Archive for the ‘Where are they now?’ Category

The Return

Just over a year ago, I threw a mild tantrum about a cardigan I really wanted to make, but the pattern and I were not friends. The last time it was mentioned, it looked like this:

Pickadilly, circa March 2011

Now that the hissy fit is finally over, I frogged what was left of it, reswatched and started again. This is what the cardigan looks like now:

Pickadilly, circa April 2012

The sleeves are now one inch narrower than last time, so while it might not look that different, the sleeves feel more fitted and I’m happier with how it’s looking. While the sleeves are a bit more fitted, there’s still an issue of fabric bunching under my armpit. I know I need a some ease around the armpits so I can move my arms around without fear of tearing the fabric, but I think the armholes need to be a little less deep. So, I’ll be wading into the shallows of the frog pond to make the yoke a little shorter.

Frogging this time round won’t be as painful as before, as I’m knitting the sleeves before the body rather than the other way around. It’s a lesson I learnt last time; issues with shaping the body can be fixed without frogging, but issues with the tops of the sleeves will generally mean frogging the yoke. I’d rather not have to rip back my knitting, but as there’s some trial and error in getting the fit right, it’s pretty much an inevitability.

Something which has crossed my mind a couple of times is whether it’s worth retrying this pattern. After all, it’s a project that made me feel so frustrated that I had to put it aside and not look at it for a year. Even with that time and frustration I still like the cardigan, want to make it and want to wear it. There’s no doubt that I’m being at least a little bit stubborn about not giving up, but if I want the final product, then there’s some logic to battling on for at least a little longer.

Testing, testing…

This is possibly the most boring post you are ever likely to read. It’s also possibly a slightly disturbing insight into the workings of my mind. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Acquiring a new appliance or gadget always comes with a mildly obsessive testing phase in this household. Earlier this year we bought a new iron and for the first few weeks, I ironed shirts and trousers and skirts and handkerchiefs as soon as they were dry. Ironing clothes is a fairly common chore so this probably doesn’t seem that extraordinary. However, we have a policy of minimal ironing so it was quite a strange phenomenon for this household. The iron still gets used relatively often, but not with quite the same amount of joy or frequency as when it was in its testing phase.

Recently I determined that some of my knits were looking a bit fluffy and/or pilled and the de-pilling comb I was using wasn’t really suitable for hand knits. After a bit more research than was probably necessary, an electric fabric shaver was purchased. It’s probably a bit more than I was expecting to pay, but I read a lot of good things about it on Ravelry, which had to count for something, right?

Today it arrived, and before you could say ‘please stop writing about de-pilling knits Emma, it’s disturbing’, I had taken the vest I was wearing off and was removing woolly fluff like it was my last opportunity to do so, ever.

For those wanting relief from the ins and outs of my pilling solutions journey, my first victim was my Grandfather Vest. This vest really deserves its own ‘where are they now‘ post, because it’s probably one of my most frequently worn knits. My initial misgivings about the fabric appearing uneven were soon forgotten. In fact, the only real issue I’ve had with it is that it looks a bit fluffy and daggy with all the wear it has had. This is what it looked like before I took to it with the fabric shaver:

fluffy vest

And after:

unfluffy vest

The difference between the two photos probably isn’t that great, but I can assure you that it took off a *lot* of fluff. The vest probably doesn’t look completely brand new, but it’s looking a lot less daggy. Decidedly undaggy, even.

Now I’m assembling a mental list of all the items of clothing Matt and I have that need de-pilling. All in the name of testing.

The beginner’s vest

green vest

This is a vest made not long after I took up knitting again, and it’s one of my favourite knitting projects. When I started knitting again, I gravitated towards vintage and retro patterns. As it happened, I was a voracious op shopper at that time, and the op shops I frequented had a really good supply of patterns from the 40s-70s. The pattern for this vest was from the English Woman’s Weekly from 9 November 1974.


The colour combinations suggested in the magazine included grey and blue, amber and rust, oatmeal and sage and turquoise and grey. I was going through a green and brown phase at the time, so used a light green and olive green 5ply from the Bendigo Woollen Mills back room.

It was my first attempt at colourwork, and even now I’m pretty impressed with how it turned out. The knitting’s quite even and there’s pretty much no puckering. However, I never wear it because of a few rookie mistakes. The biggest problem is that it’s too short. This is probably because I used a 5ply instead of an 8ply yarn, and also suspect ‘gauge swatch’ was some manner of strange term I’d never come across. My increases are a bit… holey, even though I’m sure I knew how to do bar increases. So, while there’s not actually many mistakes, they’re pretty noticeable ones.


All that said, I can’t bare to unravel it. Even though it just takes up precious wardrobe space, I still feel proud when I spy it under the piles of knitwear. I definitely want to knit the vest again, but with 8ply and after a gauge swatch. It’s also a project that makes me feel a bit sad. I think it was a fairly adventurous knit for a relative beginner, and it makes me wonder where that sense of adventure went; after all, it’s only yarn and patterns are merely serving suggestions…

On the topic of serving suggestions and a sense of adventure, the magazine didn’t just have a snazzy vest pattern. Amongst other things, it also had a fantastic ad for a well loved foodstuff:


Anyone for paella beanz?


Last post I promised sunny. The weather has been anything but, so I’ve had to make some sun instead.

Gaptastic Cowl by Jen Geigley (rav link)
200g Bendigo Woollen Mills Rustic 12 ply, Sunflower
8.00mm needles
Start: February 2011
Finish: March 2011
Modifications: Smaller needles, cast on more stitches, knit fewer rows
Ravelryed: here

This is such a straightforward pattern, but the result is very pleasing. The pattern suggests making it 15 inches in width, but I only made it 8.25 inches. I never wanted to make it 15 inches wide as it would just be too bulky for me, but as luck would have it, I ran out of yarn just after half way. As it is, I’m really happy with the width.

