Tag Archives: kate davies

Puffin Jumper

17 May

It’s been quite a while since I cast on my Puffin jumper (by Kate Davies – from Colours of Shetland), in fact it was on the train to Edinburgh for The Edinburgh Yarn Festive in 2016 and I finished it several months ago in February, in time to wear on holiday to Edinburgh (though not to EYF this time).

Puffin Sweater by Kate Davies

Chevrons - Puffin - nettynot blog

I’ve probably already worn my puffin jumper more times than several of my other hand knitted garments, I love it. Though I did have a few issues to sort out along the way.

almost done - short sleeves - nettynot blog
Mostly the sleeve length, I have knitted Kate Davies patterns before and never had an issue with sleeves and neither did I think she had particularly short arms when I met her at EYF last year. However I knitted my sleeves to the required 42cm (needs checking) and joined them into my body to knit the yoke fully trusting that all will be fine. However once I was finished and tried on the jumper my sleeves were way too short. 

So I had a little breather from it, knitted some mitts and a hat and then came back to it. I decided since I was going to have to rip back my sleeves anyway that I might as well add some extra detail so I incorporated some of the colourful chevrons to the sleeves too, just 1 pattern repeat. I added a total of 7cm on to my overall sleeve length, however I could really could have done with 1cm more, as the chevrons take up some length, however that’s down to my personal preference as the sleeves don’t actually look short. That said I am very pleased with my finished jumper and I’m sure it will remain a firm favourite.

Puffin jumper blocking - nettynot blog

me in puffin jumper - nettynot blog
I obviously miss-calculated something when I bought the yarn as I have more that enough yarn left to knit the entire jumper again and having used truly rich wool (sock yarn really) it was a complete bargain to knit! Which in my eye is a bit of a bonus and means I have enough yarn to knit something else.

You can see my Puffin jumper project on Ravelry here!
Thanks for reading!


Bláithín Cardigan

12 Mar

Bláithín and I have had a rocky relationship! The pattern was bought as a gift for me  by a knitting friend back in 2010! I was very excited about it and printed the pattern straight away. As I started reading it I quickly discovered it would involve STEEKING after breaking out in a small sweat I decided it was a bit advanced for me.

Several years later once I’d got my head around the idea of steeking (& after a practice with the  Sheep Carousel tea cosy), I got the yarn for Christmas 2014 and started knitting Bláithín in February 2015. I made quick progress, getting to the point where I’d be sewing in ends before the actually steeking could commence. Given that I’d be CUTTING the knitting I knew it was crucial that it fitted well before I did this, no going back on this project!! I discovered it was quite baggy around the yoke, I had a ponder and decided I could re-knit the yoke on smaller needles and hopefully that’d sort it out. It was at this point I discovered I had actually knitted the whole flipping thing on the wrong size needles (5mm and not 4.5mm) I have no idea how I made such a daft mistake, but there it was… knowing that the density of the knitting would be important to how well the steek would hold together  I knew I had to re-knit the whole body (I figured I could get away with leaving the sleeves as they were). I ripped it all back (wishing I’d not already sewn the pockets in place). I then couldn’t face re-starting it straight away so it hibernated for a while – well 8 month in the end!

Bláithín pockets - Nettynot Blog

Pre steek blaithin - Nettynot Blog
I started again around Christmas 2015 and got back into it quite quickly. As I have small shoulders and wider hips I started with a size 3 at the bottom and decreased down to a size 1 before joining in the arms and starting the fairisle. Anyone and everyone I know who knits knows how much I love Kate Davies, I’ve knitted many of her patterns, own several of her books and love the way she writes patterns and explains things so clearly. However I do think the neckline of this pattern has some issues which for me has detracted from the  otherwise great pattern. The whole neck ended up quite funnel shaped, which I realise could have been my knitting and not the pattern, so I did what I always do at when something isn’t working…. consult the Ravelry projects and  look at other blog posts and comments. I discovered lots more funnel shaped necks and rolling over tops and people who’d completely reworked their neck lines – so it wasn’t just me. I did find someone’s comment that said they added a extra few decreased before casting off. So I ripped back a few rows, including the last 3 rows of fairisle, I re-knitted on smaller needles (4mm), making my floats a bit tighter and added a further 4 decreases after the short rows, before casting off. This seemed to make enough of a difference and when I tried it on it looked much better.

