Two Completed Before the New Year (and a Knitting Injury)

I finished off a couple of projects this week, one large, one small.

The large one has been going on for ages and came about because I wanted something big to use up some scraps of yarn from the stash. I have a really useful poncho/cape, made of a lightweight fleece material, so my original idea was to knit something the same shape, but with a big ribbed collar that could be either worn open or buttoned up to make a polo neck. For the main body part I wanted to use up yarn of different thicknesses so I used multiple strands, the equivalent of two strands of double knitting or one each of 3 ply and aran, worked in garter stitch on 5.5mm circular needles. I measured, calculated and drafted a pattern, but although I did a lot of knitting , it just wasn’t working and the whole thing would have been really heavy to wear. I pulled all but the collar out and had a rethink.

I decided to use the same collar and make a jacket in the same multiple strand garter stitch, so I took some measurements and redrafted a new pattern. It’s the first time I’ve designed a knitting pattern on this scale.

I finally got it all finished, sewn up and buttons on and I’m really happy with it. It’s really cosy and warm to wear and the fit is good as it was made to measure – I have a long body, narrow shoulders and short arms so I always have to adjust patterns and knit shorter sleeves, which is a pain if they include colour work or a textured pattern.

I particularly like the collar – knitted in 3ply yarn, it’s a lovely stretchy K2P2 rib and can be worn open or buttoned up.

I’d picked all the scraps of blue and grey yarn, and some white out of the stash and overlapped the colours as I worked with the two strands, to give a shaded effect. I quite like that I’ve used scraps left over from past projects – the collar is a 3 ply wool that I bought on holiday in Scotland and used to crochet a shawl. I can also spy the very first handspun yarn I made and some I bought on a very memorable trip to Iceland.

The “Scrappy Cardi” as I started to call it is going to be a useful addition to my winter wardrobe.

The other project I finished off this week was a pair of socks I’d cast on a few weeks back. It’s classic topdown construction with contrasting top edge, heel and toe. I can’t remember where the variegated sock yarn came from but I love the colours.

I was quite glad to get these off the needles because they were responsible for a minor but gruesome injury I sustained the other week. I dropped a stitch and got out a very fine crochet hook to pick it up – the kind you use for crocheting lace: more like a hooked needle. I must have put it down on the arm of my chair and it rolled on to the seat. I got up to do something and when I returned and sat down, the hook stuck straight in the back of my thigh! Fortunately Daughter came to the rescue and carefully removed it (not easy with that hook). Antiseptic spray was applied and it all healed up fine. You never really consider knitting to be dangerous but I suppose I was suffering for my art!

How I recovered from One Sock Syndrome

About 4 years ago I ended up in hospital just before we were about to go on a family holiday. It didn’t seem right that they should all miss out, so when I was out of surgery, I insisted they went without me. Off they set for Wester Ross , North West Scotland while I stayed in hospital. We spoke on the phone every day and came back with loads of presents including a pattern for kilt stockings. “It looked challenging,” they said. “We know you like making complicated things.”

A few months later, much recovered, I bought some sock yarn, got the double pointed needles out and made a start. It was a two-colour design (the Gairloch pattern – read about it here ) It didn’t look too difficult, but oh my goodness when done on the double pointed needles it was a nightmare! I eventually got to the end of the first sock, but had absolutely no urge to continue.

Four years later my knitting friend, Carol is knitting loads of socks – trying to keep up with the demand from her family who love them. She’s using circular needles – I had to try it. What a difference! So much easier that double pointers.

There was no confusion about splitting a pattern repeat between needles, or wondering what on earth to do if I got to the last stitch on a needle and had to knit two together. It was easier to control the tension too. I tend to knit tightly to start with and have to be especially careful to keep things loose when I’m using two or more colours. Needless to say I finished the second stocking much quicker! Here they are, modelled by K

One Sock Syndrome Cured! I have one less UFO (Unfinished object)!

A few weeks later we were back in Scotland, visiting Gairloch Museum – the new museum had it’s official opening while we were there in July. It’s well worth a visit (read about it here There’s actually a display of Gairloch Pattern garments in the museum (and they sell the pattern I used in the gift shop).

Gairloch Pattern knitted items at Gairloch Museum

To prove to myself that I wasn’t just finishing a project and I’m really ok with socks, I recently made these.

I picked up the yarn at Alnmouth Wool Festival because I just loved the colours – it’s Opal Safari in shade Botswana – I got a free pattern from the stall and it was a breeze, despite the tiny little 2.5mm circular sock needle – . I love them – definitely cured!

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