Wednesday, 9 October 2019

WIP Wednesday: 9th October 2019: Turns out I knitted a *really large* gauge swatch!

Before Edinburgh Yarn Festival, I shared the yoke for my Starfall sweater. Yes, I had planned to have a jumper knitted in time to wear to the festival, but a poor combination of yarn and pattern in the form of Bright Above Me, and therefore a late start on my EYF jumper meant that in the end I wasn't in any hurry as I knew I'd never have it finished in time.


I'd done some heavy modification of the pattern: I started with the yoke, casting on provisionally as I wanted to knit the coursework as-written, but knit the sleeves and body top-down to make it easier to adjust the lengths as I went. I'd done a bit of guesswork on which needles to use for the sweater: I had a gauge swatch from knitting Bright Above Me, but knew I needed the gauge to be a bit tighter, so I dropped a needle size and cast on the size I thought would fit.

I really enjoyed knitting the yoke. The colour work was engaging, with some rows using three colours, and I loved watching the pattern emerge. Once I'd completed the colourwork section, I picked up the stitches from the provisional cast-on, and knitted the yoke as far as the sleeve separation. I decided to make a modification to the sleeve placement, putting the sleeves further back to accommodate my bust (the pattern is written to have the sleeves placed such that the front and the back of the sweater are the same width, which doesn't work for everyone). As I wanted to check that the sleeves were in the right place before knitting the rest of the sweater, I put the whole thing onto waste yarn and blocked what I had knitted so far.

The blocking did the desired trick, evening out the colourwork and showing me how large the finished jumper would be. I put the jumper on, and could immediately tell that while my sleeve placement modification was perfect, the jumper was going to be too big, especially the sleeves. Boo.

I left the jumper alone for a few days (just in case it suddenly shrank, or I suddenly grew, and it would, by some miracle, fit), then sat down and measured the actual gauge of the knitting I'd done, and compared the final measurements at that gauge to my measurements. I needed to knit a size smaller.

When I first cast on the Starfall sweater, I had planned to omit the colourwork at the cuffs and hem, but, having looked at the completed yoke, I now know that I do want to do all that colour work too.

All in all, this means that I had to start again, and actually knit the pattern as written (from the bottom-up, with colourwork everywhere!), and that happening this weekend. I've really enjoyed picking this up again. I've switched the lighter shade of grey to a slightly different one as I didn't have enough for all the colourwork, and so far have most of a sleeve. I'll block that first sleeve while I'm knitting the second, so that I can check the length. Fingers crossed this attempt at the jumper is more successful than the first!


What's currently on your needles?

Project page for the Starfall sweater.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Marathon Sock KAL 2019: Last call for entries...

We are almost three months into the Marathon Sock KAL 2019, and, drumroll please, we have completed 41,407 m of the marathon! That's 98.1% of the target!


We really are nearly there - I reckon 3 or 4 more pairs and we'll have done it! Hopefully by the end of September. If your socks aren't quite ready to be posted, don't worry: the chatter thread will stay open for a few weeks after the end of the KAL, and, as soon as I close the FO thread, I will open a warm-down thread for all the socks finished after the final pair has been knitted. These don't have to be Marathon socks - they only have to have been cast on before the KAL ends. This is your chance to finish off all those odd socks you abandoned to join in the KAL! I'll be drawing one prize winner from the warm-down FO thread at the start of November 2019.

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Want to know more about the Marathon Sock KAL? Keep reading...

Aim
Knit a Marathon's worth of socks: 26.219 miles of sock yarn converted into socks.

Rules
  • Socks must be cast-on on or after July 1st 2019
  • Socks can be knitted or crocheted in any yarn weight
  • All socks must have a proper heel (no yoga or tube socks)
  • The KAL will close once the full 26 miles of yarn have been knitted
  • You must post a photo of your pair of socks to the KAL FO thread, including the exact number of metres of yarn you used (to the nearest metre)
  • I'll keep a running total for the group
  • To be eligible for a prize, you must be a member of the Ravelry group and/or following vikkibirddesigns on Instagram
  • If you're on Instagram, use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019
  • Double-dipping is permitted
  • Socks must be knitted as pairs (no single sock entries)
  • If you are entering via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account/do not use Ravelry, you can enter by posting a photo of your socks on Instagram (on your grid, not in your stories), and filling in this form (you can also use this form if, for whatever reason, you are struggling to create an FO thread entry); I will create an FO thread entry based on the information you provide
Prizes (kindly sponsored by LoveCrafts***)
  • One prize drawn from #marathonsockkal2019 on Instagram
  • One prize drawn from the chatter thread
  • One prize drawn from the FO thread
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*Ravelry link. This link will not work if you are not a member of Ravelry. If you have found out about this KAL via Instagram and do not have a Ravelry account, but still wish to enter, please post a photo of your finished socks to your Instagram grid (remember to use the hashtag #marathonsockkal2019 and tag me, @vikkibirddesigns), then fill in this form and I will create an entry in the FO thread for you

