The Susan Crawford-along: in which we decide that our knitting patterns prove Susan Crawford is an alien

Read our adventures with casting on here: casting on our vintage knits.

Ellen:

OK, so I finished the ribbing and got on to the larger needles. And then the colourwork. I’d say I’ve started the colourwork, but technically I’ve started the fucking colourwork THREE TIMES.

And then had to carefully frog said colourwork and start again.

Apparently I can’t maths, because getting the pattern to actually line the fuck up is some kind of Labour of Hercules.

This is what I get for knitting backwards, and thus having to read charts backwards and oh my god just put me out of my misery.

Nik: 

I’m slightly worried I’ve made the wrong size, so I might frog and start over. Not too traumatic, I’ve only done about 2cm of ribbing. I also stopped because I felt a bit chilly (it’s been averaging about 3 degrees) to make a chunky cowl.

Ooof, colourwork. Flat? I love colourwork in the round, but as we know, there’s nothing that English designers hate in particular than knitting in the round. Colour work and purling. Uggghhh.

Not so fond of this yarn, but it’s nice and solid.

Started cable pattern. If there;s anything SC loves it’s the dreaded AT THE SAME TIME instructions. Repeat pattern 6 more times, while inc stitch at every 16 row, while also balancing your entire stash on your head.

Ellen:

OH GOD NOW I’VE GOT TO SWITCH TO ANOTHER CHART.

This will involve additional maths and 3d modelling in my head to try and work out which end to start the chart so it looks like it’s supposed to look.

It’s flat, though that’s actually a good thing because if it was in the round I’d be using a lot of extra yarn just carrying it across the back.

The really fun bit (and by fun, I mean complete bloody nightmare) will be the reindeers. You’re right about how SC loves AT THE SAME TIME. For the reindeer part of the jumper, it’s Fair Isle AND Intarsia involving, from what I can tell, at least 5 different balls of yarn at once AND armhole shaping.

I’m becoming increasingly convinced that SC is an alien with about 4 extra limbs that are used solely for knitting. Either that or her patterns are part of some kind of government training programme designed to identify people with elite multitasking skills to become secret agents. Possibly both.

Which I’m all for, if I get a red Stetson like Agent Carter.

Nik:

Think about how fabulous we’d be as secret agents though.

 

The Susan Crawford Along: casting on our vintage knits

Nik and I both got started, and we’ve started keeping each other updated on what we’re doing. Enjoy!

Nik: 

I have 1000 vintage dresses (shush) that I don’t tend to wear because their line doesn’t lend itself well to normal/modern cardigans. I have been searching for ages to find the perfect cropped vintage cardigan, so I was pretty excited when this one came along. I’ve been meaning to knit it for ages, but RSI is hard on the hands. But now, thanks to some gift vouchers and a nice pair of warm gloves, I’m ready to start!

Ellen: 

For me, the issue I have with cardigans is that I loathe ¾ length sleeves. Which is problematic as most every retro-styled cardigan I’ve seen seems to have ¾ sleeves if it’s a plain one. But my reason for choosing the jumper I’m making is party the shape, which I think is pretty fabulous, and also the slightly OTT Christmas-ness of it. For that reason I stuck with a super-bright red yarn for the MC, though I’ve no idea whether the fibre content is actually what it said it was when I ordered it, because Ebay. It feels very soft though. I’m excited to get going on this.

Nik:

The cardigan I’m actually making is the Princess Twinset one – sorry if there was any confusion! I get what you’re saying about the ¾ sleeves, it’s a pain. Especially since they’re such an awkward length! Just started casting on – 2.75mm needles. Ouch. And my only 3mm have vanished into the aether. Weirdly, I have four lots of 3.25mm. Why.

Ellen:

Argh, sorry for the pattern confusion. Fortunately, I cast on before we got a houseguest who likes to be in the lounge- counting when someone else is talking to you is the sort of thing that leads to stabbing. But I don’t find I need to concentrate quite so hard when I’m ribbing. Though I probably should, I slightly futzed the first row because I managed to forget whether I was on a knit or a purl stitch. And I hadn’t even put the knitting down and come back to it later. Yup.

I feel like getting the ribbing on the front done is taking forever on the tiny needles.  I didn’t have any of either size of needle. Actually, that’s not true. I probably do have both sizes of needle. But a lot of my needles have projects on them, and also there’s the problem of the circular needles I like (the KnitPicks Options ones) not actually having anything on them to tell you what size they are. So I probably do have the right size needles but HOW WOULD I KNOW?

