I mentioned I might be doing a bit of knitting this year.
So far I managed to make a second sweater for my son, which I will have a go at shortening. I also made something nice for myself. I used another Purl Alpaca design – the Cyrene jacket – as I had such great success with the Lorelle sweater. I chose Alpaca Rain – a greyish brown taupe (natural English alpaca yarn) and started knitting it before Christmas. I actually finished it a few weeks ago, and have been wearing it a great deal.
It is far from perfect.
My first attempt was very confusing as I couldn’t really understand how to deal with the moss stitch border, as this post elaborates.
My second attempt was much better, although this time I struggled with the sizing. I started making the extra small (as advised by Tracey and Kari-Helene), but I just couldn’t believe it would fit round my hips. I had no confidence in the shape, and even though I was along way down the line I unravelled it completely and started knitting the small. Then I thought it might be a bit big on the waist and shoulders so went back to the extra small. I made up the sleeves and they seemed to be about 2″ too long. I generally prefer a slightly shorter sleeve (so I can check the time surreptitiously). I hummed and ha-ed – should I rip it back and re-make them? I just couldn’t face it. So the fit is maybe a little weird and possibly unbalanced.
I am not really sure about the longer back. It is practical and warm. It has a kind of peplum look, but I think I would have prefered to have an even hem (I am slightly averse to high low hems of all descriptions). But I think it looks OK and maybe helps reduce the appearance of larger hips. What do you think?
The collar and lapels are sort of unstable, but I think that is a nice feature – they sort of flap up and down as they please. I have a brooch on in the outdoor photos so one side is anchored and the other is free. I think it is a very nice pattern and lots of people have complemented the cardigan – saying it looks like I bought it, and that it is an expensive item. I would recommend it – if I knitted it again (my Mum wants one….) it would be a fairly quick make as the yarn is thick and it only has one piece, plus the sleeves.
I have found that when you press these items and wash them they seem to loosen up a bit. But the texture of this item is much firmer than the Lorelle. As I guess it should be, as a jacket. Overall I am finding it a versatile, comfortable, fairly dressy cardigan that goes with everything.
And I am inordinately proud of managing a cardigan/jacket. I have done button holes! I did short rows! I knitted both sleeves at once! I sewed on vintage buttons (with thread – should that have been wool?)! I made a collar!! Set in sleeves! I made a fitted item! Why – I feel like I have just landed a jumbo jet. Not long ago this would have seemed the most unlikely project for me.
So what now?
I have started this jumper. It involves colour work in peerie stripes. It is knitted top down in four ply wool, and I am finding it pretty hard going. I have mucked up the tension. It maybe too small. The raglan transistions are non too tidy. I have lots of loose ends… Argggh.
However I have learnt to knit with the yarn on both hands. This is a revelation and quite good fun, although keeping the tension right is really hard. The colour work rows are improving as I work down the jumper. I will persevere as this involves lots of learning, and I am using inexpensive yarn and the colours are left over bits.
I mentioned I love the Ankestrick patterns, available on Ravelry and Love Knitting. I bought Heavenly (which is very similar to the Lorelle in terms of shape and construction style). Once I have familiarlised myself with the colour work I will do one of these. Then maybe I will move on to cables. Then socks!
Jenny (the lilac cat)
I love this jacket and the longer line and fitted shape. It’s a perfect blend of casual and smart. I do so admire your perseverance, lesser mortals like me would have abandoned it after a couple of false starts!!
I love your jacket and it really suits you. The shaped hem is a good feature as it a enhances the fit and it’s a good look for you.
As for your colour work, it looks fine. It sounds like you’re at the conscious incompetent stage, plough on, you’re doing great so far whereas ripping back may put you off (and poss end up a tangled mess). You’re not hung up on perfection either and that’s key when learning, think of it as a wearable muslin.
I love these progress reports.
Thank you Annie. With the colour work having lots of little bits I thought ripping back would be horrible. So I will persevere. Unfortunately I left the knitting at Rainshore and I have to spend this weekend with my Mum. She fell over and is in hospital in Preston so we are going up today.
Your colour work looks fine. It will look much more even once you’ve blocked it (soak in water and layout flat to dry)
Nice one- a very classy cardie indeed!
Dear Kate, I have read your blog for a while but have not ever replied. Thank you for all the information you give, I am sure everyone, like me, thoroughly enjoy and appreciate it.
At last I feel I can offer a few words. I appreciate that you are just starting your knitting journey and you are doing really well, extremely well.
A couple of things, have you seen http://www.techknitting.blogspot.co.uk
It has a wealth of excellent detailed knitting information and there is an entry about shortening knitting which you might find helpful in shortening your son’s cashmere sweater. I have just shortened something, I unpicked the side seams just beyond where I needed to remove length, then cut a thread and unpicked across the row stitch for stitch and threaded the raw stitches on to a length of thread as I did it so it was easy to pick up and knit the rib downhill, and you don’t lose the stitches especially as they are upside down. If you learn how to do a tubular rib on k1p1 rib and sew it off you will have a great edge rather than the usual cast off.
