Archive for the ‘Jumper’ Category


It seems that a layer of dust has started to settle on this blog. It’s been a bit crazy round here; a good and exciting kind of crazy, but irrespective of whether it’s good or bad, crazy can be quite time consuming.

Pickadilly in progress

In dealing with the craziness, knitting is a luxury that has only possible on the work commute. As a result, Pickadilly’s progress has been a little slower that I’d like. That said, I’m just about to start the increases for the second half of the waist shaping. Pickadilly is the second top down garment I’ve made (Liesl being the first), and the novelty of being to try the garment on as I go hasn’t worn off one bit. I really need to dust off my copy of Knitting From The Top and make top downs part of my regular knitting diet.

While actual knitting has stalled, yarn acquisition is in full flight. Machen|Machen recently made a lovely jumper using Cascade 220 Heathers in Bainbridge. I’d been wanting to try that yarn for a while, so I bought some.

Cascade 220 Heathers Bainbridge

Never fear, it was a well considered purchase which involved the usual amount of umming and ahhing. In the end, it was decided that the colour would match this pattern rather well:

galoshes not included

I picked up this pattern book, Patons Jet/Skol Book 929, at an op shop a couple of years ago. Mostly it was for the pattern above, but I can’t deny the kitschy attraction to the fly fishing theme that runs through it.

Like with a lot of older patterns, a bit of gauge-wrangling might be required. However, as long as I’m careful, I won’t end up knitting this jumper two and a half times like I did the last time I knit Matt a jumper using a pattern from the ’70s. I might be a tad optimistic in only buying six skeins of yarn, but he’s a skinny lad and I’ll think positive happy thoughts as I knit it.

I’d really like to start making this jumper soon, but I feel bad for the yarn I bought to make a different jumper for Matt last year (I often feel bad for inanimate objects, it’s a failing of mine). Is it completely ridiculous that I’m thinking about instituting a ‘first in, first out’ regime for my yarn? As much as it’d bring a bit more order into my chaotic knitting life, I can’t help but think that it is.


Last night I discovered my table and chair was posted on Design*Sponge, which was not only a lovely surprise, but a nice way to end the working week (thanks for the heads up Debs!). If you’ve moseyed on over here on account of that post, welcome!

It was astutely pointed out last post that the blog has taken quite a sunny turn. So I don’t get people’s hopes up, here’s a dull grey jumper I finished a couple of weeks ago:


Still by Kim Hargreaves
2.75 balls of Bendigo Woollen Mills Boutique, Grey
4.00 and 3.00 mm needless
Start: May 2010
Finish: July 2010
Modifications: different yarn, smaller needles to get gauge (no lengthening required!)
Ravelryed: here

I mean dull in the nicest possible way, because I’m really happy with how this jumper turned out. The length is good, the waist shaping sits nicely and I really like the neckline. I was concerned the gathered sleeves were going to be a bit fussy for my taste, but they seemed to puff out a little less with the yarn I used. This might also be because of the sleeve cuffs, which despite my adherence to the pattern, seem a bit shorter than the version in the book.

Still neckline

The yarn was a limited run that came out a couple of years ago. I bought three balls almost as soon as I saw the shade card, because Bendigo Woollen Mills was, and to a certain extent still is, not known for their greys. I think the colour suits the pattern well, making it a little less girly than the book’s version, which is a pastel pink. The yarn itself is a little rough, making it a wee bit prickly, but nothing I can’t get used to. I have worn it a couple of times and it has started to pill around the sleeve cuffs. It would be preferable if it didn’t pill, but I’m one of those odd people who gets a strange sense of satisfaction from de-pilling, so it doesn’t bother me too much. It’s a jumper that will get a lot of wear.

I enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts on the value of handcrafts. It’s a recurring issue, but one that I doubt will ever be fully resolved. It is inherently difficult to price handcrafts — as Michelle mentioned, I think there’s a tendency to price goods based on what the seller thinks the buyer will pay, rather than what’s fair compensation for materials and time taken to make the item. I did this myself in my short foray into selling knitted items. Obviously, there is no point pricing something so high that no one will purchase it. However, to me it seems pricing of handcrafts is often based on the price of its substitute, machine-made or mass produced items. Perhaps (re)education is required for both the buyers, in terms of understanding the time required to acquire a skill and produce an item, and the sellers, in terms of valuing their hard-earned skills. Having said all that, it seems like quite an over-simplification for, as mentioned before, quite a vexed issue.

Bottoms Up


Bottoms Up by Alice Bell (rav link only)
2.5 skeins Louet Euroflax Sport, Graphite
2.75mm needles
Started: January 2010
Finished: April 2010
Modifications: Knit a size smaller due to heavier weight yarn, added length to the body, used slip 1, knit 1, psso rather than knit 2 together through back of loop
Ravelryed: here

I didn’t think this top would get a wear until later this year, but because of some unseasonably hot weather down here, I wore it to work yesterday. Although it’s probably a bit more fitted than other versions out there, it was really comfortable. This bodes well for Spring/Summer.

A few modifications were made, but the length was the most important. In the pattern, the body is made up of four sections of ribbing, consisting of 40, 18, 18 and 10 rounds. After reading comments about this pattern, I knitted 60, 24, 24 and 15 rounds, respectively. This added around about 12 cm to the length of the garment but I still think it’s a tad too short on me. Short enough that I won’t be wearing it with trousers anyway; just high waisted skirts.


Length seemed to be an issue for a number of people on Ravelry who made Bottoms Up. The designer commented that it was designed for someone of average height (by american yarn standards). I’m above average height, particularly in terms of torso length, so I expect to have to add some length to almost all patterns. However, 12cm seems a lot of length to add for a garment to still be a bit short, even with my preference for slightly longer tops.

I’ve thought quite a bit about whether I’m being reasonable in my frustration, and I don’t think I am. The designer offers this pattern for free, which is very generous, and I do have a garment from it that will get a lot of wear. The instructions in the pattern are clear, it’s just the length that was an issue. Ultimately, at this stage of my knitting career, most patterns should just be treated as serving suggestions — if I need to change something to suit the recipient, then so be it.

When the yarn was last mentioned, I hadn’t started the yarn over ‘bubbles’. There are decreases each side of the yarn over, which was quite hard on my hands. The fabric itself is lovely and heavy, so while my hands will need a rest from linen, I suspect I will be working with it again. Particularly after seeing this version of Orangina. Sorry hands, you’ll just have to toughen up!

Quiet achiever

Bottom’s Up has been the tortoise to the Somerset hare, knitting wise. Somerset has at least had one mention on this blog and was knit up very quickly, slowing only because of my aversion to picking up stitches for the collar. Despite starting it in January, Bottom’s Up hasn’t been mentioned here at all and has trudged along, being mostly 1×1 twisted rib in the round, knitted on my work commute.

That’s pretty much where the tortoise and the hare analogy ends. Except if I can’t find my darning needles to weave in the ends on Somerset soon, in which case Bottom’s Up will be finished first.


Anyway! This project has been my first encounter knitting with linen yarn (Louet Euroflax Sport). I was somewhat wary after reading how hard some had found it to work with, but I don’t think it’s too bad. The lack of give means it’s a bit unforgiving tension-wise, but once in a rhythm it looks pretty good, and the knitted fabric feels quite nice.

The pattern itself is pretty arduous, but that lends itself well to commute, movie, or anything that provides distraction from the relentless ribbing. I hope I don’t sound too down on the pattern, as there’s absolutely nothing wrong with how it was written. I just overestimated my patience for ribbing, one of my least favourite knitting activities, even with the warnings in the pattern about it.

I’m perhaps a little premature in writing this as I’ve not finished it yet, but if you are looking to make Bottom’s Up, beware of the rib! Alternatively, if you’re a fan of ribbing, this is most definitely the project for you.

The ghost of a year gone past

It’s impossible to leave the last finished object for 2009 go unblogged. Victory is finished!


