Sunday, 30 December 2012

Joke Jersey

The second last day of the year and I've finished the mud-coloured cardigan.  I should be rejoicing but things turned out worse than I could have imagined:  worse even than the colour!  I actually began to appreciate the colour after a while.  It might not be as yellow as advertised (a false yellow as a result of flash photography) but the tweedy effect, all the different shades speckling together, are quite attractive.  I even began enjoying knitting with the wool - it felt less like string and the texture was quite interesting and easy to manage.  Hope began to stir:  perhaps the cardi wouldn't so bad after all.  I even enjoyed knitting the hood.  I've never tried anything like that before and it proved to be fantastically easy.  Luck was on my side with the button band too and it fit perfectly.
So why isn't this a success?
Because it's about five feet wide.  I already had an idea that it was rather large but thought it must just be the pattern.  I decided that the girl in the pattern picture was wearing a smaller size or had had it pinned behind her so that it seemed to fit perfectly.....but even if this was pinned it wouldn't fit me.  The size is RIDICULOUS.  It's ENORMOUS.  My daughter laughed for about ten minutes and I was too disappointed to even cry.
What has gone wrong?  I followed the pattern exactly.  I used the wool and the needles as requested.  My tension was perfect and I didn't use more wool than required.  I knitted this very carefully.  NOTHING should have gone wrong.  I can only imagine that the jersey knitted in the magazine was NOT the same as in the pattern.  They must have used much thinner needles.  I felt all along that the needles were too big, hence the laddering effect in the rib, yet the needle size is given as 6.5mm.  Have the manufacturers got it wrong?  Is that why it was discontinued because, frankly, the wool is just a disaster?  Have I been duped by a rubbish wool company?
It looks so stupid that I haven't taken a photograph.  When I've recovered and my sense of humour returns, I might post a picture or two, but until then, I've got yet another unwearable monstrosity cluttering my wardrobe.  
Perhaps I should make a New Year's resolution as it's nearly the new year, but what?  Stop knitting?  I'll tell you one thing, though:  I'm NEVER knitting anything out of a magazine again.  I don't trust them.  Knitting is a luxury for me and to have wasted so much money (and SO much time...) is just galling.

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Eternal Bad Knitter

I haven't blogged for a long time, I know.  It feels like months!  I've been having a bit of a knitting crisis.  It's the one that goes:  everything I knit is rubbish!  I'm a really bad knitter!  I haven't improved one iota in the last few years!  I just want to knit easy stocking stitch so that I don't have to think in front of the telly!  I'm a blob!
You can see where this is going!  But it's true that I have been having some difficulty with my knitting and have lost confidence somewhat.  Perhaps everyone goes through this.  Perhaps I knit too much.  Perhaps my Real Life (the one that knitting is supposed to take me away from) is impinging on my wool space.  (Or should that be yarn space?!)
I finished the hot water bottle cover I made out of that leftover Bad Yarn - that's the cream stuff that I had to unravel from being double-knitted, out of which I did manage to make a halfway decent at-home cardie.  Although I did wear it to work once - can't say that anyone noticed but then it isn't that sort of job.  It might not be the most beautiful cardigan in the world, but it's very warm.  

The hot water bottle, in the same weird, stiff acrylic yarn knitted up very neatly, I thought.  In fact, the finished product looks really good EXCEPT I didn't realise the yarn was much thicker than the DK required.  How could I not have realised?  Didn't I notice I was knitting with bigger needles?  So the final product is, in fact, a gigantic hot-bot cover, a cover of immense proportions, one that slides around all over the place and is just thoroughly ridiculous.  What an embarrassment I am to myself.

If you look closely, you can see the much smaller hottie bottie inside!

The pocket was a good idea, though:  keeps my hands warm.
In meantime, I've also finished the long, striped cardigan for my daughter.  That went very well indeed, though I did get rather irritated having to change colour every four rows for the sleeves!  It was an easy enough pattern and very easy acrylic to knit with.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, it was my first cardigan with a border and I managed to pick up TOO FEW stitches along the front for the border, resulting in the pulled-up look you see in the photo.

