Archive for July 2012

Bendigo bonnet

Thank you everyone for your thoughts on how to deal with The Pickadilly Situation. You (and Matt) were all right of course. It would be kind of silly to abandon a project when it’s pretty much done. So while I will sew on some buttons and call it done, I probably won’t do that for a little while. I just need to not think about Pickadilly for a bit, and putting it aside is the easiest way for me to do that.

While contemplating Pickadilly’s future, I started and finished a project to wear to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show last weekend.

Giant pompom.JPG

Neon Ski Bonnet by Lacey Volk
200g Ms Gusset Ton of Wool Ten, Undyed
4.50mm needles
Started: July 2012
Finished: July 2012
Ravelryed: here

Since it first popped up in my friend activity on Ravelry, I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it. The cables! The twisted ties! The pompom! It didn’t take long to knit, but it would have been quicker had I not embarked on a trial-and-error odyssey. If you wish to make this bonnet without the odyssey, these are the things I found out that might be helpful to others:

  • It’s not absolutely necessary to use magic loop to make the cabled band. If you’re more comfortable with double pointed needles, use those.
  • When finished, the cabled band needs to be long enough to sit between your ear and chin. I had some trouble working this out from the photos in the pattern.
  • Don’t be concerned if one edge column of stocking stitch on the cabled band is uneven. If you pick up stitches for the smocked stitch on that side, it will become more even.
  • The wraps on my wrapped stitches became tighter when working in the round. Altough this is more an issue with my knitting technique, keep an eye on it because tinking wrapped stitches is unfun.
  • In contrast to tinking wrapped stitches, making twists was quite a lot of fun.
  • The pattern describes the pompom as ‘giant’, which wasn’t specific enough for me. My version of ‘giant’ was to use an 85mm Clover pompom maker. Incidentally, if you want your pompom to look poodle-like, like mine, used frogged yarn. I didn’t necessarily intend to have a poodle-like pompom, but I didn’t want to start a new skein of yarn to have a non-poodle pompom.

Ignoring most of those dot points, it was quite a fun knit, and just the antidote I needed for the frustration felt towards Pickadilly.

from the top.jpg

This was my first experience working with Cormo, and I have mixed feelings about it. It stood up well to being frogged multiple times, and the stitch definition was very good for the most part. Stockinette and cables look really good in it, but I wasn’t impressed with how the twisted stitches came out. That said, there may be some issues with my technique which contributed to their lack of definition.

The biggest concern I have about Cormo is its durability. Before using it, I was aware that it had a tendency to felt and had been treating it with more care than normal. However, after the cabled band was wet blocked, it tried its very hardest to pill, making it look untidy before I wore it once. This is it before depilling:


And after:

Less fluffy.jpg

The depiller cleaned it up pretty well, but I can’t help but feel that it’s going to be an ongoing battle. I will see how the fabric goes after I start wearing it a bit more regularly. It does make me wonder what I should do with my remaining Cormo.

As for the show itself, it was a glorious winter morning and a bit too warm for a thick cabled bonnet with a preposterously large pompom. The show seemed quieter this year, with more ‘as seen on TV’-style products. My purchases, as always, were fairly modest. There’s only one purchase I can mention at the moment, and that’s the darning mushroom I forgot to buy last year.

super mushroom.jpg

It’s a simple thing, but I can’t stop marvelling at it. It sits just nicely in my hand, and I really like the colour of the wood used for ‘cap’ of the mushroom. Luckily I’ve not got a use for it yet, but I’m sure that time will come sooner rather than later.

