Monday, November 17, 2014

Puffin Sweater

There has been quite some buzz about Kate's new book. Soon, enthusiasm about Yokes will take over my knitting life, and I'll be temporarily blinded to any other news. Perfect time to show you my latest make from her previous book!  Puffin is my favourite design from Kate's first book. Initially, I didn't realise this. While I liked the design, it didn't really call out to me (or I was too dazzled by Ursula to notice). A year or so later I was innocently browsing Ravelry for some pattern inspiration and all of the sudden I was hit by the urgent need to knit this particular sweater. (What...? Don't tell me this never happens to you!) I couldn't shake off the idea of knitting this sweater, so I swiftly cast on. 

I played with different colour combinations, but eventually I settled for the original colours. The colours are what they are because of a reason, and the hint is in the pattern name: Puffin! The colours reference the beak and feathers of a puffin, Shetland's signature aviary animal. They are amongst the most beautiful, colourful and quaint birds I know. Though the puffin isn't an endangered species, their numbers have dwindled dramatically over the last century. By protecting their feeding and breeding habitat, the Scottish Sea Bird Centre works to protect these awesome birds and teach about them. I do have some other colour combinations stuck in my head that I'm really taken with, so I'm fairly sure I'll make this sweater again. 

Pattern: Puffin Sweater
Book: Colours of Shetland
Designer: Kate Davies
Yarn: Jamieson & Smith 2 ply jumper weight (fingering)

My gauge was way off Kate's given gauge measurements. I had to remedy this by changing the needle size and change the sizing according to my gauge swatch to get to the prescribed measurements. I was amazed at how quickly this sweater knitted up. Perhaps that has to do with how long my previous project took, but I'm really happy with the outcome. 

Hope you have a great week!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Shetland Yoke Cardigan for Autumn

Many months ago I blogged about the blue Shetland cardigan I found at a vintage clothing shop. Earlier this year I posted pictures from a Shetland cardigan I was knitting myself. Today I'm finally able to show you the finished garment!

This cardigan has had quite some setbacks. The projects was set aside when I went adventuring in the highlands. Later it was put aside again as I lost my DPN's and had to order a new set. Finally, when everything save for the button band was finished I ran out of yarn. Luckily I was able to order new yarn in the same colourway, but the package got lost in the mail. When trying to solve this issue with J&S, the internet thought it would be helpful to eat some of our email correspondence. So... Given all of that, I appreciate the miracle that the cardigan actually got finished at all.

Traditionally, Shetland yoke jumpers are both hand and machine knitted. The body is knitted on machine and the yoke is knitted by hand. I was quite surprised when I learned about this earlier this year. For a hand knitter, it is a bit odd to think about machine knitting as traditional. Kate Davies has done a cardigan in this traditional Shetland way of knitting for her forthcoming book Yokes. I'm keen to learn more about this way of knitting. My version is entirely knitted by hand, as I can't machine knit to save my life, but it is something I'd like to know more about.

Pattern: Hairst Cardigan
Designer: Sandra Manson
Yarn: Jamieson and Smith 2 ply jumper weight

The yarn is Jamieson and Smith 2 ply jumper weight, and it's the first time I've used it for a garment. After the package with all the yarn got in, I spent about a week admiring all the colours each time I passed the box. Jamieson and Smith sell this pattern in a kit. It came a bit short for me due to my gauge, yet the kit was very useful nevertheless. You get the pattern printed on durable thick paper (it kinda feels like a short paperback novel). With your order you usually get the standard colours, but if you add a comment to your purchase, you can get the kit in any colour you'd like.

Hairst means Autumn in Shetland dialect so I opted for colours that reflect this season. Autumn is my favourite season, and I've always liked autumnal colour palettes. This combination was meant to be. I haven't made a cardigan or jumper in this colour combination before, and I wonder how I've been able to live without it! The only change that I made, apart from the colour palette, was knitting button holes instead of using popper buttons.

Despite the few setbacks I enjoyed knitting this cardigan immensely. I can see a couple of more Shetland yoke cardigans in my future!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sweater surgery: The Chrismas Jumper

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you plan a project, no matter how much care you put in knitting the pattern, things just don't work out. I'm sure most of you have been in this situation before (if not...are you a knitting wizard? I want to be your sidekick!) Anyway it has happened to me before. Some long-time readers might remember my blog post about my Christmas jumper (if not or you can read about it here).