Blaithin fairisle - Nettynot Blog

The Steeking!
I re-read Kate’s tutorial on her blog about steeking and her clever sandwich steeks, so that I didn’t make any mistakes. I always panic that the crochet reinforcement isn’t going to hold up, but just carefully went with it, trusting the instructions completely. I did the actual steeking with friends at a craftanoon (the morale support was very welcome) and I got one of them to film it for me too.

I quite enjoy picking up stitches, so really liked the sandwich steek technique, however the amount of handling the cardigan once I’d cut it did worry me slightly, I was sure the stitches would start popping out, in reality only a few did and were not detrimental to the finished cardigan.

Steeking edge - Nettynot blog

For more information about the yarn I used and a few more images head over to ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nettynot/blaithin

There are lots of details I really like about this pattern; the button holes built into the icord cast off, the edging, the pockets, however even after I’d blocked the cardigan I still had a bit of a funnel neck which has settled down a little bit as a wore it for the first time, I’m hoping it settles more with time. I think I might need a bit of distance from this cardigan before I can really appreciate it, having been a bit of a trial at times, it’s also ended up a bit too big for me over the hips, but it still looks ok when buttoned up and worn over jeans – maybe next winter it’ll be my new favourite. Do other people feel a little underwhelmed once you’ve finished a big project?

At least now there’s no excuse for me not to tackle the cross pockets cardigan and get that finished as well! Though I might also cast on the Puffin jumper.

Sheep Carousel

7 Jan

After my knitting inspiration blog post back in October I have made good progress on my list of intentions, though the jumper has been hibernating for a month or so, partly as I was preoccupied knitting a few Christmas gifts in the form of a small cat and some cabled boot toppers.

Christmas Knits - Nettynot Blog Post
The main thing on the list that I can’t wait to get started on is the Kate Davies Bláithín cardigan, for which I needed some steeking experience and some confidence. That’s where the Sheep Carousel comes into play, a smaller more achievable tea cosy that has steeked holes for the spout and handle.

I bought my yarn a little while ago and saved it to knit over Christmas as a treat to myself and a break from the jumper. I started on Christmas Eve and blocked it last night, so altogether it took 2 weeks, probably quite a long time by some knitters standards but for me that’s pretty good (plus I was back at work in between Christmas & New Year).

Overall I think knitting the tea cosy was a valuable experience, not only for the much needed steeking practice but I really enjoyed learning how to knit a vikkel braid – a new favourite technique and far simpler than it looks.

corrugated rib and vikkel braid - nettynot blog
I do like an I-cord cast off too, something I previously learnt to do on another of Kate’s patterns, Paper Dolls. I love the sheep on the tea cosy design, although I have to be honest I won’t be using it as a tea cosy, it’s hard work to get on and off a tea pot as there’s very little stretch in it all, as much as an i-cord cast off looks great a bit of ribbing would have been much more practical at the bottom. That said I really wasn’t knitting this pattern because I wanted a tea cosy, I was knitting it for experience of the various techniques involved. So my tea cosy will live permanently on a tea pot looking pretty on a shelf and that’s absolutely fine by me!

Finished Sheep Carousel - Nettynot Blog
Steeking  (the Wikipedia definition can be found here).
I remember not so long ago mentioning at knit group that I wanted to have a go at steeking, the response being a sharp intake of breath  from most knitters, and the look of sheer horror on the face of a relatively new knitter when I explained what steeking was.  The very talented Eleanor from Knit Nottingham had done it before and told me it’ll be fine, and to get on with it, in the way only a very experience slightly mad knitter could.

