FO: Epistrophy

Today is the last day of November, and I’m pleased to report that I completed my NaKniSweMo challenge.  This is my finished Epistrophy.

Progress slowed down considerably once I got to the colourwork yoke.  It took a lot longer than I was expecting it would.  I had a few days off work last week with a really horrible cold/flu bug (probably the worst I’ve felt since I had swine flu back in 2010), which allowed me to make a bit of progress.  But once the yoke was done, the rest flew by.

After a lot of deliberation I picked these buttons because they are such a good colour match for the yarn.  I bought them from Textile Garden when I checked their stall on a whim while I was at Festiwool a few weeks ago.

I’m a little bit anxious about the steek on this one, though.  The Sublime yarn is very slippery, so I can’t rely on it to stick together.  In slower time I’ll find some tape to reinforce the steek, that hopefully picks up the white and purple in the yoke.  Meanwhile, the cardigan is wearable.  Or it will be once it’s finished drying after a good long soak.

The final project came in at just a smidge over the 50,000 stitch target for a NaKniSweMo project.

Of course, I now have raging startitis, but I need to concentrate on finishing a couple of other WIPs before starting anything new.  Though that hasn’t stopped me furiously rearranging my pattern queue on Ravelry.

FO: Bellyphant Cardigan

I’ve just finished the first of the gifts for the autumn babies – a Bellyphant Cardigan.


This pattern has been in my Ravelry queue for a while, waiting for someone to have a baby so I would have an excuse to make it for them.  I love the colourwork elephants, and I had a great time picking some colours that would be striking and work for a boy or a girl.

The buttons are vintage ones, from a batch I bought at Duttons in York.  They’re the same ones I used on my Braid Hills cardigan.  The yarn is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.

I’m not yet sure which baby this is for.  As I explained in my earlier post, I’m intending to let some of the parents pick their gift from a selection.

On to the next one!

Button Love

I love buttons.

I’ve always loved buttons.

As a child, one of my favourite things to do was to play with my Mum’s button jar.  Her jar is like an old-fashioned sweet jar – glass with a cut glass lid with a seal.  And the buttons inside were little coloured jewels.  I loved playing with them.   I sorted them by size and colour.  I made patterns, snugging them as tightly together as I could.  I had favourite buttons in that jar: a set of quilted, leather buttons from an old 1960s coat, a little red shirt button and a blue pearlescent one.

There’s a wonderful generational connection between crafters when it comes to buttons – a continuity of materials that is a tangible manifestation of the inheritance of craft skills.  My mother-in-law very generously gave me one of her button boxes when she sold one of her houses, and I’ve added those buttons to my own collection.  Her tastes are different to mine – the colours are different (more blues and greens than reds, purples, gold and silver) and there are little non-button delights in there like soft toy eyes and teddy bear noses.  I feel proud and honoured that she wanted to give me a box of such personal treasures that are a part of her family history.

Rather than being taken and saved from old clothes at the end of their life to be re-used, most of the buttons I’ve acquired myself have been bought.  I’m like a magpie when it comes to buttons – I want all the pretty, shiny things.  In a moment of fevered madness I once spent over £100 in Liberty just on buttons and I spent a very happy afternoon in Duttons during a weekend in York a couple of years ago.

Finding the perfect buttons for a project is a real pleasure.  And I’ve now got to the point on my Chickadee where I’m close to starting the button bands and need to make some decisions.    The yarn is Skein Queen Voluptuous, which I bought at Unravel last year specifically to make this cardigan.  Voluptuous is a beautifully woolly, sheepy yarn with quite a rustic feel.  It’s a ‘sticky’ yarn, making it perfect for colourwork.

I’ve a few options for buttons.

Buttons 1

Chickadee will have a garter stitch edging with contrast colour finishing, so I’ve folded the cuff up to show you what it would look like.

The top two buttons are from Textile Garden.  They have an amazing selection of buttons in all colours, sizes and materials.  The ones in the top row I bought yesterday.  The etched brass is simple, but the details are lovely, particularly the little bird motif which echoes the colourwork.  I like the coppery undertone of the second button down, and the white echoes the background colour of the colourwork section very nicely.  I think the third one down is a bit too small and too delicate for this cardigan.  The colour of the bottom button is great, but I think the filigree isn’t quite right for this cardigan.

I normally go for quite neutral buttons, sticking to metallics, but Ysolda’s original cardigan has contrast buttons.  So I also looked in my stash for contrast buttons that might work.

Buttons 2The top two buttons here are porcelain.  I bought them at Dulwich Picture Gallery of all places.  The bottom one is Czech glass.  The flowers in the top button match the colourwork birds, but the green isn’t the best match and they are flowers rather than birds.  The second one is a bit too dark, I think, and the colours in the bottom one don’t work for this project (though one day I will find the perfect project for these beautiful buttons).

So, which would you choose?