Tagged knitting techniques

Of Hallows and Horcruxes

I wrote a while back about my eldest being a big Harry Potter fan, and that I’d found a fantastic pattern for the sweater Hermione wears in Deathly Hallows Part I… the post is here, if you want to refresh your memory. I bought the recommended yarn from Knit Picks and it sat for a couple of months, until I decided it was time to knit the sweater.

This sweater was certainly an adventure. First of all, to be fair, the designer, while she has several patterns on Ravelry, only has the one garment pattern. Of her 13 patterns, 10 are crochet patterns. This should have been a warning that this wasn’t going to be smooth sailing. I was smart, and went through other projects and read the notes, and felt an impending sense of doom. So many comments about things that were wrong, or needed to be modified! It was discouraging, and I hadn’t even cast on yet! I’m not so easily dissuaded though. I did my gauge swatch, measured the kid, and started knitting. I figured I’d use the experience of other knitters who’d already made one to make the process easier.

Problem 1: The yoke is designed badly. The original sweater from the movie was apparently purchased at H&M, and is seamed, rather than having a yoke. Knitting in one piece is easier though, so I can see why the designer chose to make it this way. Also, nobody is going to tell you that you’re sweater is wrong because it is a yoke rather than being seamed.

The problem here is that the increases are weird the way they’re written, which skews the colourwork pattern. Many knitters who have made this cardigan used Elizabeth Zimmerman’s method. This preserved the colourwork pattern.

Problem 2: The yarn requirements were way off. I’d only knitted the hood and had not quite finished the body, and only had 2.5 balls of yarn left. I knew there was no way I would be able to knit pockets and two sleeves with that much yarn, so I had to hunt for more, because Knit Picks was sold out. I eventually found someone who was destashing two skeins.

Problem 3: Lots of people complained that the sleeves were too big. I had to decrease them considerably. I also chose to knit them in the round, inside out, because I didn’t want to have to seam them and I also didn’t fancy purling them.

DSC_4837 The sweater, in the end, turned out nicely, and the kid is happy with it (though it was too warm to wear by the time it was finished). I did have a request for another one from my best friend, but I told her I’d never knit this sweater again. I didn’t keep detailed notes, and didn’t want to have to fight my way through it a second time. I’d be happy to knit her something else though!

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The cabled button band was knit as the sweater was knit. The whole thing, aside from the pockets, is one piece. I had expected to have to pick up stitches, but the only picked up stitches were at the underarms.

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I do quite like the pointy hood. Hopefully the kid gets a lot of wear out of this sweater. And there’s already dibs on it if/when they decide they’re not into it anymore… My best friend wants it when the kiddo is done with it!

My Ravelry page is here.

Bonny

I wrote recently about trying to make this top using Tosh Lace, which wasn’t right for the project. I couldn’t get gauge, and didn’t like the resulting fabric on larger needles. That yarn ended up in a stole, which I blogged here.

I absolutely had to make a Bonny top though. It’s versatile, and I already had the pattern, so I didn’t want it to go to waste, being that it wasn’t a free pattern. I really quite like Tin Can Knits designs too.

My husband and I were going out for the day, so we stopped at Urban Yarns in North Vancouver, and he sat on the sofa while I tried to make up my mind on what yarn I would use for my Bonny. It was a hard decision! I knew I wanted a light fingering, as the top calls for laceweight, and I hadn’t had luck getting gauge and didn’t want more laceweight in my stash if it didn’t work out. I finally decided on Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Oak colourway, which is a lovely bright green which reminds me of moss.

I had no trouble getting gauge with this yarn, and loved the way it knit up. It makes a lovely fabric. The only modification I made to this pattern was to do a folded hem, using a provisional cast on as described in Dramy’s Bonny. I hate rolling stockinette, and this solved the problem perfectly.

I finished the top in two weeks, however it took me another couple of weeks to finally seam the shoulders. I hate seaming, so I kept putting it off. The weather warmed up a lot too, and I didn’t anticipate wearing it any time soon, so seaming it wasn’t a priority.

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Here it is after seaming, but I really wasn’t happy with the shoulders. They stick out! I knew I would never stop being annoyed by how the shoulders look, so I played with them until I decided that gathering them a little would fix the problem.

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This is much better! I just ran some stitches across each shoulder and tightened them up a little bit until they were slightly gathered. This pulled the shoulders in, eliminating the points on the outsides of the shoulders. Of course, now it’s the middle of June, and it’s far too warm to wear my Bonny, but it’s ready for the fall!

My project page is here.

Hausti Shawl

DSC_4694This is an old(ish) project that I finally got around to taking photos of. I bought the yarn while on vacation in the Yukon & Alaska last summer. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Skagway, Alaska, visit Changing Threads (they recently changed their name to Aurora Yarns, but the website seems to be down).

I like to buy yarn when I visit a new place, so when I go on vacation, yarn comes home with me. On this trip, I bought a skein of Raven Frog Fiber Arts Marvelous Merino, which is listed as a sport weight yarn. I picked the Borscht colourway, which has all of my favourite autumn colours in it.

DSC_4683The pattern I chose was Hausti, since the autumn colours called for a leafy shawl.

DSC_4686I learned a new technique while knitting this shawl – i-cord cast on. I’ve never done it before, and it was easy. Tedious, since for every four stitches you knit, you only cast on one, but it makes a really nice sturdy edge that doesn’t stretch, so it supports the weight of the shawl nicely. It also doesn’t curl, which is a common issue with stockinette shawls.

My Ravelry page is here.

Sweaters and skirts, oh my!

I haven’t been posting much lately, because I’ve been busy with job interviews, holiday stuff, and making things. I did say I’d be posting a few projects though, and here they are!

Rock the Lobster is the first project I’ll show you, because it was a milestone. I finally made a steeked sweater! If you’re not a knitter, you probably don’t know what steeking is. If you are a knitter, you may have been avoiding steeking, because it involves cutting your knitting! Tackling this technique was a game changer for me. I love colourwork, but most colourwork sweaters are knit in the round and steeked, so I avoided them like the plague.

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Steeking looks scary, right? The trick is to use a yarn that will felt, so that the stitches stick to each other. You can also run a line of machine or hand stitches along the steek so that you prevent raveling, which is what I did. Knits generally don’t unravel side to side, so steeking is pretty safe, believe it or not.

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The finished sweater. I really love it – the yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes sport, so it’s warm but not too warm. The buttons are fantastic – they’re made of wood with a little bronze  wire accent. I bought extra buttons because I liked them so much. I didn’t bother doing any bust shaping, and probably should have. This sweater doesn’t have any waist shaping, but it doesn’t really need it. My Ravelry project page is here.

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The first time I wore my new sweater was out to brunch with my husband’s hiking friends. I wore it with a chocolate brown wool pencil skirt. Yes, it’s the pleated pencil skirt again, and I skipped the lining. I don’t really think it needs the lining, if you use good fabric.

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Sorry this one is so poor quality, but it was the best photo I got that day, and ran out of time, because I was dressed for an interview and had to leave! It’s another pleated pencil skirt, this time in an olive green wool. Now I have three pencil skirts, which is pretty reasonable, I think. The brown and olive wool were both purchased at Dressew. I still want to make my poppy skirt, but haven’t started yet.