Woolly hat

Cable Knit Hat

I had yarn left-over from my recent chunky jumper knit project so decided to knit a hat to keep my lugs warm. I’m quite pleased with it. I knitted it from a pattern in a book that I borrowed from the library, but the pattern had two mistakes in it! One pattern row misses a line of the instructions out completely which would be particularly confusing to less experienced knitters, but more annoying was the mistake which describes the wrong side as the right side after knitting the ribbing. I thought it couldn’t be right but stupidly decided I must be the one in the wrong. By the time I realised I WAS right I didn’t feel up to ripping it out. The upshot of that is that right at the beginning there’s a row of plain stitches which shouldn’t be there, but I don’t suppose anyone is going to be scrutinising it on my heid! I remember way back in the 1960s my mother said that she wasn’t going to knit any patterns from her weekly magazines again as too often there were misprints.

Anyway, I’m now swithering about whether I should make a bobble for my hat or leave it as it is, what do you think?

Chunky Knitting

Our weather is at the stage of swinging to and fro between autumn and winter, we’ve had early morning ice – so I’m told, I wasn’t up early enough to witness that! Anyway, this all means that it’s knitting season again for me. I fancied revisiting a chunky jumper pattern that I first knitted way back when I was about 18 years old. Then I knitted the smallest size for myself, but I’m not too depressed to report that this time around I’m knitting the third size, after all, more than 40 years have passed since those days.

Knitting

This sweater is quick to knit as the wool is chunky and the needles large. The yoke is formed by having the front and two sleeves on the needles together, that means a lot of stitches in fact 176 all at once squeezed onto one needle, obviously decreasing as the shape forms. It’s a bit of a squash and as my needles are plastic I find that the stitches don’t move as smoothly as I would like. I prefer metal knitting needles, but I don’t think they come in large sizes so I’ll probably buy some bamboo needles if I ever knit this pattern again.

When I perused the pattern before beginning I was actually quite daunted, there are 43 rows in the yoke pattern and I wondered if my ageing brain would cope with that now, but I’m glad to say I’m not having any problems – so far. However, I’m only on row 12 so fingers crossed for me please! The back yoke is sewn on last, but that should be much easier to do, far fewer stitches to cope with will make it even faster to knit up.

Is it your knitting season yet?

More knitting – a shawl/stole

I’ve had some nice fluffy but not itchy Sirdar Kitten yarn languishing in my stash for a couple of years now, so I thought it was about time I browsed my knitting patterns and books to find something suitable to knit with it. I settled on this lacy shawl pattern, although I would describe it as being a stole as it’s just like a big wide scarf. It was recommended as a good design for using up bits and bobs of random yarns, and I might do that at some time in the future.

shawl/stole

This pattern looks quite complicated but it only involves two different rows and one of those is just all purl apart from the three stitches at the beginning and end of every row. The only difficult thing about the pattern is the fact that the needles used are massive. I used 12 mm needles and it’s a bit like knitting with a clothes pole. I don’t think I would have liked to tackle using the 15 mm needles that the pattern actually recommended.

GUERNSEY Style jumper

Last winter I started to knit a jumper/jersey for Jack, but I didn’t get it finished before the spring arrived, for me knitting is a winter pastime. I managed to complete it last week and I’m quite pleased with it. I learned a new technique for joining the back and front together at the shoulders, splicing the two sides together using three needles to cast off. It makes a very nice joint, much neater than sewing them together.

This is a sort of mock Guernsey (gansey) type of knit, the pattern is similar to a gansey but it isn’t knitted with a circular needle as those ones are. Unusually the cuffs and bottom edges are done in garter (all plain) stitches but although the pattern says the collar should be done in garter stitch the photo of the finished article is definitely a ribbed collar. I opted to do a ribbed collar too as I think a garter stitch one might have been just a bit too radical for Jack’s liking.

Jumper

It’s still winter, there’s snow on the ground and I have plenty of wool to use up, so I’ll have to look through my patterns and knitting books to see what I can knit now.

Winter Woolly

A mohair-ish jumper

There isn’t much that I can do in the garden at this time of the year so I usually take up my knitting needles in the winter. I used to be really good at it but I’m a bit rusty now and I’m trying to get back to where I was skill wise.

