Marvin Needs YOU!

Marvin Needs YOU!

Are you looking for a speedy stash busting project?  Do you have a little bit of extra time to check the pattern while you’re knitting it?  Then Marvin Needs YOU!

Ok, well I need you actually, Marvin can’t knit or type, so he’s basically nonplussed about it.  But he did agree to a pose for a photo.  You might remember that earlier this week I did a mini photo shoot and there were some photos that I couldn’t show you yet.

Well, I’ve made this cowl (I’ve knitted two of these now) and the pattern is written up and ready to go up on to Ravelry as a pre-Christmas treat for you all, but first I need to be absolutely sure that it is correct, so I need some pattern testers 🙂 if you’d be interested in testing this for me, full details can be found on Ravelry in the Free Pattern Testers group here.  You don’t need to be an experienced tester, just willing to have a go!

If you want to know what all the fuss is about, here’s a couple of little teaser pics:

Hadlow Cowl

Photo copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Hadlow Cowl

Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

If you can’t get on to the test, don’t worry, there will be a KAL when the pattern goes live so you can get a cowl made in time for Christmas 🙂

Hope you like it!

Lottie x

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Autumn Bloom Mitts

Yesterday, I did a little photoshoot (that sounds very grand doesn’t it?  It’s not, I just went out with my Dad and a camera and tried to get a few pictures taken in between persuading passers by that we weren’t completely mad).

I can’t show you most of the pictures just yet, but I did take my Autumn Bloom mitts (by the very talented Rachel Atkinson) with me and we managed a decent picture of them at the end just before my Dad’s notoriously short attention span wore thin (he doesn’t really understand designing or why I do it, so there are only so many photos you can get him to take before he gets bored and a bit Victor Meldrew-ish).

Despite this I am grateful for him giving me a hand, because unless I clone myself I can’t model my knits and take photos of them at the same time (I suppose I could use a tripod and self timer, but then I’d get some even funnier looks!) and he can take good pictures as long as you give him very specific instructions!

Autumn Bloom Mitts by Rachel Atkinson

Autumn Bloom Mitts by Rachel Atkinson
Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I’m so pleased with these!  They were really fun to knit, I’ve already worn them loads and I used up some Mirasol Qina that had been lurking in my stash for ages.  I’m pretty pleased with the picture too actually – thanks Dad!

The mitts are Ravelled (is that a word?) here.

What have you been making?

Lottie x

Echo Mitts

Exciting news!  I have a pattern in the latest issue of Let’s Knit, out today (Friday 15th November)!

Echo Mitts

Copyright Let’s Knit Magazine 2013 (used with kind permission)

These are my Echo mitts knitted in Manos Del Uruguay Fino (my favourite, I’ve used it so many times and I really love knitting with it) and Rowan Kidsilk Haze (another yarn I keep coming back to).

Like many good ideas, these mitts came from another idea that didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.  I’d had the Manos Fino left over from Cleome and I’d bought one ball of Kidsilk Haze with the intention of combining it with another yarn.

I had intended to swatch for some ruched mittens and picked these yarns out simply because they happened to be near to each other in a rather disorganised section of my stash and I noticed how well they co-ordinated with each other (unusual for two yarns from different manufacturers, as each brand tends to have it’s own colour palette – Debbie Bliss yarns for example often include a duck egg blue in their colour range and Rowan tend to have fewer very bright colours than other brands, Louisa Harding yarns also tend to have a very distinctive palette which crops up across her whole range).

The ruched idea didn’t really work and just looked a mess, but I liked the contrast between the textures of the yarns, so I undid the swatch and started again, working broad stripes (without ruching this time) and a pretty lacy scalloped edging.

Then I added a garter stitch edge on one side and some buttons:

Echo Mitts swatch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

… and a cosy lined hem:

Echo Mitts swatch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I didn’t really plan the design before swatching, instead just going with whichever design elements I liked best.  Sometimes I think this is when you design best, when the ideas just flow on to your needles without thinking too hard or overanalysing what works and what doesn’t.  Sometimes you just know if you’re happy with it or not.

Then it was time for a sketch:

Echo Mitts sketch

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Once they had been commissioned all that was left was to knit them up (while watching Father Ted on 4od, which kept me sane as I didn’t have very long to make them – but then it’s easy to look sane compared to most of the characters) and write up the pattern – not much if you say it quickly!

It’s been a little while since I made these, but it’s really nice to see them professionally photographed 🙂 I can’t wait to get the sample back, so I can wear them.  They’re really comfy to wear, incredibly light but really warm because the mohair in the Kidsilk Haze traps the heat despite it’s sheer appearance.

