Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Lacy Mohair Sweater

 This pattern came from Knitting Magazine 100th edition and it's been on my list for a while.  In September I went to the Craft event in Manchester and bought a lovely lace mohair yarn from the lovely lady at Debonnaire.  Totally gorgeous yarn, as always, and it has knitted up beautifully.
 The pattern is a bit counter-intuitive as you are knitting and purling on both wrong and right sides at different times, so you do have to concentrate on the 18 row pattern.  In addition, knitting in lace mohair has its drawbacks - the fabric is fairly transparent so it can be difficult to see which side is which, especially in low light.  Add to that the dark colour and, well, it did cause me a few panics at times.
 This is what the lace panel looks like, or should look like.  I must say it does not look exactly like the one in the magazine, which has three clearly defined "lacey" rows.  I suspect this is due to the way I did my M1 in the first pattern row.  The pattern does not define exactly how to make this stitch, just says to pick up the yarn between the two K2 tog stitches.  So that's what I did.  This of course creates a smaller hole, if I had knitted into the back of the stitch it might not be so obvious.  But I decided I rather liked this look so didn't bother.
 The pattern calls for shaping on the body section.  If you have ever tried to shape lace, you know the problems that can cause.  Here's what happens when you get the pattern wrong while increasing or decreasing - instead of nice zig zags in the lace, I have a few straight lines.  My advice is to knit the sleeves first as they are straight, that way you can learn to read the pattern to avoid mistakes.  I learned that the P2 tog should be a normal stitch + a yarn over from a former row, in the later pattern row you work the yarn over + the normal stitch and as long as you can read this as you get there, the pattern is right.  It can be difficult to do the mental arithmetic " I've increased 2 stitches since doing the first row so, this stitch should be X", so by doing the sleeves first you learn the pattern and avoid mistakes in the body.
 So, once I got my head round the pattern, all went well.  The sleeves are raglan, so once you have the four pieces, you knit the neckband on top.  This was challenging for the reasons mentioned above, getting the right pieces in the right order, and with all the right sides facing in the same direction.  Once the border is done, you then seam the pieces together.  It was at this point that I had a nervous breakdown. I had just finished the third seam and held it up to look at it, when I noticed something was wrong.  I had put one of the seams on the wrong side!  Aargh! A closer look and I thought I could see the reason - I had put one of the sleeves in back to front.  Disaster.  It was late, I decided to put it aside until the morning and look at it then.  Meanwhile, I was thinking through all the options:
1. Wear it with one sleeve the wrong way out
2. Rip back the neckband, reattach the sleeve the right way and redo the neckband
3. Undo the offending seam, gently cut the neckband and reattach it with a seam all the way up, barely noticeable under my hair.

So next day I put it in the good light on the windowsill and looked at it again.  Guess what?  The sleeve was on the right way round after all and all I had to do was resew the seam on the correct side.  Panic over! Just goes to show when you think you've gone wrong you should put it  down and come back to it later.
 I've also finished a simple short sweater, in SMC Select Highland Alpaca Fino.  This was supposed to be Langdale by Lily France, but I started knitting it and gave up about 10 rows in.  I just couldn't make sense of the pattern at all.  I'm no novice knitter and I can't think of the last time I gave up on a pattern, but it just wasn't going to work.  So I swapped to SMC Select Moments 003, pattern 1724.   A quick and easy knit.
As always though, with a yarn which is a single ply, it does have a tendency to twist slightly when washed, so you do have to shape it carefully while wet to avoid this.

That's another couple of projects finished, still more on the go, as always!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

A Little Crochet

 I got this book earlier in the year, it's a treasure and I've been keen to try it out, but I also don't want to buy more yarn, so using up my stash is key.
 So I picked this which combines using stash yarn with one of my favourite techniques - motif crochet.
Sadly the camera does not capture the colour well, it's burgundy with variegations.  What's nice about this pattern is that the front uses one motif and back is made up of different motifs, such a clever idea.
Finally,  this is a adhoc project, using my handwoven silk, small in quantity and not good enough quality (the spinning, not the silk!) for heavy wear.  So this is going to be a scarf, in a shell and mesh design. I got the pattern from The Knitting and Crochet Bible and decided it would work well with the silk. I have other knitting projects on the go, but crochet is a different action which takes pressure off my overworked right elbow!

Friday, 12 October 2012

So much knitting, so little time!

 Have been very busy lately, so this blog has got a little neglected.  I do hope to remedy that over the winter, but in the meantime here is a snapshot of what I'm up to.  This is SMC Select Highland Alpaca Fino, which is being made into a sweater, though it started out as a different sweater - long story which I shall no doubt relate in due course.
 This is a laceweight mohair sweater,  which I shall also feature at slightly more length shortly.  A very satisfying project.
And finally, I went to the Manchester Crafting expo on the hunt for some laceweight mohair (above) and any other bargains I could find.  I found this pack of Debbie Bliss in a gorgeous mustard colour, at a nice discount.    I have knitted with it before so knew the kind of pattern I wanted and have finally found one I think will do the job, just need to finish the sweater at the top of this page first before I will allow myself to start it!