, but we weren't sure if we could scale down to a medium.

I duly set about measuring Trev and pattern pieces with a tape measure and I worked out that while making a medium would give less ease than planned for in the pattern, I thought it should still fit.

I duly got to work cutting pattern pieces. A shirt such as this has lots of flat felled seams…

And ta-dah!

Pretty happy with it! Omitted the pockets this time, but still cut the back yoke on the bias for a more interesting look.

I couldn't get any of the stripes at the front to match up as this was the worst fabric in the world. After washing, it bunched up in some awful way and no amount of pressing or steaming would get it to lie flat again. You can see some of the wrinkling below, but at least the back yoke is sort of central in terms of the check print.

The shoulder line falls much more in the right place – see the terrible fabric!

I did probably sew the collar upside down. You interface one of the two pieces, and on reflection I should have flipped it the other way around as some of the edge has rolled to this side. But not the biggest problem – I think you'd have to be up close to see this.

Trev's worn the shirt several times since and is very happy with it. I'm sure the faults I have with it will be invisible to most people.

The next plan is to make him a more formal shirt with a collar stand and long sleeves/plackets. Unsure when I'll get around to it as I've got a few bits for myself I want to finish and it's likely we will be moving house in a few months as I'll soon be changing job! Too much to talk about in a single post :)

Lots more sewing to report soon!

Sewaholic Renfrew Number 2

Woop remember Renfrew number 1? I love it so much I decided to make a second one!

This new one, which the camera keeps making look a very odd shade of blue, is actually made from the same material as Renfrew 1, but from the wrong side. As it was a double knit it was solid on one side with the star print on the other, so I was just able to squeak out a version featuring the round neck and long sleeves.

This top featured the same “cheater FBA” that I did on the first one. This time round with it being a solid colour, it's more obvious that I need more room above and beyond what this cheat method has added. See those wrinkles? Next time I will try a proper FBA and see how we get on.

It's also interesting to note that I have the same bagginess at the lower back. If I'm not mistaken, this means I need to do a sway back adjustment. What do you think?

I am very proud of some of the details on this top. I decided to use one contrasting thread with my twin needle, mostly because I couldn't be bothered to wind with another bobbin, but I think it looks quite nice with the pink!

This time around I even managed to get most of my seams to line up. Awesomeness.

I also decided I'd twin-needle/top-stitch the bottom band of the top, for a decorative detail. I think this looks quite nice, but brings me to twin-stitching fail #1 with this top:

  • Make sure you don't have your stitch set to zigzag. If you do, you'll manage to break your £4 needle before you've sewn a single stitch. Oops.

So, a fresh twin needle later, I decided I'd also top-stitch the cuffs. This was trickier we even with using my free arm, it was too tight to do easily – the cuff circumference was just too small. I imagine it'd be easier on the 3/4 length sleeve as they would be a touch wider. But they still look good!

This brings me to top-stitching fail #2 which is less to do with top-stitching and more with my being a dope

  • Remember to lower the presser foot before you start sewing. Sounds so obvious, right?

Yeah, doesn't it look lousy? I should probably have torn it out and started again, but it's on the inside cuff and isn't seen that much.

This was also the first time I used my shiny new walking foot. It certainly seems to help with keeping things nice and even and I'll be sure to use it on all knit projects moving forward.

What I find interesting, having now made two of these, is that knits are meant to be more forgiving, yet I can still see plenty of fit issues I'd like to rectify. I guess some of these fit issues will be standard and I will be able to make them easily to future projects without too much hassle. Still so much learning to do though! But lots more knits in my future. It's been so warm these last few weeks, I really regret having not sewn up more of a summer wardrobe. But there's still time to hopefully knock out a couple more pieces before the weather turns.

I hope :)