Kina cardigan

Kina cardiA commute-knit, this short sleeved cardigan for Marina was pretty quick – think I started it in November and finished it just before Christmas.

Kina cardi front

It’s a beautifully simple pattern by a french brand called Kids Tricot (which I found on ravelry) and the finished garment has a lovely shape. The knitting itself is simple: mostly stocking stitch with a garter stitch border all round. You knit top-down from the cast-on neckline. The complicated bits – and they’re not hard to master – are the increase rows, the short rows to make the cap sleeve edging and the button hole.  Very very simple, and utterly satisfying as the entire garment just appears in front of you, fully formed. So if you can knit, purl and increase, try it – it would give you the biggest ego boost! Try it! The translation english could do with the tiniest of tweaks, but that’s me being a real fusspot.

Kina cardi button closeup

The only complicated bit, was using a different yarn than the recommended one – I used DK Rowan Cotton Glace yarn, so ALL the stitch quantities had to be recalculated. The pattern says a gauge of 26 stitches, whereas my gauge required only 18 stitches to create 10cm of stocking stitch with 5mm needles. So I twiddled and fiddled and diddled and scribbled and finally realised all the stitch quantities simply needed to be multiplied by 0.7, which gave me the right dimensions. But if you look at my printed-out pattern that shows my working out, you’ll see it took about four goes to get right! That’s not counting the false start using 4mm needles }:(

Kina cardi pattern scribbles

Kina cardi back


All in all it was a really inspiring knit – dead easy and very satisfying, especially as the yarn was repurposed from an infant sweater and hat I made for Marina last winter. Anyhoo, I’m thinking of doing a longer version as a dress, with slightly puffier sleeves.

Kina cardi action shot

And the pattern goes up to 12 years, so, providing my enthusiasm lasts, looks like Marina is saddled with a WHOLE DECADE of hand-knit short sleeved cardigans!


Lilac Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap

lilac norwegian sweet baby cap

Nice bit of forward thinking: winter will be upon us and Little Miss will need a hat. Last winter, the only hat that actually remained on her head had a chin strap. It was a hand-me-down from my beloved sister-out-of-law and it kept both my niece & nephew warm through 70s Bavarian winters.

So, I hunt about for a similar pattern and find the Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap – then get some soft Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino wool in a light lilac (340051) from John Lewis.

Using DK instead of the recommended “baby weight” (which is what exactly?) means my gauge is all out of whack so I adjust it by

  • casting on only 107 stitches
  • using 4mm needles
  • on the increase/decrease row, reduce the stitches between increase/decrease to 15, 16, 16, 16, 16, 15.

NB These adjustments are part measurement, part guesswork – I’m no deft mathematician, nor experienced gauge calculator. I just choose the needle size cos they are the smallest circular needles I have. The stitch looks ok so I knit a few rounds in garter stitch as per the instructions, then try it on Little Miss’s head. It’s clearly too big, so I mark out how many stitches go round her head and start again casting on fewer stitches. Then divvy up the non-increase/decrease stitches as evenly as I can.

I keep trying the hat on her as I go, so make only two further adjustments:

  • only repeat the increase/decrease row 8 times
  • add a 10 row garter stitch chinstrap with two cast-off buttonholes.
Overall, it’s a really simple pattern, if you know how to knit, purl, increase and decrease. And it finishes up satisfyingly quickly, speeding up rapidly as you decrease towards the wee point.
Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap strap closeup

I locate a silver metal button that I *think* came from a dirndl skirt of my mother’s (she lived in the Austrian/German alps for a chunk of the sixties). My older brother recognised it immediately anyway (“Wow”, he said), and he’s not a button kind of guy.

Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap button closeup

Problem. The hat has not stayed on Little Miss’s head for more than two seconds. Hence no modelled pics. Any tips?

—————————–* – * —————————–


A week after completion and the hat stays ON.

Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap side

Could it have anything to do with the hypnotic qualities of CBeebies?

Happy Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap

A sugar high?

Playground norwegian sweet baby cap

Or the sudden drop in temperature over the weekend?

Who cares! Result! Pics!

Knit in a New York moment

LondonNY scarf

Finished! The LondonNY scarf.

Orange: Cascade Magnum, 100% Pure Wool, totally chunky. The poetically-named colour 9465B. From Purl in Soho, NYC.
Pink: Gedifra Highland Alpaca, 50% alpaca, 50% Andean Highland Wool, pretty chunky too. Lyrically-monickered colour 5945*. From John Lewis, Oxford Street, London.

*NB to self: change future work ambition of “being on paint colour-naming panel” to “being on wool colour-naming panel. Sounds like FUN! Bet they’re just high ALL day and shouting out the coolest, creativest four-digit combinations they can think of! But of course someone would have to be sober to write down these moments of genius, so they don’t all get forgotten in the cold light of day. That would probably be me, then.

See full size image

Pattern: Devised from the cunning and creativity of my own mind: reliable garter stitch all the way on 17 stitches.  

LondonNY heart chartLondonNY roundel chart

I got fancy trying to reproduce the ‘♥’ from ‘I♥NY’ and the London Underground roundel in stocking stitch, to mark the transatlantic sourcing of each wool. Not entirely obvious, to the untrained eye, but *I* know they’re there.

LondonNY heart with outlineLondonNY roundel with outline 

And it reminds me of an utterly magic 10 November days spent in NYC with my dear friend MHS. Thanking you and yours in my ♥, MHS.

