Archive for the ‘Jumper’ Category

Unbecoming behaviour towards A Becoming Cross Over Line

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A Becoming Cross Over Line from Family Knitting in Thick Wool (from My Home Magazine)
400-ish grams Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8ply, Acorn
3.25mm and 4.00mm needles
Started: June 2013
Finished: March 2014
Modifications: Where do I begin?
Ravelryed: here

This project was an excellent example of the gulf that sometimes exists between perception and reality.

I chose this project as my knitting travel companion for a holiday last year. The other contender was my Tri-Cable Stitch Jumper, that four-ply cable number from A Stitch In Time Volume Two. At the time, a cropped, mostly stockinette, 8ply jumper seemed to be the project that would cause the least amount of hassle while traveling around.

This is the point where my perception of the project became divorced from reality. In the few blog posts since coming back from the holiday, I’d mentioned the many hassles I’d had with the pattern. In the end, these are the modifications I made:

  • Cast on more stitches for the waist
  • Dropped the neckline, affecting the two front pieces and the neckband
  • Removed the buttonholes from the neckband
  • Knit the sleeves using Tasha’s top down in the round method
  • Seamed up the neckband so it became a pullover rather than button up jumper.

By the time I’d gotten to the fourth or fifth attempt at the sleeves, I was worn out and became lazy. So, the sleeves shows the scars of a yarn that has been frogged and knit and frogged and knit and frogged and you get the picture. I’m hopeful that as I wear and wash it, the scars will settle to charmingly minor variations in the fabric.

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Once I worked out that I could seam up the neckband and still be able to fit my generously-sized head through the hole, I quickly seamed it up and called it done. The point where the sides meet up to make the v is very wonky and disappointingly unpolished, but there comes a point in some project’s life where it just needs to be finished.

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Despite feeling mildly exhausted and disappointed whenever I wear it, it turned out not too bad. I really like the length of the sleeves and the cropped length makes it perfect for the fit and flare dresses I wear it with. I most certainly won’t be making this pattern again, but cropped jumpers and cardigans definitely have a place in my wardrobe.

This jumper seems to epitomise the difficulty that sometimes comes with vintage patterns; when you run into trouble, you’re generally on your own. This time the battle was worth it, but lordy did it ever try my patience!

Variation of Cable Stitch

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Variation of Cable Stitch From Hughes Book No. 208, Ladies Designs 32-36″
550g Morris and Sons Estate 8ply, Tuscan
4.00mm and 3.00mm needles
Started: April 2013
Finished: November 2013
Modifications: Shorter button placket, extended the collar to start/finish lower, narrower sleeves
Ravelryed: here

It is finished and I’m completely besotted with it. My confidence in it wavered a few times, but now that the buttons are on and I’ve been able to sneak in one wear of it before it gets too hot (thank you Melbourne weather), I’m very happy with how it turned out.

The orange is a surprise hit. As soon as I bought the booklet containing this pattern, I knew that orange would work well with it. The thing I’m most surprised by is how I like it, though it’s unlikely to replace grey as my go-to colour.

Roomy sleeve.jpg

The modifications I made to the pattern were relatively minor. As mentioned before, I made a couple of changes to the neck so the top of the button band sat at the top of my sternum. This involved shortening the button band and lengthening the collar to meet the top of the button band. I also knit the sleeves in the smaller size, so they didn’t billow as much. This did make easing the sleeve a little challenging, but I’m glad I opted for smaller sleeves. Even now, they might be on the biggish side, but it’s nothing I cannot live with.

This project was another example of my inability to judge yarn requirements, as I ended up needing three balls from a different dye lot to finish the jumper. The dye lots were pretty close but still required a little bit of blending to make sure it wasn’t really obvious.

The yarn felt like a standard pure wool 8ply to me; the stitch definition was great and it held up well to multiple froggings. It feels a bit itchy against my neck but it’s nothing I can’t handle. The only thing I’m dubious about is its claim that it’s machine washable, because it felted like a dream when I used felted joins throughout the jumper. This one will never (intentionally) see the inside of washing machine for as long as its mine.

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Buttonmania came through with the goods, button-wise. When I took the jumper in to Kate, I’d decided that dark brown leather buttons were the way to go. The buttons I walked out with are definitely not dark brown or leather, but I really like them.

