There was an outbreak of babies in the office late last year. So true to form I pulled out my stash of Baby Cashmerino and got knitting some baby cardigans. Because there were three babies on the way it gave me the chance to make a few things and give the parents a choice from multiple things for their new arrivals.
By accident or design, all three projects have ended up with a wildlife theme to them.
Wowligan is a baby sized version of Kate Davies’s iconic O w l s sweater. Here I’ve made it in a cheerful toffee coloured yarn. I left off buttons for the owl eyes on this version, to avoid choking hazards.
I fell in love with The Wabbit as soon as I saw the pattern, so I was really glad to have the excuse to make it. Who wouldn’t love a parade of cute colourwork bunnies round the yoke of a cardigan? This was a great project for using up scraps and leftovers from earlier projects. (You may recognise some of the colours here from my previous baby projects – yes, that is the toffee from Wowligan for the bunnies.)
Finally, we have Save the Baby Whales. This has a very cute set of colourwork whales running round the lower body. They mirror, which makes it pleasingly symmetrical.
Much as I love knitting for babies, I’m hoping there won’t be another run of work pregnancies, as it’s been really great to be able to get back to knitting things for me.
I love fingerless mitts. They keep your hands warm, particularly in those in-between days of spring and autumn. You can still use your touchscreen phone, eat snacks, and root in your bag for keys/tissue/money etc but you still have toasty hands. And you can curl the tips of your fingers up inside to keep them warm on the chillier days.
I love them, but I never seem to have enough pairs. At minimum I want a pair in the pocket of every coat that co-ordinates. But I’m not there yet.
So when I was in France on holiday earlier this year, sitting in 30+ degree heat, what I decided I wanted to do was make some fingerless mitts for the cooler autumn to come. I finished the first of this pair while I was there, but in typical style didn’t get round to the second until quite a bit after getting home.
These are Carry On Fingerless Mitts, the pattern by a designer Cheryl Chow. It’s an incredibly clever design, with the stranded colourwork flowing brilliantly from one round into the next.
The yarn is Navia Duo, a wonderful sportweight blend of Faroese and Shetland wool. It’s gloriously sheepy, and its stickiness makes it perfect for colourwork. Although it feels rough in the hand it knits up into a beautifully soft fabric. I love the contrast of the beautifully bright and sunny yellow with the marled charcoal grey. Guaranteed to bright up a dull day.
The slightly heavier weight was also a good test bed for stranded colourwork in the round on small diameter projects. In the past I’ve made my floats far too tight and ended up with some odd results. In this case I made extra efforts to get them loose and it’s worked well.
And – seriously – if people see you knitting stranded colourwork in the round on DPNs, with a colour held in each hand, they will think you are working Actual Witchcraft.
Two FOs in one week?! I am spoiling you. This is Ceciliana, next in the A-Z of shawls.
The sharp-eyed among you will have spotted that there is no lace here. With Ceciliana I’ve tried another technique that is new to me: mosaic knitting. This is a style of colourwork knitting, but unlike fair isle there are no floats running at the back of the work,, making it much more flexible, stretchy and less stiff. And unlike intarsia there are no pesky bobbins to contend with. Instead, the pattern is made using slipped stitches, with each of hte two colours of yarn used on alternate rows of garter stitch.
It works up really quickly and is very satisfying to knit. Just like any other colourwork pattern, there is a chart to follow. The trick is just getting your stitch counts right. As always, stitch markers are your friend. It’s definitely a technique I will try again when I want a hit of colourwork without the faff.
I really like the textured effect the garter stitch and mosaic knitting style gives this shawl. The two shades of grey (a lovely silver and a darker slate colour) give it a very modern look and feel. The grey was hard work for me to knit (my mood is strongly affected by colour, and subdued colours = subdued me) but the overall look is modern and sophisticated, and I can see it going with lots of things. This is a practical shawl that I can see myself wearing a lot this autumn.
The pattern is by Lisa Hannes, who has a number of patterns for shawls of this style using mosaic knitting on Ravelry. This one is a shallow crescent, and incorporates short row shaping to create wedges of the colourwork pattern, as well as the bands of the diamond motif.
The yarn is Travelknitter’s Silky Merino, a 50/50 silk and merino blend in a ply weight This is the yarn I bought at Festiwool in Hitchin last year. It’s a great yarn to work with and I’d really recommend it – perfect for projects like this and the colour range is superb.