Mend me, baby, one more time

29-05-19 socks
Old striped socks with new plain grey ‘toe’ added

Okay, well, a Britney Spears reference may not be quite what we were expecting today, but she’ll do.

After posting last week about the whole sock-mending option not working for me, I took a second look at the four pairs that that I had set aside to do some repair work on. I gave the whole structure of each sock a more thorough check to see whether there was enough potential to make the repairs. It was encouraging to find that three pairs probably are still in good condition and should be repairable, although one pair definitely isn’t.

I worked on the pair which had the least wear and was therefore in a state where it would be relatively simple to knit a replacement toe. I have finished the work now and I am very pleased to say that it was a success – these socks should be good for another couple of years. For the time being I have put them away as they are an autumn/winter/spring weight and I won’t be wearing them through the summer months. Over the summer I will try to mend the other two pairs in a similar fashion.

When I had finished mending this pair of socks and composed my scheme for mending the other two pairs, I was feeling pleased with myself. Then yesterday I felt an ominous twang at the back of my neck, so I took off my cardigan and this had happened. Yikes!

29-05-19 cardi
It’s a broken neck! Not that I want to over-dramatise anything,

This is an old cardigan which I have been wearing since 2012 – the pattern is Laccaria by Norah Gaughan and I knitted it in J C Rennie Shetland wool holding two strands together to get a DK/Worstead gauge. (I find it quite odd that I don’t have any finished object photos of this project at all.)

Now, if this problem had cropped up in May last year I would have cut the buttons off and thrown the cardigan in the bin, which may sound extreme, but at that point I had marked it down as no longer wearable. I had become too plump for it – the sleeves would spot-weld themselves to my arms when I wore it; one of the buttonholes had grown to the point where the button simply would not stay shut; the whole cardigan was shabby. However, as I have lost weight this cardigan has regained favour with me to the point where I am not ready to let it go. So, more mending is in order – I’m pretty sure I still have a ball of this wool and can just unpick the cast-off edge of the neckband and re-do it. I want to knit a new garment in this type of colour and when I do that, it will be time to retire this one.

Do you find there are times when everything seems to need mending, or is it just a steady trickle in your life?


 

Word of the week – Cultivate

27-05-19 Cultivate

This Bank Holiday Monday morning I have been devoting attention to my typewriter. I’ve used it a bit since I bought it at the end of December 2018 but when I watched a short clip on Instagram of TypewriterTraveler using one of his many typewriters, I knew I could be doing better with it. So today I had another attempt at cleaning aggregated ink and dust from some of the letters which I had identified as being less than ideal. My aim was to improve the crispness of the letters and I am happy with the results. I also checked how the paper was feeding through because I get some eccentricities in the spacing of the lines on a page as I type, but I think this is down to my technique rather than any specific issue with the platen or paper rollers failing to grip.

This work fits in with my Word of the Week through the definitions “to devote attention to” and “to refine”. I like the idea of cultivating relationships with things and with people. I suppose now we would call the people part of it “networking”, which has a scientific ring to it, where cultivating comes across as rather organic, although it is nothing of the sort.

Is there anything you need to cultivate this week? I expect, given the time of year, that many people are cultivating in a very traditional sense by attending to their gardens. As a flat-dweller, I don’t have a garden so instead I watch my knitting grow and bloom, I cultivate friendships online and in what passes hereabouts for reality, and I civilise and refine myself which I would say is an exercise we all follow from cradle to grave.

Right now, though, I feel I need to seek actively to gain or foster a relationship with my settee. I will leave you with a shot of my desk as I typed the definition for this entry.

27-05-19 Desk

Call the sock police

24-05-19 socks

This week I made my second attempt at sock resurrection and I came to the same conclusion as I did on my first attempt, namely, when socks get to the pont where one bit needs mending they are probably telling you that they have come to the end of their life.

I would quite like to be the type of person who mends clothes or re-fashions them so they can go on being useful, but in my heart I feel that life is just too short for such endeavours. I will return to this point later, but first, let’s examine what I learned from my attempt to mend these socks.

