Jumper(s) in Rowan Hemp Tweed

I finished the jumper I’d been knitting for myself in Rowan Hemp Tweed, shade ‘pine’. Blocking definitely made a difference to the finish of the piece. I like the feel of the yarn, warm but not heavy. The only down side to working with it is that there are sharp bits that have to be pulled out, but pulling them out doesn’t seem to damage the yarn.

The pattern’s ‘Gotland’ by Lisa Richardson. I had to pull out some of one sleeve and reduce the number of rows in the shaping of the upper arm, because it was too long, which is usual for jumpers I make for myself. I don’t think I’ve got unnaturally short arms, just that my knitting is loose! Often the pattern has shaping and then you have to continue straight to ‘x’ cms but I find that by the time I’ve finished the shaping I’m already at ‘x’ cms. Here I did have to continue straight but when I finished the whole sleeve it was too long, so I pulled out and made some decreases that were to be on every 8th row, on every 6th row instead. It seems to have worked okay. It’s unusual for me to have completed a handknit garment that’s actually in a colour that’s ‘in’ this season, but lots of people are wearing nice shades of green, a colour I like (in certain shades) so I’m quite pleased!

Gotland

I like the detailing at neck, hem, and cuffs. I need to wear round necked jumpers because, ironically, wool makes my neck itch!

In double-quick time, I’m making my Dad a jumper in Rowan Hemp Tweed for Christmas. More accurately, I’m making it in time to go and stay with my parents in early December so I can take it with me, so I’m practically doing endurance knitting! It was disheartening when I decided I was making the wrong size so had to pull out 4 or 5 days’ worth of knitting, but am now nearly finished the front.

I’m making the front first because the pattern is for cabling to front and back but I don’t like it on the back in this pattern so am going to make it plain, but am concerned that will affect the width so thought I’d make the front first so I could hold the back against it when I’ve done a few rows past the hem and see if it looks okay. Don’t know what I’ll do if it isn’t, as I don’t want the number of stitches to be wrong for the armholes, so imagine I’ll plough on regardless, but there we go!

Cable

On Saturday I’m going to a knitting event in central London, ‘yarnporium’. Not that I need to go, I’ve a mountainous stash and it’s a day not knitting (another reason for working fast at Dad’s jumper) or working in the allotment, but curiousity overcame my common sense.

Cushion covers

After two weekends of minimal productivity on the cushion-making front, they are done at last!

I have a throw and two cushions, the last bought on the trip to Washington, on the sofa already, and though these cushions don’t go with them brilliantly, I think they’re okay. It’s a rented flat and one day I’ll have my own decor and they’ll fit with something in that, I hope.

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The buttonholes are going to take more than a little perfecting, but I like to think they’ve improved with practice…

I followed the instructions given by Tasha on her blog ‘By Gum, By Golly’ (http://bygumbygolly.com/2013/09/buttonholes-by-hand-vintage-sewing/), which I found just through searching for something like ‘how to make buttonholes’ – great tagging! And it’s a great website, makes me wish I could use my sewing machine well enough to make clothes rather than just struggling with straight lines. Her piece on making a pair of jeans is  amazing, I can’t even think what being able to do something like that must be like.

Anyhow, buttonhole practice –

As you can see, I didn’t manage to position the slit evenly between the top and bottom lines of stitching, with the result (not shown here) that there wasn’t room to do the bottom row. Anyway, I got the general idea, and it took so long to do that one that I thought I’d just have to use the cushion covers as the training ground – after all, they’re for our home and not a gift for someone else, so it doesn’t matter as much (though I like to make them the best I can, it’s a sort of affliction).

These are the last two, not even alas but not too bad, and better than the second of the finished buttonholes (on cushion no 1) which is really gappy at the edge so the gimp thread shows through.

Ideally I’d have used gimp thread that was the same colour as the overstitching thread, but it was the nearest I could get on ebay without spending a lot more. I’d never heard of gimp before I read the blog post, so looked it up online in case it means something different in UK to US, and to see where I could buy it. Turns out it does have another meaning, though that may not be a UK/US thing but the same in both countries, but which comes higher up in the search results, and which I don’t want to buy… I shall certainly tell the police that if they come calling.

The last two weekends have been a non-starter for getting anything done, due to other commitments (e.g. spending most of the day with parents-in-law last Sunday then the evening preparing for something work-related for Monday) so I was relieved to have finished cushion cover no 2 this weekend; I like to think I would have managed it even if a stinking cold hadn’t forced me to stay indoors all weekend, even cancelling my driving lesson, but I’m sure it has helped. Don’t like to think that that’s what it takes!

I’m pleased with the finished results, far from perfect as ever, but I’m pleased to have proved to myself I can get two x 14 inch cushion covers from a bundle of 4 fat quarters (and reduced price in a sale at that!).

Here are some photos before the padding was inserted:

And these are the finished items:

 

To try and psych myself back into the autumn quilt – the ‘first patchwork quilt’ of this blog’s title, still unfinished – I took a photo of all the blocks completed, laid out together. Depressing! It’s all so orange, which was not the idea… All I can think is that I have to make more blocks, without orange in them, to try to even it out. And again consider whether to use sashing. It’s difficult to have any enthusiasm for it and to keep (or restart) momentum when I can’t envisage an end result I’ll like. Stupidly, I knew this would be how it would turn out but I kept going anyway, because I liked making the individual blocks so much – well, you reap what you sew…

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Finally, and this has nothing whatever to do with patchwork, but sharing makes me feel better, I joined a new ball of yarn into the jumper sleeve I’m knitting, only to find about a a foot or two in that the yarn was about to break, so I cut out the broken part and rejoined it, which, incidentally, I’ve done with balls of this yarn before. After this happened three times in succession I pulled out all the little sections and joins, and proceeded to check the rest of the ball. After these many sections of yarns, I gave up and found another ball – what a swizz!

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Rowan yarns should be ashamed, that is a bad batch. I only hope I’ve enough wool to finish the garment; it’s taken me nigh-on 18 months so far, so fingers crossed.

Finally finally, my husband’s made a model tree to accompany / set off something else he’s made. I’m impressed, so thought I’d share:

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New favourite (block 7)

Bird 2This is my new favourite block (after the first one I did for this quilt), I’m pleased with the colours and having the bird, pine cones, berries and acorns, so feel it fits in well with my autumn theme (it took me ages to come up with putting in the red patches, but I think they really make it). I don’t think it fits well with the other blocks I’ve done, and only one of the colours I’ve used here has been used on any of the previous blocks, but I’ll make more and hope they somehow fit together in the end.  I think now I could have made the whole quilt in these colours, but too late now! And the key elements weren’t for sale when I first started looking for fabrics. I’m struggling to put together colours for the other blocks now, maybe I’ve given myself too many to choose from!