With flash

Without flash

Pretty "wooden" buttons

Keenly feeling the disappointment of these two "failures" (the fact that the hot water bottle cover is used every day is neither here nor there, nor is the fact that my daughter loves her cardi as it's long and warm), I decided it was time to confront my biggest disappointment of all.
Sirdar Tweedie Chunky in Honey Yellow.
Needless to say, it has been discontinued and all I can say is thank goodness because it's horrible stuff.  I saw a pattern in the November 2010 issue of Knit Today of a lovely hooded cardigan and was quite won over by it.  The Honey Yellow looked like a lovely colour and the sample shade in the magazine was identical to the one on the on-line shop.  That's TWO places where the colour was the same - you'd think that would be the colour you'd get?  I bought this for myself as a birthday present two years ago so imagine my disappointment when the huge parcel turned up with this grungy dull mud coloured wool.  Feeling disinclined to return it as it was my birthday present and it was too late to buy anything else (shopping around Christmas time for birthday presents isn't easy), I convinced myself that it would look better when I knitted it.
I then proceeded to knit it about five times, starting it, pulling it out, starting it again.....first I couldn't get the basic rib right and kept making mistakes.  Then I battled with the cable pattern.  It seemed impossibly difficult and after much blood, sweat and tears, I gave up.  It was almost spring and I didn't want to be knitting in an ugly, mud-coloured yarn that was depressing and felt like string to boot.  So I abandoned it for nearly two years, picking up again recently, having thought a great deal about it.  I decided I just needed to concentrate harder, to use lots of stitch markers so that I didn't get lost with the cable and to use nice bamboo knitting needles.  The latter proved to be too sharp and kept snagging the wool.  And the cable pattern, which I managed to master (it was quite easy) look terrible.  Despite trying to knit as tightly as I could, it laddered very badly. Naturally I blamed the yarn and shoved the whole lot back into my wooden box, abandoned once more.
But why not just abandon the cable??  What I good idea, I thought.  So after much research and studying my previous creations, I decided to knit the whole thing in Mistake Rib (which, I hope, has other names.)  I thought this would make it chunkier and less likely to show up the laddering effect that this yarn seemed to produce.  HAH!  It's not called Mistake Rib for nothing!  Despite never having any problem with it before, I just could not see what I was doing with this tweedy yarn:  I couldn't see the pattern, which meant I kept losing myself.  Which meant, of course, that I made thousands of mistakes.  Grimly, I kept going, sure that you wouldn't really be able to see the mistakes if you didn't look too closely.  I finished the entire back, shoved it in my wooden box and abandoned it.
Finally, I realised I was just going to have to knit a boring cardigan out of it, no pattern, no cable, nothing interesting at all.  What else am I supposed to do with this wool??  It can't sit in the box forever.  I hate it but perhaps it will be warm.  Yet ANOTHER poor quality home cardi.  Aaaaargh.
So far I've finished the back, two fronts and am halfway with one of the sleeves.  The colour continues to be muddy.  The yarn continues to feel like rough string.  There's nothing about it I like.  But I'm knitting and sometimes I just need to knit.  Perhaps it doesn't matter what I knit as long as I don't go entirely mad......
Mistake rib - without flash.  How can the colour vary so much?!
Mistake rib - with flash

Seriously bad picture of original "colour" in magazine.  Looks much more yellow...

Current knit.  Doesn't the colour look great with a flash?

This is what it really looks like.....

The colour is actually called Grouse.  Indeed.  That's just what I feel like when I knit.  An old grouse, grumbling in the corner.  I think my next project needs to be seriously orange or purple or something....

