Foggy Sunset

Foggy Sunset
Photo by Aisling Doonan

Friday, 24 March 2017

Summer Poncho

A friend asked me to knit her a baby pink poncho for the Summer and I happily obliged. It is the Lovely Feathers pattern from Drops Design. The pattern is free. I have used many of the Drops patterns and they have a nearly endless variety of garments to choose from. The patterns are clear, well written and have some interesting features. I am impressed that they have such simple yet visually appealing patterns, especially as they are free.

The poncho is knit with Tivoli Cruise DK cotton with a 4mm needle. It is knit in the round and knits up quickly. It used 498 metres approx which is just over two balls of the Cruise DK. I made the smallest size and if I were to make it again for myself, I would go up a size or two. The original pattern called for Merino DK, but I think the cotton works well for Summer and will wash like a hankie!

What did happen, was that halfway through Lovely Feathers, I got such a longing for a poncho for Summer of my own. I have a lovely Tivoli Cruise DK cotton one in cream, which I wear all the time, but I find it can be a bit bulky for stashing away in a bag when I'm not wearing it. I wanted something a bit finer that would still be warm but have a smaller footprint.

I looked through my stash and found that I had lots and lots of Jamieson's Ultra Lace in all different colours. Et voila! The obvious solution was stripes. So I cast on and worked out my colours as I went. I worked in colour pairs, No two batches match except the first and last (because I just like when things go around in a circle!) and I used every colour three times. I adore sequences, they always seem to work out as the best colour combinations.

The poncho is knit from the top down, with a simple loose rolled collar and is knit in the round. I knew fairly early on that I wanted a lace edging, just because. My knitting brain gets stubborner and stubborner...

I also wanted a decent length, so that it almost hit my wrist. I wanted to be cosy. Luckily everything worked out just how I imagined it and it knit up relatively quickly, considering it's lace weight and knit all at once. I love projects where there is little or no finishing once you cast off. In fact, I didn't even cast off, I grafted the begnning and end of the lace edging together for a completely seamless piece.

I also got to try out two different techniques for a jogless stripe. To do this, you knit the first round of a new colour as normal, on the second round, you pick up the loop of the previous colour and knit it together with the first stitch. I found this to work well and I barely have a step at the colour change. Also (and this is why I love wool as a medium so much), I knit in my new colours as I went and caught the tail of my old colour at the beginning of each round. I did this for 20 stitches either side and had no weaving in to do at the very end. Genius or what? 

So there you have it, let me know what you think of my Summer Poncho. Is it something you would like to make for yourself?

Until next time

Happy knitting


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Laura's shawl

Following on from my Helstone Shawl, I wanted to continue knitting with my sock yarn, especially the Merino/Silk blends, and I wanted to go bigger!

I find the Merino/Silk sock yarn, light enough for delicate lace, but heavy enough that the shawl isn't too flimsy or unwearable. Something that you can wear without worrying and still small enough that you can always keep a spare one in your handbag.

I have always admired the queues and queues of beautifully multicoloured sock weight shawls on Ravelry, they can be stripey, have unusual shapes, have plain segments and use stitches for texture with fantastic results. 

I had two gorgeous skeins of Ellie and Ada Merino/Silk Sock in my stash in the colours Mulled Wine and Festival. I thought they were a nice warm combination and design features just started popping into my head.

I knew that I would need to keep the lace patterns simple, and also tweak them so that they fit neatly into my shawl shape and a workable repeat pattern. I knew almost from the outset that I wanted a deep solid coloured edging that would look fantastic from a distance.

Unfortunately, as I was so set on using a deep edging, it also meant that I had to dip into a third skein of yarn to keep it as I wanted. Thankfully the dyer, the most wonderful Laura, had another skein on standby and I was able to buy it from her. As she so nobly came to my rescue, I have named the shawl after her.

The shawl is a crescent shape, and sits so neatly on the shoulders, with no fear of it falling off. It is the perfect size and weight, and almost feels like a pair of luscious wings. 

I used a 3.5mm needle and the finished shawl measures 31" x 61" approx and used 926 yards of yarn.

I am so in love with the shape and how it fits, the silk content adds that little bit of sheen and luxury and it is so squishable and delicious.

I am finding the heavier weight yarn such a treat to knit with and I am almost considering a DK weight cosy shoulder warmer. Can you imagine how toasty and comforting that would be? Although, this may be the wrong time of the year for it, haha.

I have lots more sock yarn vying for my attention, so I think tomorrow morning, I will spend a happy hour or so, matching colours and playing 'what will I create with this'! This therapy comes cheap and is very effective for uplifting the mood.

Until next time

Happy knitting