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I haven’t written for a long time. To get going again I thought I start with the most recent on my needles. It’s a true recycling project, when it comes to the yarn as well as the patterns.I have both ‘A Stitch in Time’ books by Susan Crawford and Jane Waller. I leaf through them a lot but have not tried any of the models although they are deliciously gorgeous. I don’t know which to do first which prevents me from making one at all. I looked up a few vintage patterns on the web too and decided to make a jumper with a vintage take but not one exactly as prescribed. I can come back to the ‘A Stitch in Time’ books later.

I like these two-tone models from the 1930s on the Faded Splendour website, one sporting a brick pattern, the other combining an eyelet pattern with stripes.I prefer the lower v-neck of the stripey jumper but am not so sure I like its combination of eyelet pattern and stripes, though I’ll certainly try the leg o’ mutton sleeves at some point. The brick pattern I had to try. So brick pattern with v-neck it is.

I got two old jumpers from my stash that make for a nice vintage colour combination of dark red and light blue. I think the Jaeger jumper is genuine Shetland wool. With the other I’m not so sure because it says ‘super’ Shetland, whatever that means, but it certainly knits well.

I think the colours work well together with the brick pattern. It’s a slip stitch pattern, so no unnervingly tangled threads because you only need to knit one colour at a time. I hope the jumper will go well with the tartan skirt shown in the swatch picture.

Reading vintage patterns isn’t as complicated as I thought, though it does take a bit getting used to that half of the information usually provided in modern patterns is missing. It takes a bit of maths too to convert things to my size. I knit front and back at the same time and am now up to the armholes.

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The Spinning a Yarn Afghan for my mother is ready well in time for the C event, the  C  I don’t like to mention before 1st Advent.

I’m extremely pleased that the two different yarns work so well together. I like the fact that an unloved red jumper of mine has turned into something so useful and beautiful.

Last week I showed Henry how to crochet. He got some light blue wool and a 4mm hook. I had to do the first two rows because he found finding the right loops a bit confusing but after three attempts in between some of Mummy’s crochet he figured out how to do it. That said he laid it to rest for now. Hopefully he will give it another try.

I’m working on Spinning a Yarn. I worked the pattern as a hat before but this time I will make an Afghan. It is meant to be for my mother. She has got self-made red and purple tartan bed linen complemented by a self-made woollen tartan bed spread in the same colours, but she says the wool she used is not so nice. It’s some old machine wash wool she got from somewhere long forgotten. She loves the Wooly Thoughts patterns as much as I do because she always preferred geometrical patterns over the flowery stuff she had to do at school in the 1950s. Back then she was forbidden to do the ‘modern stuff’, i.e. geometrical patterns.

I combined two very nice, but very different yarns: an old frogged red jumper of mine, Schachenmayr nomotta Bossa Nova, made from lambswool, alpaca and silk and White Rose Mohair by Texere Yarns in lilac. White Rose Mohair is a non-fluffy mohair yarn.  I’m sure those two yarns are nice enough for my mother.

On Friday morning my son Henry sat at the breakfast table being a bit sad. Not about anything especially. He had just woken up and was probably not looking forward to have to go to school yet another day before the weekend arrives. Henry has this lovely theory that four days of the week you have to go to  work or school followed by three days of weekend. I can only agree, but unfortunately it isn’t so.

Henry playing in the water during the Easter holidays

So, he sat at the breakfast table being a bit sad and I thought what I could do to cheer him up. It’s not hard to cheer anyone up if you happen to have James Walters’ book Crochet Workshop lying on the table. I showed him the pictures with freeform crochet. Instant success! Henry liked the freeform crochet and was mightily impressed how people could make all sorts of different patterns and forms just with a hook. I said I could teach him. He liked the idea because he said he already knows how to use a French knitter. I have never managed to teach him to knit because holding tension and trying to work stitches with two needles never seemed to work out for him. Maybe holding tension and working with just one needle works better given that he can already do this with a French knitter.  I will see how it goes.

A colleague and I got chatting about alpaca jumpers. He told me that his white alpaca jumper always gets strange stains that seem to come out of nowhere and that another of his has got moth holes. I love alpaca and therefore, because you can’t let things go to waste, I offered to mend it. So he brought it in. I noticed it was a kind of Brioche stitch and said it would be difficult but doable. Sometimes I really don’t know what I’m letting myself in for. When I had a closer look at home I noticed it was some sort of honeycomb brioche (well, so I thought). I think I last knitted a brioche stitch more than 20 years ago and certainly not a complicated one like this. I wasn’t prepared to flaunt it, so I decided I had to undergo some training.  I first looked up the stitch pattern and did a little swatch, which wasn’t too painful, but wasn’t enough for me to really understand the pattern. I had to do something bigger.