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Happy Hallowe'en

Only a day late, not bad!  I managed to finish the striped cardigan in time for Hallowe'en, as promised.  It was a very easy knit except for the very long border.  I had to pull out my first effort which was excruciatingly painful.  Also, the most obvious error I made is in the border:  I didn't cast on enough stitches (and yet I seemed to have so many...) so it pulls up at the bottom a bit.  However, my daughter doesn't seem to care.  The striped version isn't supposed to have pockets but I thought they broke up the rather endless length of stripes down the front!  The style suits my daughter rather well as she is long and thin but I was concerned that it is a perfect fit - and I made the biggest size!  If I make if for her again, I'll have to increase the width quite a lot, which is a bit daunting.  But it seems such a waste to only use a bought pattern once!  Even if it was on special offer...
That's a bat on my head, in case you're wondering

Yes, these are pockets

Let's party!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Time for hottie botties

While I struggle to sew up the striped blue cardigan, I've started knitting another hot water bottle cover, using up the last of that mystery wool.  I hope there's enough wool!  This is how much I've done in two evenings (even I'm impressed...)
On the needles...
I seem to have a strange affinity for the needles I'm using:  they're an old pair of my mother's, one of only two pairs I could find.  I've never been able to sort out this mystery.  Did my mother really only have two pairs of needles?  Did she knit hundreds of jersies using only two sizes, both quite similar?  The ones I'm using are a US6 (which is a 5mm) and although I've got a pair of new 5mm, I find myself using these.  There's something about the feel of them that is nice.  Perhaps they're made of a better quality aluminium?!

In the meantime, during the day, for an hour or two only, I'm sewing up that cardigan.  I've already had to unpick one armhole.  What is about armholes.  When I used to sew (back in the days when you could buy decent fabric), I used to struggle with set-in sleeves.  In fact, I struggled with sleeves of all kinds.  The sleeve never seemed to be the same shape as the hole it was going into.  It seems to be the same with knitted garments!  But I promised my daughter the cardi would be finished by Halloween and I'm well on track.  For once!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

On the needles (I think I've lost count.....)

Mmmmmm......I'm not so sure about the new Blogger dashboard.  It looks nice and big and all but it didn't automatically bring up the previous "on the needles" title so I don't know what number this is.  But, hey, not important!  This is about knitting, not my technical quibbles (I have enough of those in My Other Life.)  
I'm currently working on a long stripey cardigan for my daughter.  I saw the wool on sale at Black Sheep (yes, I confess:  I am a Black Sheep sucker.  Send me an ad for a Remarkable Sale Item and I'm buying it without blinking!) and am quite charmed with it.  It's pure acrylic - real wool knitters would probably sniff at it haughtily - but, golly, it's so EASY to knit with.  And with all the hassles I've been having recently, it's so nice to be able to knit something that just seems to flow off my needles!
It's called Sirdar Wash'n'Wear DK Double Crepe and is acrylic/nylon.
I chose the two blue shades for stripes.  Most of the time, it looks rather like a rolled up rugby scarf.  I'm sure it'll all work out when I sew it together...
Here is the completed back.  My knitting has never been this neat!

Abandoned in my wooden box is my autumn cardi....not entirely sure when I'll be getting back to that one.  There is a LONG story attached to this, which I'll save for my next blog.  In the meantime, it doesn't look all the appetising, which probably explains why I abandoned it....

The colour on the website AND the knitting magazine showed this is a bright golden real life it looks like mud....

And for riveted followers of my blog, I have finally fixed up that cardi I knitted at the end of last winter.  I didn't like the bottom edge and it was also too short.  As it is chilly enough now for cardigans, I really wanted to wear it again without looking like a short-bodied troll.  So I picked up a thousand stitches along the bottom edge and knitted away merrily until I'd used up the last ball of wool.  That was a complete disaster as I'd used smaller needles and it succeeded in pulling tight the bottom of the cardi.  So I pulled it all out and the painstakingly unpicked the cast-on edges of the two fronts and back.  NOT as simple as unpicking the cast-off edge, which comes undone with one tug of the yarn.  But my patience was rewarded and finally I could pick up all ten thousand stitches with a too-short 6mm needle (I wanted to use my 6mm circular needles but lost confidence....) and off I went, using up every last drop of wool I had...
HUGE success.  I now have a cardi that is not only longer and smoother but hangs better too as it's heavier along the bottom edge.  