As it was a pretty straightforward and fun knit, I’d really like to make the pattern available for others to knit, but have no idea how to establish whether it’s out of copyright. There’s no date on the pattern booklet, and as far as I know the company that produced the booklet is no longer in business. Anyone have any pointers on how I can go about establishing if it’s out of copyright, or getting permission to reproduce the pattern here?

I heart tweedy cables

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I Heart Aran by Tanis Lavallee
around 600g Bendigo Woollen Mills Highlands, Cinder
4.00mm and 3.50mm needles
Started: October 2012
Finished: October 2013
Ravelryed: here

I Heart Aran is the second last of my old modern FOs from earlier this year. All the knitting and seaming was finished in time for this year’s Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show, but it took until a couple of weeks ago to sew on the button. Sometimes 10 minute jobs require months of mental preparation.

It’s the perfect winter jumper with its tweed and cables and a collar I can snuggle into. Even though I opted to knit it out of 8ply instead of aran weight yarn, I can confirm that it is an excellent shield against bitterly cold and wet days.

Because I made it out of 8ply, I made a heap of little alterations to the pattern to make the yarn/pattern combination work. I also lengthened the sleeves and used a three needle bind off at the shoulders rather than the suggested grafting. For a jumper this heavy, I think grafting shoulders together would lead to the jumper dropping; it’s really a spot that needs the structure of a seam.


If I were to make it again, I’d make the body a bit smaller (it’s a lot roomier than I’m used to!), make the shoulders narrower and change the collar so that back of the jumper is cast off and stitches picked up, rather than using live stitches. Like the shoulders, I think a large shawl collar like this one needs the structure of a seam. Otherwise, it starts to collapse on itself like it’s starting to here:

collar slouch.jpg

These concerns don’t detract from the jumper too much, but it makes it hard to recommend the pattern. I don’t think it’s a pattern you can blindly trust and follow; there are quite a few spots where more detail could be provided and better, more appropriate, techniques could be used. So, if you’re super keen to make it, I highly recommend having a really close, critical read through before casting on.

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Lastly but not leastly, my absolute favourite part of this jumper has nothing to do with knitting. I picked up this vintage button not long after casting on, and I’ve been marvelling at its shiny butterscotch-like form and colour for nearly a year. I’m not entirely sure that it matches the jumper, but I’m so pleased it’s in use and no longer simply a desk ornament.

It came from Haberdash in Castlemaine, a place I cannot speak highly enough of. If you have even a passing interest in vintage crafts, this place is well worth a visit. It’s a treasure trove.

Rhymes with

There were no fireworks to mark it, but the year of the vintage pattern has commenced. The last of my modern projects was finished nearly a month ago (photos of three unblogged but finished modern projects will be forthcoming once the weather and I are back on speaking terms) so all I’m working on at the moment are projects from vintage patterns.


One of the projects I’m working on is the highly descriptive ‘Variation of Cable Stitch’ from Hughes Book 208. It took me a while to notice this pattern because I was distracted by the model’s facial expression. Why does she look so startled? Did she knock her head on the branch? Was she just really excited to be there? Was she trying to distract everyone from her talon-like fingernails? The most likely possibility is that she was just surprised at the colour of the yarn I’m using to make this jumper:

Pile of orange knitting.jpg

Orange! It’s only a little outside of my usual blue/grey/brown choices but the more I knit with it, the more I like it. I think it’s a good complement and counterpoint to the normal colours in my wardrobe.

The only problem I’ve had with the yarn (Morris and Sons Estate 8ply, if you’re interested) so far is not the colour, but the amount of yarn. I picked up 400 grams of the yarn at a market in February and by the time I got to the sleeves at the end of May, it was evident that there wasn’t enough to finish it with what I had left. Compounding the problem was the fact I couldn’t get any more of the same dye lot and Morris and Sons had it on back order. So I waited, and waited and waited until more yarn came in.

When I picked up the yarn last week, it looked like I was running headlong into a dye lot nightmare. Luckily my colour memory is pretty bad, because when they’re together they look pretty much the same to me. If anything, the new dye lot (on the left) is possibly slightly lighter than the original dye lot.

