I can’t stop knitting things for Leah in the rich golden colour called Candlewick from Madelinetosh.
In the summer of 2014 I knit Leah a cardigan (Peloponnese by Sandi Rosner for Twist Collective) that used Candlewick as an accent colour against Composition Book Grey. I blogged about it here, where you will find all of the details and many great photos. The cardigan was a huge hit and I am told that Leah practically lives in it:
I had a skein of the yarn leftover, so this Christmas I whipped out a pair of fingerless mitts to match.
Monika Sirna recently released a mitt pattern to match the cowl, but I decided not to use it. First, it was designed for worsted weight while my yarn was DK, but I also found the pattern to be a bit busy. I decided that I wanted a pair of simple stockinette mitts with a single pattern of the cable running up the back ; I think they turned out elegant. I didn’t take any notes – I used double pointed needles in a US size 5, put in a single pattern repeat with one purl stitch on either side, and added a thumb gusset. The only slightly tricky part was incorporating the pattern repeat into the ribbing on the bottom and top of the mitts (which involved decreasing one stitch as the count was off by one, if I recall).
Leah loves them and I think they will get a lot of wear. This colour really suits her.
We are having an astonishlingly warm Christmas here in southern England. The photo above of Leah in her Peloponesse cardigan was taken in August year before last, the other photos are taken today in late December. I think the temperatures are probably the same today as they were on that summer day. Everything is green, and you can see the rosehips on the rose bush and the flowers blooming behind Leah. I have no doubt that the cold will arrive eventually and then hopefully the Candlewick mitts and cowl will be both cheerful and warm.
Leah’s is knit from the pattern Cabernet Infinity Scarf by Monika Sirna, in the DK weight cowl version. I had a skein of the gorgeous Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in Candlewick left over from Leah’s Peloponnese sweater. I ordered an extra two skeins to make this cowl, as per the yardage instructions, but only used two skeins in all (thus leaving me with one skein for…moi!).
I knit this with a US size 5, which gave it a pretty tight knit. I imagine that most people would knit it to a bigger gauge, but I liked this look better. I then blocked it heavily. It was 7″x36″ pre-block, and I blocked it out to 8″x46″. Once blocked, the cowl is light and airy, and very soft. The cables and lace are crisp and clear in this yarn.
I have wanted to make this cowl for a long time. It is really a striking pattern, particularly in this rich golden hue. It is a bit of a fiddly knit, but is worth the extra effort. It was clearly a big hit with Leah. It goes beautifully with her Peloponnese sweater, but also looks good with many other colours. Leah wears a lot of reds, burgundys, and purples and the gold really shines.
Emma’s cowl uses the Lowbrow Cowl pattern by Thao Nguyen. I had two skeins of the lovely Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in Venetian left over from Emma’s gorgeous sweater, Venetian Audrey. I knit this one with a US size 6 needle, and also knit an extra pattern repeat to give the cowl more width; blocked, it measures 8.5″x48″. I had almost half a skein left over.
Unfortunately, Emma’s Audrey is across the ocean and couldn’t get in on this photo shoot, but I think they will work well together. On my Ravelry page, I have named these two the Golden Cowl and the Ruby Cowl, because of the beautiful jewel tones.
The weather here has been lovely this Christmas; cold but very sunny. We have gone for many long walks through the countryside. The winter sun gives beautiful light. This, of course, gives many opportunities for photo shoots.
My family are surprisingly good at indulging me and this blog. Yesterday, Doug and the girls went into London for the day. They dutifully took many cowl photos in the British Museum. Here they are standing in front of the Bronze Gates of Balawat (fragments and replicas of the huge bronze gates of Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC) from Balawat).
Incidentally, Doug was also wearing a hand-knit cowl. I knit this one a few years ago for myself but it looks better on Doug so its his now. (Its just Malabrigo Worsted held double knit in seed stitch).
Happy New Year to all of you from all of us. I am heading off now to drink home-made eggnog and watch Dinner for One (if you don’t know, ask a German!).