**26.219 miles = 42 195 m; each of my pairs of socks uses approximately 300 m of yarn (assuming sock weight yarn at 400 m per 100 g)

***Affiliate link

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

WIP Wednesday: 18th September 2019: Nothing to see here...

You know the theory that once the kids are back at school, you'll have all the time in the world to get *all the things* done? Well, that hasn't really happened after the summer holidays this year: I was away for a weekend, one of the kids had a sickness bug, and suddenly all the 'September' deadlines were upon me. All of which means, I haven't had much to share with you recently.

I've been having a bit of stash guilt recently: there is yarn in the cupboards that I love, and fully intended using way before now, and yet it's still sat there, waiting for its moment. That guilt did prompt me to cast on a new pair of socks, in some seasonal yarn that I picked up a couple of years ago from Strawberry Fields Yarns (she has some in stock at the time of writing), so, fingers crossed, by Halloween, I will have some suitably Halloween-y stripey socks to wear! I'm knitting the socks as a single tube and adding the heels, toes and cuffs at the end. To make sure I use as much of the yarn as possible, I have done a few rows at the start in some bright pink waste yarn. I'm undecided on the colour for the toes, heels and cuffs, but, the longer I stare at it, the bright pink is starting to look like a contender.*



The other thing I have on the needles this week is a sample for a collaboration between Knit Now and Deramores, which I'm knitting in Deramores Studio Chunky, a surprisingly nice acrylic yarn: it is wonderfully round and has amazing stitch definition.* The pattern will be published in an issue of Knit Now later this year, so keep your eyes peeled.


My Lush cardigan has seen some work: the body is complete, and I have knitted the first three inches of one sleeve. I know a lot of people complain about being on 'sleeve island', but at the minute that seems like quite a good place to be! I'm really hoping to get the cardigan finished by the end of September, so it can have at least a couple of wears before Winter comes, but at this point that is feeling more like an optimistic wish!


One thing that I am excited about at the minute is the return of sock-weather! I wear sandals all summer, so my sock drawer has been completely neglected, but I've worn hand-knitted socks on three days this week and it's only Wednesday, so hooray for that!



What are you working on this Wednesday? Share in the comments below, I can't wait to hear from you!

*These socks will count towards my Marathon Sock KAL, a knit along that is currently happening in my Ravelry group. If you want to find out more, read this blog post.

**Yarn supplied by Deramores as yarn support.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Little sailor vest: final day for introductory discount

I released a new pattern last week, and today is the final day for the introductory discount. Read on to find out more...

Do you like vintage-inspired children's clothing? Well, I might have just the thing: the Little sailor vest. This pattern was originally published in I Like Knitting magazine (April 2018), in baby sizes; in my newly-published version, I've expanded the sizing up to age 8, so you can make the vest for your bigger kids too.



The Little sailor vest is a tank top featuring a traditional sailing boat. The vest is inspired by vintage clothing, and is the perfect traditional item for a child's wardrobe.


Image copyright I Like Knitting
The vest is knitted from the bottom up in pieces. The boat is knitted on a stocking stitch background using the intarsia technique - I've included the intarsia section as both a chart and as written instructions, so you can follow whichever you prefer. The hem, armholes and necklines are knitted using 2x2 rib and the armholes and necklines are picked up and knitted after the garment has been seamed. The shoulders are fastened using buttons to allow for easy dressing.



The vest is designed to fit ages 3 months to 8 years, with 5 cm (2 inches) of positive ease. Sizing details are given in full below. The sample is knitted in Bergere de France Ideal,* a hard-wearing sport-weight blend of acrylic, polyamide and wool, which is machine-washable, making it a perfect yarn for easy-care kids clothing.

If you want to favourite the pattern or add it to your Ravelry queue, you can find the pattern page here.

I'm offering an introductory discount of 25% with the code SAILING from now until 11.59pm BST, Thursday 5th September 2019. Just add the pattern to the shopping basket, type in the code and the discount will be taken off when you check out.