Matchy matchy dye lots.JPG

Even though they look like a pretty good match, there’s still that tiny little concern that there might be a noticeable difference between the two once they’re knitted up. So, I’m taking the tedious route of striping the two dye lots just in case. Such is the cost of being a risk averse soul.

The unexpected long weekend

This year’s Labour Day long weekend snuck up on me. Instead of willing time to speed up so the long weekend was upon us, I only realised on Friday that Monday was a public holiday. Surprise! Even with such short notice, I was able to quickly assemble a list of things to get done over the three days. The list only contained two items and both of them knitterly; to finish off my (unblogged) Wavy Line Sweater/Allouette, and to get to the armhole decreases on the front of my Jan Sweater. Now that the calendar indicates that Autumn is here, I really need to get a wriggle on and finish the two short sleeved tops that have been on my needles for a little while now.

dear Jan

I only managed to cross off one of the items on my list, which was to get to the armhole decreases on my Jan Sweater. The back is already done, so that should mean that I’m not too far away from finishing it. It’s been a fun knit thus far and expect (nay, demand) it’ll remain fun right up until it’s finished. It’s easy enough to work on while watching Mad Men, but the periodic yarn overs make it interesting.

wavy line allouette

Even though I didn’t end up finishing my Wavy Line Sweater/Allouette, I’m still pretty happy with how it is coming along. One side is completely seamed up, and I’m about half way through the other side. In theory, this means it’s even closer to completion than the Jan Sweater. I can’t say I’m enjoying the process with this project like I am with Jan; it’s been on the needles since April last year and I think when it is done, I’ll just feel relieved. It’s a bit of a funny pattern in that I originally saw it in Sarah Dallas’ Vintage Knits as ‘Wavy Line Sweater’, but then subsequently saw a slightly modified version, also by Sarah Dallas, in Rowan’s Vintage Knits. Even though I’ve been working on the Wavy Line version for nearly a year, I’m still not sure how I feel about a very similar design by the same designer in two different publications. It’s one thing for a designer to have favourite design elements which they use in a number of different patterns, but in my mind this skates rather close to recycling the pattern.

There were a couple of little distractions which meant I didn’t get Wavy Line/Allouette finished on the weekend and all of them revolve around the weather. It was perfect timing really, three lovely sunny (but not hot) days for the long weekend. You can never be sure if this is the warm weather’s last hurrah for this year, so I made sure I spent at least a little bit of time outside. Instead of seaming up my knitting, I did a wee bit of gardening:

wee garden

Went for a little pootle on one of my bikes:


And started a ginger beer plant. I’ll spare you a photo of the yeast/sugar/ginger/water mix. It’s not particularly attractive (or at least, less attractive than toilet paper rolls and potting mix) and I don’t want to scare the yeast into dormancy by taking photos of it. Making ginger beer really should have been something I did, or started, during Spring or Summer, but when your mind says ‘make ginger beer’, sometimes you’ve just got to go with it.

(joyful and) Triumphant

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Cornsilk Pullover by Amy Herzog
5ply yarn from the Bendigo Woollen Mills bargain room, avocado
3.75mm needles
Modifications: Combined two sizes, lengthened the arms

Start: July 2011
Finish: November 2011
Ravelled: here

Besides blocking, it’s finished and I’m very happy with it! Look at the back, it fits like a glove!

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I actually finished it on Monday night. The seaming took a lot less time than expected, which I can only put down to my cheer squad (thanks DrK!). The sleeves are a bit bumpy in places but I think it’ll be fine once I’ve given it a wash.

This is the first Amy Herzog pattern I’ve knit, and I’m impressed. The pattern was pretty clear, and the result is pretty pleasing. To fit with my body shape, I combined the bottom half of the 38 inch size and the top half of the 36 inch size. To make them fit together I rejigged the waist decreases a little bit, and seemed to work quite well.

