Being Frank…

Accepting my failings

Leave a comment

Unravelling: A touch of figure awareness and a bit of a review

I have to report that I have failed in my 12 in 12 challenge, and I’m not sad about it. In total I managed 11.5 jumpers/cardigans of which 10.5 were for me. But at the end of the year there are only 9 finished objects or at least 9 finished objects still standing.

Over the last year I have managed to knit things from stash – I can give that a big tick as I’ve had very few yarn purchases during the year and the 2 main ones were absolute bargains from the Ally Pally Show.

I have also knitted things in colours that suit my colouring…but that was down to more careful yarn buying since may 2010.

My third criteria was to try and choose things that suit my figure, so close fitting/tailored rather than big baggy jumpers, 4ply rather than chunky (chunky yarn REALLY draws attention to the larger parts of ones figure !) and to knit a size that fits, altering the pattern to improve the fit.

I’ve also been altering them after wearing to make them fit better…and taking time over choosing buttons.

I will post individually about each top but the lighting hasn’t been good here for photographs for several days now – great weather for ducks tho’ !

  • January …..Matilda Jane – graded between sizes to deal with my small waist, big hips and bust. Have since ripped back the buttonhole band and it’s waiting reknitting to improve the fit of the buttons.
  • February… Cria – this is an awesome cardigan. Main alteration was added length plus a bigger size knit on the bottom half
  • March…The Somewhat Cowl –   hot pink and figure hugging. A real hit. Lengthen the sleeves decreased more at the waist, lengthened it and knit a larger size on the lower half. Lengthened the sleeves. Have ripped back the ribbing on the sleeves once already and am planning on doing again as it still doesn’t feel right
  • April… Ramona – more decreases at the waist and then more increases for lower half. Ripped the sleeves back after completion and reknit smaller as they were too long and too wide
  • May…The red flirt – knit pretty much as written and no alterations afterwards. Has received a lot of wear and a lot of compliments. Hated it whilst I was knitting it and thought it would look terrible, but haven’t had a moments doubt about it since I first put it on
  •  June…Kimberley. This one was knit to the end and was pretty much sewn up when I decided that it would probably never ever get worn  as it was just not my style…far too girlie…I frogged it at the start of December
  • July…Laika… This one is still waiting buttons. Can’t remember whether I altered it. Probably should alter it now as the cast off is too tight. Not been worn yet as only recently been dyed purple (was originally cream) and is still waiting buttons. Cuffs have been reknit as wasn’t happy with the length
  • August… Thermal. Wasn’t sure about this one as it’s beige. But since finding the right buttons I have grown to love it
  • September…A chunky jumper for Spider. He wears it from time to time, which I guess is an improvement on most things we make for him.
  • October…Rosebud…my first yarn purchase I couldn’t face anymore 4ply and I needed a dose of colour so I splashed out on a burgundy wool mix from John Lewis. Not yet worn I have to confess.
  • November…Snow White…this is where things started to go wrong.  I managed to knit it in 15 days flat but decided that although it was written to gauge and to size 2 x 2 rib stretched tight across my test just did nothing for my figure…almost as soon as it was finished it was frogged. Think I may have made a mistake with my sizing.
  • December… Skelf… This is the half jumper which is about to be frogged as having chosen a size too small last month  I chose a size to large this month, several sizes too large in fact.

Apart from 5 of the 12 patterns being by Ysolda Teague there doesn’t seem to be any sort of theme running through these tops which I put down to the fact I was restricted to finding patterns that I liked that suited the yarn I had in.

To be honest, although I have at least 5 tops here that I love, I can’t say that I have enjoyed this year. I don’t like knitting to deadlines and I like to knit the large things in between the small things… I probably could have managed all 12 tops if I hadn’t been led astray on at least 2 occasions by hats !

So what’s the plan for next year ?  Not sure at the moment. Knit Skelf in the correct size I guess and then take stock of what I’ve got in stash.  I suspect knitting is going to take a back seat to a few other things such as finally finishing the house off and sorting the garden out…oh and finally tackling some me sized sewing.