I’m not going to lie I was apprehensive and I procrastinated for a day or so before actually doing the steeking part of this project, but then last Sunday I got on with it. I read and re-read Kate Davies very useful tutorial on her blog and then set to work. Creating the crochet reinforcements was quite straight forward and everything made sense as I was doing it.
Crochet reinforcement for steeking - Nettynot Blog
Before I cut the knitting I couldn’t quite get my head around how it was going to work, I could understand the actual stitches I was about to cut would sort of shrink back into the crocheted bit, but what about the stranding yarn at the back that I’d also have to cut….I decided to take a deep breath and just do it. I filmed it as promised for some of knit group, I posted it on my facebook page on Sunday and got few comments commending my bravery   – thanks for that 😛
Here is the video.

I was very cautious handling my knitting after cutting it in case it all fell apart. But by the time I stitched the facing down on the inside I figured it can’t really go too wrong even though a few odd bit of wool managed to escape. The Bláithín requires a slightly different kind of steek, a sandwich steek, which I already feel a litter more confident about as the raw edges will be entirely trapped between two layers of knitting.

Now that it’s blocked and looking a little more relaxed on my teapot I’m quite pleased with the end result. I particularly love the top and the clever colour work, I will definitely be introducing vikkel braids where ever I can from now on. If you want to know more about the yarn I’ve added details to my ravelry project.
Sheep Carousel montage - nettynot Blog

What’s next….I must finish my grey and cream jumper before I do any other knitting… although I did just get a new phone which would definitely benefit from a new phone cover….and then it’s on to Bláithín.

Knitting Inspiration

5 Oct

I’m currently having a few days staying with my parents in the lovely Lake District (recharging my batteries), and I have inadvertently re-found my knitting Mojo. Not that I had lost it as such, it was just waning slightly. I haven’t finished a project in a while (except for some toe up socks) and I have several things I need to complete as well as many things I’d like to start. I have given myself a few targets to get things finished before I start other projects, which is sensible, but does dampen the knitting enthusiasm somewhat.

However yesterday I took the opportunity to visit Williams’ Wools in Kendal (even though I had no intention of buy anything). This cosy yet spacious and wonderful shop oozes yarn and inspiration. It’s a feast of colour and texture, with examples of many wonderfully constructed items to suit a whole host of customers.

Knitted item in Williams' Wool - Nettynot Blog

It also has one of the most fun and inventive shop window displays I’ve seen in a while, which happened to include several characters from my child hood. I’m a particular fan of Danger Mouse with a ‘Yarn Bomb’. I wasn’t able to fully capture a flying super ted and Dennis the Menace sat  knitting with Gnasher at his feet, not to mention a very well dressed Badger from wind in the willows and a charming Rupert the Bear.
of Williams' Wool - Nettynot BlogI knew immediately I was in great company, there were several examples of Kate Davies garments on display, including a wonderful version of Bláithín, for which I already have the pattern, it has been in my Ravelry queue since July 2012, but as yet I lack the yarn and courage to tackle what will be my most technically difficult knit. I took the opportunity to ask what yarn was used by the knitter and shop owner herself, she’d used Rowan Aran tweed.
Kate Davies Knits at Williams' Wools - Nettynot BlogI also shared my fear of steeking, something which has been scary topic of conversation at knit group lately. It turned out that Bláithín was only the lady’s second steeked project, the first being the Sheep carousel tea cosy, also by Kate Davies. This I thought was an excellent idea, having a smaller project, that you’re not so precious about to essentially have a practice with. Which is exactly what she had done – a very sensible lady! I have just bought the Sheep Carousel Pattern to do the very same. There are also several other techniques in this pattern I’m intrigued by so I feel it will be a very worthwhile exercise.
Sheep Carousel - Nettynot Blog

However adding yet another project into the mix doesn’t really help with the mounting pile of UFO’s not to mention the projects yet to be started. However I have now been inspired and regained my knitting drive!

A Plan!
Finishing my UFO’s!