My favourite cardigan!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Spring has Sprung

It hasn't, actually, though it is very warm, but these colours are so soft and beautiful that it felt like spring!  I realised towards the end of last week that I had run out of money and couldn't buy the Debbie Bliss Prima on sale until after the weekend.  But how long would the special offer last?  So I wrote to Black Sheep and got a lovely letter from their customer service lady, Maria.  Providing I realised this was just a one-off, I could buy the Prima over the phone and she would put the sale through manually.  What wonderful kindness!  I was so overjoyed that I bought twenty balls.  In trying to work out how many balls I needed for more skinny rib tops, I weighed the top I'd made and calculated 6 balls, but bought 7 (just in case.)  I've bought enough for three tops:  one in yellow, one in lavender and one that will be avocado, cream and other stripes (depending what's left.)
Something gorgeous for next Spring!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Debbie Bliss Prima on sale!

That delicious coral cotton is on sale at Black Sheep Wools for only £1.98 a ball!  Actually, it's not cotton, it's viscose bamboo/merino wool but anyway!  Since I've harped on and on about this yarn, turning a disaster into a joyful success (something I actually wear!), I thought it would be worth mentioning here.  The coral is still available, which surprises me as I'd thought it had been discontinued.  There are also other lovely colours.  Yes, obviously I'm going to buy some!  I love my rib top and want to knit more!

Click here for Black Sheep Wools.
Click here for Debbie Bliss Prima at Black Sheep.

Would love to hear what everyone else knits out of this....

My favs are:






Friday, 17 August 2012

All in a blur

My daughter took some rather nice pictures of me in my new pink top.....each and every one of them out of focus and blurred!  You have to wonder how that can happen on a digital camera that does everything except print out entire portfolios.  So until I - eventually - get a decent photograph of My New Favourite Top, here I am at the British Library, in a fabulous blur...

Friday, 27 July 2012

Teeny tiny photo!

I tried to take a photo of myself using my webcam.....harharharhar!  Look how SMALL it is!!!  Can't figure out why.  I'll get my daughter to take a better picture of me later.  Needless to say, I LOVE my new top.  For once I've actually made something nice out of something awful!  Hooray!

Could this be any smaller?
The photo, not the top!!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Finished Vest

I finished my ribbed vest just in time for the heatwave except, of course, it's too hot to wear it! I'm probably the only person in England who doesn't like the hot weather....when people say, "oooh, summer has started at last," I smile weakly, as if in agreement, but actually I'm thinking, "aaaaargh, bring on the rain."  Yes, I know the rain has been awful for some:  there have been floods and endless weeks of grey drizzle.  But I live in London and we didn't get THAT much rain.  No floods, just nice bouts of rain that made everything lush and meant I had to wear a cardi most days.  I just LOVE cardi weather.  Also, when it rains in London, it washes the air and sidewalks clean, and God knows, they could do with a scrub!  Rain means a clean city, it means the air is soft and clear, it means the drunken zombies who litter the sidewalks don't come out of their holes and it means the tiny squares and parks aren't lined with near-naked and faintly revolting flesh.
Like I said, bring on the rain!
And when it comes back, I'll have a chance to wear my new top:

It looks a bit crumpled up here but believe me, when I'm wearing it, it looks fantastic!  Just needs to be a bit longer....

It has the simplest edging:  pick up stitches along the edge, knit a row, cast off.  Gives it nice definition.

Above is the original Debbie Bliss pattern, knitted in Amalfi.  I followed it exactly, except ribbed it.  I also didn't do an edging around the arms as they came out well-defined, but I think I would if I knitted it in stocking stitch.  I used Debbie Bliss Prima which seems to have an identical tension, so there was no weird tension maths to do (which I can't do anyway.)  I got this pattern free from the Debbie Bliss website but it seems they change them quite often.  I think the Amalfi book is still available, though.