The other thing I wondered is if you have washed the oil out if the cashmere since you finished it. Usually commercial yarn is spin in oil, then removed to let the yarn bloom.
Best Wishes. Cynthia in Swindon
Hello Cynthia – how nice to hear from you. I discovered Swindon (John Lewis) recently and it is a town with many advantages, I’d say. Thank you so much for your encouragement and expertise. I have started doing the shortening. Not sure I get the point about the tubular rib but I will seek information. I have washed the cashmere – using hot water and detergent and I would say I have got most of the oil out. But with my other cashmere jumper it has got softer with each wash. Stay in touch and thank you for reading my blog.
This finished up looking so elegant, comfortable and trendy! As a lover of high-low hems, I love the hemline on this and think it’s rather flattering. I have recently finished the Ankestrick Antler and really like it, although my sleeves are too long, so I might have to modify it – when I can face it. I am going to make more of her patterns, I think.
Thank Sue – you are the knitter to aspire to – and the queen of the hi-lo hem!!
I love your cardi/jacket. The colour is lovely and cosy and I really like the dipped hem at the back. Seeing your progress is very inspiring – I may yet finish that jumper I started well over a year ago!
I hope you do Tamsin. There is something very nice about co-ordinating your sewn and knitted items together. Thankfully this greyish brown is a nice medium tone neutral for me and I feel it goes with everything. Sometimes it looks quite brown, others very grey. I love that.
I love the jacket, it looks great. I am now tempted to get this pattern. After you alerted me to Purl Alpaca I bought the pattern for the cable jumper.
As for the colour work I’m totally amazed, this is something that I have never attempted before.
Helen – you (and Chris) were one of the knitters that got me going. I like that cable one you have bought too, although when I tried it on I felt it needed to be a bit longer than the just below the waist level.
I think the cardigan looks amazing! But I sympathize when all the angst going into the making spills out onto the finished object. Hopefully next year you can pull it out fresh and see it with new eyes. I think at that point the only thing that may bother you will be the sleeve length due to your personal preference – I’d leave them because I like long sleeves ;).
I may shorten them, but now I am actually wearing it frequently (as it is really cold at the moment!) I am getting used to them.
Your cardigan is very elegant and beautifully quiet in colour. The fit is also ideal in my eyes. From the pattern it looked looser and from the link of someone else’s version that you provided, it appeared more snug. I think you hit it perfectly. Truly lovely.
I am finding fit very tricky with these knitted items. It is hard to know how it will work out when washed and steamed/blocked etc. Also some people like a closer fit, and some people prefer a sloppy look. I guess I will learn with practice.
Nice jacket! I find the fit is spot on. (I’m still impressed by how quickly you knit )
Looks very good! I do like the lower hem in the back. Can’t wait to see your latest make!
I think the slightly curved hem of the alpaca jacket looks nice. This is a subtle elegant shaping. I don’t care for the high low hem look where it swoops from high in front to very low in back and don’t think the shape is anything like the extreme high low trend.
You are fearless in your knitting – is the stranded sweater a mercerized cotton? Though your stranded stripes may be tighter than the solid blue stripes as you can see the puckering on there – getting the tension right is very tricky!
Thanks so much for the encouragement and feedback Su. I really admire your knitting and your perseverance. I am knitting the colour work in Drops alpaca with silk, a rather economical choice. It is very soft to wear (I used it for my red and white striped T shirt) and washes well, but clearly Fair Isle type knitting is probably done best with sticky wool – I just wouldn’t wear it. I am working hard on the tension – this is an experiment and may not get worn, but it will give me confidence to do it again with a better quality yarn.
Looks great, Kate, and it seems you are enjoying trying new techniques. As you have discovered, knitting is not difficult, and has the added advantage of not requiring fitting that is as precise as in sewing, generally. It is mostly an issue of perseverence, as you have noted. I have found that over the years I have developed a detailed mental chart (in cm) as to what sleeve lengths go with what armscye, the exact length of the body for each type of fit, etc. that I like to wear. You kind of develop an arsenal to suit your own taste or the taste of the giftee. I like the back shaping on the cardigan (I mean within the back, rather than the low hem, which is nice too). The colour work looks like it is coming along. The tension tends to improve as you go along.
Thanks alot S. Your feedback and support means a great deal to me. Knitting feels like going on a ride at the fair. It is pretty scary even though it just involves sitting still and keeping your eyes open…
Personally, I can’t imagine tackling such a complicated pattern so soon into the learning process. You are surely Kate the Intrepid! And the sweater looks lovely to my eyes. 🙂