I finished this particular pair of socks in September 2015, so I got a good four winters out of them. To provide some context, I have worn my hand-knit socks exclusively – by which I mean no shop-bought socks and no tights or stockings – for at least the past five years. It’s either been hand-knit socks or bare feet, and in England bare feet only happen in a minority of months. There are two reasons for using my hand-knit socks so consistently: firstly, although my feet are unexceptional, I have never found a pair of shop-bought socks that fitted me and, secondly, until this past winter I’ve been dressing in a strict uniform of leggings or trousers paired with tunic tops/short dresses so socks have been my default foot covering. This has changed somewhat over the past nine months as my weight has reduced and I’ve become more confident about wearing skirts or dresses with tights some of the time. Even so, I still wear trousers and socks a lot.

I think in all the time I’ve been wearing hand-knit socks, I have had one pair which sprang a hole in the heel and one pair that wore through on the ball of the foot; apart from that the point where all my socks wear out is at the toe. This year, with make do and mend becoming ever more popular, I started to think that I could just re-knit the toe of socks when it starts to wear and I made an attempt at repairing one pair, only to find the wool was so felted together that it was impossible to unpick the original toe and knit a new one. “Life is too short,” I thought.

Yesterday I was packing away some of my socks until the autumn, and I put several pairs to one side which are getting perilously worn on the toe. I picked the pair shown above and cut off the toes then proceeded to pick back to a suitable point to knit a new toe. Once again, the wool was felted, but I managed to get the first one done with a new grey toe and it went quite well. However, when I turned to the second sock, I realised that I would have to get rid of almost all of the foot area and re-knit it because there were several patches where the fabric was wearing thin. And so it struck me all over again that these socks probably aren’t worth the trouble of repairing – they have served me well and now they are ready to retire. “Nothing,” my mum would say, “lasts for ever.”

In a situation where we have no alternative but to eke out our clothing for as long as we possibly can, such endeavours are well worth doing. Ecologically, wearing old is many times better than producing new. Yet we have to balance this out with how we can best use all of our resources and that includes our time. I do not feel my time is well-used repairing socks, or re-fashioning clothes that are too large for me so that they fit again. I would rather knit a new pair of socks from scratch, which keeps manufacturers in business and employing people who need jobs. I’d rather donate the over-sized clothes to charity and replace them with more appropriately sized clothes that someone else didn’t want. I am not championing profligate shopping, and I have never been one to wear clothes once, or even for one season – the clothing industry has never got rich from my shopping tendencies. However, I think I will continue with my long-held system of wearing it until it threatens to fall apart then accepting the inevitable. To salve my conscience, I am going to investigate the textile banks which take items too worn to donate so they can be recycled into something else of use.

I’ll just finish up with a quick photo of the pens I am currently using. One YouTube channel I enjoy is Waski the Squirrel who does a weekly video series called “Pens In Use”. My own pen habit is much less extreme, but every so often things have moved on sufficiently to make an update worthwhile. So here is my current set:

24-05-19 this week's pens

I’ve got one more cartridge of the Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue ink, then I will be using my bottle of their Cobalt Blue as my main blue ink. The rather old bottle of MontBlanc blue/black or Midnight Blue (I can’t recall which they called it) still has plenty of fills in it. I’m not sure about this ink in the gushy Parker 51, but basically I am going to try this pen with all the inks I can lay my hands on until I find a combination that I think works really well. My second Waterman Hemisphere is uninked at the moment, as are my Lamy Safari and Lamy LX. The Safari may sit on the bench for some time, but I think the other two will be back in action fairly soon.

I will finish up by wishing you all a lovely weekend, and sending commiserations if you have to work. See you again on Monday.


 

The good, the bad, and the swatchy

22-05-19 Inigo progress

Hello there! I’ve been knitting steadily for a few days now; not overdoing it, but making steady progress. I’ve finished the back and one sleeve of the Inigo cardigan, I’m really pleased with it so far and am finding it a very therapeutic garment to knit. I don’t mind at all knitting miles of stocking stitch flat – I really enjoy the purl rows every bit as much as the knit rows. The yarn is pleasant to work with, it has quite a number of prickly inclusion which I usually stop and pick out, but I think these might soften up when the finished garment is washed.