The ONLY thing that went wrong is that I would have liked it longer.  But I like this sort of top so when I knit it again, will add a good four inches/10cm to the length.  I have no waist so anything that sits too close to it makes me look, well, waistless!  A longer length makes me looks slimmer.  Naturally!

I must say I'm really glad I've got this yarn out my hair!  

Saturday, 14 July 2012

On the needles (6)

Debbie Bliss Prima

I feel as if I've been knitting my summer rib top forever.  Not that I'm going to need it for a's been quite chilly!  (Just how I like summer actually:  cool skies and sprinkly rain.....lovely!)  No doubt summer will hit us in full force in September.  I'm sure I'll be finished by then!
The hardest part has been doing the increases up the sides.  Despite hunting about on-line for advice, it seems there is no magical way to make neat increases when you're doing a rib.  Unless, of course, you're actually following a pattern and not making it up as you go along!  The back looks appalling so I tried to do the increases on the front much closer to the edge in the hope that when I sew it up, the mess will be hidden away.
In the meantime, I discovered that DECREASING in rib looks better on the wrong side!
(The pattern is taken from the Debbie Bliss Amalfi book - the pattern was free at some point.  It seems they don't keep free patterns on their website.  There's only one free pattern at any one time!)

This is the "wrong" side but it's so neat, I'm going to use this as the right side!
Not so neat on the "right" side!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Bad Bolero

When I started this blog, I mentioned the Bad Bolero from hell.  I am relieved to say that it is no more.  It was quite difficult having to pull it all out - after all, I put a great deal of work into it.  The back knitted easily, as did the sleeves. But the front curve boggled me completely.  I was so puzzled by the pattern that I had to write to Rowan (twice)(the first address must have been wrong or old) and got a very nice reply with VERY precise instructions.  So I was able to finish it off.  I then had to knit the front rib on circular needles.  Having not ventured into the world of circular needles, I decided to knit a Very Very Long rib and then sew it on afterwards.  Except it was too wide.  So I pulled it out and knitted it again.  It rather resembled a narrow scarf.  Bizarre!  I then battled to sew it on, despite my new-found knowledge of mattress stitch.  Well, frankly, it just looked bad!  And when I tried it on, I wanted to cry.  Horrible!  It got stuffed at the back of the Disaster Drawer and stayed there for the next two years....

Since then, I've realised WHY it went wrong:  it was the wrong yarn, for a start - FAR too floppy for the pattern.  Secondly, I'm not a bolero person.  I've always thought they were utterly daft but some people look fab in them.  Not me!  I wouldn't call myself Amazonian, but somehow I look like a bodybuilder in such a teeny weeny cardi!  

It's taken me a while to decide what to knit with the wool:  Debbie Bliss Prima Viscose/Merino in a pale coral no longer available (yes, I bought it on a sale....obviously!)  I rather fancied a lacy top I discovered on the Vogue website.  If you register, you get access to their free patterns, which are rather fantastic, though not necessarily easy knits (aside from the fact that it's all in US knitting language).  But I couldn't manage the lace pattern, so thought I'd use the lace rib I'd successfully knitted before.  I have a scarf in the same Debbie Bliss yarn in a pretty lace rib - brilliant, I thought.  I never wear the scarf.  It's far too scratchy (you'd think bamboo/wool would be soft...) so I'll rip it all out and knit this fab lacy top.

Hah.  Because the Prima was a much finer wool, I had to cast on about a million stitches to get the width and was lost in the rib barely five rows in.  So I studied all the lace stitch patterns I had and found another one.  Needless to say, those ten rows or so I've managed have been utterly abandoned, the needles rattling with bobble stitch markers.  It was going to take me nine hundred years to knit this lace top and frankly, the wool just isn't good enough for lace.  It wasn't going to work, no matter how good a knitter I was.  It was time for simplicity.

