Little Red Cardigan

I am feeling very happy at the end of this long weekend as have finally finished this work in progress knitting project – my first cardigan in a really really long time! Little red gem. I got the wool for Christmas when Rose was six weeks old, and now she’s two and a half! But I had a good incentive and am really pleased with the end result!

fluffy red yoke cardigan - adriafil soffiofluffy red yoke cardigan

I used my trusty yoke cardigan pattern as tried and tested previously here, and here, and here. Debbie has also made one! I love this one so much, it’s just such a great pattern, a good fit for me, and economical with wool and not very much sewing up at the end. Lots of good features.

For this one I used Adriafil Soffio Plus yarn, a nice fluffy one, colour shade 055 – red, nice and bright. I got the buttons as a gift and think they are a perfect finishing touch. This time I decided to elongate the body of my cardigan a bit by adding a few rows between increase rows. It worked out nicely. The original pattern can be found in this book if you like the look of it. There are lots of projects in there inspired by different decades, but I admit this is the only pattern I’ve tried. But a lot of good use it’s got!

And I think my next big knit is actually going to be the same cardigan again. I got some more of the rowan colourspun wool I used to make this version and I think I am just going to remake it exactly the same! It is my absolute best cardigan- I could wear it everyday (instead I just wear it most days!) I think I will really enjoy making it, the wool is so luxurious and I love the colours, and hopefully can finish before the end of the year to complete my new year’s resolution (and bolster my winter wardrobe)

Apart from knitting we have really been enjoying the better weather recently. Rose just loves to be by the sea and throwing stones and paddling. And I am enjoying this interest of hers too. I hope the sun is shining for you too.

Knitting friends and knitted friends

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Today I had a grand afternoon, going on the bus and doing some cafe knitting with the greatest company, Snowy and Debbie. You can see some of Debbie‘s knitting in the background – a grand project she has in progress! Snowy has a pet cloud called jungle – a knitted cloud! Here is a picture of him sitting on a rock in canada:

jungle sitting on a rock

I had the best seat on the bus on the way – front row. When I got on the bus was empty too which was strange but nice. I had a funny encounter with some people on another bus who we kept overtaking and being overtaken by. They kept waving to me – I think they thought I was much younger than I am (it might have been the doll that did it). That was quite friendly, but I felt a bit awkward. The scene was so lovely on the coast road though, the sun was shining and the sea was so calm.

woolapple on the front seat on the busthe sea from the bus on a sunny daywoolapple on the bus

On the way home it was the opposite of empty (full) but I carried on my knitting for a while and ignored the hustle and bustle around me. I managed to do such a lot of my knitting I was so happy. I am knitting a red cardigan – it has been a work in progress for about 2 years now, but I have a June deadline to meet. It is easy for me to get distracted these days but I think I am going to try to do a row a day from now on.

There is no romance in this post, but I did manage a little valentines themed craft this weekend which I will share once it’s dry! Also this weekend I have been doing a lot of clothes folding – phew!

Happy valentines day if you have celebrated this day of love. x

Arm knitting

A couple of weeks back I took the bus to Brighton and purchased myself some amazing super chunky wool from Tiger. I couldn’t resist it – I’ve never seen any wool so massive and fluffy and soft (and a good price too)

I bought just a couple of balls thinking a warm winter woollen would be a good project for me. The wool suggested using 20mm needles which I managed to find, but I was not very pleased with this suggestion. I tried a scarf in stocking stitch and then tried another in garter stitch, but the fabrics produced were so tight and dense and stiff, it would have been a bit of a heavy scarf really.

chunky knit garter stitch Then a little inspiration hit me. I had seen a video a little while back from Wool and the Gang (I really like this) about Arm knitting (click here and see for yourself). Yes, this is exactly as it sounds – your arms are the needles! At first I was a little put off as found it quite tricky to tune my eyes into what was going on in the video as the casting on was slightly tricky (but not tricky once you’ve worked it out) But I watched a few times and soon worked it out and managed to cast on 8 stitches like this.

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And I was so pleased I did get past the cast on row, because the actual knitting rows are so super super simple. Super super super simple. If you have never tried knitting before, or have tried but found it tricky, I really recommend setting yourself a little arm knitting project – it was so easy peasy, and grew so fast it was a really satisfying one evening pastime.

super chunky arm knitted scarf

And the arm knitting was just the thing for my super soft and fluffy and chunky massive wool as the fabric is really loose and soft and not rigid and dense anymore, and because it was loose, my scarf was quite a good length too, much longer than my needle knitting versions.