For a long time I was anti-cowl, but this pattern has made my steely resolve waver somewhat. I’m still not a huge fan of the smaller cowls, but there are a few longer cowls that I might consider making in the future.

The yarn started life as a diagonal lace scarf. However, it curled badly so I ended up with a kind of draught stopper/rope thing. It seems much happier to be a big seed stitch cowl. It’s possibly a little rough for use around my neck, but I got used to it pretty quickly.

I’m starting to feel like the kiss of death for certain Bendigo Woollen Mills colourways. Sunflower and the light grey I used in my Golden Hands striped vest, were discontinued a few years ago. This run continued last week when this year’s shade card arrived — two lovely rusty red colours, Rust in Rustic and Tuscan in Classic, have also been discontinued. So, if there are any Bendigo Woollen Mills colourways that you’re not a fan of, let me know and I’ll start liking them. It’s a surefire way to get them discontinued.

As a postscript to my last post, I’ve decided to frog Pickadilly. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that they problem lies at the yoke. I’m determined to make it work, but it does mean reworking the pattern (again) to make it fit well. As DrK mentioned, top down raglans aren’t as easy as they appear on the surface, even though they’re often put forward as the ‘easy’ jumper pattern. While seeing a jumper or cardigan (slowly) appear before your eyes is very alluring, it doesn’t make it immune from fit issues. This pattern is a perfect example of that for me. Thank you everyone for you input, you all helped me take the in out of indecision.

Where are they now? – Early knits edition

Like many people, it was my Mumma (Grandmother) who taught me how to knit. I think I was around five or six when she taught me how to cable cast on, the knit stitch and to cast off. I liked knitting, but was never really that committed to it as there were toys to play with, trees to climb, books to read, and most importantly, my parents to annoy. I don’t particularly remember any of my really early knits, besides a garter stitch scarf for my Dad. I was knitting massive 32 stitch rows and when I ran out of navy wool, I simply switched to black wool. It was never finished, and I suspect Dad’s quietly pleased he never had to wear a rough garter stitch scarf with blocks of navy blue and black.

A few years later, the Country Women’s Association visited my primary school and taught the grade five and six students to knit. So, the three grade five and six students (I went to a very small school in the country) filed into the staff room and were given brown paper shopping bags. In the shopping bags, there were a pair of needles (4mm if I remember correctly), yarn (Cleckheaton Country I think — it was definitely an Australian Country Spinners yarn), instructions on how to knit, and a pattern for a garter stitch beanie. Because I’d remembered my Mumma’s wise words, I was soon off and away, knitting my first beanie. Except, I wasn’t, and still am not, a hat person. So I made a camera case.

Camera case

When I found it at my parents’ house recently, I was pleasantly surprised by how it looks, over 15 years on. The tension’s a bit off in places and there seems to be a short row in one place, but fabric’s not too bad. The seaming’s a bit rough; it looks like I tried to seam using a kind of mattress stitch, but it’s a bit holey.

Wobbly knitting

I made a drawstring cord and a little loop for the corner using finger knitting. Well, it’s the finger knitting I was taught in school, which resembles single chain crochet. Sadly, the drawstring seems to be missing, but honestly I’m astounded I found the camera case at all.

It’s not a particularly pretty piece of knitting, nor is it something I’ll likely ever use again. However, it’s not something I could bring myself to donate or throw out. It’s a part of my knitting history.

Where are they now? – Tyrolean Cardigan edition

Thank you for the thoughtful comments on the last post. It’s really interesting to read other people’s perspectives on comments, commenting and motivation for blogging. It’s given me a lot to think about.

Changing the subject completely, I’m always interested to see how finished projects fare down the track. Often a project’s blogging life ends soon after the project is finished, which means you don’t know whether the item got much use and what improvements would be made if it was made again. A recent epiphany about a finished project has provided the motivation to start a periodic ‘where are they now?’ series.

My Tyrolean Cardigan was finished about a year ago, but it’s only been worn a handful of times. I decided that the button band was the reason I wasn’t wearing it very often – I wore it to work recently and found I fiddled with it a lot.



The button band was originally worked as in the pattern – seven buttons, with two spaced close together at the top and bottom. In this configuration, the front gaped a little, even though there was enough fabric to cover me. The buttons at the top and bottom were also largely redundant because I wore the cardigan with only the middle buttons done up, to help it nip in at the waist more.

A few potential solutions came to mind, but I ultimately decided to pull out the button band and start again. This time, I added an extra buttonhole and spaced them out more evenly. This required a bit more surgery than anticipated, as the neckband needed to be reknit as well.

I’m pleased to say it’s a lot more wearable now. It was taken for a test drive yesterday and I didn’t fiddle with it at all! Adding the extra buttonhole made all the difference, which is unsurprising given that the body was knit a bit longer than specified in the pattern.

after: – ravelryed here


As for the rest of the garment, I still really like the bobbles, the colour and the button choice. Being a very warm cardigan, it’s coming into its own now we’re on the Winter side of Autumn. Probably most importantly though, the fabric is holding up ok. There’s a bit of pilling under the arms, but as the rest of the cardigan is remaining pretty much pill-free, I’m reasonably satisfied with how it’s wearing.

The ‘where are they now?’ series is unlikely to feature all of my past knits, as not much interesting stuff can be said about a garter stitch scarf. However, I may be able to slip in a few pre-pransellknit knits that might be a bit more interesting…