Christmas Knitting and New Year Happenings

posted in: Books, patterns | 7

I do hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that 2012 is a happy, contented, successful and creative year for us all.

I managed to contract an ear infection over the holidays which slowed me down somewhat however I did manage to finish off a few garments from volume 2 of A Stitch in Time to wear over the festive period. I cleverly failed to get any pictures of me wearing the garments so for now I’ll have to share them with you photographed on their own.

The first garment is Warm Jacket with a Bobble Stitch Yoke.

Copyright Susan Crawford 2011

This is one of my absolute favourites from the book because of its sheer wearability. The version in the book is knitted using Jamieson’s Spindrift. Mine is knitted in Excelana in Saharan Sand. It comes out slightly ‘plumper’ and is even warmer than Shetland wool which is what I wanted.

Copyright Susan Crawford 2012

It is a fairly simple knit, worked in separate pieces using a 1×1 rib with short rows worked on the upper front and back bodices. The raglan seams are then sewn together and the yoke is picked up and worked in one piece around the cardigan. What is particularly special about this version of this pattern is that mum knitted this for me as far as the short rows. Knitting is hard work for her since the stroke but she hates to be without it so we find patterns or parts of patterns that she can do, enlarge and simplify the written instruction so that she can follow it properly and then she’s away. At this point the pattern needs to remain the same over a piece of knitting but she is now incorporating sleeve increases and side shaping. She can’t as yet tackle buttonholes so my mother in law Dorothy knitted the right front. I finished the jacket off with only one small change, which was to fold under the cuffs to the wrong side and slip stitch loosely in place. I have stupidly short arms and had forgotten to adjust the sleeve pattern before I gave it to mum. However I really like the folded cuff as it looks smart and is very hard wearing.

Copyright Susan Crawford 2012

My favourite thing about the cardigan though is the yoke which is simplicity itself but looks so effective.

Copyright Susan Crawford 2012

So to sum up:

