A little bit of knitting: My Audrey In Unst Cardigan

This is the Audrey in Unst Cardigan pattern by Gudrun Johnston: ‘a vintage inspired cropped cardigan with a bib of Shetland Lace.’

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I actually cast this on on holiday in the middle of August so it’s taken me three months to knit. There have been times when I have been more enthusiastic than others so it’s been picked up and put down quite regularly.

The yarn I used was Cascade 220 sport, one of the heathers called Lake Chelan. It’s 100% Peruvian wool which has been a change to the merino of my last couple of projects. I’ve found that my most worn cardigan is my green Miette which is also a heathered Peruvian. It seems to keep its shape better than the drapiness of merino and this cardigan needs a bit of body to prevent droopy lace work.

It was straightforward to knit, there’s a lot of twisted rib to start with but once past the waistband it’s plain sailing. The back and underarms are put on hold while the front lace yoke is knitted. The lace is really easy to do, basically passing a slipped stitch over four stitches. The back is knitted and joined to the front at the shoulders with a three needle bind off resulting in the neatest shoulder seam I’ve ever done (I’ll probably use this method in future) The sleeves are picked up and knitted in wrap and turn short rows. The only time I had to rip it back was three quarters of the way through the first wristband when I realised I’d been on auto pilot and been working in plain rib rather than twisted. I hesitated as no one apart from my mother in law would have noticed but then the thought of that made me do it again!

Towards the end of the second sleeve I began playing a game of yarn roulette, It was getting low but I was hoping to get to the end. I went to the point of weighing what I had left to work out the yardage but then I chickened out and ordered another skein. As it turned out I only needed it for neckline, it looks like someone is getting a green hat for Christmas!

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As it’s wool it’s recommended a 30 degree handwash. I decided to take my usual risk and put it through the hand wash cycle in my machine. I blocked it to the measurements given and used the buttons which I’d bought from Guthrie and Ghani at SewBrum.

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I really love the finished cardigan, the colour is perfect, I was aiming for a sea green but ordering online is always a gamble as you can’t see the true colour until it arrives. I do spend a lot of time looking at yarn on ravelry and seeing how they look made up on the project pages but it’s so difficult to get a true colour on a photo.

The wool holds the lace really well and the longer length is a lot more practical for the cooler weather.   It was quite an enjoyable knit and it’s highly likely I’ll knit it again. It’s quite straightforward and the instructions are excellent so an advanced beginner should be able to tackle it easily.

I’m just relishing a few quick projects now, I’ve finished a Wiksten Snoflinga hat and next up’s a cowl. I just need a relaxing respite before I commit to something a little longer and involved!

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My Blackwatch Peony/2444 Franken pattern

A little announcement first, the winner of the Girl Charlee giveaway was Alison, we’ve been in touch and she’s just received her fabric today.

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Now on to my new dress. I love Navy and green, it’s one of my favourite colour combinations. I also love a bit of tartan so it’s no surprise I have a bit of a thing for Blackwatch.

My first foray into making a Blackwatch dress was about three years ago when I made a Colette Peony. I changed the little gathers at the front to two inverted pleats. I loved the skirt, which is a very simple A-line, but the bodice was a different matter. No matter how much I tweaked it I couldn’t get it to fit. The back was weird and there was something funny about the neckline as it just didn’t sit right. I got it to a semi-wearable state but never felt comfortable in it as all it’s flaws kept nagging away at me. I’ve since found it wasn’t just me, a lot of other people have had problems with the Peony indicating it was probably down to bad drafting rather than weird body shape.

Fast forward to Last Christmas when I had my heart set on a red tartan (Stewart?) dress. I didn’t want anything fancy, no full circle skirt or anything too frou frou but something I could dress up yet wear dressed down for day to day (thus extending wearable opportunities).

The Peony skirt fitted the bill but there was no way I was going to tackle that bodice again. I decided to pair the skirt with a different bodice, one I knew fitted properly. Step forward the old faithful Simplicity 2444, a lovely pattern which gets its shaping from the double diagonal waist darts which are mirrored in the pleats of the skirt.

Anyway, long story short the bodice and skirt worked perfectly together and the Red Christmas dress was a resounding success.

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When I got my winter wardrobe out of storage last month I looked again at my wonky Peony. I didn’t want to wear it for another winter so decided to make a new one using my TNT frankenpattern.

It all went together well, I managed to match the checks somewhat successfully. I made a couple of mistakes though as I forgot some of the adjustments I made last time (should really read old blog posts before cutting into fabric!) I remembered to shorten the bodice but I failed to shorten the bust darts so they finish a little bit too close to my apex. I also failed to take a bit out of the back neckline. This only became apparent when I tried the dress on before installing the zipper, it wasn’t a major crisis as I took the extra width out then but it has distorted the check placement which is a bit of a shame.

Just to jazz it up a bit I added a navy exposed lace zip and finished the neckline with Bias Binding. I really wanted to bind the hem too but I also wanted to wear it to this year’s SewBrum, it was 9.00pm the night before and I couldn’t face the extra work so just quickly whizzed the hem up on my machine.

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I had a brilliant day at SewBrum, I was unusually restrained with my purchases only buying four pieces of fabric, two patterns and some buttons. I know this may sound a little unbelievable but I think my stash has reached saturation point! I have so many projects in the queue that I’m completely overwhelmed by the sheer scale of getting them all sewn up. This is probably just a phase though as I’ve bought a piece of Liberty from Ebay this week, no plans for it, I just want to stroke and look at it for a bit!

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Hmm the photos, I threw on the dress before it went in the wash the day after Sewbrum. Looking at the pictures I should have waited until it was washed and ironed before taking them. It’s looking rather crumpled, particularly on the shoulders from carrying bags of fabric all day!

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I’m really happy to finally have a proper fitting Blackwatch dress. I’m currently in the throes of sewing a Cascade Duffle Coat and I’m using Blackwatch as a contrast fabric on the Hood and zipper band. I don’t know if I’ll wear them together, it may be going a step too far, I always think of the Queen when it comes to matching dress and coat!