  1. My Mood scarf knit along, has been abandoned for a while – I’m not looking forward to grafting the moss stitch ends of the cowl together.
  2. My Brick Jumper from a frogged cardigan. I feel out of love with this a bit, even thought I am enjoying knitting it and very much like the pattern I’ve incorporated. But there’s been a few trials and tribulations along the way.
  3. I have also started a simple ripple scarf using a lovely bright dk Noro yarn, which is my handy and easy project to take along to knit group if my current project isn’t suitable for pub knitting. This I don’t mind having as an on going UFO.
  4. Not so much an unfinished project but an un-started project is my Puffin jumper, by Kate Davies, which I have mentioned in previous blog posts. I love this and can’t wait to start, I have bought all the yarn, but told myself I had to finish my Brick jumper first.
    Top left, mood scarf, top right my Brick jumper, bottom left the Noro yarn for my ripple scarf and bottom right Kate Davies' Puffin Jumper.

    Top left, mood scarf, top right my Brick jumper, bottom left the Noro yarn for my ripple scarf and bottom right Kate Davies’ Puffin Jumper.

    So once this list has been tackled I will start on my Sheep Carousel tea cosy and my Bláithín, this alone will keep my momentum going, I’m quite sure!

    blaithin - Kate Davies

Although I didn’t get anything from Williams’ Wools it was well worth the visit for inspiration alone. Had I been in the market for buying anything yarn or knitting related I would have been spoilt for choice with a great range of yarn, knit pro needles (my favourite), buttons, books, patterns and every kind of gadget or accessories you can imagine. If you find yourself anywhere near Kendal I would highly recommend a visit! I will definitely be back next time I’m in this neck of the woods.

Knitting Discipline

22 Jan

Having finished my Mum’s Christmas Jumper I can now return to my previous project that has been in hibernation since the beginning of Nov. I am about 95% through knitting the colour affection shawl, it really is a labour of love and it was an ideal project to knit over late summer last year as it wasn’t too bulky, I even took it on Holiday to France with me. However I am only 5cm away from finishing it but it it sooooo long now (approximately 450 stitch on each row) it is feeling like a never ending project.

Colour affection shawl - almost complete

Almost finished Colour Affection Shawl

So at Knit in Notts last night I had great fun discussing what my next project will be, to help spur me on to finish. I have a few things I would like to do, having just finished a jumper which I couldn’t keep, I’d quite like to knit a selfish jumper, and I have been intending to knit Kate Davies Puffin jumper from her wonderful book Colours of Shetland.

Kate Davies Stunning Design

Kate Davies Stunning Design

I have even already selected the colours in my local yarn shop, Knit Nottingham. I just need to go pick up the yarn now. However I don’t think I can bring myself to cast on another 4ply project just yet.

My colour Combination, navy being the main boby colour.

My colour Combination, navy being the main body colour.

So my interim project is something knitted in a thicker double knit yarn that I actually started over Christmas. I frogged a cardigan I knitted years ago, that I just don’t wear the shape wasn’t great on me. The yarn was lovely Rowan silky tweed, so worth turning into something else. I only had 6 skeins (8 would have been ideal) so I bought two extra balls of yarn in another colour with the intention of knitting a jumper with some stripes, to help the yarn go further.

frogged cardigan yarn
I selected a dark red to go with the charcoal grey tweedy yarn, however I soon realised  when I began adding the stripes the red was an error, I was probably influenced a little too heavily by the festive season as the jumper was just screaming CHRISTMAS and I didn’t want to be restricted by when I could sensibly wear it (without felling a little silly). So I opted for using the left over cream yarn from my Mum’s jumper instead. I’m sure my family thought I was mad, having witnessed me frog a cardigan followed two days later by the beginnings of a new jumper. However if you know it’s not right or that you won’t wear it it’s best to make the decision quickly and get going again straight away. Which I did, though I didn’t get very far, but at least I got it started & that’s the important thing.

Beginning of Brick Jumper 2

I am following a lovely simple Brick jumper pattern  by Clare Lee, which is a free download on ravelry.