And yes, I probably should have finished some of the projects already on the needles before starting this one… I feel like I should have a point about that. But I don’t.

Anyway, I still like the way the yarn feels, and the ribbing it’s producing is nice and sproingy (IT IS A WORD). I just want to get on to the bit with the larger needles so I feel like I’m making more progress.

What’s on the needles Wednesday

Or rather what’s on the crochet hook. Which doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Being as I’ve just moved house, and unpacked my yarn and FOUND some of my UFOs, I’ve been working on homey projects.

There is *one* knitting project on the needles, which is a toran for the house, using the Welcome Toran pattern from Jean Muir. Being that I can never leave a pattern alone, however, it’s not going to have the fair isle pattern in the photos. It’s going to have Totoro-themed intarsia from the Norwegian Totoro Mittens pattern. It’s been a while since I’ve done colourwork. We’ll see whether I survive the experience.

There’s also a crochet blanket which I don’t have a photo of because I was too busy cowering underneath it staying warm last night. But there IS one I do have photos of. It’s a gift for someone, so I probably shouldn’t put it online but hey, I don’t mind if they know about it.

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Look at it, it’s skulls all the way down!

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This particular project is actually sat next to me on my desk right now, calling to me. We’ll see how long I can resist…

What about you? What are you working on this week?

Finished It Friday- What I did in my summer holiday, part 1

I thought it was high time I start showing you guys things that I’ve actually finished, especially with 15 in 2015, and I thought I’d start as pretty much every school English class ever has started, with a little bit about what I did over my summer break. In this case because one of the things I did was start AND finish the Wild Olive Summer Stitching Club wall hanging.

My completed embroidered and quilted wall hanging

it could also be used as a table runner or a placemat, but I like it as a wall hanging better.

I used all stash quilting fabric- and I don’t know whether this is a good thing (because I used some up) or a bad thing (because, well, it didn’t even DENT the stash).

I loved doing the embroideries. Each one was reasonably quick and simple to do, and I’m really pleased with how they turned out. It also allowed me to master french knots. I mastered them once before but that was ages ago and I had totally forgotten how I was supposed to do them. But see all the little eyes on the smiley faces? French knots.

 

Of course, my inability to leave any pattern alone came into play, and that’s why it’s ended up with four rows of embroidered hexagons instead of three. The happy little pohutukawa (New Zealand Christmas Tree), bottle of sunscreen (a must over here), the raincloud (also an inevitable part of the New Zealand summer), and the carved initials in the tree (yes, those are the Best Beloveds and my initials, and yes, I am a giant sap) are my additions.

The quilt construction is English Paper Piecing, which I had never tried before, but luckily the instructions in the pattern were very clear and easy to follow. If you happen to have a printer (I didn’t, and had to trace a bunch of hexagons on scrap paper to finish this), Mollie Johansen, the designer, has even produced a downloadable PDF of paper-piecing hexagons with little happy faces! Well hey, if you’re going to be doing THAT much hand-stitching, you might as well have fun with it, right? I found it very satisfying to make so much of this by hand, also I got to be a little fussy and make teeny little stitches to join the hexagons together.

I also enjoy needlefelting. I’m weird, OK?

If I made this project again (and this is a lesson I’ll be taking into the other quilt projects this year), I would’ve got some damn embroidery transfer paper, rather than using my usual technique of stitching the printed pattern straight to the fabric and then fiddling around for half an hour pulling little TINY BITS OF PAPER out of the stitches. It’s a good technique for embroidering on fabric where the pattern won’t show up as a transfer, but wasn’t ideal for embroideries this small and detailed.

The only bit of machine stitching I did on this was to attach the binding to the front of the quilt so I could handsew it in place onto the back (another thing I find oddly satisfying). Yes, I know it turned out a little wonky, but that just shows it was made by a person, not a machine. Except for that bit of machine stitching. That was made by a machine. But I digress.

I’m really happy with it, and looking forward to hanging it up so it can remind me of nice weather when it gets cold.

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Except the raincloud. But look how HAPPY the raincloud is! Of the patterns I came up with myself, that’s the one I’m most pleased with.

I’m also kind of glad I did that one direct on the fabric and not on paper, because getting the bits of paper out from under the raindrops would have been a TOTAL PAIN.

In conclusion- I had a lot of fun making this, I love the finished result, and I recommend you give Mollie Johansen’s blog and the Wild Olive Etsy shop a look if you’re after some stitching fun.