*Affiliate link.


********

Want to knit your own Little sailor vest? Here's everything you need to know!

Sizes - finished chest size; recommended ease, 5 cm (2 in)
3 months: 45.5 cm (18.25 in)
6 months: 47 cm (19 in)
12 months: 50.5 cm (20.25 in)
18 months: 52 cm (20.75 in)
2 years: 57 cm (22.75 in)
4 years: 63 cm (25.25 in)
6 years: 68 cm (27.25 in)
8 years: 71 cm (28.5 in)

Tension
25 sts and 32 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in stocking stitch worked flat on 4 mm (US 6) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.

Yarn
Sport/DK-weight yarn in the following colours and amounts:
MC: navy blue, 190 (220, 245, 270, 305, 375, 430, 520) m [205 (240, 270, 295, 330, 410, 470, 565) yds]
CC1: pale blue, 10 m [10 yds]
CC2: red, 10 m [10 yds]
CC3: white, 10 m [10 yds]

Needles
3.5 mm (US 4) straight needles
3.25 mm (US 3) straight needles

Notions
Bobbins for holding the different yarn colours during colourwork
Buttons x 4 (4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 6), 15 mm (0.5 in)
Chart row marker
Stitch markers x 2
Tapestry needle

Pattern notes
The sample is knitted in Bergere de France Idéal [DK, 125 m (136 yds) per 50 g ball, 40% wool, 30% acrylic, 30% polyamide] in 21821 Alpin (MC), 20933 Linaire (CC1), 24408 Pavot (CC2) and 51220 Everest (CC3).

The sailboat motif is incorporated using the intarsia technique, but you may wish to add the finer details using duplicate stitch. Intarsia section is included as both a chart and as written instructions.

Difficulty
Intermediate (knitting, purling, simple increases and decreases, intermediate intarsia)

Pattern style
Vest pattern is written using abbreviations (all abbreviations are given). Both charted and written instructions are provided for the intarsia section.

 Buy the pattern now! Use code SAILING for 25% discount (expires 11.59pm BST, Thursday September 5th 2019

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Wallace and Gromit Christmas jumper!

When do you start your Christmas knitting? Do you like to get things on the needles really early and knit something for everyone you know, or do you cast something on at the last minute and end up having to write an IOU? This year I started my Christmas knitting really early (think May!) by designing this Wallace and Gromit jumper for Knit Now magazine.


I've made no secret of the fact that I adore Wallace and Gromit, so I leapt at the chance to design this jumper, which features Wallace and Gromit getting ready to celebrate Christmas, with Wallace in his Santa hat, and Gromit wrapped up warm in a scarf (which he probably knitted for himself!).

The jumper is knitted in Stylecraft Special Aran* (and Stylecraft Special Baby Aran for the pink), which is a great hard-wearing yarn, so if you knit the jumper this year, you'll still be wearing it for many years to come. The yarn comes in lots of colours, so feel free to switch out the scarf colours (you could even make them match a favourite sporting team) if blue and white isn't for you.

The pattern is written in nine sizes, with finished chest sizes of 78 to 160 cm (XS to 5X). I designed the jumper to be worn with approximately 5 cm of positive ease. The Wallace and Gromit jumper is worked flat from the bottom up in pieces that are seamed before picking up stitches for the neckband in the round. The Wallace and Gromit motif is knitted using the intarsia method, and the facial features are added at the end using embroidery.

Want to get your hands on a copy of the pattern? It can be found in the Knitmas supplement of issue 106 of Knit Now magazine, which is available in all good newsagents and supermarkets in the UK. If you live overseas, or can't find a copy locally, you can order a copy from the MoreMags website. Print copies of the magazine also come with a gorgeous little notions tin featuring Gromit sitting in bed knitting. I've already put stitch markers in mine and put it into one of my knitting bags for use on the go!

If you'd like to add the Wallace and Gromit Christmas jumper to your Revelry queue or favourites, you can find the Ravelry pattern page here.

*Affiliate link.

All images copyright Practical Publishing.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Little sailor vest: available now in my Ravelry store!

Do you like vintage-inspired children's clothing? Well, I might have just the thing: the Little sailor vest. This pattern was originally published in I Like Knitting magazine (April 2018), in baby sizes; in my newly-published version, I've expanded the sizing up to age 8, so you can make the vest for your bigger kids too.