Your Victory Jumper by Home Notes (via the Victoria and Albert Museum)
2.5 balls grey Grignasco Bambi, 1.5 balls royal blue and 0.5 balls cream
2.75 mm and 3.25mm needles
Started: June 2009
Finished: December 2009
Modifcations: lengthened and added another repeat, stitch wise, to the body
Ravelryed here

If you heard strains of The Halleujah Chorus floating on the breeze sometime last Sunday, it was likely coming from me as Victory was unpinned from the blocking board. It was not so much the relief of finishing, but the excitement that she could finally be worn. I already love it to bits.

The lace pattern came out really nice and crisply with the yarn, and although I opted for a non-patriotic colour combination (the pattern was published in England just after VE Day, and recommended the use of blue, red and white yarn), I’m quite pleased with how well the grey, blue and cream worked together.


I found the sleeve’s shoulder cap construction a bit strange, in that there was no cast off at the armpit, just a gentle decrease from there to the top of the shoulder. This did make it a little difficult when seaming but the sleeve and body stripes match up, so I’m happy.

If you are interested in WWII era knitting patterns, it’s worth looking at the collection hosted on the Victoria and Albert Museum’s website. I tend to think Victory is the pick of the bunch, but there are some other nice patterns on there that I’d consider making down the track, once my pattern queue and stash has diminished significantly.

Matt’s suave sweater

After many years, many mistakes, many stints in the naughty corner and much procrastination, Matt’s Suave Sweater is done. It’s a big mixture of relief that it’s done and that it fits well, and sadness.


“Jumper” (seriously, that’s what it’s called) from Patons Bluebell pattern book 353, Suave Sweaters (circa 1970s)
5 ply olive green crepe from the magical and slightly mystical Bendigo Woollen Mills Bargain Room
3mm needles
Started: Some time during 2005
Finished: November 2009
Ravelryed here

If only I used Bluebell, this project could have been completed a lot quicker and with a lot less tears. However, I thought it would be a good substitute and was determined to make it work.

As I was finishing it off, I thought about all the things that have happened while it’s been in my knitting basket. I remember working on it while on the tram coming home from the last time I saw Matt’s dad before he died. I remember it being one of the ‘special’ projects that came with us when we overloaded my little car and made our way up the Hume nearly three years ago (but strangely, it was trusted with the removalists on our return. It must have been in the naughty corner at the time). I don’t think there’s been a project that has carried so many memories, but this may be purely because of the length of time it took to finish it.

Being a pretty plain diagonal rib jumper, it’s probably an unremarkable project to everyone but me, but I’m really proud of it. I worked through the gauge issues, the sleeve cap issues and the ‘losing the pattern’ issues (thank you to Australian Country Spinners for helping me out there) without ever thinking about giving up. Best of all, it fits and he likes it a lot.


The only concern I have is the sleeves. Does anyone else think it looks a bit strange at the shoulder? The amount of staring at the sleeve cap may have warped my perception but it doesn’t look quite right, a bit lumpy and baggy. Having said all that it’s unlikely that I’ll unpick it, it can just be a charming character flaw.

Now that it’s done, there’s one small diversion to deal with and then a new project can be started. I’ve been fawning over the yarn and pattern for the last couple of weeks when the end was in sight, so it will be most pleasing to get a start on it.

Persistence makes the heart grow fonder


The back of Victory is sort of finished and the front is well on the way. I can’t quite claim the back as finished, as the stripe sequence is a bit… off. While idly reading through the pattern after finishing the back, it became apparent that I really hadn’t paid enough attention. On the right hand side of the photo is the back piece and on the left hand side is the in-progress front piece, featuring the correct stripe sequence.

Normally a mistake of this size would result in the offending project (because it’s obviously its fault and not mine) being placed (or tossed, depending on mood) into a corner so it can think about what it’s done. Projects like Matt’s Suave Sweater received such punishment. This project’s a bit different. I kept going, following the pattern properly for the front. It really comes as no surprise, but it does look better with the correct stripe sequence. So once the front is finished, I’ll rip out most of the back and redo it.

