So, at long last written up and published, ladies and gents I present to you the third (and fourth, as it happens) designs in my super-chunky range using Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Super chunky (which comes in affordable 10-ball packs and 5-ball packs, for your delight and delectation) 😉
And on my way to designing the vintage pink jacket / cardigan pictured above, I began with something a little smaller, to work out my design before I got cracking. I started with a little bolero, but I didn’t like the way it ballooned out at the bottom. Although it looked gorgeous on the hanger, on the body it gave the impression of a bit of a humpback, which was really not part of the vision. So I frogged it back a way and took it in to finish up with the rather pretty wraparound pictured below:
Both of these are super-quick projects, given the chunkiness of the yarn, and the patterns are available together as an instant download if you are already a patron here. (See also all the other patterns available for instant download by clicking on the tabs above).
I may have come to the end of my playing with my Vintage Chic pattern until the autumn, but I have had so much fun with it (and plan to have more and, and, and I might also quite like to try it in a chunky cotton for cool summer nights).
When I first conceived of this design, I was quite excited by its sweet simplicity. Colour was going to do the work for me, and the motif would provide the cherry on the cake. And when it was finished, I became impossibly giddy. I swear, when I wear it people smile. It’s the yellow. It’s SO sunny. And I’ve thrown it on again and again at the merest excuse of a chill in the air.
Then I found some heavily discounted Mirasol Yaya, which is the softest squishiest stuff and the colours to die for:
I followed the pattern exactly, so with smaller needles and gauge I now have a more form-fitting jumper in muted cornflower, jewelled greens, pearly whites and gentle pinks.
And THEN I returned to my old favourite, Drops Andes, and made a cropped short sleeved version to wear over long shirts again following the pattern but stopping short of the full length in body and sleeve, finishing with seed stitch. And again, the smaller needle and gauge means I have a body conscious tank-top shape that I absolutely love.
(I also have a teeny tiny aran version in yellow cotton on my needles, and if I ever finish it amongst my myriad other intentions, I’ll let you know! 😉 )
Good morning my fellow woolly friends (and of course any non-woolly ones who happen to have popped by for a visit).
I’m sitting here with a large bowl of porridge, made with coconut milk, fresh blueberries and just a little wildflower honey and all is well with the world. All children are deposited at their requisite educational establishments and Aphrodite and I have had a good ol’ stomp by the river.
Which leads me neatly to the reason for my post, really.
It’s becoming a year of new and healthy habits. Healthy not just physically, but mentally and fiscally, too. Working from home, and for myself, from a house that is in various states of ongoing repair (it was a bargain – we knew what we were taking on, but with five sons and our own businesses, it’s slow progress!) it is all too easy to prevaricate myself into a stupor. I can quite happily reach the end of the day, having squawked about like a headless chicken, and feel I have achieved almost nothing at all.
So it’s started with the walk. Every morning like clockwork, straight on from the last small person deposited at his primary school. There are so many beautiful walks around our village that there is no need to follow the same route every day, but inevitably mine takes me down to the river, by way of a field I can’t quite resist because of the several times I’ve come nose to nose with deer down there, and all the way along because of the ducklings and the swan who has just about stopped honking her distress at my presence.
No matter the time pressure of orders that need to be packed up, patterns that need writing up or planning, jewellery that needs to be finished and posted, that 60 – 90 minutes is a reset switch for body and mind. No matter how stressful the school-run time, when I’m back from that wander, I’m ZenWoman. It’s my meditation for the day (remember: “If you haven’t got time to meditate for 20 minutes a day, meditate for an hour” 😉 )
The newest resolution, though, is my Nothing New vow. Perhaps somewhat impulsive, but it feels right. I’m starting with a year, but I’m hoping it just sticks. Where I can make, mend or buy ‘preloved’, I vow to buy nothing new. For 365 days. (With the obvious exception of sundries like undies, right, but even socks I can make.)
The reasons for this are two-fold. The first and most important is my ever-growing distress at the excess and waste we are inflicting with alarming nonchalance on our defenceless planet. Trawl a flea market or two and you’ll find not just decent but actually very NICE stuff, which is often far better made than the tat you find new these days, with the added benefits, often, of the charm of a bygone era, and the cash you hand over not going to huge nameless corporations fuelling underpaid, zero hour, child labour somewhere we should know better not to exploit.
And, of course, it’s cheaper. Win win.
This week’s bargains are a pair of leather boots from eBay for a fiver, and a teapot that matches my recently-inherited china for 99p. Again, on eBay. Off to a flying start.
Bringing it all back to the woolly world, though, I also have a stash-mountain that would probably yarn-bomb most of my street. I wish I were kidding. And it’s good stuff. And I don’t want to get rid of it. So a happy side-aspect of this is that I need to get designing and knitting with what I already have.
(I can hear the howls of laughter as you choke on your morning coffee: “No new yarn!?” I hear you hoot. But I do have the caveat that I am allowed to make new things, which may of course eventually require some new yarn… But I’m going to TRY, OK? I’m going to TRY!)
