It has been an eventful but positive fortnight! March is my birthday month, and there’s been a little time off, but besides that I have had less time at the computer than usual. Here’s a roundup of the creative and crafty things I’ve been doing this month.
I began by trying to finish the back of a couple of winter cardigans that have been knocking around for a while. The sun’s been pretty decisive about coming out in London (when it does put in an appearance) and, call it knitting SAD, but overall I haven’t been in the mood for woolly yarns lately. This will be the last sighting of my fleecy bobble cardigan until the weather turns cold again, not to mention any ideas I had about knitting this top-down jumper from an older issue of Knitting magazine. It was originally in Rowan mag 54, designed by Vibe Ulrik, and is called Angela.
The top-down love affair is set to be…well, maybe more than an affair. I have been on Ravelry and completely inspired by some of the lovely patterns out there and ultimately still baffled as to why I haven’t knitted top-down before now. I’ve downloaded the Lush cardigan (I saw this at Unravel a few weeks ago, sitting proudly at Skein Queen’s stall) and Snowflake jumper, both by Tin Can Knits; the Hetty cardigan by Andi Satterlund; and the River Pullover by Cecily Glowik MacDonald for Quince and Co. River will probably end up on my needles before too long – it’s knitted in aran weight yarn, I have some violet All Seasons Cotton kicking around, and it’s such a simple, gorgeous design that I can see myself wearing a lot. And then there are the buttons…the buttons! Always fun choosing those 🙂
Right now I have two projects on the go: one knitting, one crochet. The crochet project is the Alyssium cardigan by Joanne Scrace, aka Not So Granny. Yep, it’s another top-downer! – but this time with set-in sleeves as opposed to the usual raglans you see with this type of construction. Fascination and curiosity alone was enough to make me buy this pattern. Here it is so far:
I said something a paragraph or two about being done with wool yarns, but yes…this is being made in some Rowan 4ply Soft, colour Victoria. I actually can’t remember how long ago this yarn was discontinued, but it’s been in the loft for quite some time! Also a bit tricky to photograph – but then again I have no illusions about my photography skills and I doubt that anyone reading this blog is here because I’m an amazing photographer! Suffice to say that it’s a very deep purple, more like aubergines rather than the Victoria plums that might have inspired the shade name.
The great thing about this cardigan is that it’s a perfect template or baseline. If you’re a fairly new crocheter, confident with the basic stitches and/or looking for your first proper garment, you could do A LOT worse than make this; if you’re not a beginner and want something quick to make up, give this a go; and if you’re a bit like me and want to have a basic pattern or block to go to for a wardrobe staple – and revisit/customise with other stitch patterns – this could also be the ticket. The pattern repeat is a basic V stitch, worked in trebles throughout, and then the welts are in half trebles and the front band in double (possibly…if not then it’ll be half treble again). AND – it is beautifully written and very clear, which is ALWAYS a joy! Highly recommended – this is my commuting project.
On the knitting needles I have a jumper vaguely resembling a design called Choux, by Martin Storey for an old Rowan Classic brochure. I’ve knitted it before, for an aunt’s Christmas present years ago, and came across it again whilst sorting out some filing. I pulled out some Rowan Pima Cotton in sky blue (again discontinued, again from my stash), cast on, and here’s a look at the back:
My main change was to the shape of the garment: the original has a very deep rib with waist shaping worked into it, which I wasn’t at all keen on for myself. I simplified it by going for a more conventional look and also opted for shallow set-in sleeves rather than dropped sleeves. The sleeve change is more for fit, as I’ve learnt that totally dropped sleeves make me look as though I’m wearing hand-me-downs! The colour is more like the top photo in real life, but even the photo on the left, taken later in the day with cast shadows streaking in, still hints at a lovely shade of blue. I’m getting through this project at a good speed and hope to have it finished by April/May.
Last thing to share for now is a photo of my homemade birthday cake. It didn’t last long!