Sometimes it all comes together just right. The magical combination of pattern and yarn. A fabulous fit. This is why I knit.
The only thing better than creating a beautiful knit garment is wearing one. This is my daughter Leah, modelling the cardigan I knit for her. Anyone who knows Leah, would know that this sweater just screams LEAH. It is made for her (both literally and figuratively).
Regular readers will know that I was racing to finish this before Leah flew off to Canada for her second year at university. I had a marathon finishing session, knitting the button bands in the middle of the night. I dropped it into the wash basin just 48 hours before her plane left, worrying all along that it wouldn’t dry in time (or worse, that we wouldn’t be able to photograph it before she left). Here is a very exhausted but happy mom:
The cardigan was designed by Sandi Rosner for the Twist Collective. It is called Peloponnese. I knew the instant I saw it that I would knit it for Leah. Astonishingly, although the pattern was released over a year ago, there is only one other project up on Ravelry. Knitters, you are truly missing out here! Knit this – you won’t be sorry.
The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Composition Book Grey and Candlewick. This won’t be my last project with either colour; the Candlewick especially. It is absolutely radiant – it glows in the sunshine and looks like burnished gold in low light.
I made a number of modifications from the pattern, which I will outline here. Those of you who are only interested in the pretty, and not in the boring technical details (surely, no one falls into that category!), could easily skim through the next few paragraphs. Here is the pattern photo for comparison’s sake.
1. Long sleeves. I think a long-sleeved cardigan is more useful. I was knitting the second size, so I cast on the sleeves as if for the first size (because the wrist is narrower than the forearm) and then increased at 2″, 4″, 6″ and 8″ and then every inch until the desired 72 stitches, and then continued until the sleeve length was right. (This is always a bit tricky with a yoked sweater; I made Leah try it on so many times and measured it ad nauseum. In the end, it was perfect.)
2. The pattern calls for the mosaic portions of the cardigan (around the yoke) to be knit with a larger needle than the stockinette portions. I used a US number 5 needle for everything – all of the body, the edgings and the yoke. I liked the way it looked. Also, I have knit many times using mosaic pattern stitches and knew that my stitches would not be unduly pulled in – I am pretty good at keeping an even tension in mosaic.
3. Alterations to the yoke. You can see in the pattern photo that there are six rings of mosaics in the yoke (in addition to the edging, which is in garter stitch). If you look carefully, you can see that this is actually three repeats of the pattern. Sandi Rosner has written a beautiful pattern, and the way the yoke is designed is brilliant. I especially like the way the decreases are worked into the yoke. However, I encountered some fit problems here and had to improvise on the pattern.
The pattern calls for a decrease row after each pattern repeat. After I had worked five rows of mosaics (thus two and a half pattern repeats and two yoke decrease rows), I had Leah try it on and realized that (1) the cardigan was stretched too tightly around her shoulders, and (2) the yoke would not be long enough if I followed the pattern exactly. Before continuing, I would like to stress two points. First, this is by no means a problem with the pattern. Recall point 2 above – I did not go up a needle size when I began the mosaic portion – thus it is not surprising that I had a few fit issues. Second, and more important, is that ALL patterns are written to standard sizes. The whole point of hand-knitting a garment is to knit it to fit. You should never just knit blindly to the pattern measurement. If the pattern says to knit the sleeves to 19″ for a size 38, and you are a size 38 but have extra long arms, it would be crazy to knit the sleeves to fit the pattern rather than to fit your body.
To fix this, I ripped back to before the second yoke decreases and knit another half-repeat before decreasing. Thus, Leah’s sweater has 7 rows of mosaic (3.5 repeats) with yoke decreases after the second, fifth and seventh rows of mosaics. This means that the decreases are made in the contrast colour (the Candlewick) the second time.
