Monthly Archives: November 2012

Twist Collective Winter

Last summer I began knitting this cardigan, Ratana for the winter issue of The Twist Collective.  First it traveled to Denver with me while I was recording my Craftsy classes, then it came back to Ireland.  I planned on finishing it before traveling to Florida but the cardigan had it’s own ideas!

I love the idea of winter lace.  Lace is so often used only for lighter weight shawls and summer tops but when it’s worked in a heavier weight yarn and combined with a more substantial stitch pattern it’s the perfect antidote to those long, cold winter days.  This cardigan is based on a large snowflake stitch (which is more obvious when you see the stitch pattern in my original cream swatch below).

This dramatic lace pattern is the basis of the whole cardigan.  It starts at the center of the neck with ribbing and lace and works down initially from there.

When this reaches the bottom of the yoke the sleeves are worked down in just lace.  Now this is where my cardigan decided to have a disagreement with me.  Anyone who had block lace knows how much it grows.  So the sleeves looked like they were the perfect length but that was pre-blocking!  When the cardigan was finished and fully blocked they grew and grew…… I’m  just grateful that they were worked from the top down so it was a very simple job to correct the length!  Let that be a lesson to you though when you’re knitting the sleeves, block as you go so you don’t have to rip like me!

This is what the lace looks like on the shoulder:

Once the sleeves were complete the remainder of the body was worked from the top down.  One of my favorite parts of the cardigan is the waist shaping at the back.  Take a look at how the ribbing flows in and out of the waist at the center of the back, ribbing is so much fun to work with.

Finally the cardigan is finished with a large ribbed edge and shawl collar.  I left the cardigan without fastening as I really like closing cardigans with shawl pins.  However as the ribbing is worked at the very end it would be a very simple job to just add buttonholes for yourself if you’d rather buttons.

I apologize for the terrible photos.  They were taken in Florida before I mailed it on the beach while we were waiting for an approaching tropical storm.  Not sure I’d have been so comfortable otherwise in Florida during July wearing wool!  Just so you can see it in it’s full glory here’s one of the lovely photos take by Jane Heller for the Twist Collective.

Black Friday tag along!

While I’m not in the US the whole post Thanksgiving Day madness does appear to be catching :-)  Craftsy is having a big sale on their classes for the next few days that I though I’d share with you!Craftsy Holiday Sale: All online classes are $19.99 or less. Sale ends Mon. Nov. 26th, at midnight!

As well as the classes being on sale they also now give you the option of gifting classes, I think they’d make a really nice gift for a knitter!

Getting in the spirit of it all I’ve also got a sale going on – 20% off all my children and accessory patterns when you use coupon code ‘CHRISTMASGIFTS‘.  You should still have enough time to knit some little items up for your loved ones.  (Remember to ‘Add to Cart’ not ‘Buy Now’ so that you have the option of putting in the coupon code.)  You can use the code as often as you like here on my website or in Ravelry.  I wonder if I can get a hat pattern together for my hat obsessed oldest son before next month, I’ve got some delicious yarn hear that says it can be done…. (hope he’s not reading here!)

The final Christmas gift is not from me, it’s a generous offer from Chris at Briar Rose Fibers.  She has offered a $100 gift voucheras a Woodburne KAL prize and has also extended the discount code for the yarn until the end of December!!  This is so amazingly generous I’m just blown away, thank you Chris!  So what do have to do to win?  Well the KAL is ongoing and we’re now on clue 3.  If you’re knitting along with us then you need to finish the Woodburne Cardigan by the end of December and post the photo of your finished cardigan in the thread on the forum once I set it up.  If you haven’t started yet but you’re a fast knitter you’d totally be able to get it finished by the end of December to enter the draw!

Woodburne progress….

On Sunday night I released the third clue from my Woodburne KAL. I think this is the really exciting part of the cardigan – the yoke! There are a few knitters intimidated by bottom up seamless construction but once you get past the first few rows it all starts to come together (literally!). For anyone out there who hasn’t knit bottom up seamless before one of the most difficult ideas to grasp is how it all fits together. I usually consider the underarm stitches that you take out for the sleeves and the body as a gap that you ‘slot’ your sleeves into for the yoke. After this there are a few rows that are uncomfortable to knit – they are very long and also the sleeve stitches are very tight and hard to maneuver. I make this easier for myself by using an extra long cable and pulling a cable ‘loop’ out in the center of my sleeve stitches which really eases the pressure on the stitches there and stops the stitches from becoming distorted.

I’ve put a few photos together from my knitters to keep you all going, the first two are my test knitters who did amazing versions and after that there are a few in progress shots.