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My pattern was – cast on 8 stitches and arm knit until you run out of wool. (or until you nearly run out of wool so you have enough for your cast off row) Then weave in your ends and voila! You could perhaps use 6 stitches for a slightly thinner and longer scarf – I might yet unpick again and try that. The beauty of this is it’s so super fast that you don’t mind trying again.

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So if you have bought some of Tiger’s magnificent wool with no clue what to do – do this. And tell me about it if you do. Or tell me more about Wool and the Gang.

 

Secret knitted mini cosy

I used to be able to do a lot of secret knitting for Rich – in fact I knitted him two cardigans secretly (there is a link to one of them – how much hair he has!). And a sock (I am impressed when I look through the ‘knitting’ tag on my emiliabird (R.I.P) blog ) SO (back to the present) when he asked me to make him a little tea cosy for his little tea pot, I thought ‘yeah! no problem’

So I remembered I had made a tea-cosy or two before and used this little pattern as a basis for this little version. The stitch I chose is called blanket rib stitch and it’s so dense and snug, it’s really perfect for this. I based my design on blue and white cornishware as Rich is a real fan of this in our kitchen.

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I started this little project one Monday when I was off work sick. It was quite lucky as it was actually quite close to Christmas by that time. I was really lucky that Rose was at nursery so I stayed in bed all day and watch films and wallowed in my blocked nose agony, and did a little knitting.

After this initial session though I did find it quite difficult to find secret opportunities for this project (I even did a little bit of Christmas holiday lunch break knitting at my desk at work)

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I was doing well and knew that Rich was going out the night before Christmas eve (Christmas eve eve) so I was feeling very happy all would be well.

BUT then disaster struck in the form of our bath pipe breaking and sending water through the ceiling of the 100 year old lady who lives in the flat below us (she really is 100 – she’s an amazing lady. Maybe I can ask her if she will do an interview for my blog one day). Rich went out as planned, but I spent a lot of time under the bath with a torch trying to work out what was wrong.

By the time I did manage to settle down to my knitting I knew I either had five minutes or one hour and five minutes depending on the train Rich decided to get home. But fifteen minutes passed and no sign of him… I knew it was going to be okay and managed to finish knitting and sewing and wrapping and it was just as the final piece of sellotape went on that I heard the key in the door. That is what we call cutting it fine! (although it would have been a bit more relaxed had I not stopped to take this photograph)

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I enjoyed this secret bit of knitting, it was quite exciting in the end. And Rich is really pleased with it too which is really the best thing. He says that his tea is much improved for being kept cosy. Hurruh!

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If you would like to make a mini cosy like this one, here is the pattern I made.

I used DK yarn doubled up, but chunky weight is the perfect weight. And i used 5.5mm needles (and remembered how much I like bamboo needles). My tension measured 12.5 stitches x 26 rows in this stitch (I know this sound like an impossible equation, but each alternate row is worked doubling your stitches, before coming back to the original number, so that 12.5 is the un-doubled number – I hope this will make sense when you read on…) The pot I made this for is a little two cup pot which measures about 33cm circumference. My finished cosy us about 18cm across when layed down flat.

In blue, cast on 21 sts.
row 1:in blue, kfb of every stitch (42sts)
row 2:in blue, k2tog, *p2tog, k2tog – repeat from * to end (21sts).
row 3:in cream as row 1
row 4:in cream as row 2

repeat these four rows 5 more times, then work rows 1 and 2 once more so that you have 13 stripes, ending with a blue one.

Change to cream and knit the next 2 rows straight (knit stitch every stitch).
next row: in cream you will want to cast off every other stitch: k 1, (s1k1psso)x 10
next row: in cream knit row straight (knit stitch every stitch)

repeat rows 1-4 once more

In blue, repeat row 1.
final row in blue, cast off two at a time purlwise.

This creates one half of your cosy so you will need to do all of that once more to make the other side.

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Once you have two identical pieces, you will need to put a few stitches in the sides to hold them together. The design of Rich’s teapot meant that I didn’t need very many stitches at all. I sewed up both sides identically so that it wouldn’t matter which way round the cosy went on.

I finished off with a little tassel through the cast off every other stitch row (I know that is not well explained, but I hope looking at the picture will help!) I made this by doubling up a length of wool until I had about twelve or fourteen strands together and, starting from the middle of the front of my cosy, threaded them through the little holes in and out all the way round until I was back to where I started. I then tied a loosish double knot, and then wrapped one of the strands round and round under this knot a few times to make a tassel! I tied up my ends and admired my good work!

I would love to see your cosy if you have a go. If you’re on ravelry I’ll pop this project on there. My name is woolapple there too.

