Travel knitting recap

I was away from home for a full month, including a working trip to South Africa and a holiday to British Columbia, Canada.  You may recall that I took two knitting projects with me: Cullum, a linen tee shirt with a bit of lace designed by Isabell Kraemer, and Sofi, a light jacket in wool and linen designed by Hanne Falkenberg.  Photos of both designs are shown below:

First off, I must admit to not having accomplished much knitting on either trip.  While in South Africa I was kept quite busy on the job, and in Vancouver and surrounds, I was enjoying hanging out with my daughters and other relatives, and wasn’t feeling the knitting mojo so much.  This latter may be partly because I was concentrating more on the linen tee, which admittedly is not a particularly scintillating knit.  (It is in linen and much of it is in stockinette in-the-round.)  Once I got the jacket on my needles, I found it more enjoyable.  My rationale was that the linen tee was a summer top, so I should put some effort into finishing it while it was still summer.

The tee is knit from the top down; the front and back are joined in the round at the armholes.  Thus, I didn’t get to try it on until after it was joined and I had knit a few inches in the round.  Now that I am home, I have tried it on and…..IT IS TOO BIG!  And, not very nice looking at the back.  Here is the evidence.  This is the front view, clearly a bit big but still reasonable.  (Please note the effects of serious jet lag in these photos; what a difference a little sleep makes!  Look at the sweater and ignore the wearer!)


Here is a side view.  You can see that the arm scythe is very low, but this is the type of tee which I will probably wear over a tank, so still salvageable.


Below is a view of the back.


I am really not happy with the way the sleeves look at the back.  There just seems to be lots of extra fabric everywhere.  UGH! Let’s look at this dispassionately, however.  It is knit in 100% linen.  I know that it will shrink a bit when I have washed it.  I also did a gauge swatch and made sure to wash and dry it before measuring.  So it is quite possible that, once properly washed and dried and blocked, this will look as I imagined it.  I also know that I purposely didn’t want it to be fitted – it is a summery linen tee, made to be worn in hot weather, so it should be loose and airy. Right now, however, I am feeling that it is miles too loose and airy.

What do you think?  Is it as big as I am thinking?  Is it likely to shrink?  Why do the backs of the sleeves look so bad?  Why is the back neck so loose? Is this likely to block out? More importantly: should I rip back and do some re-fashioning?  Should I forge ahead but put in some decreases? (I actually put in one set of decreases on the plane, just an inch above where I’ve knit to in the photo, and was thinking of one more set for just 8 stitches decreased.  Is this too little too late?)  Should I just leave it be?  Or should I, perhaps,  throw it in the (now empty) WIP basket and instead knit the Falkenberg jacket?

To help you address the last question, here is a progress shot of the jacket:


Pretty, huh?  The body is knit in one piece with no shaping, thus it is a boxy little jacket. When I made my swatch, I had this idea that the body would just be a larger version of the swatch – basically the pattern knit as a big rectangle – but I forgot how brilliant Hanne is at design.  Her pieces are so clever and so well-tailored.  To illustrate, here is the side seam:


And here is the centre back of the jacket:


I love these details.

It is Friday evening here in England and they are predicting a gorgeous weekend with sunny skies and hot temperatures.  My friend Erun is visiting and we have good food, good wine, plenty of sun screen and knitting projects on the go.  Which one do you think I will be knitting this weekend?

Travel knitting

Yesterday, I was in Munich.  Today I am in England.  Tomorrow I will be in Johannesburg. After that, I will head to Vancouver.  I am in heavy travel mode.  What does that mean? Travel knitting of course; the thing that knitters most obsess about when packing a bag.

I have decided to have two projects with me, so that I can alternate between them. First, I am going to knit Cullum, a linen t-shirt with a touch of lace, designed by Isabell Kraemer:


© Pam Allen

I am using the very same yarn used in the photo, a gorgeous deep grey shade of Quince & Co Sparrow called Eclipse.  Sparrow is a 100% organic linen yarn.  It is luminous:


My second project will be the Hanne Falkenberg jacket I discussed in my last post.  I clearly was experiencing technical difficulties on that morning, as I couldn’t read Hanne’s pattern.  When she sent me instructions for a swatch, I realised that I had completely mis-read the instructions for the jacket.  I even went back and checked, so convinced I was right, but no, the instructions were perfect and it was me that was lacking. Here is the swatch:


I love this!  The photo is lovely, but it is far better to hold it in your hand! It is so soft, yet wool-y, and light like a feather.  (Unlike the Sparrow, which is a bit rough on the hands; I know from experience that it will block into a very soft, drapey fabric, however.)