Needles: the wooden whoppers – 11-12mm. They have no markings on them so I guess they came from somewhere in the Alps – they were part of my mother’s knitting basket when I was a child, and my family had lived in Germany/Austria for years just before I was born. Who knows? They have a soft feel to them and don’t make the wool squeak, which makes for pleasing knitting.

LondonNY scarf felted join

Can you see the join?

New thing(s) tried: joining the two yarns using a felted join. You splay out about an inch of each yarn end, dampen them both, lay one over the other, then vigorously roll them together between your palms for half a minute or so.

The first tutorial I watched recommended having a handy glass of water nearby to dip your two yard ends into – the moistness is necessary to make the felting hold. I just thought this was impossibly mimsy, and couldn’t be arsed to get up, so opted to suck the wool instead. Coughed for minutes afterwards trying to get strands of alpaca out the back of my throat. Ugh.

Then, feeling pleased with self, held up newly felted-joined wool, told hubby ‘look how strong this join is’ while yanking the yarns apart, hard. Broke instantly. Buffoon.

Verdict: lovely wools to work with, brilliant pattern ;). So, so fast to knit up – no brainers like this are like salve to the creative soul.

scarf in snow scene

And it’s a soft, snuggy, happy scarf that makes me feel warm inside and out!

Apple green weskit – from scratch

Finally finished – a wee green weskit started some time last winter or maybe earlier this year? I can’t remember.

Halfway through, I notice the sides are both longer AND shorter than the back, and stop. An October trip to Scotland – complete with ‘need to amuse oneself ‘ component – presents itself, so I unravel the offending sides and bung the the whole lot in my suitcase.

The label on this Cygnet SERIOUSLY Chunky 100% Acrylic is not untrue: it is SERIOUSLY chunky. Knit up on size 0 (8mm) wooden needles, the two – now equally sized – fronts take me a short Friday afternoon to reknit.  The remaining neck band knits up in a Saturday afternoon, and the rest is wrestled together with a HUGE darning needle on Sunday morning. 

Apple green weskit Oct 09

I’m not really accustomed to such thick wool – my thumb muscles ache and my shoulders groan. Add the combination of acrylic and wooden needles is set-your-teeth-on-edge squeaky, and the whole knit experience goes very well with feeling a bit crabby – it doesn’t alleviate the mood, just allows you to live it out and explore it in depth.

Rowan's Saffron pattern

The pattern is a slightly lengthened version of ‘Saffron‘ from Rowan’s 2007 newshapes – I just added approx 8 more rows to the body before embarking on all the armhole/neck decreasing. Overall it’s an easy pattern to follow, and knits up gratifyingly superfast. Plus you get the chance to try out with different types of making up techniques:

  • sewing two different knit styles when joining garter neckband to stocking stitch body
  • mattress stitching the side seams together
  • grafting the shoulders together – both stocking stitch

  • graft the two collars together…

I make up as I went along try a kitchener graft from memory at the top of the collar. It ain’t perfect, but by this stage ‘ain’t perfect’ is quite sufficient, thanks.

If I did it all again, I’d

  • not pose while actually EATING an apple. It make you pull funny faces
  • make the back and fronts in one piece to get rid of the hefty chunk created by side seams
  • use metal needles not wooden
  • do the kitchener graft right this time. Knit, purl,  purl, knit.

December plans

Fully recovered from the gut-aching disappointment at the iDye not taking to my much-loved Carnival Coat, I am researching having it dyed professionally. It’s the run-up to Christmas and I cannot separate the thought of heaving saucepans of boiling dye about my small kitchen from the spectre of the Accident & Emergency department. Must do something quick though, as my current winter coat gapes obscenely through a busted zip, and is too worn to warrant replacing the zip.

To you lovely folks who offered me support and encouragement throughout the dyeing debacle: BIG, heartfelt thanks. I washed it and washed it and washed it and ALL the dye came out except on the decorative stitching. I resent buying dye that contains no fixative. Boo to iDye.

Full of seasonal crafting plans – and awareness of limited time to do this AND work around the creaky British postal service. On this list are:

  • a medium-level ambitious present for my lovely friend MHS, who just hosted my 10-day November visit to NYC, and has a birthday coming up. Just awaiting arrival of the Bernina Walking Foot with 6 rollers then I can get cracking… (in progress, 06 Dec 09 – abandoned 20 Dec when Bernina Walking Foot fails to arrive in post. Meh.)
  • finish off knitted bear hat for MHS’s husband so he stops pinching the one I made for his daughter

  • find a pattern for the gorgeous orange wool I bought from purlsoho in New York. Very excited to see their amazing range and beautiful shop.  But I have to say, slightly disappointed in my sole less-than-superb customer service experience in NYC. I was helped to find the wool, asked if I was ready to pay, then ignored for 5 minutes for a phone call, then abandoned totally for a chat with colleagues and winding wool on some elaborate contraption. I stood like lemon for 8 minutes until another assistant was free to take my money. Meh.
  • fess up to Wardrobe Refashion to clothes shopping while in NYC – it took a while before I took the plunge, but I’m glad I did…
  • festive strigine banners (in progress, 06 Dec 09 – √ done 20 Dec 09)
  • converting a cute bracelet into a ribbon necklace
  • pyjamas for my patient husband and brother
  • tell you about completed culottes and weskit. Both longtime stash residents, finally graduated to wardrobe (√ done, 06 Dec 09).

Now, just need to hunt about for a bit of spare time, then we get started!

About me

I started this blog to help me Get Things Done: sewing and knitting mostly.
But now I have a daughter! So I continue to daydream in enormous detail about what I'd like to make, but squeeze the 'doing' into precious naptimes and evenings.

Can I keep it up? Time will tell!

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