My other knitting activity has taken the form of a number of swatches. A couple of my friends very kindly gave me the book “Knitting From The North” by Hilary Grant for Christmas and one of them, who also has this book, has made a start on the “Loki” jumper. This is a really fabulous jumper and I decided I would make a swatch because I’d like to knit it sometime this year. I want to convert it to knitting flat in separate pieces so I started a flat swatch to check my gauge. Here is how far I got:-

I really like the patterning, but I hit a problem checking my gauge which should be 26 stitches to 10cm; I was getting 29 stitches and I think you can see from the close-up that the non-colourwork portion is already quite flimsy. Now, I’m a veteran user of Shetland yarns and I know that when I wash the knitted fabric it blooms magically, the gaps in the stitches close up and you get a lovely fabric. However, the one thing I also know is that my gauge doesn’t change when the fabric is washed, and I feel going up one or two needle sizes to match the stitch gauge called for might very well give a decidedly odd result with these yarns. With this in mind, I unpicked the swatch and have put this idea on the back-burner for the time being, with the intention of revisiting it when the mood strikes me.

That decision was aided by me reading this blog post over at Fringe Association. That little summer cardi she writes about reminded me of this heavy winter cardigan by Norah Gaughan:-

2006 Autumn

This was published in the Autumn 2006 issue of Vogue Knitting (or Designer Knitting, depending on your country) and I have knitted two successful versions in the past. Reminiscing on this, I started to think about that golden yellow yarn that I keep starting projects with but never finishing. I have considered a couple of times the option of holding it with a strand of cream wool to give a marled effect and it struck me that it might work for this pattern. So I swatched:-

 

Love it! Below the centre-line I used 4.5mm needles which gave me a gauge of 18 stitches to 10cm and above the centre I used 4mm needles which came out bang-on the 20 stitches to 10cm that the pattern calls for. My row gauge is, as ever, completely off – I can’t understand how anyone ever manages to get both row and stitch gauge and I don’t understand how the designers knit to get the gauges they do come up with, but that’s neither here not there. I’ve been knitting a long time and I’ve got used to the vagaries of it all. (Actually, my theory is that the row gauge is distorted with aggressive blocking, but don’t quote me on that because it might be a bit inflammatory!)

The photos of this swatch are useful because they illustrate the point I was making about my colourwork swatch and how the Shetland wool blooms when washed. Comparing the big picture of the yellow swatch (pre-wash) with the one top-right (post-wash) you can see how the cream stitches in particular have puffed up and softened in appearance. The yellow yarn is a blend of acrylic and wool so the behaviour is less pronounced.

So, there we have it: good progress, bad gauge, swatchy meanderings.

I hope your week is going well and you are getting in some knitting, planning, crafting, or just plain resting.


 

Word of the Week – Noctuary

06-01-19 Hygge
Just the night for a noctuary

 

Noctuary  (noun)

A record of the events, or one’s thoughts, during the night.

(From the Latin “nox, noctis” meaning night; on the analogy of “diary”)

Here’s a word for anyone to use if they wake in the night and have to write down something that has just struck them. For anyone who writes down their dreams. For those of you who keep a notebook on the bedside table.

Me? When I’m in bed, I’m in bed; my dreams can come and go as they please, if they are important I will remember them; if I forget them, clearly they were not important. Almost any night, the only thing that will get me out of bed once I’m settled is a trip to the loo.

Except, that is, on Saturday night when I thought something just after I got into bed and had to put the light on, pad out into my living room, sit at my desk and write down the single sentence that a fictional character had uttered in my head, then pad back and settle down. It momentarily crossed my mind that I should have writing equipment by my bed for just such a chance; I didn’t know that I needed a noctuary.

Do you have a noctuary? Did you know that was what it was called?