4. The buttonbands. Unblocked, the fit on this cardigan was tight. I was worried about getting a good fit, but didn’t want to do a hard block on the pattern. I decided instead to add a bit more give by adding 4 rows of garter stich in the main colour to the beginning of the button bands. This adds two garter ridges in grey between the yoke pattern and the buttonband edging. This gave me just enough extra “give” so that the fit is perfect. And, I think it looks fabulous. I really like the effect; I think it makes the yoke pattern “pop” even better.
We really went right to the wire with this project. It was 3pm on Saturday by the time I finished blocking it; Leah and I then hopped in the car and raced out to find buttons. I had wanted to find yellow buttons, but they weren’t to be had. Leah insisted these small grey metal ones would be just right, and she nailed it.
The weather has been pretty miserable this Bank Holiday weekend, but the rain held off just enough that I was able to unpin the cardigan and put it outside for a few hours on Sunday afternoon, enough to ensure the back was dry. (You can see I was also busy washing several of Leah’s other hand knitted garments – and one of Emma’s as well; aren’t my girls lucky?)
Then, I had just enough time to weave in some ends and sew on 11 buttons (yes, 11 buttons!) before the light failed. The weather cooperated and a photo-shoot ensued:
This pattern is beautifully written and detailed. The cardigan looks so intricate and complicated but is quite simple to knit (the mosaic pattern means that you never knit with more than one colour on any row). I love all of the little details that make the pattern special; for example, the edging done in the mosaic pattern but in garter stitch instead of stockinette. This looks so classy!
Leah is leaving in three days to go back to university in Canada. This means that I am under pressure to finish knitting her cardigan before she leaves. Since it needs to be blocked, I really need to finish it today. Yikes! I am getting close, however, and have decided to give you a sneak preview:
For those of you who haven’t been following, this is the Peloponnese cardigan, designed by Sandi Rosner for Twist Collective. It is knit with Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in Composition Book Grey and Candlewick. I still need to do both buttonbands and all of the finishing. Oh, and I must go button-shopping as well! Wish me luck!
Despite not having much time to blog, I have managed to do quite a bit of knitting the past month. I finished a skirt for Emma (hopefully to be blogged soon) and am zipping along on a cardigan for Leah.
This photo shows my progress at two weeks: I have knit about 11″ of the body (which is knit in one piece, so that represents the back and both fronts – a good portion of the sweater). Here you can see the piece unfolded:
The little stitch markers, by the way, indicate increase and decrease rows (in this case, the decrease rows are marked with green and the increase rows are marked with orange). I always mark my increases and decreases this way; it means I don’t have to bother writing everything down while I am knitting, especially when I am deviating from the pattern. I can note it all down at the end, before washing and blocking when I take out the markers. This also makes it very easy to duplicate the shapings on a matching piece – a second sleeve, for example. (For those curious readers who are wondering about the sweater I am wearing in the above photo, please stay tuned for my next Wearability Wednesday post.)
As you can see from the top photo, I am also making very fast progress on a sleeve, which I started yesterday. I have often bemoaned knitting sleeves on this blog – in fact I once wrote a post entitled Do you love your husband enough to knit the sleeves?. I find them to be endless and fiddly and annoying. If this sleeve is any indication, however, I should be ready to start the yoke by the weekend.
I can’t wait to get to the yoke because that is the fun part of the pattern. The cardigan is designed by Sandi Rosner and called Peloponnese. It can be found in the Winter 2013 Twist Collection. Here is a pattern photo:
This is my first time knitting with Madelinetosh Merino DK. It is a very soft wool, with beautiful drape, and the colours are very rich. It is, however, a bit splitty and I worry that it may pill. I chose it for two reasons: first because I have long wanted to knit with these two colours – Composition Book Grey and Candlewick (even though it never occurred to me to put them together until I started thinking about this sweater). Secondly, Leah has trouble with itchy wools so I need to be very careful when selecting for her. I’ve knit for her before with Madelinetosh Pashmina to great success. This wool will definitely win points on the softness front.
For some reason, I imagined that Peloponesse would be a slower knit. In fact, it is practically jumping off my needles. At this rate, I may just manage my goal of finishing it before Leah returns to Canada later this month.