The Little sailor vest is a tank top featuring a traditional sailing boat. The vest is inspired by vintage clothing, and is the perfect traditional item for a child's wardrobe.


Image copyright I Like Knitting
The vest is knitted from the bottom up in pieces. The boat is knitted on a stocking stitch background using the intarsia technique - I've included the intarsia section as both a chart and as written instructions, so you can follow whichever you prefer. The hem, armholes and necklines are knitted using 2x2 rib and the armholes and necklines are picked up and knitted after the garment has been seamed. The shoulders are fastened using buttons to allow for easy dressing.



The vest is designed to fit ages 3 months to 8 years, with 5 cm (2 inches) of positive ease. Sizing details are given in full below. The sample is knitted in Bergere de France Ideal,* a hard-wearing sport-weight blend of acrylic, polyamide and wool, which is machine-washable, making it a perfect yarn for easy-care kids clothing.

If you want to favourite the pattern or add it to your Ravelry queue, you can find the pattern page here.

I'm offering an introductory discount of 25% with the code SAILING from now until 11.59pm BST, Thursday 5th September 2019. Just add the pattern to the shopping basket, type in the code and the discount will be taken off when you check out.



*Affiliate link.


********

Want to knit your own Little sailor vest? Here's everything you need to know!

Sizes - finished chest size; recommended ease, 5 cm (2 in)
3 months: 45.5 cm (18.25 in)
6 months: 47 cm (19 in)
12 months: 50.5 cm (20.25 in)
18 months: 52 cm (20.75 in)
2 years: 57 cm (22.75 in)
4 years: 63 cm (25.25 in)
6 years: 68 cm (27.25 in)
8 years: 71 cm (28.5 in)

Tension
25 sts and 32 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in stocking stitch worked flat on 4 mm (US 6) needles after wet blocking, or size needed to obtain correct tension.

Yarn
Sport/DK-weight yarn in the following colours and amounts:
MC: navy blue, 190 (220, 245, 270, 305, 375, 430, 520) m [205 (240, 270, 295, 330, 410, 470, 565) yds]
CC1: pale blue, 10 m [10 yds]
CC2: red, 10 m [10 yds]
CC3: white, 10 m [10 yds]

Needles
3.5 mm (US 4) straight needles
3.25 mm (US 3) straight needles

Notions
Bobbins for holding the different yarn colours during colourwork
Buttons x 4 (4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 6), 15 mm (0.5 in)
Chart row marker
Stitch markers x 2
Tapestry needle

Pattern notes
The sample is knitted in Bergere de France Idéal [DK, 125 m (136 yds) per 50 g ball, 40% wool, 30% acrylic, 30% polyamide] in 21821 Alpin (MC), 20933 Linaire (CC1), 24408 Pavot (CC2) and 51220 Everest (CC3).

The sailboat motif is incorporated using the intarsia technique, but you may wish to add the finer details using duplicate stitch. Intarsia section is included as both a chart and as written instructions.

Difficulty
Intermediate (knitting, purling, simple increases and decreases, intermediate intarsia)

Pattern style
Vest pattern is written using abbreviations (all abbreviations are given). Both charted and written instructions are provided for the intarsia section.

 Buy the pattern now!

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

WIP Wednesday: 28th August 2019: Bank holiday sock

Hello! Today is WIP (work in progress) Wednesday, my weekly look at what is currently on my needles. If you'd like to join in, let me know what you're working on in the comments section, or post a link to your own WIP Wednesday blog post.

I posted on Monday about my woeful holiday-knitting this year. Since then, my knitting has had rather an upturn, and I've knitted almost the entire second sock of the pair I didn't knit while I was away! My progress is, at least in part, due to Monday having been a Bank Holiday in the UK, so both my husband and I were at home, and the weather was too hot to do much, especially as we were all winding down after out holiday, so knitting a socks while waiting to switch over the laundry seemed like a good way to spend the day!


These socks aren't my usual colour-palette - they're much fresher and lighter - but I am really enjoying the short stripe-sequence, which makes it easy to see progress.

I’m knitting these socks for my Marathon Sock KAL, which is ongoing in my Ravelry group and on Ravelry. Full details can be found here. The yarn is from Paintbox Yarns,* and was donated for review purposes. Paintbox Yarns have donated several balls of sock yarn as prizes for the KAL, so to be in with a chance of winning a ball, get knitting some socks!

What are you working on this WIP Wednesday?

*Affiliate link.