design journey

All The "Alongs" - What I'm Making

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There are quite a few "make alongs" happening at the moment and I'm planning a bit of double (and even triple) dipping so I can take part in a few.

I'm hosting the Spoil Yourself "stitch along" this month on Ravelry (you're welcome to join in if you're not already!), Helen is hosting a three month long Handmade Wardrobe Challenge in the Curious Handmade Ravelry group and I'm also taking part in the 1 Year 1 Outift challenge to make an outfit with local materials run by Nicki from This Is Moonlight.

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Are you joining in any of these challenges?

My big contribution to the "alongs" is my Gingerbread Sweater. I've been beavering away on it for a while now and look! I'm almost done! Everything has been knitted and blocked - I'm just waiting for those sleeves to dry so I can seam them in! I can't quite believe I've made it this far. The pattern is getting done too - the bones of it are written. It just needs tidying up and grading.

Gingerbread will be my first published sweater. It's been quite a nervous adventure. Despite having designed and knitted a number of garments before, I have been feeling quite wobbly about doing it for real and releasing it to the public.

It's a medium length, boxy sweater with a casual, comfy fullness to the body and slim arms. I went for set in sleeves in the end because I wanted structure at the shoulders to help it fit and fall well. It's knitted bottom up starting with the lace ribbing and the both the body and the sleeves are knitted in the round to the armholes. The sleeve caps and top of the body are knitted flat and then the shoulders are joined with a three needle bind off so the only seaming is the sleeves right at the end. I'm really pleased with the neckband, it's a lovely curve, finished with a narrow band of twisted rib with a rolled top - it's not tricky and ever so effective. 

The various "alongs" have motivated me to swallow my nerves and get it finished! I've loved knitting with the local Romney yarn from Rosewood Wool. It's a coarser yarn than a slinky merino but I love that it feels so rustic. It blooms and softens nicely with blocking and I can see that it's going to just get better and better - both softer and more relaxed without pilling. I think it's a great combination with the style and idea of my Gingerbread sweater - a casual, comfy sweater that you'll reach for day after day after day.

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But an outfit isn't just one sweater is it? I've decided to team my Gingerbread sweater with some new jeans. I rather fancy some dark denim jeans and thought I'd have a bash at sewing some. Oh my - I've just noticed the name of the pattern I've chosen - the Ginger jeans ... haha! Obviously it was meant to be!

I haven't tried sewing jeans before but I've heard great reports about this pattern and I'm ready to have a go. I'm not sure which style to try - I'm thinking I'll probably do the medium rise style on the right. I haven't worn high-waisted jeans for many decades - I'm not sure I'm ready to get back into them just yet!

I'll also need a top to wear under my sweater - I might wear one I've just finished or perhaps take the opportunity to make another so I'm prepared for next winter ... we'll see. 

And Jewellery - I think I'll need a necklace or bangle or something to finish it all off ... 

It goes on and on doesn't it?!

Are you joining in any of the challenges and "alongs" I've mentioned? What are you making? Do tell me!


Design Journey: Making Decisions

My design journey towards a fabulous, cosy & comfy sweater has begun and I'm chatting about how my ideas evolve over on the Truly Myrtle blog. There's a link in my profile if you fancy a read.  #trulymyrtledesigns #trulymyrtleblog #knittingdesign #knittin

My journey towards the "fantastic weekend sweater" has begun. I've been playing around with ideas in my head and I've been knitting them up to see how they look.

Remember I started with a DK weight woollen spun Romney wool? I bought it from Rosewood Wool and it's locally grown and spun wool, naturally dyed with Henna. The yarn is super inspiring. It's rustic and hairy and coarser to the touch than yarn I've been using lately. It feels like good old-fashioned wool and I'm I'm really enjoying working with it.

My idea started with a vision of a comfortable sweater. At first, while I could imagine the places I'd wear it, what I might wear it with and how I'd yank my sleeves down and curl up in it, the details of my sweater were still a little vague. I just knew it needed to be comfy so I decided to dissect exactly what that meant to me. It turned out that in this case "comfy" meant; something sloppy, with good drape but not too heavy. And, including some texture but not too much, probably just as a detail. A picture started to form in my mind and I thought a bit about how I'd knit it. I liked the idea of knitting it in one piece and preferably from the top down so I could try it on as I went. It turned out my idea of comfy included comfortable, pleasant knitting as well as how the sweater felt to wear.

Over the next few days my ideas slowly evolved. Little snippets came to me as I was doing something totally unrelated like driving the car or taking a shower. I realised I this sweater needed a soft stockinette body and I was inspired to try knitting a swatch with a larger than usual needle size to create a more fluid fabric. Then, another day, I was struck with the idea that I fancied a sweater that curved gently over my shoulders and I decided it'd have a rounded yoke rather than raglan or set in sleeves.

I remembered a stitch pattern that had caught my eye a while ago in one of my stitch dictionaries, so I fished it out. Lace chevron inset into twisted ribbing. Interesting. I wondered if I could use that somehow? I abandoned my first swatch once I decided that it looked too loose. Smaller needles knitted up much better and I loved the chevron in the ribbing but when I draped it on my wrist it was clear that the detail was lost. I wondered if the chevrons needed to be smaller?

So, that's where I'm at. I'm still swatching and trying out ideas. My next job is to rewrite the lace chevron pattern to make it smaller and knit another swatch to see how it goes. I'll report back soon!