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Monday, June 24, 2013

Lakota Hood

Another online pattern I bought earlier this year, also by Heidi Tompkins, who designed the Failynn Fox Cowl, was the Lakota Hood. I really liked the style and chunky look of this and thought it might be just the thing for my daughter who lives in Canberra, where the winters are, by Australian standards, cold.

Like the fox cowl, the Lakota Hood is knitted in super-chunky wool, not something I have on hand, so when Morris and Sons had their  sale recently, I ordered 4 balls of their 20 ply Fuel - the thickest wool I could find. I went for Nightfall - although I was tempted by Cargo, because it was closer to the illustration in the pattern (easier to imagine).

I worried a bit as I knitted it, that it knitted loosely - I could see between the stitches it if I held it to the light, although the tension was OK. I thought I could go down a couple of needle sizes to get a more dense coverage - but would then need to add stitches and may not have enough wool.

The design is very simple - two scarf-like pieces that join together, knitted in seed stitch. The wool was easy to handle and knitted into interesting patterns. Although the pattern is simple enough for a beginner, it assumes some knowledge of things like joining pieces and creating buttonholes.

The  hood piece is slightly wider and longer than the neck piece and is folded and attached to it. After all my concern, I had wool left over - so could probably have gone down a needle size.

My daughter had given me some fabulous buttons for my birthday - handmade in Tasmania (will blog about those soon) - and I thought that a couple of them would work really well on this hood. I selected a gum-nut conversion.

The placement of the buttons suddenly transformed the hood into something warm and elegant. My fears about the texture disappeared. The hood pulls in firmly around the neck and drapes over the shoulders and feels really warm.

Relief - it looks good. I sent it off as soon as it was finished and it has been worn already in Canberra.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Neck warmers

I've been experimenting with thick wool - this time 12 ply Rustic from the Bendigo Woollen Mills - to make a couple of neck warmers for the men in my life - using a pattern from Cowlgirls. 

Several of the patterns in this book, especially those for neckwarmers, are easily adapted for men.

The first I made is in Midnight Tweed, and knitted up nicely. There is a bluey tinge to the wool that isn't obvious in the photo.

These are knitted in a straight piece, in rib, then joined at the ends. The pattern has a contrasting border, which I omitted. The only disadvantage is that you can't decide the length as you go, as the number of stitches on the needle determine the length.

I think it is quite smart and understated.

My second one is in a new Rustic colour - cinder fleck.

Rustic is a really attractive wool, lovely to work with, and I like the fleck.

I made this one a couple of inches longer and then decided to block it to get even more length in the front.

These are just the thing for our current weather!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blue cowl

With the fox cowls, cossack hats and nightdress I needed a winter warmer for my daughter, so used the blue mohair wool to knit a cowl from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders. It was relatively easy pattern - only two rows, and one of those is knit!

It knitted up quite quickly.

It is designed to be pulled up over the head if required, or worn loose around the neck. The cast-on edge frames the face and pulls into a slightly scalloped look.

The cast-off is a series of picots - very nice and designed to sit across the shoulders.

It was slightly awkward to block as it is a tube. I blocked it as instructed, then, when it was almost dry, moved it and reblocked it in a different position to remove the sense of two sides.

I rather liked the way it came out at the end - and it looks good on.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Blue nightdress

I have had some pale blue winter twill for a while now - intending to make a winter nightdress for Brigid. As her birthday, and Christmas here in Australia, are both in Summer, it always seems churlish to make her a winter garment. So, as I have been knitting hats for her family, I thought it a good chance to make her nightdress, in lieu of a hat.

I had to search a bit to find a nightdress pattern for a 10 year old with sleeves, but eventually lit on The Pillow Fight  from AS&E Issue 48 . It was, unfortunately, one of the issues I don't have, so I bought the pattern from Country Bumpkin. The pattern was designed for poly-cotton interlock and had ribbed cuffs and neck. I have only used ribbing a couple of times, but thought it would work really well for the openings on this nightdress even though the main fabric isn't interlock.

 I used the smocking design in the pattern, but adapted the colours a little to suit the all-blue fabric.

I replaced a yellow with a mauve for the caps on the diamonds. There was a great tip for stitching these caps - enabling the thread to be carried all the way across without reducing the stretch.

I also substituted shades of pink that blended with the blues.

I discovered the sleeves were missing from the pattern - an oversight, I imagine, relating to the size of the sleeve piece needing larger printing when the pattern was converted from the magazine. A phone call to Country Bumpkin got it printed and to me within 3 days - much appreciated.

In the meantime, I found another sleeve pattern which I adapted successfully. As my sleeves do not have the stretch of the poly-cotton interlock for which the pattern was designed, it was probably a good thing to use a dress pattern with slightly wider sleeves, as I did.

Brigid was very happy with the end result - and it is nice to give something at a time when it can be used immediately. The nights are certainly now cool enough for winter twill.