(will put the links to the patterns in when I finally post about them)


Leave a comment

FO: Matilda Jane (January)

A rare picture of me


When it comes to Ysolda Teague’s patterns I am,  a bit of a fan girl. All her knitwear looks stunning, different and is fun to knit. I love the architectural nature of the construction. HOWEVER, and this is a big however (hence the capitals) I have a sneaking suspicion, no a large suspicion that my body doesn’t love her patterns.

What looks good on Ysolda, does not look good on me as I go in and out a lot more, I look like a dork in rounded necks (which crop up quite often in her patterns, and my cleavage needs v necks)…and, and I can’t believe I am typing this but I may finally have reached the age where I have to confess that somethings are too young for me.

Take Matilda Jane. It has a lot of whimsical features such as the ribbon tie at the back, the leaf like lace pattern for the netband and the picot edging to the hem and sleeve…it is a lovely cardigan, but definitely a bit girly, a bit fairytale, a bit OTT. Well I love the OTT, theatrical nature of it, the fairytale…but I might not be able to pull it off any more…or this could all be in my mind and is all down to being sensible for the last 8 years and dressing in practical clothes that you can wipe down easily when covered with baby sick  (OK so that was mainly in the first 2 years, followed by 3 years of dealing with sticky fingers, the last 2.5 years haven’t been too bad)

Now with sewing if you are not sure over fit or style you can make a muslin, a quick and dirty mock up of what you are making. With knitting you don’t get that option because you put as much effort into the practice version as you do the finished object…well at least I can avoid making an expensive mistake even if I end up making a mistake.

Yarn:  Patons Smoothie DK in black and teal (100% acrylic)

Needles: Eventually settled on 3.75mm but it should have been 3.5mm

New:  Can’t remember…possibly the picot edging.

I started this in January but due to a lot of messing around to get gauge  it didn’t get finished until April as I put it down in frustration on the 31st January.  I’ve altered this from the pattern a lot as I couldn’t get gauge at 3.75mm, knitted half of it on 3.25mm before deciding it was too small and ripping it all back

Mods: Knitted a smaller size on 3.75mm and relying on the fact acrylic stretches to deal with any residual sizing issues. Decreased more at the waist than the patterns said. Knitted a bigger size for the hips and because I had to lengthen it to deal with a long back this gave me the length to put enough increases in to get the right number of stitches for bigger size

Like:  I actually like the picot edging

ick 011


I like the lace leaf at the neck and the ribbon ties at the back. I love my choice of buttons and the contrast of the 2 colours

ick 009


Dislikes: The fact that I managed to knit the button hole band longer than the button band and they don’t match up…and it’s not easy to reknit the button band…but mostly I dislike the fact that the ribbon at the back act likes a large arrow pointing out my more than ample posterior !002

Reserving judgement until  have reknitted the button band…and possibly lost a stone in weight…it felt strange wearing it…I felt oddly feminie for a change…and  think I like it !

Leave a comment

FO: World cup hats

The rugby world cup started on friday night…it can be easy sometimes to forget when you have just stumbled through an english summer (such as it is) that other parts of the world may be just coming out of winter.

It was a casual conversation with a colleague M about the fact  the earthquake had meant that some of the England games had been relocated from Christchurch to Dunedin which was “so much further south then ?” , “er yes…and much colder” “That’s a point, they were reporting snow in Wellington the other day”.

Not wishing my colleague to catch her death (despite her being an England supporter) I knitted her a hat
(Spider looking far too cute in Robins Egg)

Then was afraid she might not like it so made her another(Husband in Ysolda Teague’s Cairn)

Still a bit concerned she might not like the hats I made a third…all in the space of 2 weeks(Spider in Lina)

I needn’t have worried, she was delighted and ended up taking both Lina and Robin’s Egg and only left Cairn as it had increased in size after being washed…Husband liked it.

(However I may go back to only making things for people who drop strong hints…less chance of having ones feelings hurt)

Oh, and Wales lost to South Africa earlier today…

Leave a comment

FO: Woodsmoke and Ripley

Sounds a bit like a firm of solicitors or makers of tabacco…actually it’s the name of two patterns I love  and have just made for 2 lovely people out of  yarns that  I love (well mostly)

Ripley has now headed off to Scotland (again, the first one I made went to Aberdeen) as a present for Travelling Ali. I learned from the last one I made and this time went for a much larger size but the beanie version rather than the one that looks a bit like santa’s christmas elf

Pattern: Ripley (Ysolda Teague)

Yarn: Toft Alpaca Aran (Chocolate)


New: Nothing this time except learning from previous mistakes

Woodsmoke is from Brave New Knits which is a collection of patterns contributed by knitters who have also kept influential blogs. Most of the photographs in their were taken by Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed) who also is the designer of this scarf.