Pickadilly State of the Union, July 2012

Are you sick of reading about Pickadilly yet? I wouldn’t blame you if you were. To be frank, I’m kind of sick of looking at it and thinking about it. It’s been my main knitting project over the last few months and is now at a point where it closely resembles a finished project. However, I’m not sure if I want to finish it. In some ways, I feel like I’m in the same spot as I was when I first decided to put Pickadilly aside for a while.

contrasty but nearly done.jpg

The cardigan itself is more or less finished; it just needs some buttons and it could be worn in public. I’ve been working on the crochet trim over the last week and due to my inexperience with the hook, it’s been a battle. I bought some Madeline Tosh Lace in Milk to use for the trim, but after swatching it, it felt too delicate for the cardigan. More accurately, I had concerns that I’d get it caught on… stuff. So, I tried some cream Grignasco Bambi left over from my Victory Sweater. The colour match wasn’t as good as the Madtosh, but I felt it was going to hold up a bit better to the trials and tribulations of being worn by me. In the mean time, I’d decided to leave the trim off the cuffs. Cream cuff trims + me = guaranteed disaster.

DSC 0637

With the yarn for the trim settled, I measured the swatch, calculated how many chain stitches I’d need for the trim along the button band and around the bottom hem. Crochet is a slow process when in my hands; I don’t feel comfortable with the hook, and I know my technique can only be politely referred to as ‘unorthodox’. In any case, the trim took three or four nights to finish and when it was done, I put it up against the cardigan to admire my handiwork; it was about 10cm too long. Had it been 10cm too short, it could probably have been be blocked out and stretched along the edge of the cardigan. In this situation, I can’t see any other option but to rip the trim out and start again. As it is I don’t think I have the will or the bother to keep going with Pickadilly. After seeing this boatneck jumper on Ravelry on the weekend, I’m now considering whether I should frog the cardigan completely and use the yarn to make that simple jumper.

The prospect of frogging Pickadilly was mentioned to Matt a couple of nights ago, and he suggested that it would be a waste of all the time spent swatching/knitting/modifying/swearing. It’s true that a lot of time has been spent on this project, but I don’t think it’s a waste. After all, I can’t get that time back, so there’s no point trying to salvage something just because I spent a lot of time on it. It’s also made me look at the construction of garments and look over patterns with a more critical eye than I have previously. It’s a project that’s taught me that persistence can pay off sometimes; the sleeves, for example, worked out really well.

another hand on hip photo for the road.jpg

Aside from the time spent on it, the other point to consider is whether I’d wear it once it was finished. Without the trim, I doubt I would. Even with the trim, I don’t know if I would wear it all that much. If it hadn’t been such a struggle, I’m sure I’d be more inclined to wear it.

So, with all that sooking, I’m keen to get some views from outside the Pransell household. Am I completely mad to be considering frogging something I’ve invested so much time in and am so close to finishing?


Not long after finishing the tote, I started working on another project from the sewing course I started earlier this year. It was a supplies roll up, something I really needed for my double-pointed needles. Up to this point, my collection had languished in a draw and locating a matching set usually required spending some quality time with a needle sizer.

The project was going swimmingly until the thin cotton lining had to be attached to the canvas outer. The instructions required attaching the pieces with wrong sides together, and I had no end of trouble getting the two pieces to sit together nicely. They were the right size given the measurements in the pattern, but no matter what I did, the two pieces wouldn’t stay just so and they ended up looking messy. After four or five attempts to get it to work (sadly this is no exaggeration), it got put aside until such time as I felt I could revisit it.

Yesterday I got the pieces back out again and tried a different approach. Instead of sewing the pieces together wrong sides facing, I sewed them together right sides facing, turned the piece right side out and top stitched around the edge to secure the pieces together. It worked much, much better for me and before I knew it, the roll was finished.

roll goes up

It’s by no means perfect. There are a number of things that are wonky, but mostly it looks pretty good and I’m pleased enough with it that it’s already in use. The lining is already a bit wrinkled, because I’ve been rolling and unrolling it in a manner not unlike Homer Simpson.

roll goes down

It’s the win that I really needed. I’ve been feeling quite unenthused about my knitting and sewing of late, mostly due to things going wrong (due to mistakes on my behalf and not on my behalf). Now that I’ve finally finished something and feel pleased with how it turned out, I feel like I’m getting back on track. Fingers crossed for smoother crafting seas ahead.