Clare's lovely simple, round neck, Raglan sleeved, top down jumper.

Clare’s lovely simple, round neck, Raglan sleeved, top down jumper.

I am going to add stripes around the top and possibly on the sleeves, with a little touch of fair isle, this is a doodle of the pattern, it should give a slight wavy effect  on the stripe and with having an extra row of alternate coloured stitches all the way across, it will hopefully soften the edge of the stripes.

Gotta love squared paper of knitting doodles & plotting.

Gotta love squared paper of knitting doodles & plotting.

However I am having to be disciplined and not dive straight into knitting the  jumper even though I’m itching to do so (especially since it is already cast on), I AM going to finished the my colour affection shawl first. Watch this space…

Hedgehog Jumper!

24 Oct

So when I first heard about Ravelry (as an inexperienced knitter) I was amazed, I found myself searching though incredible looking patterns thinking I’d never be able to knit that. I added several patterns to my faves (for inspiration & day dreaming purposes).

Years later having learnt a lot more, through experience & plenty of trial & error, I went back through the list I’d created years before & decided to give “Paper Dolls” by Kate Davies a go.
Kate is currently my favourite knit wear designer, the first full garment I knitted was one of her designs, Owls, & I chose that for several reasons – I love owls, it’s knitted in chunky yarn = fast knitting, but mostly because her patterns are written so clearly (essential for a novice, as I was). A lot of old fashioned & dated patterns are hard to follow partly as they are a list of instructions with no further details. Kate’s patterns are wonderful, she provides you with just the right about of information, with helpful hints along the way. Here’s a photo of part of my Owls jumper, I finished it about 3 years ago, it’s a lovely and cosy, a little bobbly in places now having been worn so much, but I don’t care – I love it!
Owls Hand knitted Jumper
I knitted it in cash merino (I forget exactly what yarn) which I bought from the Knitting & Stitching show at Ally Pally some time ago it was about £25 for 10 balls (I had yarn to spare that made great hand warmers). I thought at the time that was a very reasonable price and I still do; I probably wouldn’t think twice about buying a lovely jumper that price.

So last year I decided to embark on my first 4-ply jumper with colour work, (throwing myself in at the deep end) eek! I got my yarn from Knit Nottingham, I went for Cygnet Truly Wool Rich, with dove grey at the main colour & blue & green for the patterned part. Paper dolls is a lovely pattern & I thought why make life easy for myself…reading Kate’s blog about the pattern & seeing everyone’s customisations, I decided to make two adjustments of my own. I find jumpers with short sleeves a little odd (if it’s cold enough to be wearing a jumper, make it a proper jumper, but that’s just me), longer sleeves – not a problem, however I fell slightly in love with one customisation, hedgehogs! So I planned out my own hedgehog design. The planning part I found easy – the execution less so!

Hedgehog planning & swatch

Planning my Hedgehogs & my swatch!

I got there in the end – the journey was a little frustrating at times, but that was entirely my own doing! It’s always tricky changing a pattern (although I quite enjoyed the challenge – in hindsight). The problem I came across (despite reading Kate’s notes) was the decreasing while working the stranding. The first time I knitted my hedgehogs the overall yoke ended up far too short, I knew my design was shorter than the dolls, however my tension square was also a little long – so I assumed the two would cancel each other out (I was wrong). I ripped out & re-knitted the yoke – the hedgehogs were looking great (& less puckered than my first attempt), I carried on & finished the jumper.  However…I couldn’t get it over my head, my tension was too tight on the corrugated rib & the I-cord cast off. Needless to say I was disappointed & more than a little frustrated with myself and the jumper went into hibernation in my knitting basket over the summer!

Last weekend it came out of hibernation, I ripped out the last few inches (again) and re-knitting the final part, sewed in the ends, soaked it, blocked it & dried it! Now it is completely finished, it fits & looks amazing & it was showed off at knit group last night (as photographed by Jem Weston)! I have learnt a lot from this project, I have not been put off customising patterns – I just need to think a little more carefully in future!
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