The ribbing is excruciatingly boring and the combination of 100+ stitches, 4ply yarn and 3.25mm means it’s by no means a quick knit. However, the non-ribbing sections are really enjoyable and I can’t wait to see what the finished product will look like.

I’m hoping I’ve turned a corner as a result of this recent large boo boo. Hopefully I’ll avoid the silly mistakes by not rushing into a project. Hopefully I’ll be a bit more relaxed when things go awry. I’ll just have to wait until the next spate of dufferism to find out I guess!

A suave sweater saga

This blog had an unintentional break in transmission, largely due to the lack of writing material. I have been knitting, but they are projects that I can’t quite blog about just yet. In the meantime, I thought I’d break up the radio silence with a story about my next (bloggable) project.

This project was started in 2005, after finding the pattern in a local op shop. The title of the pattern book is Suave Sweaters. Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced the pattern book, but if you think along the lines of ‘Men’s jumpers from the 70s, vacuumed sealed onto the model’, you’re in the ball park. Within this gem of a book, was a nice diagonal rib jumper that I thought would look good on Matt, in a non vacuum sealed form.


So off I went, and in my usual slow and steady pace, finished all parts of the jumper by 2006 (admittedly it was a 5ply pattern, using 3mm needles). As I was seaming it up, I got Matt to try it on, and it was HUGE. The sleeves were more like drop, rather than set in, sleeves, and you could reasonably fit 1.5 Matts in the body.

DSC_0842 (1).jpg

Down, but not out, I frogged it all and started again. The second time round it took me a bit longer due to a slight lack of interest and the gauge conversions to get the parts right. Being slightly wiser, the parts were measured against Matt at regular intervals and everything seemed to be going swimmingly. Until seaming.


I had managed to screw up the conversion at the armscye, so the sleeve caps were waaaaaay too small. Slightly more forlorn than the first time, the suave sweater sat in my pile of ‘to do’ knits for another year or so. Now I think I’m ready to tackle it again.

I have a handy dandy calculator in hand and a little bit more knitting experience under my belt. Hopefully it’ll be third time lucky.

Does this make me a process knitter? Or just stubborn (or foolish)?

Victory Jumper

It recently dawned on me that I haven’t posted any progress photos of the Victory Jumper. I think that’s a bit rude of me, expecially given the much appreciated (and needed) help I received when starting this project.

Apologies for the photos as they are a bit below par. The light’s a bit weak here today, and surfaces that aren’t boxes are in short supply ’round here still.

formatted MU building  004.jpg

It’s not a fast knit by any means, but it’s still enjoyable. The pattern write up suggests that it’s really easy to remember, which has been true for me. Whenever I see “easy” mentioned in a vintage pattern I’m a bit wary, as rightly or wrongly, I tend to think that the general skill level of knitters was higher back then, and there’s a lot more assumed knowledge. That said, it’s all been pretty straight forward so far.

formatted MU building  005.jpg

The only drawback of this project is that it’s not very portable. The three balls of yarn get tangled up pretty easily so I can only really work on it when I’m at home. It’s a little bit of a pain because I’m back to using public transport in my commute to and from work, but it’s really only a minor irritation.

FO: Salina

Salina has been a work in progress for quite some time, a year in fact. It was a project that I didn’t much confidence in from the get go, starting with worrying about the orange slubs in the yarn, and ending with the seaming job. Nevertheless, Salina is finished.


around about 5.5-6 balls of Grignasco Tango, green
3.25 and 3.5 mm straights
Start: August 2007
Finish: August 2008

There’s really only one problem with it… it’s too big! The body fits ok, and is passable as a sloppy jumper, but the sleeves are just too big at the top. The sleeves look a little loose on the model, but not enough to fit a whole ‘nother arm in there. I’m not too disappointed though, I can see enough good in it to reknit it in a smaller size in the future.

The big lesson for today: don’t take so dang long to finish a jumper!