When I first saw Woodsmoke I fell in love. in fact I fell in love with the whole book, but mostly with Woodsmoke.  But having now knit it I don’t think I will be making one for myself. Don’t get me wrong the final outcome is gorgeous but doing the border almost drove me over the edge into insanity…it is so tedious and there is SO much of it.

Pattern Woodsmoke (Jared Flood, Brave New Knits)

Yarn: Rowan Cashcotton 4ply (citron) and a sock yarn from Lidl

Needles: 3.25mm I think

New: If you knit a pattern you love, then for the first time out make it for yourself in case knitting puts you off knitting it again !

Woodsmoke is headed for another 40 year old friend, this one in Canada…once I have found her address from the chaos that is my home.

Leave a comment

FO: Freedom Ishbel

I work with a lot of wonderful people. Several of whom finished work today because they’d taken VERS (Voluntary Early Retirement/Redundancy). One of whom is a truly lovely lady who has spent the last few years telling me off for wearing so much black and leaving little gifts of purple on my desk.

She is also the person whose brush with breast cancer brought me back to knitting as I thought she might like a hat…a purple hat !

She found out just after Christmas that her application for VERS had been successful and just as I was about to get the needles out to knit her a goodbye present she said “Have you seen my new coat ? ” “No” “I must bring it in to show you, it’s red and happy and cheerful and I’m going to wear black accessories with it…”   Me: “Oh…”

So I spent the next month trying to knit something in black to go with her lovely new coat and you know what ?  I just couldn’t do it because black is so NOT what I want to knit for her. I wanted something that was bright and bubbly and truly amazing, something that screamed “Life, I love Life…” because she has definately got life by the S&C’s and is squeezing every last drop of joy out of it and sharing that joy with everyone around her…so I did this instead…

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague

Needles: 3.75mm

Yarn: Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop DK in hot pink

New:…I only made 1 mistake this time…

I will miss her but Regi is happy to go…sadly a lot of people are happy to be leaving because it’s no longer the place it used to be and I really hope that we can get that spirit, that happiness, that feeling of doing something worthwhile, back.

Leave a comment

FO: Sparkling Ishbel

This is something I started making when I realised we would have visitors on Boxing Day and that I’d failed to buy a present in Birmingham. This is also testament to being ill at the start of the week, not realising how ill I would really be at the end of the week ( I am really ill now and have a christmas dinner to cook today 😦 )

My sister in laws favourite colour is blue – I held every blue yarn up to Husband and asked what would she like, he chose the christmas yarn “because she is sparkly” – the yarn dictated the pattern. Apolgies for picture quality I haven’t left the house in a week !

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Yeague

Yarn: Regia  x-ma

Needles 4mm

New: nothing – start of an Ysolda homage maybe…

Leave a comment

95%, oh and swatches lie

I have been wearing Manu a bit this week, no photos yet as I’m snagging.  It needs buttons that’s a minor point. I have the garter stitch cuff to sort out and there is a point where sewing the ends in has squashed the stitches a bit, again minor as is the fact that the pockets need sewing a bit more at the seams.

No the big problem is that swatches lie and it didn’t shrink in the wash as much as I hoped it would, as a result its a bit long in the back and the sleeves and the pockets are puffier than they should be BUT it did shrink as it should and a bit more horizontally and as a result it’s a bit tight round the bust !

In the meantime I have almost finished Coraline.  I am about 95% done. Last night I was 17 rows from the end. This morning at about 9.30 I realised that I had 9 more rows to go plus an i-cord bindoff and sewn button loops with only 50cm of Prima left…ooops.

Currently considering my options and wondering where I left the swatch…I have also found another couple of metres lurking in the knitting bag.

Oh and praying that this cardigan behaves the same way as the cockleshell jumper as otherwise I will be looking for a 10 year old girl who wants a lime green cardigan because this is a seriously small cardigan at the moment.