 

I’m doing this…

17-05-19 I'm doing this

Here’s a snapshot of what is going on around here these days. This is what was piled on my settee when I started to tidy up last night prior to heading off to bed (before I took the photo I did move them into a more pleasing arrangement than the ‘old heap of stuff’ that they had naturally formed!).

The new Avon brochure commences today, so I had been busy setting them up and getting a .pdf version of the brochure up on my beauty blog  – feel free to head over there, or visit my webshop where you can browse through the products and, so long as you are in the United Kingdom, order online for delivery direct to you from Avon’s warehouse. I’m trying out the Vitamin C Serum that’s launching this month. I like a nice serum and, truth be told, I’d rather use one cream day and night but add in a serum in the evening than have separate day and night moisturisers.

Then, of course, there has been knitting. The photo shows how far I have got with the first sleeve of my cardigan. I have been resting my hand but still doing a few rows each day just to make sure the cardigan continues to grow. I am enjoying working with this yarn and the pattern is really simple but effective.

The book, The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll, was an impulse purchase this week. I have been following the buzz about this method of planning/tracking over the past few years, but ultimately have always felt that a lot of it is not for me. Then again, the basic concept of keeping all your incoming information in one distinct place is very much to my taste. I find having things scattered all over the place makes them easier to ignore. In one of the best jobs I have had, it was common practice to keep a hardback notebook in which you noted whatever needed to be done – in my secretarial role this meant I had lots of notes every day on responses I needed to send to e-mails on behalf of my manager. I found it a very workable system and the Bullet Journal is not dissimilar to that. I am enjoying reading it so far, although I may not adopt the method in its entirety. I decided to buy it after watching a video online that was originally shown at the European Planner Conference; this runs to just over 30 minutes, but I think it’s well worth watching because Mr Carroll comes across as such a genuinely lovely chap. Earlier in the year I read about nine-tenths of Getting Things Done by David Allen, but it didn’t entirely gel with me. It felt to me like it was devised by, and addressing the needs of, business owners and top-level managers, whereas Ryder Carroll seems to be coming from, and addressing, a much broader base of both workers and creative professionals. Have to see if I make it to the end of this one!

I am consistently referring to the diary pages in my Filofax notebook, and also using it for broader list-making and note-taking. I am still very pleased with this set-up and I can foresee it serving me for some time to come. I chose a verse by Dorothy Parker for the creative area this week and I used my fine-nibbed Parker 51 filled with the Lamy Peridot ink. When I am writing in the diary I mainly use the Waterman Hemisphere in the blue finish which you can see in the photo, and that is filled at the moment with Graf von Faber-Castell ink in Midnight Blue. Underlining is done using my Cross Century II filled with the Lamy Ruby ink (speaking of which, I am in love with all the red inks Michael Jecks has been testing recently on his Writerly Witterings YouTube channel – you can check out Ink Comparison: Red and/or Ink Comparison: Red Second stage if you’re interested). I use my other Waterman Hemisphere – the Rose Cuivre finish – to write in my journal every morning. That one is currently filled with J Herbin Poussiere de Lune which is a purple-to-brown ink. In this way I am getting to play with a lot of the pens and the inks in my small collection. I feel a return to a brighter purple ink is imminent when one of the pens runs dry.

The final item I had to clear away was a tube of hand cream because my hands have been very dry recently. This particular hand cream is from one of Avon’s fragranced bath ranges and it is a lovely consistency, but there are more subtle fragrances around. I happen to like this one, but I don’t imagine it would be for everybody – but then, what is?

After a few nice sunny days, we’ve got a fine drizzle this afternoon although it held off until I was back from my regular Friday-morning swim so that was good. Our electricity went off for a few minutes at lunch-time, and all the alarms in the neighbourhood started ringing so it was an exciting few minutes.

Now we are heading towards another weekend which I hope will provide plenty of opportunities to knit, read, and ponder the meaning of life.


 

Finished object – Isambard Socks

15-05-19 complete socks

I had a bit of a knitting frenzy over the weekend and finished my Isambard socks. I have small feet and my socks don’t take long to knit if I work on them consistently. I love seeing all the amazing sock patterns that other people knit, but I only like knitting plain ones myself. I have no idea why that should be unless it is because I love my socks to be wildly coloured or have tons of variegation and those type of yarns just don’t play nicely with patterning. Or perhaps I am just lazy (actually, no perhaps needed there).

