spring top

Knitting - whatever the weather

Well, I don't know about you, but I knit whatever the weather. Hot, cold or in between, click, click, click go my needles. One very hot summer a few years ago I knitted beside beaches and swimming pools all over Europe. I did get a few funny looks, but I hid behind my sunglasses and managed to get a bunch of cardigans and sweaters finished for my two big kids, ready for their first cold English winter. 

Usually I knit according to the weather outside. Or at least I save bigger projects for cooler weather. Last year I knitted a couple of pairs of socks while we were camping. In really hot weather they are the perfect item to knit. Light and small, quick satisfaction.
In contrast, during the winter, nothing is nicer than a lap full of scrummy warm wool.

So, what is on my needles during this wet and chilly spring weather we're having now?

Silver buttercup

My "main" knitting is my silver Buttercup for the luvinthemommyhood tops, tanks & tees knit along. To be honest I have had mixed feelings about this knit. I started with a hiss and a roar; zooming down from the neck, joining it in the round, enjoying the lace along the front and then splitting the body from the sleeves. And then I tried it on and... it was too big! 

You see, I am at the bottom end of one size, but the next size down is just too small. I contemplated going down a size but then thought to check my gauge. What was this! I was off.... by TWO whole stitches!!! How did that happen? My swatch was okay... I even did the fancy swatching in the round technique suggested by Jane Richmond. In the end, I decided it was the toddler's fault. She jumps on and off my lap in the evenings and my knitting goes all lax.

So I frogged the lot. Went down a couple of needle sizes and started again. I am using my metal tips this time and although they are faster to knit with, I've made slower progress. I think it is because it's the second time round and I've lost my va va voom. 
I'm finally just past the point I was when I unpicked the lot. I'm heading down the body again. Setting aside that niggling thought that I should be finished by now.... I think I'm starting to feel the love again...


My Wispi is also still ticking along. It's on a holder right now because I've pinched the needle tips for my Buttercup. But it is slooooowly growing. I did say this would be background knitting, and it is! I pick it up when I don't have something else handy... I'm still loving the colour!

So far, I've made it down the arm and am working my way across my back. Remember how I had plans to adjust the pattern? I want longer, fitted sleeves and I've knitted them in the round. So far, my number crunching is working out okay. I'm knitting the Women's medium size and I cast on 52 stitches instead of the 78 required. I popped a stitch marker bang in the middle and knitted in the round,  increasing either side of the marker every 8 rows, until I had 78 stitches. I've used the Elizabeth Zimmerman M1 increase which looks great. Once I reached 78 stitches I tried the sleeve on and decided that I wanted it even longer, so I kept knitting round after round, trying it on, then knitting more and more, until it was as long as I wanted it. In the end I have a super long sleeve, 53.5cm/21" from my armpit to cuff.

Now I am following the pattern, knitting flat, till I get to the other side of the back. Then I have to remember what I did for the first sleeve.... and do it backwards. Wish me luck!


Boyfriend Top

Boyfriend top

I've been up to my ears in kids' clothes this last couple of weeks. And, as much as I love making things for my kids, I love making clothes for myself even more.... is that such a bad thing?!

I don't grow out of my clothes, nor do I dump them on the floor, or spill my dinner down my front. Well, not often.

"Selfish knitting" is knitting things for yourself. Well, I've been up to some selfish sewing (and I'm excited to say I've got more planned... yippee!)

Anyhow, I've had the perfect excuse to sew for myself. The annual Spring Top Sewalong over at Made by Rae. I just HAD to join in! (Edited to add - I've made it to the finals! There is stiff competition but I'd love your vote if you like my top! I'm Q boyfriend top!)

Boyfriend top Boyfriend top Boyfriend top 

I started with a few of Mr Myrtle's old business shirts. I've been saving them for ages and over the years (!) have acquired quite a stash of crisp cotton shirting. Aside from the hundreds of buttons, the fabric is in perfect nick. Just the collars and cuffs are worn. 

I fished out four goodies and took a photo thinking I'd use them all, but as I tend to make things up as I go along, in the end I used just two.
By the time I decided, I'd chopped them up... so you've got a shot of all four.

Boyfriend top Boyfriend top

I had a few prerequisites when drafting the pattern. I wanted a yoke (taking inspiration from SouleMama's new tunic) but it needed to be loose enough to lift to breastfeed and I prefer a scoop neck. Pockets were a must and, with the reasonably narrow widths of fabric, it needed panels.

I love this top. I love that it is made from Mr Myrtle's shirts.

The deep curved yoke works like a dream. It is close fitting, but with the extra room under the sleeves, loose enough to lift.

The A-line shape hides any tummy issues and yet, by keeping the bulk of the gathering to the side panels keeps it from looking like a maternity top (it's NOT!)

Boyfriend top Boyfriend top Boyfriend top

The pockets have been unpicked and moved a couple of times. They look fantastic gathered and, set to the side, give the top a great shape.

Actually, for Boyfriend Top Mark II (yip, I've got plans to change and improve this one - I've got more shirts remember?!) I think I'll spread them over the whole of the side panel.
But, since I don't have scissors in my hand or my sewing machine on yet, that may change...we'll see :)

In the meantime, Mark II will have to wait a little. I'm joining in the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, starting Monday.
A post a day for seven days... and, it feels like it's about time we had another giveaway... a knitterly one this time.

See you Monday!