 

All the colours

As well as starting my blog, my plan for woolapple was to have a little shop with some crocheted toys and baby items that i had been enjoying making. Unfortunately I have had a bit of a false start with woolapple so far, i started really well, finding some lovely items i was really enjoying making. But i have realised that my little toys need to tick some important boxes and i will need to use a slightly different material to make them with (one that i can prove is not poisonous).

I am really up for this challenge though, but it does mean i have a rather impressive collection of coloured wool that i need to find other uses for. But this is another challenge i am not too too unhappy about.

When Rose was a baby i didn’t do as much knitting for her as i imagined i would as a mother (in fact i knitted her nothing after she was born, and really only this little one while i was pregnant) I did however get a rather magnificent collection of hand knits for her from charity shops, and i am in denial a little bit because some of them were so great, but am beginning to accept that mostly they are all too small now. So i felt that it really was time to fulfill my knitter mummy duty and make her a new cardigan.

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I had in mind this lovely diary scarf (an idea i really like) my friend Debbie made a little while back, although i didn’t use the diary idea, i really like the design of it and thought something like this would be a perfect use for all my odd balls of wool. I found a basic raglan cardigan pattern (i like a raglan with stripes, i think it works so well) in my extensive library (handed down from nanny) and started with the back to set the pattern.  Although i wasn’t doing a colour a day like Debbie did,  i really enjoyed the  process of deciding how much of each colour and how to order them.

I finished this project just in time for Rose’s birthday and she was very pleased to wear it at last. I was just relieved it fitted her! And just in time for this cold spell too.

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perfect scamp-wear!

Magic plait knitted hairband

At the moment I am struggling with the trauma that is growing out my fringe (I think I am – I’m not sure – to fringe or not to fringe – all I know is that it’s getting long!) In my adult hair life I have switched between a short blunt fringe, to a deep fringe, to a side parted sweep a few times (as a child and teen it was fringe all the way!) I had my current fringe cut in when Rose was little to save me having to pluck my eyebrows, but now i have a bit more time for grooming (a little bit!) I think it’s a good time for a change.

But at the moment it is in that terrible, too long to wear as a fringe, but not long enough to clip, phase (my fringe hair seems to be very very straight and doesn’t sweep naturally at all until it is quite a bit longer)

Then it came to me – I need a head band!

Whilst pinteresting my evening away, i came across a really clever little pattern for a fake plaited headband and really wanted to give it a go. I couldn’t find any real instructions, but the picture was really clear and it was really a fun little project. I had some golden yellow wool to use and thought it might look like a lovely harvest festival corn crown.

I used DK weight yarn and 3.75mm needles for mine, but you could definitely experiment with heavier or lighter yarns, for different effects. I wanted my headband to be on the slim side and at first was worried my bars were going to be too short to thread through (you’ll see what I mean in a minute) but it all worked out grandly in the end. I think though if i were using a chunkier wool though, i would need to increase the number of stitches in my bars slightly.

To make a headband the same as mine, using DK weight yarn and 3.75mm needles, cast on 20 stitches

Row 1: Knit

Row 2:  Slip 1, K3, P12, K4 (i like to slip the first stitch in projects like this to keep the edges a little bit neater)

Row 3:  Slip 1 Knit to the end of the row

Row 4: as row 2

cast on gold knitting blue needles

**Row 5: Slip 1 K3, cast off 12 stitches in the middle of the row, K4

Row 6 Slip 1 K3, cast on 12 stitches (turning your work and use a cable cast on then turning back to complete the row works wonders), K4

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Row 7:  Slip 1 Knit to end of row

Row 8: Slip 1, K3, P12, K4

Row 9 as row 7

Row 10: as row 8**

Repeat ** to ** until headband reaches the desired length, and cast off on a row 10.

It was quite tricky to determine how many bars i would need as the final step draws the band up making it a bit shorter than you are led to believe during this ladder looking phase. I needed to work 35 bars, which was 6 bars more than i originally thought. These 35 bars created a band which measures about 51cm. Each extra bar adds about 1.5 – 2ish cm in length. I really advise making up the plait and measuring to check it’s long enough before casting off your final row (i speak from experience)

So at this point you may be wondering what on earth i have led you to make, but here comes the clever bit…

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Twist the first bar at the bottom of your knitting to create a loop. Take the next bar up and push it through the loop to create another loop. Take the next bar and thread through this loop and continue in this way all the way to the top

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To finish off i put a couple of stitches in the final loop to secure it, and sewed a button to the bottom so that this could be fastened on and off without having to drag it over my hairstyle.

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Yay! What a wonder. I am really pleased with this finished item (although i admit i do look very serious here) – it has been so nice to wear, like a little crown – especially nice with plaited hair. And I really enjoyed this little project. There might be a few more hair bands in the making in the near future – I especially think I need a black one for work wear and formal functions. What do you think?