I have been knitting my socks for the past couple of years on 2.5mm needles, but I am coming to the conclusion that I might go down to 2.25mm for my next pair. I think I used 2.25mm when I first started knitting socks and they lasted rather better than my more recent socks, not that the more recent socks are problematic in any way.

I really enjoy how this wool knits up and the dyeing is very pleasing to the eye. Those blues and golds on the grey-beige background make me very happy.

Technical details:

Pattern:  Vanilla sock based on free pattern circa 2006/2007, came free with a ball of sock wool
Size: To fit UK size 4 1/2 shoe
Materials: Mr B sock yarn 75% superwash wool/25% nylon, 100g (I usually use around 55g)
Needles:  2.5mm KnitPro Zing metal double-point needles, 20cm long, pack of 5 (I use 4 with half the stitches on one needle, and a quarter each on a further two needles, working the live stitches onto the fourth needle)

The pattern I follow has a heel flap and gusset construction which suits me very well. The toe in the pattern is pretty standard, decreasing equal amounts on both sides until 12 stitches remain on both needles, then doing a Kitchener Stitch join. I learned how to do the Kitchener join using the knitting needles instead of having to thread up a tapestry needle and that made a lot of sense to me. However, last year I discovered the Barn Toe which gives a slightly deeper and more rounded toe shape and I like that a lot so I used it on this pair.

15-05-19 barn toe

I particularly enjoy the fact that with this toe shaping you just keep decreasing until you only have four stitches left and then you cinch them shut using the end of your working yarn. It is so quick to do and there’s none of that inclination to stop just short of the end because you need to look up the Kitchener instructions again.

As well as finishing these, I have made significant progress on my Inigo cardigan. I have all-but completed the back and have made a start on one of the sleeves. I thought, as my gauge is not exactly as per the pattern, it made sense to wait to finish the armhole shaping on the back until I had a sleeve complete so I can make sure that the pieces fit together well. Forethought – that’s a new one for me!

Whilst I was working on the Gaudi cardigan I logged it on Ravelry. I have been very lazy about Ravelry for quite a number of years, rarely using it and not logging any of my projects, although there was a time when I was quite diligent with it. Now I am suddenly getting back into using it to keep the project details and I am enjoying it once again.

There has been one drawback to my knitting endeavours this past week, which is that one of my fingers has developed a slightly alarming ‘click’. I have consulted Dr. Internet who informs me this is “trigger finger” (sounds like it is a surfeit of Kojak rather than knitting that has caused it) and since I am not in pain and my finger merely feels odd rather than actually seizing up, I am limiting the amount I work on my knitting for a few days to give it a rest.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing my finished socks and I hope your knitting, or other creative endeavours, are going well. For now, I think it’s time to have a nice cup of tea.


 

Word of the Week – Persevere

13-05-19 Persevere

Here in Norfolk, as in a lot of the United Kingdom, last week was chilly and wet and decidedly un-spring-like. In tandem with the blossom on the trees, and the seedlings in the ground, we humans had to practice perseverance to get us through to the brighter weather and slightly higher temperatures that we are now enjoying.

Life is like that, too. Sometimes it is dreary and grey and there is an unpleasant chill in our hearts. We are not sure where we want to be, or what we want to be doing; perhaps we are not even sure who we are. The central character in my nascent novel (nascent may have to be a Word of the Week one of these old days) is in just that state and it is my job to get her from there to a more pleasant position by the end of the book. Or not. Perhaps she is doomed never to find her place; perhaps some people never do. However, whether we find our place or not, we must persevere because where there is life, there is hope.

I like to see perseverance as more positive than doggedness or grim determination. Perseverance is getting the bit between your teeth, it has an edge of self-motivation in it. I like perseverance, and yet I am absolutely rubbish at it. Are you good at perseverance?


 

Planning – a new experiment

*For a better view, click on any photo to see the full-size image.

