Monthly Archives: November 2010

Spud Murphy

Like much of Ireland we’ve been hit by an unusually cold November.  It’s strange to look outside for 3 days in a row and just see snow sitting there.  The cold weather by itself  is kind of fun (in a shivery, slippy sort of way) but the whole house has been hit by some sort of bug over the last week or so.  It started with the youngest and then just kept on moving up the line.  While I didn’t get it too badly my chest doesn’t seem to have quite shaken the last of it.

Thanks to days of less than stellar brainpower coupled with lots of time sitting nursing sad little boys I’ve managed to finish a Christmas cardigan early for my youngest.  Now admittedly as he has tried it on (and tried to replace his school jumper with it this morning!) I don’t think it will be waiting for Christmas.

I used Spud and Chloe Sweater (a request from Lucas …I had one hank in the cupboard and he insisted that it had to be in that yarn!)  It really is great yarn for kid’s machine washable and dryable with fun colors.  In fact between the multiple colors and chunky solid texture of the yarn I felt like I was knitting with crayola crayons (in a good way!)

It was a simple knit but with lots of fun knitterly details … knitted in pockets with I-cord border to match the I-cord buttonholes.  Knit from the bottom up in one piece the stripes were close enough together that you can comfortably run the other colors up the side of the work without needing to cut the yarn (which would be such an insane amount of work!).  Even though Lucas is coming up to 5 he is a very good size so I knit the 6 year old size for him to give him room to grow.  by keeping the cuffs and waistband nice and snug everything stays in place and it looks the perfect size for him.  (If it’s not snowing this evening I’ll go and get some modeled shots on him).

Now I just need to stop procrastinating , get my brain in gear and finish off the pattern.  Speaking of which, I really will release my small backlog of patterns in the next week.  If DH has recovered from his man cold we may see Baby Iced by the end of the week!

(I love the name Spud Murphy for this cardigan, that is what my dad called my brother when he was small!)

Baby Iced Cardi and hat

After Iced was published this Summer I began thinking about a baby/child version.  I wanted to keep the basic structure and feel of the cardigan the same but make it more suitable for a smaller body.

It’ll still be top down raglan construction with a large double breasted front band but the yarn weight I used is an aran weight so there is less bulk for a child.  I’ve put a fairly extensive size range together from 3 month up to 10 years.  The body will still be short as in the original but I’ve lengthened the sleeves and added a large garter stitch bottom band.  The whole cardigan is designed to grow with the child, the wrist bands can fold back when they’re small and then be unfolded when older.  The double breasted front can be fastened on the second set of buttons to also extend its useful life.

We met up with Tracy yesterday and took some photos of her beautiful 5 week old.  I think he looks just adorable in his Iced baby set!  The yarn was kindly donated by Jeni of Fyberspates, and the set took just two skeins of Scrumptious Aran (in Cherry). I’ve also knit a larger size for my niece for Christmas in Sarah’s (AKA Babylonglegs) Radiance Aran and the multi-colored yarn looks pretty wonderful in garter stitch knit in different directions!

I keep calling this set Iced Baby (cue the Vanilla Ice song) perhaps I should go find a new name?!?

This pattern should be up and available in the next few weeks, it is such a fast easy knit I think that I may be a little addicted to it (just finished another  hat for my 4 year old!)


Go take a look at my newest design with the Twist Collective Winter 2010 issue – Parcel.

It somehow seems fitting that this sweater ended up being called Parcel, as it seemed like the parcel that would never arrive!  It spent several days sitting in Canadian customs while we waited to see if it would ever get out.

But it did eventually get to Kate, and the photographer Jane Heller did an amazing job with the photography (I just love the light in the photo below).

Copyright Jane Heller

This pattern started for me with the cable.  I swatched this delicate intertwining cable and immediately fell in love.  Originally it was worked with a reverse st st panel on each side but it really took away from the overall concept of the sweater as the cables stopped in different places as you moved up the garment.  I talked with Kate about it for a while and we decided to try a st st background which ended up being just perfect (see the swatch below).

This sweater is designed to have 2 cables together running up to one shoulder and then 2 more further spaced apart, with one ending at the bust and the final one on the other side ending at the waist.  The way the pattern is written you can easily adjust the length of those cables to suit yourself so if you want them ending sooner or running for longer you can easily do that.

I didn’t realise when I started this project what a volume of number crunching there would be involved!  Each of the nine sizes is designed to ensure that the two cables are centered at the shoulder and for the larger sizes I have an extra cable running up the side so that it should work well as the pattern is upsized.  I used one of my favorite construction techniques with this pattern, the body is knit in one piece from the bottom up.  Shoulders are joined using a three needle bind off and then the sleeves are knit from the top down (using short rows to create a smooth set-in sleeve cap).

We took a couple of photos of me wearing the sweater before it was sent off.  The color is a little off though as it was late in the evening and the light was nearly gone (plus I was exhausted!)  While i was working on the sweater I always called it the Intertwined Cables Sweater, pretty obvious why.

