It's only taken five years
, but I'm back knitting again. I have actually done a few bits in the meantime, but nothing worth blogging about.
Knitwear, especially in vintage styles, is a perennial problem for me. I have a short torso (I have to take around 5cm/2" length out of bodices), so any shaped knitted garments tend to gather in unsightly folds around my waist. Very
occasionally I have found shorter pieces and snapped them up, but my main sources were British Home Stores
, now both sadly defunct.
From time to time I've been tempted by knitting patterns which I've seen online, but as I know almost nothing about knitting, and don't have any friends locally who knit, this seemed over-ambitious. Then Tasha, of Tasha Could Make That
, announced a knit-along for her latest knitting pattern, and the prospect of some advice and hand-holding finally persuaded me to have a go.
I've followed Tasha online for ages, and been in awe of her knitting and dressmaking skills - especially her awesome plaid-matching abilities! She describes her latest pattern
, the Wondrella cardigan as "Suitable for an adventurous beginner"
, and a brief online chat convinced me that this should be within my capabilities.
|The pattern, and progress so far|
Wondrella is designed to be knitted with two yarns together, but I decided against that on the basis that handling one yarn is quite enough for me at present. (On the evidence so far, this was the right decision!) Tasha had added that the pattern can be knitted in DK instead, so that's what I went for. I must admit that I chose a cheapish acrylic for my first attempt, as I'm not sure how it will turn out. The cardigan is a design I'd be happy to have in more than one colour, and it comes with several collar variations, so if it works I'll probably knit it again in proper wool. Here I must stress that my concern is based entirely
on my abilities, not on Tasha's instructions, which are very detailed. There are a few bits which are new to me, but I'm reasonably confident that I'll be able to work them out when I get to them. I took the precaution of buying an extra ball of wool so that I can practise techniques as and when needed.
The first thing which threw me slightly was that the pattern is knitted on circular needles. This would be tricky for me as I knit with right needle tucked under my arm. It's how I was taught at school - a very long time ago - and I've never knitted any other way. A plea for advice on Instagram brought the information that a) this method has a name - lever knitting and b) it should be possible to knit the body at least on straight needles. I will have to learn knitting in the round for the sleeves, but I'll tackle that when I get to it. Hopefully by that stage I’ll be a more confident knitter in general.
There are no side seams to the cardigan, the body is knitted all in one. For my size, this is 155 stitches. I got to the end of the first row of ribbing, and discovered that I had made several mistakes both at the start and in the middle of the row. Sigh. After tortuously attempting to unpick a few stitches, I decided that it was easier to just unravel the whole thing and start again. On the plus side, I am now much better at casting on! This time I marked every 30 stitches with a stitch marker, so I stop at the end of each section and check it.
|At worst, I only have 30 stitches to undo if I go wrong|
A new project requires a new knitting bag, as the one I made previously
is full of a part-done project! Some time ago I had acquired a couple of very badly made cushion covers in a mixed auction lot of sewing stuff, and had kept them because I liked the fabric. It is a cotton rep, in a very vintage-looking print, but the typeface of the writing on the selvedge suggests that it's actually modern. Anyway, I unpicked the covers, washed the fabric, and used it to make a new, roomy, bag.
|Room for plenty of wool and the pattern folder|
It has drawstrings on the inside to close it up, so that things don't fall out.
|With the sides closed up|
I also made a small zipped pouch bag for accessories such as row counters and stitch markers, as these keep getting lost in the bottom of my knitting needles bag.
|A smaller bag for bits and bobs|
Both bags are lined and both were 'no-buy' projects as I had everything, including the handles and zip, already.
|A little bit more out of the stash|
I doubt if I'll finish the cardigan in the knitalong timeframe, as I'm a very slow knitter, but I'm not worried if I don't. It will just be nice to have a vintage cardigan which actually fits.