As I mentioned in my wrap-up post from National Stationery Week, I was unlikely to continue using the ring-planner I had set up due to size issues and personal preferences. The more I think about it, the more useful I find that experiment was – it forced me to consider what does and doesn’t work with the planning set-up I have been using this past couple of years.

My very strong preference has always been to use an A5-ish size page which hits the sweet spot of portability and ease of use. For a while now, I have been eyeing the Filofax A5 Notebook which offers minimal ring intrusion coupled with the ability to move pages at will and, with the correct punching, to add your own items. I was loath to try one, though, because of my experience with the paper quality in Filofax’s other notebook system – the Clipbook – which I tried a few years ago. I had a couple of big problems with that design:

  • The cover felt unpleasant, particularly where it bulged around the 6-ring mechanism and I found it awkward in use.
  • The paper was thicker than the standard Filofax used for their traditional ring-planner inserts, but the quality wasn’t up to using fountain pens and inks. There was feathering and bleed-through a-plenty.

Whilst many users had said the paper in the Notebook products was fountain-pen friendly, I wasn’t sure if I should trust that. However, this design did seem to offer the potential to incorporate my diary and notebook in one very portable cover, so yesterday I trotted off to my local department store’s stationery shop* and purchased the Vista Blue notebook. I must say, so far I am very impressed with it and it scores highly on the following points:

  • The paper is really good as the above pen test photos illustrate. The only pen to bleed through was the Pilot CD marker which is not a pen I would ever use on paper anyway. The wet-writing Parker 51 with a medium (?) nib produced the most show-through, but my regular pen and ink combinations were perfect, I certainly wouldn’t have any trouble using both sides of the paper.
  • I like the cover which is a stiffened plastic with a very pleasant feel and lays completely flat when open. When required, the cover folds back on itself allowing you to write easily with it held in one hand. There is an elastic band attached to the back cover to hold the notebook securely closed when you have it in your bag.
  • Because the wire binding is almost completely covered, it is a lot less likely to squash than a standard wire-bound notebook; I think it also gives a very neat look to the book.
  • You get 56 sheets of 6mm ruled paper – I’d prefer it a bit wider ruling, but it’s still practical, plus an additional few sheets of plain and 5mm grid paper to try out. You can buy replacement paper pre-punched from Filofax in various designs.
  • The notebook includes four dividers which seem to be made of a slightly plastic-feeling card – one of these is designed to form a pocket which is useful.
  • The size is just perfect, giving plenty of space to write easily on either side of the paper but in a format that slips easily into a handbag to carry out with me. It’s nice and lightweight, too, which increases the portability.
  • There is a good choice of covers online, but availability locally will be dependent upon the retailer.

I have just a couple of very minor negative points:

  • The plastic ruler/page marker included with the notebook is very flimsy and doesn’t stay securely attached to the rings. I have now covered mine completely with washi tape on both sides and re-cut the holes which seems to make it a bit more secure. I can see good reasons to keep the marker as thin as possible, but having it detaching from some of the rings as I’m turning it is a slight irritation.
  • From watching a few review videos on YouTube (I can recommend the bullet journal one from Goldspot Pens), I could see that it can be difficult to turn the pages if you have the notebook stuffed. I’ve gone for a minimal layout, incorporating three months of week on two pages diary and 25 sheets of lined paper, with three of the dividers.
  • The replacement paper packs are not badly-priced, but they only appear to have 32 sheets of paper which is rather meagre and I envisage I’d be buying more than one pack at a time – a lot of plastic wrap could be saved if there were 50 or more sheets to a pack. The pastel and marble papers Filofax offer appear to have 60 sheets per pack which is better.

Filofax sell a punch to cut holes of the required size and shape to suit the notebooks and I think that would be a useful tool to buy in the fullness of time. The ability to punch different papers and other items to slot into the notebook is one of the primary selling points of these notebooks. Whilst I have the A5 size, they also do this design in a pocket size and an A4 – the hole spacing is uniform across the different sizes and the hole punch will work for any of them. However, you don’t have to have the special punch – it is possible to use a standard hole punch and cut slots into each hole, which is how I have incorporated the pages from my A5 Mark + Fold diary into this cover:

10-05-19 Diary FoFN

I shall be very interested to see how this notebook holds up over time, but my first impressions are positive and I am more likely to use this long-term than the ring-planners I have used before, or than a bound bullet journal style of book.