This jumper was more or less knit in tandem with my sister’s Manu. Working with this yarn was like working with jute in comparison to the Pear Tree I made Manu from. However, it didn’t seem too bad once I’d finished with the Pear Tree and was working almost solely on this jumper. There seem to be a lot of guard hairs in this yarn which are probably the source of its jute-like texture. While I’m happy enough with the fabric, I’m not sure I’d buy this yarn again if the opportunity arose (unlikely, as it was purchased a long time ago from the Bendigo Woollen Mills bargain room). It just happened to be in my stash, it was the right gauge and there was a jumper’s worth.

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Using slightly dodgy yarn for the sake of using it up probably isn’t the best approach to knitting with stash. However, I tend to be a bit of a bad weather friend to my yarn, sticking with it until I’ve found a use for it. That’s not to say I don’t destash, but the process of letting my yarn go can be a bit more difficult than it should be.

The yarn was originally purchased to be used for my colour work vest. I evidently wasn’t very good at judging how much yarn I needed, because there was enough left over from the vest to make this jumper and there is still a fair bit left. It was also purchased during a brown and green phase, which has now morphed into a brown, grey, blue and red phase. I contemplated overdyeing it after finishing, but I’ve thought of two skirts and one dress I can wear it with, so light green it shall stay for the time being.

Almost as exciting as actually finishing something is the fact that it was cool enough today for me to wear it to work. To be honest, it could have been in the high 30s like it has been in other parts of the country of late and I would have still worn it. I wasn’t going to let a little thing like heatstroke get me down.

Racing the weather

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My Cornsilk Pullover is now being seamed up. The back and front pieces are now as one, the collar has been knit, the sleeve caps set and one sleeve seamed. The Bureau of Meteorology predicts that the temperature will reach a maximum of 19 degrees in Melbourne on Wednesday, which could be my last opportunity to wear a jumper this year. The question is, will I, or can I, finish it in time?

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There are a couple of things working against me; having to go to work, and knitted pieces pinned together with sewing pins not being particularly conducive to taking onto public transport. Probably the biggest threat to getting this jumper finished in time is my almost compulsive tendency to try the jumper on after every stage of seaming. One shoulder cap set, try it on. Another couple of rows of sleeve seamed, try it on again. A lot could happen, fit-wise, in a few rows.

On the other hand, it’s only two side seams, a sleeve seam and the collar seams to go. I blocked the pieces before seaming so if I was really pushing it, I could wear it in public before giving it all a wash/wet block. Maybe.

See you on Wednesday with either a tale of triumph (featuring a finished object), or a tale about the one that got away.

Tag team knitting

Since the last post, I’ve been bouncing back and forth between two knitting projects. One is the project I unceremoniously dumped the Turn-A-Square hat for and the other is a secret squirrel project that I can only speak vaguely about.

The day after my last post, Knitscene’s Fall 2011 edition was released. I remember back in the day when I used to stake out the local Newsagent or a now-defunct chain bookstore and wait weeks, or even months, for imported knitting magazines to be stocked. Now I just download the magazine from Zinio on the day that it’s available in its country of origin. Such an age of convenience we live in (a statement I’ll no doubt laugh at in 5 years time).

If you’re a fan of Amy Herzog’s designs and/or her fit to flatter series, I recommend having a look at this edition of Knitscene. She’s the subject of a designer’s profile, and there are quite a few of her designs featured. Two that piqued my interest were the Cornsilk Pullover and the Pinstripe Pullover. I had suitable yarn in stash for the Cornsilk Pullover, so that was that.


Since taking this fairly insipid photo, I’ve finished that piece (the back) and have started on the front. I’m really looking forward to wearing it, but as it’s mostly stocking stitch, it’s not a really an interesting project from a blogging perspective.

The secret squirrel project was started after the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show and uses yarn purchased at the show.

Pear Tree

I’ve never had the pleasure of knitting with Pear Tree Yarn, but it was very difficult to resist when they were selling it for a song in Bendigo. After a little bit of to-ing and fro-ing over colours, I picked up a kilo of grey Pear Tree 8ply specifically for this project. It’s really lovely yarn to knit with, but I have had a couple of hiccups with it.