The shaping of this jumper came out all wrong. Instead of ripping it or throwing it away I held on to it, with vague plans to "do" something about it sometime. Well, "sometime" became this week and the "something" became sweater surgery. I did some major sweater surgery on two knitted sweaters. First I tried this on a store bought sweater to practise, and then on my Christmas Sweater. The problems with both were roughly the same, thought the Christmas Sweater had some side issues that I wanted resolve during the process as well.

What I did was the following: I opened up the seams. After the cutting open of the seams I was left with four sweater parts. Next I picked a sweater from my wardrobe of which I do like the fit and I traced the outer lines on the sweater parts. When I had marked out what I wanted to cut off I reinforced the stitches with a strait stitch on my sewing machine. I could have done this earlier, but as woollen knits don't ravel that much (and as I was going to cut a lot of fabric off, I didn't mind a little bit of unravelling), I hadn't done it earlier. Then I cut of all the excess fabric. Finally I sewed a zigzag stitch over the newly made edge of the fabric just to be sure.

Another thing that I did not like about the sweater, was the box sleeves.To get rid of them I simply cut of the box part of the sleeves. This was not a problem as the sleeves were to long to begin with.
Finally I sewed the  pieces back together. While the whole "cutting your sweater to bits"  might not be the most elegant solution to a knitting accident, it is definitely the fastest. I started and finished the whole business in just one afternoon. Its not perfect, but a lot more wearable than it was. I'm glad that I finally took to the scissors with this one. I think I really got the hang of it after this sweater, as I performed sweater surgery on a couple of more sweaters after this experience.

Well I'm glad I got my act together just before the start of the season. Have you ever cut into your sweater to modify or to save it from the back of your wardrobe?


Friday, September 26, 2014

Favourite Fall Sweater

At the beginning of  this week Andi wrote a blogpost, and asked her readers to share their favourite fall sweater and why. I thought this is a great idea and I've already been inspired by the sweaters I saw on blogs and on Instagram. I had planned on going back to some old sweaters and show you how they've stand the test of regular wear. I picked two of my favourite garments for this blogpost.

First up is my version of Fair Isle Yoke, from A Stitch in Time vol 1.This is  a vintage pattern originally published in Woman's weekly in 1946. I'm amazed how versatile this sweater has turned out to be. The sweater is made in fingering wool and short sleeves, which is common for vintage sweaters. Most garments, even when the pattern calls for short sleeves, I make in a long-sleeved version, yet the short sleeves in this one make it very wearable. Especially in the beginning of fall it's not cold enough to take the think, Icelandic cardigans out of the closet. I often wear this sweater over a dress or skirt, and when it gets colder I wear a lightweight cardigan over it.

The second pattern is this blue cardigan. It's actually one of those garments that I wear throughout the year, but in fall it rarely spends any time on a clothes rack at all. Rather than black or white, navy is my go-to colour: it seemingly fits with everything I have in my wardrobe. It's made from Alpaca wool, a delightfully warm fiber: You don't need a heavy weight yarn if it's made of alpaca. As this is one of the first garments I ever made, the yarn is Drops. I used to love Drops yarns very much as it's one of the few affordable and easy accessible yarn brands over here. Especially as at that time I didn't dare to order yarn 'from over the pond' yet. It's kind of funny to look back at a time where Jamieson & Smith or Old Maiden Aunt were distant strangers to me (Lord knows, those yarns and I are very familiar these days!)

This cardigan is only the second sweater I've ever made. It's really quite old and has seen lot's of wear, especially at the cuffs it shows. Because I've worn it so much, this is a project I'm considering to reknit pretty much exactly as it was, but before that I will probably keep wearing it until it literally falls apart...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nay, this be art!

There was lots of hustle and bustle in the Treehouse. The Treehouse Gnomes had assembled themselves on one of the highest branches in the Treehouse, from which they had the perfect view on everything that was going on in the Treehouse. However, the Gnomes had not assembled in all their great masses just to enjoy the view. No. They were there to watch...and to come to a joint decision about something that had just arrived in the Treehouse.

Little voices filled the air. "Do you think she knows?" asked a Gnome with a red pointy cap. "Is this normal?" "Is this how they look like these days?" one of the oldest asked. "Has she finally gone truly barking mad? asked another. "Perhaps she is secretly colour blind?" suggested another. There was one Gnome, (sporting a beret, a painfully fluorescent tunic and a particularity neatly trimmed goaty) who saw his chance. Standing amidst his fellow Gnomes, he proclaimed: "Nay, this be ART".