Warm Jacket with a Bubble Stitch Yoke (pg 223 A Stitch in Time volume 2)
Yarn: Excelana 4ply Luxury Wool in Saharan Sand
No of balls:12
Needles Used: 2.75mm and 3mm
Notions: 12 Buttons
Knitted to pattern for size 42-44 inch bust
The next completed garment is Charming Neckline.
Copyright Susan Crawford 2011
The sample garment is knitted in Fyberspates Scrumptious 4 ply which is a silk and wool mix giving the garment a beautifully soft drape and handle. I had  in my stash some Drops Alpaca Silk in a dull pink along with a single ball in a pale grey. This garment was to form part of my Christmas Day outfit along with some fabulous wide leg palazzo pants in dull pink, grey and deep red. (I will get some photos of this all together I promise!)
Copyright Susan Crawford 2012
This time I remembered to shorten the arms so that the cuffs sit just nicely on my wrist bones.
Copyright Susan Crawford 2012
I also knew from prior experience that the Drops Alpaca Silk does indeed ‘drop’ quite a lot so I made the 38-40 chest size instead of 42-44. However as I had lots of yarn I added an inch in length to the lower body to give me more expansion room. Because of the nature of the yarn, the back neck is proving a little sloppy so I’m going to add a row of Double Crochet (US – Single Crochet) around the side and back neck edges to stop it losing its shape.
Copyright Susan Crawford 2012
I bought a fabulous hair clip from Accessorise when I was in Edinburgh to wear with the outfit which you can see in some of the photos. The colours matched perfectly.
Copyright Susan Crawford 2012
I felt great in this jumper,  glamorous and yet relaxed, which is a great feeling, and I could cook and eat without feeling uncomfortable. What more could a girl want on Christmas Day?
Charming Neckline (pg 31 A Stitch in Time volume 2)
Yarn: Drops Alpaca Silk in dull pink (shade 1306) and soft mink (1760)
No of balls:12 + 1
Needles Used: 2.75mm and 3.25mm
Knitted size 38-40 inch bust with 1 inch added to lower body length
The next garment was actually sewn up on Boxing Day, ready to wear for another family gathering the next day. This is Summery – and a New Pattern.
Copyright Susan Crawford 2011
 A strange choice for winter? Well mum and dad’s house is very warm so this seemed the perfect choice. Knitted in Baby Rooster as in the pattern as it was just the right weight for the garment and for the occasion. This one was knitted in black and I called in the services of super knitter, Dorothy to get it knitted in time. I know most knitters really don’t like knitting in black and this certainly wasn’t a knit in the cinema type of project but the pattern is extremely three dimensional and clear which makes life much easier.
Copyright Susan Crawford 2012
The jabot is knitted but not yet sewn on due to lack of time. I was also keen to see how the jumper worked without it and I personally think it works really well. Possibly on a larger chested person such as myself, the lack of a further layer is probably beneficial. I wore it with the glass brooch shown on the photos and a thirties-esque bias cut skirt.
Copyright Susan Crawford 2012
 With having very narrow shoulders compared to my bust size I played with the sizing a little on this one. Knitted in the second size for 38-42 inch bust but then extra decreases worked at the underarm taking the shoulders down to the first size stitch count. This reduced the shoulder to shoulder measurement from 16.5 inches to 15. The design has a very slightly dropped shoulder line to give the sleeves their hang but I wanted to be sure that it was only slight, which it was and worked perfectly. All other details were exactly as to the pattern.
Summery – and a New Pattern (pg 53 A Stitch in Time volume 2)
Yarn: Baby Rooster in 410 (liquorice)
No of balls: 12
Needles Used: 2.25mm and 3.75mm
Knitted size 38-42 inch bust with adjustments to shoulder width
And the final finished garment is the Fair Isle Cardigan. Knitted in Excelana 4 ply luxury wool as in the book but in a very different colour way.
Copyright Susan Crawford 2011
My colour choice focused on the closeness of French Rose, Ruby Red and Persian Grey in tone with a dash of Powdered Egg, Alabaster and Nile Green thrown in for good measure.
Copyright Susan Crawford 2012
I love how this works as  a combination and have been wearing the cardigan with a dress from Cath Kidston of exactly the same red.
Copyright Susan Crawford 2012
Again I stayed close to the pattern except for working extra decreases at the armholes again to reduce the shoulder width. On this occasion I knitted the 40-42 inch bust but reduced the shoulder width right down to that of the 32-34 inch bust as the sleeve caps need to sit high on top of the ball of the shoulder so I needed a very narrow shoulder width. Other that this change the garment was knitted exactly to pattern. I had some beautiful 1930s buttons that worked really well with the cardigan, picking out the Persian Grey in the fair isle design and was fortunate enough to have just the right number to complete the cardigan.
Copyright Susan Crawford 2012
They are quite a thick button, almost looking like liquorice. What I love about this cardigan most of all though is that it shows how wonderfully well Excelana knits up for colour work. The stitches stick together and the colours meld into one another beautifully and yet retain definition. I love it soooooo much!
Copyright Susan Crawford 2012
Fair Isle Cardigan (pg 206 A Stitch in Time volume 2)
Yarn: Excelana 4 ply Luxury wool, main shade French Rose, plus Persian Grey, Ruby Red, Powdered Egg, Alabaster and Nile Green
No of balls: 9 + 1 ball or oddments of each of the supplementary colours
Needles Used: 2.75mm and 3.25mm
Notions: 7 buttons
Knitted size 40-42 inch bust with adjustments to shoulder width
Since completing all this knitting I’ve been working on a very exciting project which launches on Saturday 14th January at the Rheged Centre in Penrith. I’m thrilled to have been asked to create a piece of work for the WOW exhibition, which “will unveil an ambitious new exhibition that shows how knitting and stitch are used as a medium for contemporary art and design. The exhibition will feature of work by 20 internationally renowned British contemporary artists and designers who have been inspirational in their creative uses of wool.”
My piece, which is an installation, is entitled 3000 hours and looks at the numeracy and labour behind hand knitting design. I can’t quite believe I’ve been included in this list of amazing people:
Featured artists include: Max Alexander, Susan Crawford, Stewart Easton, Felicity Ford, Fay Godwin, Kate Jenkins, Rachael Matthews, Steve Messam, Deirdre Nelson, Kate Pemberton, Trevor Pitt, Celia Pym, Joss Wrigg, Freddie Robins, Annie Shaw, Amy  Twigger-Holdroyd, Hazel White, Rich White, Donna Wilson, Fine Cell Work, Carréducker and Wool Clip.
There is also a resource area which will have information about the artist’s influences, their work and knitting will be going on throughout.
The Rheged Centre is an amazing place on the outskirts of Penrith in Cumbria and is Europe’s largest grass covered building, yet disappears into the Cumbrian landscape. The gallery space opened early last year.
The exhibition runs for three months until Sunday 15th April and you can find out more about it at the Rheged Centre website. Do go along if you get the chance. We have the set up and then the Private View this Friday for which I’m frantically trying to knit up my own version of the Swagger Coat. However I’m not sure if I’ll get there… but we shall see.
So for now,
Ruby xx

7 Responses

  1. Penny
    | Reply

    I'm very impressed with all your knits Susan. So much I'd like to knit from your book, but so little time!

  2. Ginny
    | Reply

    They all look so beautiful! I especially like the effect of the Summery jumper made up in the black- the definition in the stitch pattern is a good one for darker shades.

    And thanks for the info about the Reghed exhibition! I live in Workington so it's fairly local to us (40 miles seems like so much less when you live in such a sparsely populated county!). I'll have to see if the MIL fancies a day trip one day.

  3. Mim
    | Reply

    What gorgeous knits. You're certianly in for a well-dressed 2012 (not that I have ever seen you looking not well dressed.) I love the colour changes you've made to some of the garments, too.

  4. heikeknits
    | Reply

    Golly, you have been a busy bee! Hope you are better now and that your books have turned up again. Good luck with the exhibition too. x

  5. Oh how lovely- I've knitted your second knit a couple of years ago, but in a pale grey with green bands instead! Looks lovely on too!
    Tupney x

  6. Shearer's Girl
    | Reply

    You have been busy! Congratulations on being included in the exhibition.

  7. Sandy P
    | Reply

    Oooh…you've knitted up the fairisle cardi in just the colours I wanted to use!! I, however, couldn't figure out what combination would work so I shall be refering back to your pic when I get around to making mine!!

    Love the Charming Neckline without the jabot too!

    Currently on the 2nd sleeve of the cryselle….will it ever end?! LOL!

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