Yarnalong: Felix, The Familiars, and This Golden Fleece

Ahoy! I’m hoping to sweep out the cobwebs here (more on that in a later post) and get back to writing at least semi-regularly — and what better way to reenter than with a Yarnalong post!

Knitting: The Felix Cardigan by Amy Christoffers. My mom and I cast these on when she was visiting us and our new arrival a few weeks ago. Progress hasn’t been the fastest (see: new arrival + still working on other projects) but I divided for the sleeves last night and am looking forward to the shorter rows that will bring. I’m not used to using such big needles (knitting on a US 10/ 6 mm) and they’ve been a bit hard on my hands. But, left hand willing, I’m hoping to make enough progress to give this a quick try on today and make sure the fit in the shoulders is good!

I’m knitting this in the called for yarn, Green Mountain Spinnery’s Mountain Mohair, in shade Raven. I really like the deep charcoal and know it’ll be a great wardrobe staple. The single ply 75% wool 25% mohair blend makes a fabric that seems lofty but sturdy. I think it will make for a cardigan that’s warm but not as heavy as you might expect from a garment knit in worsted weight yarn.

Reading: I’ve got two books on the go at the moment. The first is This Golden Fleece, a really interesting combination of personal knitting memoir and Britain’s knitting and woolly history. I’m nearly halfway through, but with it being a hardback, I’m finding it easiest to read when I’m not holding or feeding a little babe — so progress is a bit slow. When I can catch time for a quick soak in the tub, reading a few more pages of this is a real treat!

The second book is The Familiars, historical fiction set in 17th-century Lancaster during the Pendle witch trials. Commemorations of the Pendle witches are everywhere around Lancaster, and I’m really enjoying reading something set where I live! I’m enjoying spending time with the first person narrator, even though the world she inhabits is a bit lonely and sad. Once I start reading it, it’s hard to put down … luckily, Mr N got me a Kindle for my birthday which makes it ever so much easier to read while breastfeeding!

Head on over the original Yarnalong to see what other knitters are working on and reading this week!

Finished Object: Southwell Cardigan

Hi friends, and happy weekend!  Today, I’m really happy to be sharing a finished object that’s been a long time in the making …. it’s my finished Southwell Cardigan!

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The Southwell Cardigan made it’s first appearance on the blog … let’s see … over 2 years ago! I was living in Philadelphia and had flown home to my parents for a little visit, and my mom and I cast these on together!

On and off progress continued on Southwell the following summer when I was in LA (including a bit of cardigan surgery), but by the time I arrived in Lancaster in late August, with temperatures already cool, I put the lightweight cardigan aside, thinking it wouldn’t be needed before the following spring.  And thus it was consigned to my heap of unfinished objects.

Then, spring did in fact come, and the cardi sat no nearer completion, I fished it out again, thinking what a great wardrobe staple it’d be through the British summer. I picked up collar stitches, I started a sleeve, I made plans to get the buttonband finished.  But once again, autumn came, the cardigan wasn’t done, and back to to the UFO bin it went.

Fast forward to this spring, a day or two before EYF.  My Threipmuir was fresh off the needles (yay!), and I found myself without a simple project to take for social knitting at EYF and remembered I was part way through a sleeve of my Southwell! So the cardigan came with me to the festival, and one sleeve got done. Then I packed it for my trip to the US and returned with only button bands to be done. By that point, not even my dislike of picking up stitches (or sewing on buttons) could stand in the way of finishing.

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And I have to say, I’m so glad I did.  I’ve worn this cardigan nearly every day since I finished it. The pattern is Southwell Cardigan by Marie Green, knit in Sherwood Yarns Bluefaced Leicester Sock in shade Holly Blue.  I think it was easy to keep shoving this aside as I’d started to wonder whether I liked this color, and the knitting wasn’t particularly exciting.  But now that it’s done, I’m really enjoying having a simple lightweight cardigan in my handmade wardrobe and have also been pleasantly surprised with how well the color, which is a bit out of my normal palette, fits in with the rest of my wardrobe.

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The cardigan is a great fit around the shoulders, but the knot in my overalls is making a funny bulge in this picture! 

I knit size 36 of this cardigan, and ended up using less than three skeins of yarn.  I knit this top down, raglan cardigan pattern (from what I can remember) pretty much as written.  Since I picked it up and put it down over, ahem, two years, there was a certain amount of guesswork getting things like sleeves to match up. I did alter the button band slightly. Following advice from Jen Arnall-Culliford, I picked up every stitch of the button band on the first row, then decreased down as needed.  I found that the suggested pick up rate of 9 out of 10 stitches gave me a button band that flared out, so decreased to something between 3 out of every 4 or 4 out of every 5.