This is a run-by post as I am heading for the airport. Good knitting everyone!




This year I knit cowls for Emma, Leah and Doug for Christmas.  Today the sun came out in Vancouver and revealed the city in all of its glory.  We went down to Stanley Park to take some photos and enjoy the day.


Emma’s cowl is designed by Isabell Kraemer, and is called Copenhagen Calling.  It is a really beautiful pattern and produces a big, lush cowl.


I knit it with two shades of Triskelion Elmet Aran which I bought at Yarnporium, a lovely event organised by the folks at the Yarn in the City blog.  I was entranced by the Triskelion display, which had a veritable rainbow of gorgeous shades.  The yarn for both Emma’s and Leah’s cowls was purchased from their booth.


Emma’s cowl is in grey and burgundy; the colours are rich and deep.  The yarn is very wooly and sturdy – it has substance and feels good in the hands while knitting.  I was surprised by how well it bloomed in the wash, producing a lovely, lofty, warm fabric.

I purchased one skein of the grey and two of the burgundy; each skein has 160 meters. The pattern calls for 250 meters of the first colour and 330 of the second.  I adjusted the pattern slightly to make up for my lesser yardage.  I cast on with the grey, using US7 needles, and ribbed for 2.5″.  I knit only 2.5 repeats of the slip-stitch pattern (instead of the called for 4 repeats), which brought me to the end of the grey yarn.



I made a slight change in the pattern, in that just before starting the lace stitch, I decreased 8 stitches evenly around.  Many of the photos I have seen of this cowl have a very stretched-out lace section and I was hoping to avoid this.  I knit the lace on a US6, and then knit the garter rows with a US5 (as per the pattern).  I think the result is perfect.

Unblocked the cowl measured 44″ x 10.5″. I blocked it out quite a bit to open up the lace – it ended up at 50″ x 11″.  I could not be happier with the pattern or the yarn; the combination of the two is fantastic and looks beautiful on Emma.


For Leah’s cowl I used the pattern Slip-Zag by Lisa Hannes.  I had wanted to make this cowl for a long time and had always envisaged it in green and purple.  The Triskelion display at Yarnporium had the most stunning array of greens and purples; it drew me in immediately.  There were many beautiful yarns on display at this event, but I found myself unable to walk past their booth.


I used a DK weight for this cowl, which is knit in Triskelion Dyfnaint DK, in the colours Llyr and Cepheus.  I had initially chosen a more grass green shade, but upon discussion with the booth attendant, I went for this teal. These two were made for each other – the incredible jewel colours become even more vibrant when paired together.

I cast on 260 stitches and used a US6 needle.  The pattern is very intuitive and relaxing. I knit this while on holiday in South Africa and found it a very enjoyable knit.  Like the Elmet Aran, the Dyfnaint blocks beautifully.  It is wonderfully soft and warm.  I will definitely be using these yarns again.


Doug received his cowl a bit early, and I blogged about it here; the linked page includes the free pattern for the design, which I call the Business Class Cowl.  These photos, with the late afternoon sunshine, really bring out the beautiful colour of the cowl.


It is knit with Woolfolk Tynd in Darkest Bronze; the sun picks up the bronze shade perfectly.


It was good to end out the year exploring new yarn companies; I had never used either Woolfolk or Triskelion before.  They both make fantastic yarns and I already have projects in mind for each.

We had a beautiful day in Stanley Park.  This was in many ways a very trying year and it was good to end it with the four of us being silly together on a lovely day.


I normally end the year with a summary of the year’s knitting.  I will definitely do that, but will likely post it a few days into the New Year.  In the meantime, I wish all of you a healthy and happy New Year, with lots of knitting and with a renewed commitment to compassion, human kindness and a just and democratic society.

Happy New Year from me, Kelly, and from my co-conspirators, Doug, Emma and Leah!