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Crepe dress

Crepe dress by Kitsy Babcock
Crepe dress, a photo by Kitsy Babcock on Flickr.

My obsession with 50s style sundresses continues, and I finally realised that I get a bit sick of most of the high street ones being too short. So…. I learned to make my own. This is Crepe by Colette Patterns, a fantastic pattern and really great for a beginner. I actually think I made it a bit too long in the end so when I next make one, I’ll shorten by about 3 inches.

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The third purple cardigan I made this spring was Marigold, which was from the summer 2010 issue of Interweave Knits.

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I made it out of Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, a DK weight cotton/hemp/rayon blend, which I thought would be a perfect summer cardigan yarn.

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For the most part, it’s pretty good. It feels quite rough when you’re knitting with it, but very drapey, and it softens up a lot with washing and wearing.

My one reservation would be, I wouldn’t use this yarn again for anything with puffed sleeves. My sleeves are nice and puffy when it’s just been washed, but after a couple of hours they are droooopy. And the ribbing stretches out a lot too. It’s totally my fault for using such a drapey yarn, and I could definitely do something with shoulder pads to puff them up, but it’s still under consideration. (Wouldn’t you see shoulder pads through this holey stitch pattern? I’d have to knit some from the leftover yarn and stuff them! Actually, now there’s an idea…)

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Well I know I haven’t written anything since my first post back in October 2008 but the thing is, I really, really want to blog. I really want to be doing it regularly, partly because I’m an ex long-time diarist who had to give up when I got a proper grown-up job and suddenly had no time to do it, and partly because I read so many great blogs and I feel like I should be giving something back to the internet in return. I don’t think I really even mind if no one reads it!

So anyway down to business. I realised recently that I spent most of this spring knitting purple cardigans, which is somewhat absurd as I already owned about four shop-bought purple cardigans. Also I am a librarian and it seems pretty stereotypical apparel (don’t even get me started on my large collection of sensible shoes, my glasses and tendency to put my hair into buns – it keeps it out of way! I’m just being practical).

Here is candidate 1, which is Pickadilly designed by Pamela Wynne:

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Ravelled here:

I made this back in March, partly to have something smart-looking to wear to deliver a conference paper in. It’s in some Rowan Felted Tweed that I got for about £2 a ball in a previous John Lewis sale, not all the same dyelot so there is a visible line across it, which I can’t really seem to be bothered about. I really liked the pattern (and the finished article) but I did have to knit the body twice, as the first time I didn’t modify the shape enough for my body. I’m really high- and short-waisted.

Anyway I loved Pickadilly and wore it a lot… until my mother shrunk it in the washer at Easter. I’ve tried to block it out but although I can live it with being a bit more fitted than it was (for ‘a bit more’ read ‘a lot more’) but the problem is that the fabric has fundamentally changed, and instead of the light, soft, airy but warm texture that Felted Tweed usually has, it’s now the most itchy cardigan imaginable. I can wear wool no problem but I’m scratching at this even if none of it is directly touching my skin.

It’s therefore, I’m afraid, a total sweater-fail. I’ll make it again one day… maybe in superwash…

Next I made Blossom by Kim Hargreaves:

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Ravelled here

I made this whilst recovering after some unpleasant minor surgery, and I’m not sure I would have made it through the pattern without having the time to do long stretches of knitting. The pattern is one of those that has increases on one edge every x rows, decreases on the other side every y rows, and a picot edge every z rows. I thought I was going to go mad holding three separate counts in my head at all times.

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I ended up sewing a popper to raise the cinch of the waist a bit (which it doesn’t have in these weird overexposed pics, note to self, stop attempting to photograph knitwear whilst wearing it) and changing the waist was really transformative, it changed it from slightly unflattering to a really good summer cardi. The yarn is Sylvia 4ply by Posh Yarn and is a really beautiful silk/wool blend with a lovely rich sheen.

This post is far too long so I’m going to leave purple cardigan number 3 for a later post. In the meantime though, here’s a gratuitously cute picture of Gilbert, one of my rabbits, pretending to be a Rembrandt painting…

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I’ve resisted getting a blog for so long but I’ve just finished making something which I feel is worthy of record:

Vali

Vali

Yes. It’s a dress. Made of lace. It wasn’t actually very complicated, but I’ve been working on it since Christmas day 2007, so now that it’s finally finished I feel at a bit of a knitting loose end.

Pattern: Vali dress, from Rowan Studio 2, designed by Sarah Hatton.
Yarn: 9 skeins Rowan 4 ply soft, in ‘Victoria’.
Needles: 3.25mm Lantern Moons, in 10″ and 14″ lengths, and some random metal 2.25mms for the sleeve cuffs.

I made quite a lot of modifications to the pattern, which are described on my Ravelry page.

Here’s one more gratuitous lace shot:

It was the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace at the weekend. I went on Friday, having taken the day off work specially but I was a bit disappointed. There was too much stitching and not enough knitting. And everyone else there, who were either old ladies or textile GCSE students, seemed really grumpy. I wore the purple dress but hardly anyone else was wearing knitted creations.

I spent ages at the lovely Knitwitches stall, trying to decide between various different colours, went off for a while to deliberate, got back, picked up the skeins of choice, and then was forced to surrender them to a grumpy Austrian lady who (allegedly) was already in the process of buying them. Grr. I suppose she had come a long way. All I’d done was cross London.

So in the end, all I came away with was an Addi bamboo circular to make my Embossed Leaves socks.

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