Celtic Cast On test knit in di.Vé Zenith

Grannyknits4u test knit in Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted

Here are a few in progress cardigans that will make you drool :-)

KittyGrandMa's tosh vintage cables

Sewknitful's pockets added

DianneK's purple cables in 'Yowza What a Skein'

Ravi Junior

Last May I ran a KAL for my 100th pattern, Ravi.  It was tons of fun and everyone’s Ravi projects turned out so nicely it got me thinking….how would it work for a baby/child?

My sister was expecting a third baby this year (a little girl) so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to finish my Ravi Junior.  For anyone who has tried to convert adult to child or baby patterns you may know about the pitfalls!  A baby’s bodies is build very differently to an adult’s.  They have relatively small necks (with large heads on top!), but you can’t have the garment too snug or they just won’t want to wear it.  It took me quite a while to work through the different yoke adjustments for this cardigan before I was really happy with the end proportions.  This pattern is sized from 6 months right through to 10 years or so.  The basic construction is similar to Ravi (the short row yoke is worked from side to side, body is picked up and worked down and a short row hem curve is worked).  The short row ratio for the yoke is different though and the body is worked as an a-line for a flattering, comfortable fit for children.

While I don’t have any photos of the cardigan on my new niece a friend who has 7 month old twins very kindly invited me into her house so we could photograph the cardigan on one of her daughters.  I love how the photos turned out, she is a very photogenic little girl!  (You may note that I’ve recommended the smallest size up to 6 months even though it’s being modeled by a 7 month old – she is however very petite!).

Ravi Junior

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Musical overload

I’m not quite sure how it happened but it would appear that I’ve ended up in a very musical house.  When I was young I learned some piano and played the classic flute as a teenage.  However I never remember feeling a sense of pleasure or relaxation when playing.  It felt like something I ‘should’ be doing rather than an enjoyment.  Our first son didn’t really show any musical interest when he was small, in fact even learning tin whistle in school seemed to cause distress so we didn’t pursue it for him.  However now as a teenager he has been teaching himself guitar over the last year and wants to know why he didn’t learn any musical instrument when he was younger!  You really can’t win.

Our next son began Suzuki violin at 4 with his father.  Joe had never really played any instrument growing up but has a really good musical ear.  Being the parent of the Suzuki pair really awakened his interest in music and shortly after he actually began teaching himself guitar.  What I find fascinating is the pleasure he gets from playing.  When he’s stressed and needs to unwind he’ll play for 5 minutes and it just chills him out.  (Fortunately I have knitting for that).  This son has also got a good musical ear like his dad and has just moved from violin to viola.  It’s his birthday this week  and what he wanted was a ukelele.  Pictured above is the one he picked out for himself, and he is so very, very pleased with it!  He has played it so much over the last 2 days I’m not sure he can actually feel his fingertips anymore.  You may notice a slightly larger instrument behind, his dad went shopping with him and somehow this pretty guitar ended up coming home….

Over the last year I’ve been submerged in music again.  Due to timing issues I’ve become the Suzuki parent in the house and my youngest has also now started.  He is a sweetheart but is always convinced he is right.  Lets just say that this makes music practice interesting.  Anyone out there doing Suzuki violin with a really, really stubborn child?  Would love to hear how you manage to reduce conflicts at practice time!

Digging up the past

A few months ago while poking through my parents attic my husband came across this camera.  This brought so many memories back for me!  When I left secondary school at 17, almost 18 I had wanted to do architecture.  I got through the interview and had been given the grades I needed to get in my exams to be accepted.  At 17 concentration wasn’t my strong point (I’m somewhat better now!) and I missed by 1 grade.  Here in Ireland it’s very common for teenagers to repeat their ‘leaving’ (Leaving Certificate Exam) but I just refused to do it.  The idea of going back and doing the whole year again was more than I could handle.  So I found a one year Art Foundation course and spent my year doing that instead.  It was an amazing year, I was introduced to so many areas of art that I would never have experimented with otherwise.  I made giant sculptures, paper and textile sculptures, spent 8 hour straight drawing a draped sheet with a pencil (and not finishing it) and discovered my love of textiles.  This camera brought back memories of days on end spent in the dark room.  Anyone 10-15 years younger than me will never have experienced this, the surreal quality of hours in the dark, with chemical smells wafting up while you wait to discover if you’ve created a masterpiece.  No one could ever find you in there so you’d just skip days of classes with a good excuses of a photography contest coming up!

I wonder if this still works?  Think there may be a roll of film in my future (Does anyone know if you can still get film developed in Ireland?)

Have you found any object recently that threw you back to your past with vivid long forgotten memories?