Echo Mitts

Copyright Let’s Knit 2013 (used with kind permission)

If you fancy making a pair they don’t take very much yarn, I used less than half a skein of each, so you could easily make two pairs from a skein of each yarn, or use left overs of plain 4ply yarn and laceweight in either coordinating or contrasting colours.  They’d look great in black and white – or how about using Rowan Kidsilk Haze Eclipse or Debbie Bliss Party Angel (both of which have a bit of sparkle) instead of Rowan Kidsilk Haze for a more glamourous look?

Alternatively, if you wanted you could use two 4ply yarns and use up your stash!  I made the sample in a week, so you’ve got plenty of time to make some for Christmas gifts if you’re feeling generous 🙂

Hope you like them!

Lottie x

One step forward, two steps back

A while ago I mentioned that in celebration of the amazing (for me anyway) feat of finishing two projects in one day I’d cast on two new projects, a pair of mittens and a sweater.

One of these projects has gone amazingly well (The mittens!  They’re finished and I love them, but it’s been so dark wet and gloomy here that all attempts at photos have been poor at best.) but seeing as it’s you, I’ll show you the best picture of a bad bunch:

Autumn Bloom Mitts

If you’re looking covetously at them, they’re called Autumn Bloom Mitts by Rachel Atkinson and they’re in the current issue of Knit Now (Issue 27).  If you fancy seeing some much better pictures, Rachel has written about them on her blog here.  More about the mitts next time, when I hope to have some better pictures to show you.

……….as for the other, well……. the least said about it the better, but this is a blog, so it doesn’t work like that.

I’ve had some lovely green Rowan Cocoon in my stash for about a couple of years now and as the weather was cooling off I thought it was time I put it to good use.

Originally I’d bought it to make this but then I changed my mind, because although it is beautiful, I’ve never really been sure about sleeveless jumpers.  Also there is no waist shaping and it is sized quite generously, two things which tend to result in me looking as if I’ve borrowed someone else’s clothes as I’m quite petite (so to make it work I would probably have to alter it a bit).

So after a bit of deliberating I decided to make an Owls sweater (by Kate Davies), a pattern which cannot have escaped your notice, unless you’ve been living under a knitted rock for the past few years.  It’s a fitted sweater, I’ve always wanted to make one and the world and his wife have made an Owls in Rowan Cocoon….. perfect!

Before I go any further I must stress that none of the problems I’ve had with this project are caused by the pattern, which is excellent.  All the issue are down to a) my fussiness, b) my yarn choice.

Diligently, I checked my tension (in the round – I want to do this properly).  I’m a tight knitter, so I wasn’t surprised when I got a tension of 16 sts and 20 rounds to 10cm (unblocked) on the recommended 6.5mm needle, so I went up to a 7mm needle and 14 sts and 19 rounds.

At this point I decided that although it was still a little tighter stitch wise than the recommended tension of 13 sts and 20 rows, I didn’t want a looser fabric, so I decided to make one size up from the size I would usually make.

Excitedly I cast on and the pattern just seemed to whizz by!  Looks ok doesn’t it?

Green Owls Sweater

Before I knew it I had completed the waist decreases and increases, but I was a little concerned at the fabric and how loose it was.  I checked my tension.  It was still just as I expected, 14 sts and 19 rounds.

If I’m honest I was a little baffled.  This tension gives a drapey fabric with a teeny little bit of stretch, not at all right for a close fitting jumper and quite likely to stretch out to shape over time.  Yet the recommended tension for this yarn is 14 sts and 18 rows on a 7mm needle (so slightly looser again on the rows – unsurprising as working in the round will tighten the row/round tension for most knitters as purl stitches tend to be slightly looser than knit stitches) so it’s not as if I was working at tension that was looser than recommended for the yarn.

Look at it!  it’s see through, even when it’s just stretched a little!

Green Owls Sweater

I checked several projects on Ravelry using Cocoon and none of them mentioned being the fabric being to loose, although some did mention it stretching out of shape after a few wears.

Then I tried the jumper on and although it fitted nicely it was clear that the fabric would be too open when stretched (Owls is meant to be knitted with some negative ease – meaning the jumper is supposed to be smaller than your actual measurements).  In a last desperate attempt to avoid frogging, I wet blocked a small section for comparison, it the hope that the yarn would ‘bloom’ a little and fill out the stitches.  Unfortunately, quite the opposite happened and the fabric just became more drapey and open.

I guess I’m being very fussy, but I decided to frog it 😦 I’ve now cast on for the next size up again and having checked that my tension will still produce a similar size, I’ve gone down to 6.5mm needle again.

Wish me luck!

Lottie x

P.S.  Do you fancy test knitting a simple cowl in DK or Aran?  If you have 100 – 200g of yarn in contrasting colours to hand (50 – 100g of each colour) lurking in your stash you’re on Ravelry, can take a reasonable photo of your work, and you liked the look of the mystery Noro thing here, you could be just the knitter(s) I’m looking for.  (Noro is not required, this is a stashbusting project perfect for Christmas gifts.)  If you think you might be interested, leave me a comment and keep you eyes peeled for a post next week.