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Before I sign off, I just want to take a final moment to celebrate the little buttons that grace this cardigan. Before we left Los Angeles, Mr. N and I took a trip over to West Hollywood to The Button Store, without a doubt the most impressive button shop I’ve ever been in.  I had several projects that would need buttons in what I thought was the near future, including this cardi, and the formidable woman who ran the place came out with drawer upon drawer of buttons to fit the bill.  I chose these little milled Italian buttons, and while I had a bit of a shock when we rang up my button purchases (I’ve never before or since paid so much for buttons — and I hadn’t thought to ask the price!), I have to say I am so pleased with how they look on the cardigan.  If you find yourself in Los Angeles and on the hunt for very nice buttons, I definitely recommend a visit (just please don’t tell the owner I used yarn to sew these on — she categorically forbade me from doing it, but I lost the spool of coordinating thread I got on the same visit!)

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Thanks, as always, for stopping by, and I hope you have a lovely weekend with a bit of knitting planned!

xo K

 

Around here, lately

I’ve been absent from this space lately — work and travel have kept me busy — but, thankfully, knitting hasn’t been missing from my daily life.  Today, how about a little catch up on some highlights from the last few months.

I finished my Threipmuir and wore it to Edinburgh Yarn Fest!

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Twinning with my lovely friend Jenni  in Ysolda’s EYF stall.

At last year’s EYF, Jenni, Kate, and I had all bought some beautiful Birlinn Yarn Company yarn for Threipmuir.  Jenni and Kate knit their beautiful versions shortly after the festival but, in typical fashion, I didn’t get around to it right away.  Finishing in time to wear it to EYF was a near run thing … the jumper was just dry from blocking in time to pack it!

Since it’s first outing at EYF, Threipmuir has been in constant rotation — so constant in fact, that I’ve never gotten around to doing “proper” finished objects shots. The upside of this is that after two months of pretty solid wear (the vagaries of spring in the Northwest mean that, even this week, I was reaching for this very woolly sweater), I can report that it is, hands down, my favorite jumper.  I absolutely adore the Birlinn Yarn Company Hebridean 4ply from which it’s knit (in fact, I might have bought another sweater’s worth at this year’s festival). I love the colorwork yoke. I love the easeful fit.  I think it will be the jumper against which I measure all other jumpers from here on out — both literally (the sleeve length is perfect) and figuratively!

EYF itself was great — time spent with good friends, meeting new people, and plenty of yarn buying.  I didn’t take many pictures, and don’t really think I could do justice to the whole experience, so I’m not even going to try!  I’ll talk about the yarn that came home with me as and when I use it though 🙂

Right after EYF, it was off to Paris with Mr. N.  It was a short trip for work, but we did get a free day to do a bit of exploring. I worked on recently cast on Pebbles and Pathways Socks in a Parisian park (how’s that for a tongue twister) …

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And paid a quick visit to La Bien Aimee!

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From Paris it was straight onto Virginia, where I spent a few lovely weeks with my mom. We took very few pictures, but cast on Olivias together:

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Olivia in progress, knit in Black Isle Yarns Shetland Sport from EYF 2018! 

And went through old knitting books in search of the pattern for this stunning cardigan, which my mom made shortly after she learned to knit:

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On my return, I had some lovely friends come to visit, then it was off to Brighton (another work trip), but that didn’t stop me needing something to knit!  Sleeves make such good travel knitting, that I, er, started another project … Bressay by Marie Wallin!

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I’m knitting the body in beautiful Jamieson of Shetland Spindrift, in the Paprika shade. 

Seeing it all written out, it’s no wonder I’ve not been blogging much (and, in the process managed to miss my three-year blogiversary!)  Though all the knits I’ve cast on during my travels remain, ahem, uncompleted, I did finish a longstanding WIP just last week … with any luck, I’ll have a finished object post to share later this week!

Until then, I better crack on with all these projects … especially as another trip to the US is coming up in just a few weeks!

Hope you had a great weekend — I’d love to hear what’s keeping you busy at the moment!

Yarnalong, January 2019: Waiting for Rain, Mondim Socks, and James Herriot

I’m in the midst of the last few days of our Australian holiday, so this will be short and sweet, but I wanted to pop in quickly for the first Yarnalong of 2019. 

Knitting: My knitting’s been coming along with me everywhere this trip. I finished my Doocot sweater the first week, so have been working on Waiting for Rain and some vanilla socks out of Mondim sock yarn ever since. It’s been a long time since I’ve not had a sweater actively on the go, and while I’m looking forward to getting back to garment knitting when we return to the UK, I’ve got to say, it’s been fun watching smaller projects grow quickly! I’m well into the second skein of my shawl, and my socks’ feet are nearly done. I’ve had a new idea for a little sock design, and I’m wondering if I should try it out on the leg or  keep them simple. 

Reading: I had high hopes for holiday reading, but most evenings I’ve nodded off before I can make much progress. But I’ve made a small start with James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small which I’m really enjoying. It’s funny and gentle and a perfect light read to see in the new year. 

Head over to the original Yarnalong post  to see what others are knitting and reading — what are you up to this week?