The first, and most dramatic hiccup was discovering that the first skein of yarn I used was a slightly lighter weight than the rest of pack — where the yarn in the other skeins were made up of four plies of yarn, this one was made up of three. The difference in gauge meant that I had to rip back all of my work and start again. The other hiccup I’ve had is finding lots of knots in one skein, the kind where only one ply of yarn is knotted together. I’ll admit I did get a bit frustrated by both hiccups, but I’ve tried hard to keep it in perspective in the following ways:

  • It’s lovely yarn to work with, and ripping out an entire skein means I get to work with it a bit longer
  • Ripping it back completely meant I could try Lucy Neatby’s nifty provisional cast on again
  • I bought it very cheaply so I really can’t complain
  • The Pear Tree wasn’t the only yarn that I acquired at the show. On the Friday of the Show, there was a gathering of knitters, spinners and crocheters from Ravelry. The lucky door prize Gods must have been smiling upon me that night, for I managed to win some yarn:

    bison bamboo

    It’s Bison Bamboo from Ixchel Yarns and it’s unbelievably soft. The yardage on it is really impressive (around 160m per 50g), but I bought another skein to give myself a bit more freedom when picking a pattern. Initially the plan was to make a cowl, but there might now be enough to squeak out a scarf for Matt, to make up for the Turn-A-Square indiscretion. So far the frontrunner is the appropriately named Man scarf from fallmasche (rav link). I’m not completely convinced that it’s the pattern for this yarn, but as I’m not likely to cast on anytime soon, I don’t have to decide just yet.

    Matt’s Dashing Jumper

    Thank you everyone for your kind words and new year wishes. I hope the start of the year has been nice and relaxing (or completely frantic, depending on your preferences).

    It seems difficult to start with the new year with the past still lingering in the background. As mentioned in the previous post, I’m really pleased with 2010’s last finished knitting project.

    Dashing jumper

    Shirt from Patons book 929, Quiet Days in Jet and Skol
    5.5 skeins of Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers, Bainbridge
    3.75mm and 5.00mm needles
    Start: September 2010
    Finish: December 2010
    Modifications: Shorter body, lengthened sleeves
    Ravelryed: here

    This is the second jumper I’ve made for Matt and I think it was a much greater success than the first one. Most importantly, this is the first attempt at knitting it, as opposed to the one and a halfth or second or whatever version I got to on the suave sweater. It’s also a bit more fitted than the first one so I think it’ll get a bit more wear. All in all, another win for Patons knitting patterns from the 70s!

    Like most of my knits these days, it was largely stocking stitch, but I don’t remember getting bored at all. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I’m in slight mourning that I don’t have to work on it anymore. That’s not to say I’ll be unravelling it and starting again though…

    Cascade 220 was great to knit with. The yardage/meterage was fantastic and the colour matched the pattern well. Initially I had concerns the twists would disappear in the slightly flecky yarn, but I think it looks fine. Most importantly, 6 skeins was exactly the right amount. There’s probably enough left over for a hat, but not much more.


    The buttons, as usual, are from Buttonmania.

    Normally the end of a project signals the beginning of another. In this case, finishing Matt’s jumper brought me back to two works in progress which is my usual number. I’d love to start something new, and have already chosen my next project, but really must finish something off first!

    On cables, positive thoughts and worsted weight yarn.

    Matt’s jumper, which I mentioned briefly here, has been flying along lately. Although I wanted some respite from the stocking stitch rut I have been in, this jumper has been mostly stocking stitch. Even the cables on the front are surrounded by a heap of stocking stitch. Strangely though, it hasn’t worried me one bit.

    Dashing jumper, front

    The yarn has a lot to do with this. Being worsted weight, progress is easy to see and the colour and texture seems to work well with the pattern. Initially I thought the mottled grey/brown would make the twists either side of each cable disappear. However, now that it’s been a while since I finished the front, I think the twists look fine.

    My concerns about having enough yarn seem to be ill-found (or, my positive thoughts seem to be working). I’m currently working on the second sleeve and am just about to start on the fifth of six skeins of yarn. After the sleeve, I just have to knit up the collar and front placket and it’s done. So, it’s looking like I’ll have some yarn to spare. From this experience, it’s fairly clear that positive thoughts while knitting equals increased yardage.

    Given my current progress, the jumper should be done just in time for Summer. This shouldn’t be a problem given the weather down here at the moment. It’s likely to be Summer in name only if the cold and wind and rain keeps up.