And simple it is:  I found a free Debbie Bliss pattern for a very easy vest top.  The tension and needles are identical for the wool required (I can't actually remember what you're supposed to use....will check it out and blog it next time) so I haven't had to do any mad knitting maths.  I'm really bad at working out tension stuff, anyway!  I'm knitting it in k2,p2 rib, which is about as simple as it can get.  I love this rib.  It's so relaxing!  So I am now very happy knitting away on this while watching thousands and thousands of episodes of Springwatch.  My daughter loves it, though after a while, one dead baby bird begins to look rather like another.  All too tragic for me.

Photos of my current knitting plus the pattern I attempted plus the pattern I'm using will come up in the next blog.  In the meantime, here are some pictures of my bolero.  Belly laughs guaranteed.  

Nice colour...shame about the crumples and fold lines....

In fact, shame about the whole thing.  What a disaster!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Butter Yellow Poncho

It was hotter than hell last week and there I was, finishing off a poncho!  Typical!  The cable edging was the most boring thing under the sun to knit, so I was most relieved when it was done.  I've not done anything like this before and was delighted with the outcome.
Debbie Bliss Como.  Colour:  19017.  90% Merino wool, 10% Cashmere.
The pattern for the cable edging couldn't be simpler:

Cast on 8 stitches.  Stocking stitch for 7 rows starting with a knit row.  Eighth row is the cable row:  knit two, put four stitches on a cable needle to the back, knit four, knit four from cable needle.  Repeat these eight rows several thousand times and you've got your edging!  

It took nearly 300 rows to get around the poncho!

Doesn't it look just like a rope?
I overlapped the end and added a button just for show.

Now I just need a cold day to wear it!

ps.  A virus recently attacked my computer (everyone's nightmare) and I had to restore my computer back to factory settings.  I managed to save everything that was important onto a memory stick, but not my photos.  I still had all my photos on the camera card, though, so it wasn't the end of the world, but I have lost all the cropping and crimping and work I did on the photos.  I can't imagine doing it all again!  Fortunately, the best ones are still here, on my site, for my pleasure, at least!

Friday, 11 May 2012


Not the best pic of me (are they ever...) but just wanted to give an idea of the "rescued yarn" cardi.  It's actually quite warm and comfortable...bit of a home cardi, but still.  I just so pleased that I managed to get something wearable out of a failed creation!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

On the needles (5)

My daughter's poncho was so successful, I decided to knit one for myself.  I fancied one in an elegant cream with a simple cable and twist pattern.  But then I remembered my huge stash of Debbie Bliss Como in pale, creamy yellow (17) and thought I'd use that instead.  The trouble with chunky wool that although they make lovely, er, BIG cardies or jumpers or whatever, you can't wear them under a coat in winter, which means you're stuck wearing them at home.  Honestly, I've got enough ancient jersies to wear at home, so it was an ideal choice for the poncho.  I bought it on a sale at least two years ago (or was it only last year.....?!) and liked the colour so much that I bought another bagful, thinking the colour was about to disappear forever.  There are a few places on-line that you can buy it but the colours that remain are lovely.  On some websites, the colour looks very yellow - it isn't.  It's quite a gently creamy yellow.

I then started work on the cable pattern.  I think I did this really just to relax - I haven't had so much fun for a long time!  Turned out to be a huge waste of time but it doesn't matter.  It's nice to know I can do it.  I used Excel, about which I've forgotten more than I ever knew, and by the time I got to the end, I began to feel quite expert!  This is the cable pattern I came up with.  It's part of another, very large cable pattern.

I then got going, only to discover several crucial factors.  It's murderous cabling with a very soft chunky wool.  No matter how tightly you pull the wool when knitting, you end up with a ladder next to the cable.  Also - time consuming!  And not the sort of thing you can do while watching TV!  Well, I can't anyway, not being any kind of cable expert.  I was hugely impressed with my twisted stitch though, as I've not managed that before.  The thing that finally turned me off though was the realisation that cabling tightens a garment which means I would have ended up with a very small poncho!