Hope this has been of a little interest to you. I feel next week it would be nice to get away from the stationery theme and share something different – we shall see. Until then, I hope you all have a good weekend and find some time to enjoy yourselves.


Jarrolds is a department store based in Norwich with a long history of stationery and art products, not to mention a decent book department. They have gone rather up-market over recent years and have recently moved their stationery from the ground floor up to the third floor, but I am trying not to hold that against them.


 

New on the needles

08-05-19 apple pie
Is it an alien planet? No, it’s an apple pie!

It is a miserable day in Norfolk today with a curtain of rain plunging down from a sky that hasn’t had the heart to brighten for one moment since dawn. The kind of day when you just need to sit on the settee with your knitting and only get up to bake apple pie. I usually make pie in a deeper dish, but decided to go for what my mum would call a ‘plate apple pie’ and jolly good it is too. I think it would only be improved if I had a Lego astronaut that I could pose on top to pretend it was a photo of an alien planet.

I had a couple of days not knitting when I finished Gaudi and then I cast on a pair of socks as a quick palate-cleanser before heading into another garment. I had a ball of Mr B Yarns’ sock wool in the colourway Isambard ready to go and I got a reasonable amount of the first sock knitted before being hit with the urge to knit another cardigan. The sock is my usual plain vanilla on 60 stitches using 2.5mm needles.

08-05-19 on needles
Vanilla sock, and the beginning of Inigo by Lisa Richardson

The cardigan is Inigo, a design by Lisa Richardson for Rowan Yarns from the New Vintage DK pattern book, just like the Gaudi cardigan. When I bought the book at the tail end of last year, I knew there were a number of garments I wanted to make from it. This pattern is designed using Rowan Cashmere Tweed, but I am using Sublime Luxurious Tweed DK which is a departure for me because it is a mix of 60% wool and 40% cotton. I think this will make a nice summer cardigan with the cotton content whilst the wool makes it more comfortable to work with than a lot of cotton yarns.

I am currently at the point where I will start to increase stitches from the waist to bust, but it hasn’t been a smooth ride getting here. I am going to confess that I didn’t knit a gauge swatch, just went straight into the garment cold in a yarn I have never used before because clearly my life isn’t exciting enough! I cast on using the recommended 4mm needles and the second-smallest size (91-97cm/36-38″ bust). When I finished the moss stitch hem I thought it looked wider than I would want, so I unpicked it and started again on the smallest size (81-86cm/32-34″ bust). I knitted about 4″ on that then measured my gauge and found I was getting 20 stitches to 10cm where the pattern calls for 22 stitches. I really liked the fabric at that gauge, and enjoyed actually knitting it, but I decided to start over again knitting the second-smallest size with 3.75mm needles to see how that would go. I got to the end of the decreases into the waist on that attempt, but found even one size smaller needles made the knitting much tougher on the hands and I wasn’t quite so keen on the slightly denser fabric it produced.. I would have persevered with it, but I had somehow lost a stitch in the decreasing and couldn’t find where I had made my mistake. That was enough to convince me to return to the original plan to make the smallest size on the 4mm needles and I am glad I did. What you see in the photos has all been knitted today so it is going pretty quickly.

08-05-19 close-up

I really like the pattern for this little jacket-style cardigan, plain and simple it will be just the thing to pull on through the summer. I don’t think I have knitted any of Lisa Richardson’s patterns before, but I have often seen her designs in the Rowan magazines and long been a fan of her design aesthetic which often leans slightly towards the vintage.

I hope you have better weather than us today and, if not, that you have been able to spend a little time doing something you love to bring a little cheer to the gloom.


Many thanks to my sister for donating the lovely Sublime yarn to me when she was de-stashing.