I had wanted to make hot water bottle covers for my mother and my brother for Christmas but hadn’t got round to it. What better excuse to make them, though after Christmas, then to try a stitch pattern. I got out the rest of the light blue wool that I had used for my mother’s Curve of Pursuit afghan and got started. I really struggled with this pattern. Sometimes a stitch seemed to disappear and I couldn’t figure out what had happened. And then two thirds along the way I saw I had made a very visible mistake at the bottom. I had knitted a yo in the wrong row. So, there I was fighting with myself what to do. Shall I open that column up and try to fix it? Would I be successful? Or would I fail and have to rip open everything anyway? Or would I be able to live with that mistake? Or more importantly, would my mother be able to live with that mistake? Or would I just cut the yarn, fix the mistake and try and thread the ends? Being completely crazy I chose to open up the column and… succeeded. I’m still mightily pleased with myself. When I got out my colleague’s jumper to fix it I noticed I had practiced the wrong brioche stitch. It looked more like Moss brioche stitch, but the principle is much the same.

Material:

gray cover: 1 skein 100 g gray Ethical Twist yarn (70% wool, 30% alpaca, 240m/100g,)

light blue cover: 100g light blue wool slub (100% wool, about 12 wpi)

Notions: double pointed needles size 5 mm, 5,5 mm and 6 mm . Threading needle.

Gauge: honeycomb brioche (done on 6 mm needles) 11 st x 19 rows (gray)  and 10 st x 18 rows (light blue) = 10 cm square.

The cover is knit in the round without any increases or decreases. To shape the corners smaller needles are used. Because there are so many different hot water bottles out there no measurements are given. Remember though to make and wash a swatch so that you don’t end up with something of the size of a children’s jumper in the end. As small as a project may be, wash your swatch!

The honeycomb brioche stitch is taken from ‘the brioche stitch’ website but adapted for knitting in the round.

With 5 mm needles cast on 24 stitches (or any even number of stitches needed). Knit 24 stitches on one side then knit 24 stitches out of the bottom of the cast on stitches on the other side. Knit in the round from now on.

Foundation round 1: *k1, yf sl1 yo purlwise, rep from *

Foundation round 2: *k1, k the stitch behind the yo and sl the yo purlwise, rep from *.

Round 1: * yf sl1 yo purlwise, brp1, repeat from *

Round 2: * k the stitch behind the yo and sl the yo purlwise, k1, repeat from*

Round 3: * brp1, yf sl1 yo purlwise, repeat from *

Round 4: * k1, k the stitch behind the yo and sl the yo purlwise, repeat from*

Repeat rounds 1-4 twice then switch to 6 mm needle and knit until the next corner is reached. Switch to 5.5 mm needle and knit rounds 1-4 at least once. End with round 1 or 3.

Start the neck by kfb for every yo and pfb for every k in the round below.

Then ktb and ptb every round for about 20 cm or as long as required.

Cast off and thread.

Points of Departure

I stumbled upon another Woolly Thoughts pattern that I really like: Points of Departure. Points of Departure are crochet circles that form a square blanket when put together. They form a very bumpy texture. Something more 3D for a change. That made me think I could use it to make a big warm wrap. I don’t want to go for one single colour, I find that a bit boring to crochet. So, I got all my cashmere odd balls out and some material not so odd.  I have now opened up at least five more jumpers to experiment a bit with colours and decided to make the main colour dark red with purple, brown, pink, apricot and a little green. I think I will have to make about 270 circles to put together a decent size wrap.

My son likes the circles. He thinks I should crochet lots and not join them. Just keep them for the sake of beauty. What a lovely thought.


Yesterday I went out with my son photographing my second Curve of Pursuit that I was making for my mum. He is so excited about this pattern he was very willing to help me. He calls the pattern a time portal. When we came back home he said: ‘It would be good if you could just knit your own time portal like the new Dr Who.’ That was so sweet. I didn’t know that Dr Who can knit his own time portal – imagine Dr Who doing that – imagine you could just sit down and knit your own special gadget.

I managed to find the third colour for the frame after a long, painful search. Nothing seemed to go with this combination of dark green and light blue. I was so desperate that I even considered orange at some point. I finally came to terms with the inevitable fact that I had to BUY yarn that is NOT-RECYCLED and settled on Destiny Kingfisher, a mohair yarn by Texere Yarns. The wool stains horribly. I think if I had bought the yarn for pleasure, i.e. because I fancied the yarn, I would have been very angry. But I am so happy I have found the right colour at last I don’t even mind the staining anymore.