I hadn’t worked with Magnolia yarn before, it is a mixture of merino and silk that has a very light twist that was lovely to work with, very soft and fluffy!  I does seem like I’m knitting a lot of pink these days…

Knitting for myself – Carrageen

I’m not very fond of Winter, I don’t like the dark and I don’t like the cold.  As silly as it may sound, even though I’ve been producing huge quantities of knitted garments I rarely knit for myself.  There are only so many knitting hours in the day and I need to keep most of my knitting in good condition so they can be used a samples for display.

However this cardigan is different, I knit it just for me!  I used snuggly warm Donegal Yarns Aran Tweed and it has a nice high collar to keep my neck warm and snug.  I find jumpers (or sweaters!) warmer as it covers across the front but when I spend so much time going in and out of cars, shopping centers and schools I wanted it to be easier to take off.  So this is as warm as a jumper due to a side closure but much easier to take off due to the snaps.

As this was just for me I went ahead and experimented with a technique that I haven’t used before – steeking.  For anyone who hasn’t come across this term before it involves CUTTING your knitting.  Sounds really scary but it’s actually not!  I used a crochet steek (great details on Eunny’s Blog), which as I discovered even a non-crocheter can master.  It creates a wonderful neat finish that just folds into place (you should be able to see from the photos the slip stitch edge I used for a neat fold).  This yarn is great for a crochet steek as it has a good amount of ‘stick’ to help the yarn hold itself together.

Usually I have a terrible time coming up with design names but this time it just fell in place  – Carrageen.  The ribbing stitch I am using in the cardigan is a variation on the Seaweed Rib from Barbara Walker and as Carrageen is after all seaweed it seemed like a good match.

This cardigan won’t be released for a little while (needs to join the queue!) but I wanted to put some photos up before I started wearing it into the ground.  It uses one of my favourite constructions methods, it is worked from the bottom up in the round, joined at the shoulder seam and then set-in sleeves worked from the top down using short rows.

This gives you the simplicity of one-piece construction with the flattering effect of a set-in sleeve, which really can’t be beat!

Four Elements individual patterns

My long suffering DH has been busy this week and has put 3 patterns from the Four Elements Booklet into individual pdfs.  I’ve got links to each of those patterns below with a few details about each pattern.

For anyone else living in Ireland are you finding this weather oppressive?  Its been very mild but very gray and wet.  Added to that the hour went back last week so by 4.30 it is almost dark.  I can’t describe how much I hate this weather, I feel as though there is a big wad of cotton wool stuffed in my brain and doing even the most basic tasks before many cups of coffee seems impossible.  Perhaps I should just find myself a little cave and hibernate for the winter!

I’ve got a bunch new of patterns coming out in the next few weeks, first up will be a sweater (or jumper!) in the Winter Twist Collective.  There are a few details from this issue up on Ravelry but you’ll have to wait until the 15th to see the photos!  I’ve got a baby version of Iced (complete with a matching hat) that I have ready for release…I just need my niece to be born to take some photos!

Talamh $5.95

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This open textural lace stitch creates a richly textured yoke pattern that is fun to knit. Knit from the top down, this cardigan uses a lightweight yarn for a wonderful light cardigan that will enhance any outfit.

Uisce $5.95

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Knit from side to side, this shawlette is edged with a deep waffle pattern that forms an interesting edging for this shallow shawlette. As it is knit in one piece, it is easy to extend so you can make the most of a luxury yarn and use every last ounce. Knit from a worsted weight yarn at a loose gauge, this cosy shawlette can be used in several different ways; wrapped as a scarf or loosened as a shawl in the evening.

Gaoth $5.95

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Open and airy, this lightweight semi-pi shawl combines an open dramatic version of the waffle stitch with solid bands of stocking stitch to form a shawl that is fun to knit and easy to wear. Worked in a soft, light baby alpaca, this shawl is a pleasure to wear close to the skin.

Talamh KAL starting!

It’s the start of November so its time for our Talamh KAL to get started.  There have been a few people who have gotten started already but there’s lots of time for everyone else to catch up!  Post all your questions there, even if it is just help with yarn choices.  It is a big help getting getting other view points and opinions.

Up to this point the patterns in the Four Seasons booklet have only been available together.  However by the end of this week you will be able to buy all patterns (except Tine) individually for $5.95, so if the only pattern you want is Talamh you’ll be able to get it then.

On a totally different note, I was up in Dublin last week for the Knitting and Stitching show.  Rather than go up for just the day I went up on Thursday night and got to go out for dinner with some pals from This is Knit.  We went to a delicious Italian restaurant, so very yummy!  (Of course too much chatting and good food meant we ended up staying up way too late!).

At the show on Friday I got to meet lots of new people, Stephanie from The Yarn Room was at her stand with mountains of lopi, I had spoken to her before but this was our first time meeting.  Laura Hogan had a stand upstairs and we spent ages chatting knitting, she spins and hand dyes yarn for sale on etsy.  I picked up a ball of Drops Nepal at the Pippablue stand.  I had been looking at this particular colour for several months and just couldn’t decide online if the shade veered too far into the gaudy end of the spectrum.

Even though it was just for one day I was tired for a full 24 hours afterwards, a full day on my feet with that big a crowd just wipes me out!