Oh dear....
So I restarted it and in less than two days, am already more than halfway!  I'm going to knit a cable edging to go around the whole thing.  I thought that would be a bit more grown-up than tassels!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Wool with a history

At last - something to wear
Followers of this blog might have become familiar with this cream wool and it's long and (not so) illustrious history.  It started life in South Africa, where my mother knitted me a cardigan, using two strands of wool to make it thicker.  And thick it was, so thick and stiff that it was virtually unwearable!  It was too tight and there was something odd about the sleeves - there seemed to be too much of them under the arms!  A couple of years ago I braved old memories and pulled the cardigan apart, reknitting it into another cardigan, with short sleeves and two buttons at the front.  It was still too thick and too stiff so I never wore it.  Time to think of something else....
Unraveling the second cardigan was murderous, but finally it was done and I began my own creation, copied from a Rowan pattern.  Except that it was supposed to be a softly draping silk yarn.  Disastrous.  I didn't even photograph the final result because it was just too hysterical for words.
By this time, I'd finally realised that half of what was wrong was the wool itself - those two strands knitted together just didn't work.  So I decided on another cardigan, knitted with a single strand.
Have you EVER unraveled two strands of yarn????!!!
Torture!  It took hours and hours and hours.  The knots were Biblical in proportion.  I thought I was never going to get it done.
But then it was...
Same pattern as my last cardi - wonderfully simple and very smart

Held together with a hair pin!!

I knitted into the back of each stitch for the first row, giving a neat edge
Why bother?  Why all this work for wool that is some kind of cheap acrylic?  Nice colour but was it worth it?  Yes.  It was the last thing my mother knitted for me and I wanted it to be something that would please both of us.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A Poncho for Easter

For fun I thought I'd knit a poncho for my daughter, using up old wool and the easiest pattern of all:  cast on three stitches, make one stitch at the start of every row.  But the edge didn't look very neat so I thought I'd try it by making two stitches at the centre of every knit row.  It took me several goes - and much pulling out - to get to this point.  Except I had no idea that this kind of increasing, though it leaves a pretty lacy hole, also does something to the knitting that "bends" it i.e. it wasn't flat.  A poncho really needs to be flat!  I'd had so much fun sorting out the different stripes I was going to do but realised after several days of intense knitting that this was going to be disastrous.  The wool was too thin and it wasn't ever going to lie flat and it was going to take me nine years to finish the poncho!
So I did the next best thing:  I found a pattern for a super chunky poncho, bought some Sirdar Squiggle on sale at Black Sheep and in less than ten days, I had one completed poncho, ten thousand tassels and all!!  In fact, I was tying the last of the tassels while my daughter was hunting for easter eggs on Easter Sunday!  Needless to say, she hasn't taken it off since, except to bath and go to bed!
This is probably the most popular thing I've ever made!  I'm so impressed I think I might make myself an elegant cream on and cable it, with a cable edging rather than tassels (otherwise they'll end up in my illicit mugs of coffee....!)

Fantastically easy to knit - you end up with a large rectangle with a bite taken out!

Ready for blocking

The weight of the wool drags it down a little so that it hangs well and ends up quite long!

The pattern asked for a cast-on and cast-off neckline - I knitted two rows to make it stronger

We love this Squiggle wool - easy to knit with and great fun

Take care to cut all the tassels EXACTLY the same length - Squiggle is very curly and we inadvertently ended up with different lengths!  Much shouting ensued but in the end, you don't notice it too much.  Tying the knots for the tassels is very easy.  When I first looked at this pattern, I thought it was crochetted!!

The pattern used is Sirdar 2359 for Denim Ultra.  Yarn used is Squiggle shade 0603 Funkadelic.  Currently on sale at