Looking out of my window here at Castle Codd, it is plainly obvious in the breezy golden light that Autumn is here. The crunch through the first few crisp leaves has been a feature of our walks to nursery on this first week back. These …
Someone on Twitter put it so wonderfully when they said ‘this is what happens when your interests collide’. My ‘raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens’ are knitting, fossils, manatees, trilobites, unicorns and rainbows (I maintain that I loved these last two long before they …
When Jen from A-C Knitwear announced the A Year Of Techniques project, there was one subject that I really, really wanted to appear in the line up, and that was steeking. Steeks are perhaps one of the more jovially divisive techniques in the knitting skills arsenal, with many people either enjoying the magic process of knitting a piece entirely in the round with no fiddly short sections of colourwork, and just as many wide eyed at the idea of taking a air of scissors to a piece of knitwear. I have kind of been an enthusiastic supporter. That is, I have been completely confident in the science of the stitches, but have never found a project to benefit from steeking until very recently. I started knitting a tank top for my little boy which I would have knit in the round until the neck and armhole splits, and then knit back and forth, but then the opportunity of this year-long play of techniques was announced and I stopped my knitting only a few inches in and patiently waited to see if steeking would be covered, and then crossed my fingers in hope that it might just happen to be a toddler tank top … and it was.
I put my own project aside, in the hope that the Oorik (Shetland dialect for a small person!) tank top would make a nice little primer to then working steeks into my own toddler tank top, which features various trilobite forms. Worked in Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight yarn, the colourwork and steeks are very easy to work as the grippy fibres of the pure Shetland wool keep everything stable.
The Oorik pattern includes a full explanation of the steeking technique as well as various finishes to the steeks to secure and finish the fabric. I chose to reinforce my steeks using the crochet method detailed, as though I am confident in the stickiness of Shetland yarn, I am also very aware of the boisterousness of my two year old and thought that it would be good practice.
I knit the largest size of the tank top, making it about an inch and a half longer than the pattern by adding a few extra rows of colourwork before the neck and armhole steek stitches were added. Other than that minor change I knit the pattern as written, with no further modification. I still have to find the right time to get a modelled shot, before my son grows out of his first steeked tank top, much like he did the initial one that I cast on.
With its varying forms of trilobites facing in all directions, the tank top I put on hold back in March is now going to work up either too small or at least a bit snug, and rather than plough more hours into knitting something that might not fit on completion, I am going to start again. Though I adore the yarns and colours that I am working with, and the background colour is a nice grabby pure wool, I’m going to get some more Jamieson’s & Smiths and re-knit it in that, as the gauge difference will size up the pattern with not too much extra design tweaking from me (at least, that is the plan) and having a similarly grabby yarn for the foreground colour always helps with the evenness of more complex colourwork and in taming longer floats, which will make the process of knitting this piece a bit more straightforwards. I’m looking forwards to casting on my seconds steeked tank top in the new year.
I am pleased to be able to release my latest pattern, Morganite, a design that has been a long and meticulous time in the making. Named for a complex but robust gemstone, Morganite is the perfect hat project for combining a number of simple knitting …
We are at the height of the British summer, therefore it is of the upmost necessity that a toddler’s wardrobe is kept fresh with snuggly knits as the sunshine can turn on its heel at any moment and leave your wriggly little best bud shivering.
I picked out Tincanknits’ Goldfish cardigan for a quick knit in a speedy DK yarn, feeling that now he is past his baby stage, my little boy would not feel too swamped by something heavier than the 4-ply and sport weight knits of his babyhood. The fish motif of the colourwork is a cute nod to our family name and it was a nice opportunity for me to knit a round-yoked sweater, a form of construction I’d never tried before.
I made a couple of small modifications to the pattern, specifically changing the 3×1 rib to a 1×1 twisted rib on neck, cuffs and button bands, and omitting the bubble cable at the hem for the same 1×1 twisted rib. I wasn’t entirely sure of the look of the bubble cable as it seemed to flare slightly on some of the finished projects on Ravelry, and the classic rib looked a little more masculine and allowed the attention to be held firmly by the yoke. Oh and by those buttons…
The buttons are an absolute joy, as they look like a rummage through my grandmother’s button box whilst looking for the best jewels. In reality I do not have anywhere near a rich enough button collection to be able to pull out such a range of oranges and yellows, but I found a wonderful eBay seller of mixed buttons that has for sale bags of sorted colours and mixes, and so took a gamble that 50g bag of the ‘Oranges and Lemons’ mix would have enough appropriately sized buttons to put this quirky finishing touch to the cardigan. The idea to use the mis-matched buttons came from the original pattern pictures of the Goldfish pattern page, and is a colourful point of interest on the cardigan without detracting from the knitting itself.
I did move the buttons slightly further apart than on the pattern original, working the buttonhole band as so, over 81sts, or a multiple of 6sts +3, picked up:
(p1, k1) twice, *yo, k2tog, (p1, k1) twice; repeat from * 11 more times, yo, k2tog, p1, k1 ,p1.
My reasoning was that toddlers are basically like hyperactive eels, and getting them dressed in something more complex than a blanket requires the forward planning of a chess grandmaster, and the dexterity of one of those American teenagers that have dedicated the years of their youth to stacking plastic cups in a pyramid formation at supersonic speed. My son has worn his new cardigan once, and I left the buttons done up and threw it over him like a sweater as he was running by me, arms flailing like he was fighting off a swarm of angry bees.
I love this cardigan. The fit is perfect for his little toddler-bod, and it was a quick project to knock out on a few days. If I were to knit it again I would possibly make some minor tweaks (perhaps tweaking the colourwork design ever so slightly so that there were not so very many rows between yoke increases so that the yoke lay a little flatter) but these would be small preferential details more than changes, as this cardigan is as cute as a (dozen or so) button(s).
I hope to be able to whip up at east a couple more knits before autumn, so if anyone designs, knits or sees something especially cute with a pattern available in a 2-3 year old size, please do think of me and drop me any suggestions here or via the wonders of social media!
Super cheesy grin incoming…