As the fluorescent fellow was trying to explain the concepts of abstraction, impressionism, romanticism and most importantly, progressive rock, he lost most of the audience. The Gnome-civilisation of the time had not yet invented art, and the more conservative of them were of the opinion that it could wait until after they'd invented steam power, thank-you-very-much.

What had actually arrived in the Treehouse was a knitted cap. It's a Sheep heid hat knitted by my mother! Although she's been a knitter for a long time, she's only recently picked the craft up again. She finished this hat a while ago, and I wanted to share it with you because I really liked it! The pictures are quite summery...because...well...I took them in the mids of summer and in freakishly hight temperatures. The pattern is by Kate Davies, and the yarn is Shetland wool. It might be noticeable that my mum and I do share similar tastes! When my mum started the sheep in these colours, I was a bit sceptical (much like the gnomes) but I love the end result. I hope you like it too!

So I  have been back at university for about three weeks now. It's been reasonably okay, but when I wrote my previous blog post I had not anticipated quite how busy the first few weeks would be.  I had two presentations in the second week of being back at uni, one of which is hugely important towards my final grade for that specific course. Well...talking about getting off to a good start...


Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer's end

The end of summer is drawing nearer and nearer. The first signs of Autumn have already made their appearance. The first leaves are falling, the ground has been taken over by fungi (and more gnomes than ever, I suspect) and the forest grounds are littered with acorns. I love this time of the year for many reasons, and I think it's the best season to be out and about. Unfortunately saying goodbye to summer means saying goodbye to summer holidays as well.

Today the academic year started and I am back on the grid. I'm not going to pretend I'm glad about saying goodbye to all that knitting and sewing time, but I guess it had to end someday.  Summer holiday seems to have flown by faster than ever. Perhaps because this coming year has got a lot in store for the Treehouse. The good, the bad and the scary.  One of the things that will happen is me writing the most important thesis to date (you can place that in one of the categories yourself). It's always strange the start of a new year after the summer holidays. It seems so so far away until the actual day it all starts again, when everything swings back to normal again and it (almost) is as if summer holiday never even happened and you only laid down pens and papers yesterday.

Well.... Let's get busy.

Xx Nisse

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tantallon Hat

The end of summer is drawing nearer and nearer. The first signs of autumn have arrived. The sunny weather has made place for overcast, windy weather. We've had quite a few rain showers, followed by deceptively bleak sunny weather over the past week as well. This kind of weather is typical for the transitional period from summer to autumn where I live, though usually it doesn't set in until the end of September. The past few days I've spoken to lots of people who hate this period in the year, but personally I love it. Autumn is my favourite time of the year. Really, it's the perfect time to show my latest make, which is particular suited to this time of the year.
Pattern: Tantallon
Designer: Kate Davies
Yarn: Hebridean 2ply by Alice Starmore
Soundtrack: Privateering - Mark Knopfler
Raveled here 

It's Tantallon by Kate Davies! This is the first design by Kate that I can remember wanting to knit. It took me a while, as you can see, and I've knitted other designs by her first, but I couldn't be more pleased with the result. I wrote my opinion about the yarn in my previous blog post. I like the colour combination, it's very suited to autumn. I read on Ravelry that some people had problems with the sizing of the hat, resulting in the finished project turning out to big. This made me a bit weary about the project, however since my gauge was spot on I decided to go on with it. I don't regret it a bit, as the hat fits perfectly! Thought because of the sizing issues I was a bit more careful with blocking as I usually am, because I wanted to help the stitches set without making the hat bigger.  

The hat is part of the Hats of Midlothian collection, and the pattern itself is named after a beautiful castle ruin near North-Berwick in the Midlothian area. The castle is from the fourteenth century, and it makes Kate's own project photo's a delightful sight. When I was in Scotland I was very close to the castle, though ultimately me and my boyfriend wandered of, taking a walk along the cliffs instead. It did spark a slight debate between me and the boyfriend on the topic of pronunciation: which of the syllables of this castle's name is stressed? If you know do tell!

All in all I'm really pleased with this project. I look forward to wear this when proper cold weather arrives here! How are things in your part of the globe? Enjoying the last days of summer, or like here dipping your toes in Autumn already?