I’ve looked in the shops for nice big thick jumpers but I haven’t had much luck finding what I wanted. They’re often too short because when it’s cold I like my bahookie (bum) to be nicely covered. But this year the sleeves are a bit strange too. Why are they designing nice big pullovers with short sleeves or three-quarter length ones? I don’t know about you but I like to have warm arms. In the past the sleeves always used to be too long for me and they would flap past my hands. I think I have short arms, it was a problem when I tried to learn the violin too, well that’s my excuse! I thought I had found a nice looking woolly in TK Maxx but when I pulled it out to get a good look I discovered that it had only one sleeve! Where’s the point in that?

Anyway, I looked through my small stash of wool and decided to knit an old favourite of mine. As you can see by the dog-earedness of the pattern it has been well used over the years since I first knitted it in the 1970s when leg warmers were first in fashion. I never did knit those but I have done the hat.

I’ve used Wendy Dolce wool which is fluffy but isn’t itchy, I’ve used it before with this pattern and it works fine. So as you can see the back is nearly finished and it hasn’t taken long, the needles are quite thick which always helps. I’ll show you the finished article before Christmas – maybe!

Knitting a hat.

I finished knitting the hat from the pattern which I downloaded from Ravelry site, however it didn’t turn out as I had expected it to. The pattern is called The Natural.

Despite the fact that I actually made it longer than recommended, I still found the finished article to be much smaller than I had expected.

It was perfect for a 5 year old but no good for my husband as when it was stretched to fit him it wasn’t thick enough to keep his head warm.

So that was a bit of a disappointment and I’ve started another one just using one of my old tried and tested patterns.

Knitting

I was taught to knit by my mum when I was about 5 years old using teeny wee needles. Then at about the age of 7 we had to knit a tea cosy at school, a truly hideous thing. The boys did raffia work while the girls knitted.

In the 1970s there was quite a resurgence in craft work, it was all a bit hippy-ish I suppose. So knitting really took off again and I got right into the pointy sticks and became quite proficient at it.

My pride and joy was the Fair Isle jumper which I knitted for my husband around 1980 and it is still going strong after all these years of careful washing.

Fair Isle Jumper

So as you can see I wasn’t bad at knitting and the wool wasn’t too expensive then so I did quite a lot of it even although we were pretty skint (poor) back then.

Later on in the 80’s, the boys arrived with just 19 months in between them and as you can imagine there was quite a fair amount of cot blanket, bootees and matinee jacket knitting going on. Certainly for the first baby anyway – then a strange thing happened and my brain seemed to be – well I can only describe it as being ‘hijacked’, and suddenly I couldn’t concentrate on anything much beyond feeds and nappies. Our first boy hardly slept at all which didn’t help matters.

So boy number 2 hardly got anything knitted for him and the matinee jacket which I did manage is a very much plainer effort than his brother’s.

After that I just gave up for a long time and have only recently picked up the needles again, but I was really shocked to see how much knitting wool had gone up in price. I can understand that there are a lot of processes that a sheep fleece has to go through before you get to a ball of wool, but I know for a fact that the sheep farmers are getting pennies for the fleeces. It seems such a shame when they have all the hard work and worry of the sheep. In fact the farmers are being fleeced.

So what with me trying to tidy things up in the house and get rid of stuff or use it up in some way, I decided to knit with the left over bits of wool which have accumulated in various work baskets over the years. And as I’m trying to knit my way back up to Fair Isle and Aran standard again I decided to start back at the beginning with squares with a slight difference, just to make them a bit more interesting.

Wool Squares

These knitted shapes are actually described as “shells” and I found the pattern instructions in a 1940s knitting book called Modern Knitting Illustrated, which has patterns for everything that the well dressed war time person needed. Including knitted knickers (very itchy I imagine).

Use a size of needles which suits the left-over wool which you have and cast on 41 stitches and knit about 8 rows in garter stitch. Still working in garter stitch, knit 2 stitches together each side of the middle stitch, which you should mark to make life easier for you. I slip a safety pin onto the middle stitch which you can pull on to help you decide when you should be knitting 2 together. Knit the next row straight and continue in this way, decreasing in the middle of each alternate row until 3 stitches remain. Knit these 3 stitches together and fasten off.

The shells can then be sewn together to form a pattern or just randomly and it is more decorative than just plain squares.