To Carbeth, or not to Carbeth?

Recently a lot of knitters have been making Kate Davies’ design, Carbeth:

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© Kate Davies

It is a kind of funky, nicely-shaped, bulky, cropped pullover which knits up really fast.  Mason-Dixon Knitting started a Bang Out a Carbeth KAL and it seems as if everyone is knitting one.  I spent a lot of time considering it, and finally decided against it, mainly because there is no way I could wear a bulky pullover more than maybe two days a year, if that.  Especially a cropped one.  I know that it would get put away in a drawer and never worn.  (I am either hot or cold; mostly hot.  If I am hot, I won’t wear this, and if I am cold, I don’t want it cropped.)

And then Kate came out with a Carbeth Cardigan, and I started considering all over again.

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© Kate Davies Designs

I think this looks fantastic on Kate.   But, to tell the truth, I am not sure that it would be fantastic on me.  Yes? No?  I have moved back and forth on this many times.  And then, in a moment of weakness, I bought the yarn to make it: 14 skeins of Buachaille, in the beautiful dark grey natural shade she calls Squall (the one on the bottom in the below photo).

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So now I have the yarn to knit up a quick, bulky cardigan, and I am hesitating.  Do I really want a Carbeth cardigan?   Yes.  It’s adorable.   But will I wear it?  That is the million dollar question.  I am trying really hard to knit things that I will actually wear.

If I don’t knit it, the yarn will definitely be used to knit something else; it is gorgeous yarn.  The Carbeth sweaters are knit with two strands of yarn held together so I have plenty to knit a sweater with a single strand (it is a DK weight). For example, I have enough of it to knit either one of these patterns that I have my eye on;  Kirigami by Gudrun Johnston:

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© Brooklyn Tweed/Jared Flood

Or Cahal by Linda Marveng:

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© Eivind Røhne

What do you think?  Should I Bang Out a Carbeth?

In the meantime, I am still sick.  It has been well over 3 weeks now.  I have just started my second round of antibiotics.  I am unhappy, and grumpy, and not able to concentrate on knitting or reading, and probably a bear to live with right now.  But I have yarn…..

A little bit stranded

This post is about a little bit of stranded knitting; not about being stranded a little bit.  I have done some travelling the last few weeks, first to South Africa for a whirlwind trip (where it was hot and sunny) and then to Copenhagen to visit a friend (in the cold and grey).  I haven’t been willing to drag around a big knitting project, so decided to cast on something small.

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For a long time, I have been admiring the pattern, Offbeat, by Anna Elliott.  The pattern is for a hat and mitts, but it is the mitts which drew my attention.  To make them, I would need a skein each of two colours of sportweight yarn.

I have six skeins of Kate Davies’ sportweight yarn, Buachaille, lying around the house taunting me.  In my mind, they were relegated to three sets of two skeins, for three different projects.  The green and white (yaffle and ptarmigan) were purchased some time ago to make Kate’s Funyin hat.  The two grey shades (squall and haar) have been waiting for a good pattern or idea (presumably a pair of mitts), and the teal and rust (islay and highland coo) are left-overs from the Seven Skeins club, and I figured were destined to be used together, perhaps in a hat such as Phos.

Just before hopping on the plane to Johannesburg, I dragged them all out and Doug and I spent a few minutes trying out all of the different colour options and determined that we liked the Islay and Haar combo the best for this pattern.

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Many people find that they tend to pull the yarn too tightly across the back when knitting stranded; this causes the fabric to pucker.   I have never felt the need to do this as I tend not to pull the floats too tightly.  However, I realised that while this is so when I am knitting a garment on a circular needle, it didn’t carry over to my knitting with DPNs.  As you can see from the below photo, my knitting didn’t pucker generally when switching colours, but it did pucker at the point where the two needles crossed.

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I often see the advice to avoid this problem by knitting the item inside out (the right side of the fabric will be on the inside of the tube formed by knitting in the round, thus the yarn being carried will need to stretch further around).  I ended up ripping out the patterned bit above and starting over, knitting the stranded pattern section inside out.  Let me say that this was not an intuitively simple process.  In fact, I spent three hours in an airport lounge painfully knitting a mere 27 rounds in this way.  I am sure that I looked like a rote beginner, with extremely awkward hand positioning and yarn tensioning.  Perhaps I should have avoided the wine bar.

These mitts look a bit strange while you are knitting.  The stranded bit comes before the gusset is built, and the hand is knit in ribbing.  This gives it a kind of odd shape, in which the wrists are wide and the hands are narrow:

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I had hope that a good blocking would fix everything (as is so often the case).  This mitt looked so uneven and wonky and sad.  I wanted to block it on a tube but had trouble finding something of the appropriate width.  I finally found a plastic bottle of mouthwash with an 8″ diameter, and I soaked the finished mitt and then stretched it over the bottle.  This worked well since the top of the bottle is narrower, so I could avoid stretching out the ribbing.  I balanced the whole thing on a little pot of face cream with the right dimensions, and put it on the windowsill to dry.

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Blocking produced a small miracle:

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The fabric of the Buachaille is so lovely and soft and sheep-y, I cannot stop cuddling it.  All that is left is to knit the other one!

Spring green mitts

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I am now back in England and we had a beautiful hour or two of sun this afternoon (!) in which to take some photos of my new mitts.  These are the mitts which I was knitting last week while in South Africa communing with elephants.

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This is the pattern Wedgewood Mitts, designed by me.  I designed them to play around with a lovely shipment of Kate Davies’ new yarn, Buachaille.  The original pair, made for Leah, was in a very pretty mid-blue with white edging.  Just before leaving for Johannesburg, I tossed a skein of this lovely spring green, called Yaffle, and the remaining white from the first pair of mitts, into my suitcase.

