Favourite cardigans

Sometimes you find a favourite cardigan – like your best friend, like a warm hug on a cold day. It lifts you and cheers you up every time you wear it. Not too tight, not too loose, warm and comfortable, you never want to take it off.

This is mine: I am talking about my Rowan Pure Cashmere DK “Fawn” by Kim Hargreaves (Raspberry cropped cardigan in Ravelry).


It is perhaps rather unfortunate that this beautiful yarn has been discontinued. Although it was sold as “double knit”, it’s knitted on smaller than the usual 4mm needles, and it even looks and feels finer.

I have been lucky enough to find the last remaining source – “Laughing Hens” online shop, and have ordered some to make Kim Hargreaves “Alexi”. She states that she cannot recommend an alternative yarn. Seasons knitters might say that any DK can be used on a DK pattern. Normally I would argue the same, however on this occasion I would agree with Kim. Rowan’s Cashsoft DK and Cashsoft 4-ply (also recently discontinued) are just 10% cashmere, and do not have the spring and bounce of the pure cashmere yarn.

Whilst Rowan Pure Cashmere DK is rather expensive (to say the least!), I’d rather have one cardigan knitted in it than three or four in a regular priced yarn – but then that’s what makes it a favourite!

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Dilemma of a lengthways scarf

Lengthways scarves are a great way to use up yarn, particularly when you have lots of oddments of different shades – for example left over from a Fair-Isle project (see right)

Kaffe Fassett design: “Cassis” in Rowan Kidsilk Haze

However, in my search for suitable stitches, I find the same re-occurring problem…. the amount of stretch across the ‘width’ of the knitting.

The result – a scarf which stretches and distorts out of shape when tied or draped around the neck.

My conclusion: probably crochet is much more suitable for lengthways working.

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Noughts and Crosses cowl sampler

Well I’ve been busy this morning knitting up a sampler for a cowl! The theme is Noughts and crosses. A simple cable and bobble pattern – very effective and ideal for beginners. I hope to publish a pattern in Ravelry soon….so here it is!

Knitted with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK for lovely stitch definition!

Knitted with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK for lovely stitch definition!
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Fancy knitted rib welt from Kim Hargreaves

I’m knitting a sweater from one of my favourite pattern books – ‘Misty‘ by Kim Hargreaves.

It’s a bit of a love/hate relationship – I love the patterns, but I’m not enjoying this complex welt. It’s from the pattern ‘Haze’, which is a described as “a sweater with a generous neckline, deep Raglans, and eyelet trim”. Pretty!

rib knitted sideways for sweater welt

An unusual waistband/welt – this is knitted lengthways and stitches picked up to make the main body of the garment

The welt is knitted ‘lengthways’, so it doesn’t have so much stretch as conventional ribs. I’ve made a larger size because it looked so short and there was not much stretch.

The main body of the garment is simple – just stocking stitch and nice and straightforward.

So let’s see what happens……. the yarn is 100% cotton (Rowan Pima cotton), which in my experience can be inclined towards bagginess. It might just add to the loose and laid back feel of this design?!

I’ve had this yarn in my stash for ages and I’m glad that progress is being made. I’ve taken it out and put it back a few times just because of needing to concentrate on the eyelet welt. Now I just need to finish it before the weather warms up………not much hope of that for a couple of weeks……?

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Brockford Barn knit and stitch

My first time at the Brockford Barn knit and stitch. A weekly meeting for craft people to get together, knit (and/or crochet), stitch and share ideas. How lovely to meet like-minded people, and a good excuse to spend the morning knitting!

They meet every Thursday 10:00am-12:00, Brockford Barn IP14 5PQ, just of the A140 at Wetheringsett (between Stonham Aspal and Diss). There is no charge, but drinks and cakes can be purchased.

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Double knit like 4-ply? Rowan’s Pure Cashmere DK

My current knitting project is “Fawn”, a classic, understated cropped cardigan by Kim Hargreaves….

Rowan pure cashmere in shade "Cerise"

Rowan’s Pure Cashmere yarn

I’m using the recommended yarn – Rowan’s pure cashmere. I love the drape and feel of this sumptuous yarn, but it knits much more like a 4-ply than DK. Indeed I’m using 2.75mm for the rib and 3mm for the stocking stitch!

P.S. the picture shows my only pair of knit pro “symphony” needles. My very favourites.

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Book review: Knitting block by block by Nicky Epstein

I recently purchased “Knitting block by block” from Amazon and it arrived yesterday.

It is my first Nicky Epstein book/pattern, and I came across it whilst browsing through the knitting network site Ravelry

I couldn’t resist the purchase, because the it seemed so much more innovative than other books, and I have not been disapointed.

For me, the beauty is in it’s capacity to inspire. I liknitting block by blockke the way that the author explains different ways of combining blocks and colours, and uses different techniques (like cable, I-cord, Fairisle, embroidery and beads). There are clever uses of layers and texture (for example the ‘smocking’ block and ‘multilayered lace’ patterns), and lots of ways of dividing blocks into striped, triangular sections and rectangular blocks.

Although I would say that in general, the skill level is quite advanced, there are easier patterns too, and the results from combining blocks can be stunning! The book is beautifully illustrated with sumptuous colour photos of each block design knitted up.

With 150 blocks to choose from, it would be quite acceptable to mix and match using the author’s suggestions, but her patterns also give you the freedom to adapt and develop your own designs.

This book was published in 2010, and the patterns for sweaters, scarfs and bags are (in my opinion) up-to date and very wearable.

So, if you haven’t had a look at this book yet, why not browse through the “Look inside” at amazon? If you already have the book or have made any of the blocks I would be grateful on comments, review or feedback.

I can’t wait to get started…. Happy knitting!

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