Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

Shawl blocking

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The edges of my daybreak are still a little curly and I didn’t have enough pins to give it a really smooth finish
Still love it though
Here they are being modelled by the lovely Fliss

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(Fliss is also wearing my practice tie for the wedding!)
There are definitely issues with the row ends on both shawls but they’re beautiful and cozy so who cares
I’ve already got another planned and it’s lace so maybe some more effective blocking tools are required…

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Finally FO – Giselle Cardi

Ta-da!

GiselleCardi (2)

And a couple of close ups

GiselleCardi (3) GiselleCardi (1)

I love it and it’s been really quick to work up.

The actual knitting took just over two weeks but the lace pattern really needed blocking

It took me a week to get around to it… Now that we’re in our house, I haven’t got a handy spare bed to use as my blocking surface so I had to wait until the dining table was clear enough to spread out on

After that, it took another week for the cardi to dry. I suspect I didn’t squeeze quite enough water out before laying it out but the yarn is 43% wool so I was being cautious

During this week, I realised that I hadn’t yet bought any buttons!! Thankfully, Steven had promised me a trip to Hobbycraft (as a bribe, but still many hubby points awarded)

I decided to go for orange to bring out the copper strands in the yarn and I’m really chuffed

I just spent a chilled half hour or so sewing them on and couldn’t wait to share the pics

Unfortunately, I’m struggling to take a nice picture of myself wearing my new pretty so you’ll have to wait. It definitely benefited from the blocking though, it’s a much better length now

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Lace Cardi – finished (part two)

So, you all know I’ve had problems with this pattern (see previous post – Problematic patterns)

But you also know I’m stubborn as a mule so I stuck with it, worked it out and finished my lovely cardi (see yesterday’s post – Lace Cardi – finished!)

I fell in love with this pattern instantly when I got the magazine (Inside Crochet issue 32) and had seen some lovely statement buttons that were just perfect.

So, the yarn and buttons were top of my birthday wish-list last year and Steven did a great job of choosing the colour.

When it came to casting on however, I had problems from the start.

My tension never matches the pattern but I kept coming out in between sizes and ended up needing to use a larger hook than I was comfortable with for 4ply yarn.

I think it works mostly because of the stitch pattern, if there were more trebles or fans or anything, I think it would look really bad.

Then, because the main piece is worked all-in-one, I was working on over 200 stitches. Or should have been. Because there were so many, I kept miscounting and ended up 30 stitches short.

I’d really struggled with the first few rows but the size seemed okay so I decided to make the best of it.

The next problem I had was joining the main piece and the sleeves since the pattern tells you to end with a DC row but then join with a DC row. This, however, was fairly easy to sort out.

I took out the last row on each piece and then joined them according to the pattern. Problem solved.

But then the rest of the pattern called for far too many rows. I pondered this one for a fair while.

Without completing the pattern, I had no idea what it was supposed to look like (no schematic) and the pattern gave no clue as to which of the sizes was shown in the picture (sometimes different sizes require different treatment).

I decided the simplest way to solve this problem was to make it up as I went along. Thankfully the stitch pattern is quick and easy so ripping it out isn’t really an issue (just irritating).

Looking at my notes, I thought the best place to start was to just work fewer rows before the shaping so the rows at the end were still the same.

It worked! First time!

I’ve decided the problem is that different sizes are apparently worked out using a formula and some pieces aren’t test crocheted in all sizes so no problems are flagged.

While I was really disappointed with the whole escapade (and the fact that I’ve got nearly two whole balls of yarn left!) I feel most let down by the magazine publishers and the designer.

I kept a constant eye out for errata and posted on the Inside Crochet facebook wall for help but I heard nothing.

Ravelry was no help either, there are four ‘projects’ listed under the pattern: one is mine; one the designers; one the magazines; and the last says that the crocheter isn’t really doing much these days.

I was also surprised to see that the designer had only used two balls of yarn to make the piece. I’ve used much less than two balls but the pattern instructed me to buy three (that pesky formula again?)

So, overall those six/seven words really do sum up my feelings about this piece but it’s made me very wary about printed patterns in general and Inside Crochet and Vicki Brown patterns in particular.

I’d love to hear thoughts on the subject. Have you or anyone you know tried this pattern? Or another one by Vicki Brown? Her designs are so lovely but after this, I’m just not sure

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Lace Cardi – finished!

First off sorry for the delay in posting this update, things are bit crazy here at the moment.

Anyway, I think my feelings about this cardigan can be summed up in… six words – love the project, hate the pattern!

Although, after actually wearing the piece today, I don’t love it quite so much as I did (maybe seven words, add ‘mostly’ at the beginning!)

I’ve posted about the problems I had with the pattern but I eventually managed to figure things out, finished the cardi last week and left it to block

Pinned

 

I hate blocking, mostly because I’m never quite convinced it works (maybe I’m doing it wrong?) I have this fear that I’ll remove the pins and the piece will instantly shrivel back to it’s pre-blocked state

Unpinned

 

But it worked out ok! It was still a little damp in places so I hung it up for a while to completely dry. Tried it on first of course

ByMe

 

I’m a bit disappointed because it gapes a little at the front and is a bit tight on the arms and at the shoulders but overall I think it’s lovely

I wore it properly for the first time today

Wearing (1)Wearing (3)

 

 

I’m not sure how much it shows but the sleeves do shrink a little with wear (thank goodness I made them longer than recommended or they’d be ridiculous)

The button-holes and the buttons were a pain in the neck but I really love them

Wearing (2)

 

The button necklace was a gift from Steven, bought at a local craft fair on Saturday. Isn’t it pretty? It’s just a shame it covers the top button of the cardi but the colours are an amazing match.