I made a few small modifications from my original pattern.  Here is what I did:

  1. Cast on an extra 4 stitches (48)
  2. Worked an extra two rows of corrugated ribbing
  3. Decreased 4 stitches after ribbing
  4. Worked an extra 2 rows before starting gusset
  5. Worked three rows less before adding white edging

Basically, this added 4 stitches just to the cuff, to make the cuff a tiny bit more roomy.  I also made the cuff portion of the mitt slightly longer, while making the finger portion of the mitt slightly shorter.

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I am very happy with how they worked out, and am especially charmed with the combination of this spring green and the white (Yaffle and Ptarmigan in Buachaille-speak).  Obviously, I am not the only one to think so.  I had finished the first mitt and cast on for the second when I noticed that Kate Davies had designed a new hat for release at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival this weekend:

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© Kate Davies Designs

 

I absolutely love this design, which was inspired by a collection of Hornsea pottery designed by John Clappison in the 1960s; go read Kate’s post here.  Sadly, I cannot be at the festivities in Edinburgh this weekend, but I did try to alleviate my misery by ordering a kit to make this hat!  Just think how pretty it will look with the mitts.

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Happy Sunday everyone!

 

 

Wedgewood Mitts

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Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone is off to a good start for a great year!  I hate making New Year’s Resolutions because they rarely stick.  So, this time, I’ve made mine exceedingly simple:  Move more!  Procrastinate less!

For knitting resolutions, I want to experiment and explore and knit more things that Emma and I have designed.  So, on that note, and serendipitously checking the procrastinate less box, I bring you a free pattern here; my first design of the year.

Wedgewood Mitts by Kelly Sloan

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Yarn: Buachaille, 100% wool yarn by Kate Davies Designs, 35 grams of MC and 15 grams of CC; two skeins should (just) make two pairs of mittens if you reverse the main and contrast colours for the second pair.

In the photos, I have used Between Weathers (mid-blue) for the MC, and Ptarmigan (natural white) for the CC. This combination reminded me of Wedgewood china, thus the name of the pattern.

Gauge: 24×32 in stockinette, 28×32 (unblocked and unstretched) in corrugated ribbing

Needle: US 3 or size to obtain gauge

Notes on size and gauge: This pattern gives one size only (7.25” width) but can easily be adjusted to fit your hand. You can change the mitt size by changing the needle size, or you can adjust the number of stitches. The stitches must be a multiple of 4. (If you adjust the stitch number, then in Row 1 of the thumb gusset, knit half the stitches before placing the first marker.)   Knitters will also vary quite a bit on how tight their corrugated ribbing is compared to their stockinette, so my advice is to treat your first mitt as a gauge swatch: knit the cuff, and then try it on. If it is too tight, you can rip it out and start again with a larger needle size or simply cast on more stitches (in multiples of 4). Depending on the contrast between your stockinette gauge and your corrugated ribbing, you may need to decrease or increase some stitches for the body of the mitt: again, trying it on is always the best policy.

There is no left and right; both mitts are the same.

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Cuff: 

Using CC cast on 44 stitches, using the cast on method of your choice.  Join in the round and purl 2 rows.

Knit 14 rows in corrugated ribbing:  *K2 with MC, P2 with CC*, repeat to end

Next  row: With CC, knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches

With CC, purl 2 rows.  Break yarn.

Body:

With MC, knit  4 rows.

Begin thumb gusset:

Row 1: K22, pm, m1, pm, knit to end

Rows 2 and 3:  Knit

Row 4 (increase row):  K to marker, sm, m1, k to marker, m1, sm, knit to end

Repeat rows 2-4 until there are 13 stitches between the markers, then knit 2 rows.

Next row: Knit, transferring the 13 stitches between markers onto waste yarn.

Knit 15 rows.  Break yarn.

With CC, knit one row, purl two rows, and cast-off purl-wise.

Thumb: 

Transfer the 13 stitches from waste yarn back to needles. Rejoin MC and join in the round, picking up 2 stitches in the thumb gap. Be sure to place a marker beginning the start of the round.

Knit 4 rows. Break yarn.

With CC, knit 1 row, purl 2 rows, and bind off purl-wise.

Finishing: With a darning needle, weave in ends.  Wet block.

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Abbreviations:

CC – contrasting colour

K – knit

m1 – make 1 (Insert the left needle from front to back into the horizontal strand between the two stitches: Knit the stitch through the back loop.)

MC – main colour

P – purl

pm – place marker

sm – slip marker

 

 

Good news and bad news

The good news is that I managed to join Kate Davies Seven Skeins club.  This means that I have just received seven skeins (one in every colour) of her new yarn, Buachaille.

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The membership comes with the seven skeins, seven knitting patterns (to be delivered over seven consecutive weeks), a tote bag and a book produced by Kate.  I have her other books and love them to pieces, so this seemed like a good deal.  There was a mad dash online to buy a membership; I waited until the frenzy died down and then managed to snare one without any troubles.

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Isn’t the yarn pretty?  So very “squooshy”, too.

The bad news is that I am having pain issues with my wrist and thumb in my left hand, which is likely to be a flare up of my DeQuervaine’s tenosynovitis, which was supposedly “fixed” by surgery twenty years ago.  I have not been able to knit anything for two weeks now.  Let’s look at pretty yarn in an effort to cheer me up; this is the colour called “squall”:

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This bad news is especially bad because I had just agreed to do a test knit for Jutta von Hinterm Stein.  I am hoping that I will be able to get back to knitting this week, but if not, I will have to pull out of the test knit.  This is so sad that I think we need more photos of pretty yarn, don’t you?

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It’s very sad to go two weeks without knitting.  I’m off to drown my sorrows with a glass of wine and, perhaps, some yarn fondling….