Thursday, 9 December 2010

Revisiting Nantucket

I have to confess I didn't do a very good job of sewing up my Nantucket jacket. After suffering the disappointment of my perfect-fitting garment growing in all manner of directions when I washed it, my cardigan then literally came apart at the seams. Being me, I let it languish it my sweater drawer for the rest of the winter. We're talking Winter 2009 here.

Then all of a sudden, a year or so later, I got this urge to fix it. Maybe it's because I heard the weather reports that predicted snow this week. Either way, out came the needle and thread at the most inconvenient hour - about 10 minutes before I was due to leave the house. Undeterred, I forged on ahead, deciding it wouldn't matter if I were late (I usually am anyway), and sewed up the offending seams. The holes were actually much smaller than I remembered, which only serves to emphasise my ability to procastinate about such chores.

When I had finished, I put the jacket on and couldn't help but notice this:

Wonky sleeve
and this:

Another wonky sleeve
It drove me just a little nutty. I was thinking about it all day. Buoyed by my recent spurt of domestic activity, I made a plan to fix it. So, I dug out from my stash the lone ball of leftover wool from when I knitted the cardigan and weighed it. It was 35g (1.2oz) so not a great deal to play with, but probably enough to extend those irksome sleeves. Chances of getting more in the same dyelot - zero, zilch, nada, nothing - I didn't even buy it locally.

I picked up around the edge and worked as many moss stitch rows downwards as I dared, bearing in mind I had to work two sleeves.

I chose moss stitch so that it would coordinate with the panels around the waist and the collar. Some hours later and after much wrestling with a 30cm circular needle, here is the finished article - not so shabby eh?

Overall I think this actually makes the jacket more balanced and possibly even a bit warmer. I expect it'll get a lot more use this winter, that is as long as the seams stay put.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Mini Chic

We seem to be having a bit of a baby boom here in Cambridge. Practically everyone I know (or am related to) is either pregnant or with a when I had an idea for a cute little cardigan with a lacy yoke I thought to myself....why not try out a mini version first?

See how cute and tiny she is?
This turned out to be a good idea as I must have knit the initial sample about 7 times with several different yarns, trying to get the dimensions, fit and style right. The garments I've designed in the past have been one-offs, knit on the fly so that you can eye up the result and adjust as you go. This is all well and good but doesn't make for easily replicable pattern writing, especially when you want to produce multiple sizes. It is important to me in all of my patterns that the instructions are clear and logical, inutitive where possible.

In the end this turned out just as I had hoped - so undeniably cute and with a little chic thrown in for good measure. Having knit the first sample (the grey), and knowing that my instructions were correct, the second was a breeze. My models were complete darlings. Well, Nathalie at 3 weeks old and 8lbs was not really going anywhere, but it was a struggle to photograph her with her eyes open. Genevieve on the other hand had to be chased around the garden by my husband, taking snap after snap, trying to get some usable images. He must have taken a 100 photos!

My original idea was actually for an adult cardigan and so I'm working on the design for that now. I hope to be able to make it available in August.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


So I finally finished my Theolie pattern. In principle it seemed simple - design a shawl that is curved in shape, easy to knit, but still looks crazy beautiful. OK, so I should have realised it was a tall order. After lots and lots of false starts, when it actually came to the knitting, it was plain sailing. I guess sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some. In this case the shawl almost seemed to knit itself....

I had one concern about construction. Namely that the picked up edge would be unslightly on the reverse side, despite my attempts to minimise this by careful placement of the increases. I needn't have worried. After blocking the edge forms an attractive ridge. The shawl is basically reversible in that it looks good on both sides. This works well for me as I have trouble remembering to sort my hair out in the morning, let alone arrange my accessories 'just so'.

The photoshoot was another issue. A small person kept trying to get into all the photos...

And I was tempted to call the pattern Wimbledon after our second attempt at a shoot got rained off....but it all worked out well in the end.