So, coming up next is my newest pattern: a vintage-inspired cardi which can also be made as a wrapped crop. I’ve been prevaricating their writing for days, and I can prevaricate no longer – so keep your eyes peeled.
I kind of cut my teeth on chunky. As much as I love DK / 4 ply / even sock yarn, I do sometimes lack the patience, and something I’ve started gets put aside in favour of a weekend speed-knit; a garment I can make and wear in a matter of days, sometimes hours.
After a couple of months of super-fine sock work, I found myself drawn once again to the speedy joy of a chunky jumper.
And it’s sparked a bit of a super chunky revival for me.
No sooner than this one was finished, and realising that the chilly spring will (hopefully) turn into a hot summer before we know it, I’ve been keen to keep going while I can, and am happy to introduce my Vintage Chic Sweater. To my mind, the colours are timeless, the stuff of your grandma’s china, or the sitting room curtains, or that frill my grandmother had around the bottom of the bed – no one does that any more, do they?! It was so beautifully frou-frou.
But I’m fast disappearing down a time-travel rabbit-hole of Vosene shampoo, pink bathrooms, Imperial Leather soap and thick white toast dripping with butter and honey. So back I come to introduce you to my beautiful jumper. Yup, all modesty aside, I think it’s a stunner.
It’s a gentle enough fair-isle for a first colourwork project, and it’s a jumper you could probably knit most of during (are you subjected to these on a regular basis, too?) a Lord of the Rings marathon.
The concept behind it, for me, too, is that I can chuck it on over a tee and jeans or skirt rather than reaching for a jacket on a chilly spring morning, but I’m truly looking forward to wearing it ALL next winter.
I have at long last written up my pattern for my dolphin blue chunky sweater.
It’s a super-speedy knit and, given the fact that we had snow at the beginning of this week here oop north, you might yet get some use out of it before Spring makes its presence more permanently felt!
It’s designed to be roomy, oversized, boxy and a ‘throw on’, and can be worn up on the shoulders, or pulled down for an off-the-shoulder look. And it’s also designed to be worn mid-hip so you can pair it with jeans or a skirt very easily, or with a long tee underneath for a layered effect.
… well, for those who struggle to wear wool, to be more precise.
Like my ma.
She loves jumpers and cardis of all descriptions, but wool sends her horribly itchy. Which, as you can imagine, is massively frustrating for her. And for ME! When I want to make her pretty things but so little acts with as much versatility as wool.
However… All is not lost.
Following hot on the heels of my Dolly Socks, designed and knitted with Debbie Bliss Toast in mind (oh, *hello* cashmere!), I was determined to make her a birthday present of similar intricacy and beauty.
So imagine my delight when this bundle of squishiness appeared on my doorstep (and I say appeared because that it precisely what happened. This particular delivery company doesn’t bother knocking. They just try your door and stick it on your doormat if it’s open. Which is both a lovely surprise and somewhat alarming).
If I tell you I started this pair of lacy socks two days before her birthday, I don’t think you’ll need informing that they didn’t get there on time. They should, in fact, be arriving today – 11 days late. But since I also owe her a jumper from her birthday 2 years ago, with this one I’m already winning, right??
You can see how beautifully the texture of the raw silk holds and emphasises the stitches, and makes the lace pattern stand out.
But best of all, the colourway is called ‘Seaglass’, which is most beautifully synchronous since it combines my two most favourite things: knitting, and making jewellery with the seaglass I comb the beaches up here in the North-East for (click the pics below if you are interested in more information).
I think they came out rather beautifully, but we’ll let mum be the judge of that 😉
The Dolly Socks pattern is available by clicking the link above, but it is also one of February’s Patreon subscriber patterns – for more information on instant access to all those patterns, click the link or look at the Patreon pages above).
Some time ago, I bought some beautiful Blue Faced Leicester superwash sock yarn from The Knitting Gift Shop. They’re a hop, skip and a jump from me and run by a truly lovely couple dedicated to producing as locally as possible.
But it’s taken me this long to drum up the dedication to commit to knitting and designing lacy socks and, following the success of my Dolly Socks, I decided it was time to put this beautiful stuff to work.
(I have another skein of it waiting for me, and am currently working up the courage to try dyeing it myself, for a truly unique project – any tips or pointers for yarn-dyeing gratefully received!!)
So here they are, anyway. My Sandra Dee Socks (click the name for a link to the pattern, or check out the patreon links up at the top, for info on instant access to this, to February’s patterns, and to all future patterns):
February was wonderfully productive, I’m delighted to say. I feel like 2019 has brought me back my design mojo, which was waning a little at the end of 2018.
Clockwise from top left (click links for patterns, where available):
My Dolly Socks, in wool and cashmere superwash – the perfect prettiness for Spring.
My first pair of gloves, knitted exclusively for me. I haven’t bothered with the pattern as they were my first pair, but I’m already looking forward to designing some beauties, now that I have these ones under my belt. Motto? Feel the fear and do it anyway 😉
Aphrodite’s new jumper: the Juno’s Friend Jumper. And apparently we’re to expect a late blast of snow in a few days’ time, so that will come in handy. My beloved husband tells me I need to make her a pink spotty one next. Watch this space…