I’ve got a lot to say about the dodgy pattern and how I fixed it but, since this post is already a little lengthy and it’s getting late, I’ll save that for another day.

Also, Steven took me to Hobbycraft today so I’ve got goodies to show off and a lot of upcoming projects to tell you about.

Just a little note: Steven’s now working nights so posts will be later in the day than I would like, I hope you all still manage to stop by for news

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Project updates

Steven and I are off on holiday tomorrow, just a few days in Bath but I’m so excited!

Before we go, I thought I’d post a quick progress update.

Blocking my shawl seems to be going well. I keep forgetting to take pictures though so I’ll post more info on that later.

My Cricket Jumper is growing a little quicker than normal. I’ve finally finished the armhole shaping on the back (it was not fun) but still have a way to go yet.

I’ve also started work on a lovely crochet blanket for Steven and I (I think I mentioned it before…?)

It will involve a lot of repetition and weaving in of ends but each motif only takes about an hour so it should work up pretty quickly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pattern is the African Flower Blanket from the July/August 2012 issue of Crochet Today magazine and I’m using up some leftover yarn but had to buy a couple of balls as well.

I was a bit worried that the brown was too dark but I think the cream evens it out and the overall border will also help to lighten it up.

I’m hoping to get quite a few motifs done while we’re away. So far, I’ve completed three (barring the ends) and done two more middles (just the yellow)

I might need a ‘travel project’ though because of all the colour changes involved so I’m also taking my leftover shawl yarn to try and make some gloves/mittens to go with it (either more Misty Morning Mitts or my own design to match the shawl motif)

Oh, and I finished another lacy collar!

This one was knitted on 4mm needles instead of the recommended 3.75 (I think) but I still had to add another scallop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m really chuffed with this one too! It didn’t block quite as flat as the first one but I quite like the slight ruffle on the edge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I joined the extra scallop in a different way than the first one – instead of knitting it all and sewing it on, I knitted the two together by picking up a loop on the edge of the original collar and knitting it with the first/last stitch of the extra scallop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think it’s worked well but, to be honest, sewing it on afterwards is probably easier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve also bought the yarn to make my friend Clare a baby blanket and found the perfect pattern for a hat and cardi for her daughter who is currently 18months (it’s the same friend and daughter that I knitted the Bridesmaid’s Boleros for)

So the project list isn’t diminishing even though I’m making good progress

As well as all this, it’s my birthday next week and I’ve asked for lots of crafty goodies so I’m going to be a very busy, very happy girl!

Lastly, apologies for the lack of Travel Zingy updates, we’re all very tired but he comes everywhere with me and I expect lots of pictures to be taken this week so I might need to have a full week dedicated to ‘The Adventures of Travel Zingy’

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Union Jack Slipover – advice needed!

I’ve mentioned briefly that I’m working on a secret project for my boyfriend, Steven (see Current Projects) although ‘working on’ might be a bit strong becasue the project has been sitting (hidden) for months.

It all started in the summer when I somehow found a free pattern for an intarsia Union Jack Slipover, Steven and I both like Union Jacks and I wanted to try intarsia since I’m rubbish at Fair Isle.

For those of you who don’t know, intarsia and Fair Isle are colour-working techniques. Fair Isle tends to be used for smaller patterns as the yarn is carried across the back of the work. Intarsia uses extra balls or bobbins of yarn to work blocks of colour. Both have their pros and cons but I haven’t mastered Fair Isle and I wanted to get some colour-work under my belt

So, I thought I’d have a go at this project, the yarn requirements were small, it involved a new technique and would make a lovely gift for my beloved other half.

I started knitting when I was in bed poorly and made some amazing progress. I finished the back fairly quickly… and then stopped.

I’d made a fatal mistake. While I was feeling poorly and insecure, I’d mentioned it to Steven (it wasn’t just an off-the-cuff remark, we’d seen something similar in a shop and were talking about it) and he didn’t seem very impressed with the idea.

He tried to reassure me (‘he’ll love it because I knitted it’) but I lost my interest in the project. At the time, the back wasn’t quite finished so I pretended I wasn’t going to carry on with it and finished it rather slowly.

The other issue is the jumper that I actually did finish for him. He loves it but I hate it! I’m not sure what happened but it looks really baggy and shapeless on him (I’m a bit worried the same will happen with the slipover but I think I can make it work) and the collar doesn’t quite sit right.

The first problem is probably tension related and the second could be solved by blocking (two of my biggest problems, mostly stemming from my impatience.

Back to the slipover, my issue now is: do I finish it, do I turn it into something else or do I give it up as a bad job and find him something else?

I’m really pleased with how it looks (although I think the red is a little too bright) and I’ve worked really hard on it so I’m not keen on option three

Option two could acually be more work than finishing it so I’m not keen on that either

If I’d knitted the front instead of the back (I’ve never quite worked out why all patterns start with the back) I’d probably knit the back plain and be quite satisfied but I can’t do that now

So, I guess I’ve just answered my own question… I suppose I’m more looking for reassurance so let me know what you think

Not bad for a first attempt, right?

Well, his birthday is this month so I guess I should get started on that front. Wish me luck!!

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