V-neck knitted sweater ta-daaaah

Tags

,

On 6 April 2014 I picked up a pair of knitting needles and took up knitting again after 10 years. Almost exactly two months later, my first knitted sweater is done!

Stylecraft ladies sweater 8948

The last thing I had knitted, was a cream, pink and grey scarf back in 2004. I was bored out of my mind and didn’t do any crafting after that. That was until August 2009 of course when the crochet bug bit me. I guess the confidence I have after years of crochet, seeing pretty knitting on Ravelry, starting the craft group at work where I am surrounded by knitters and reading every now and then on a crochet blog that a crocheter has taken up knitting, wore me down. I wanted to knit something. Not a scarf mind you! I wanted something to wear but the pattern had to be easy, not too fussy yet with a something special, v-neck and something I would want to wear. I found the perfect pattern on Loveknitting.com – Stylecraft Stars 8948.

When I bought the pattern pamphlet I also bought 4.5 mm Pony aluminium needles. I didn’t need any yarn, as the Vinnis Nikkim that I wanted to use, is the exact gauge and yardage as Stylecraft Stars. What a great stroke of luck! When I saw that, I knew this was going to be a goooood pattern for my first knitted sweater attempt!

When my needles and pattern arrived, I decanted myself onto my spot on the couch, ready to do some knitting. Only problem was I didn’t know how to do the very first instruction of the pattern: Cast on with the thumb method. The what?! Thank goodness for my laptop and Youtube. I found the perfect  instructional video on the Deramores website. The thumb method turned out to be very easy. Hurdle 1 overcome.

As I was knitting the ribbing I soon realised that I made a mistake. Not with the knitting, but with the knitting needles. My cotton yarn was slipping all over the place and I was gripping my knitting needles so tightly to try and keep the stitches from dropping, that I developed knitters-cramp very quickly. Back to the Loveknitting.com website for bamboo needles, (and stitch holder and row counters - in for a penny in for pound).

Those bamboo needles were a godsend! Everything was so much easier once I switched to bamboo.

Everything went swimmingly from there. Bearing in mind that the fancy bit of my sweater happened right after the ribbing, I kinda had thrown myself into the deep end right from the beginning, but I loved it. I got a thrill when I did a stitch count and was spot on!

I have to say that the finishing of the sweater was my biggest fear. To me there’s nothing worse than a handmade piece of clothing that looks…well, handmade. No matter how hard you worked on knitting, crocheting or sewing your pieces, it can all so easily look “cheap” if the finishing isn’t spot on. Thank goodness for another Deramores video where I learned to do the mattress stitch. I couldn’t believe how neat the join (or lack thereof) looked! I also found the Vogue Knitting website helpful when it came to inserting the sleeves into the body.

I did have a little flurry of upset when the sleeve opening on the front of the sweater seemed to be much larger than the sleeve. Thankfully, after a bit of Google-ing, I realised that that’s normal. I just had to ease the sleeve into the opening. Easier said than done. Then I had a brainwave: if the knitting was designed this way, it means they probably did it because a lady’s bust will fill out the front so I had to replicate this “filling out” when I sewed my sleeve into the opening. That means I shouldn’t try to sew it together with the pieces lying on a flat surface, I need something curved. My knee!! And it worked!

Sewing the sleeve into body of knitting

This is how the two sleeves of my sweater was inserted using a mattress stitch. I didn’t even notice the extra fabric at the body when I did it this way. For a first attempt, I am very happy with the way my sleeve sits in the opening. (Please excuse my penguin pajamas…)

After sewing everything together I just had the ends to weave away. For this I found this blog post on The Purl Bee very helpful. I used the diagonal on the wrong side method.

The very last thing to do was to block my sweater. This is the only part that I would do differently next time. The pattern says to block the sweater right at the very end, whereas I think I would have had an easier time sewing all the pieces together, had I blocked the pieces beforehand. What do you knitters think? Do you block your knitting when it’s all sewn up, or do you block the pieces before sewing?

The nitty-gritty of my first knitted sweater:

Pattern: Ladies Sweater in Stylecraft Stars 8948

Yarn: 8 balls of Vinnis Nikkim DK cotton in Avocado

Needles: Pony bamboo 4.5mm and Pony aluminium 3.5mm for the rib

All in all, I’m very happy with my first sweater and kinda proud of myself. I mastered a fancy pattern, managed to do a v-neck (which included a very intimidating s1 knit2tog psso combo) and learned to do mattress stitch to join all the pieces together. Credit should go to Stylecraft Yarns for writing a pattern this pretty, yet easy enough that a newbie knitter can master it.

 

Being so happy with the outcome of my first foray into wearable knitting, I already bought the pattern for sweater number 2!

I may have to think about changing my blog name to crochetandabitofknittingTime…. it doesn’t have the same ring to it, but it’s accurate :)

 

 

About these ads

Terrific Tuesday

Tags

On a Monday I can still remember the fun I had over the weekend, Wednesday is the middle of the work week, on Thursday I start getting hopeful and on a Friday I can taste the weekend. But what about a Tuesday? It’s so…. just there. Weekend memories are too far away and the upcoming weekend might as well be a year away.

What we need is a bit of colourful inspiration to get us going on a Tuesday, don’t you think? A pretty picture, beautiful scenery or colourful imagery. Yup, that’ll liven up Tuesdays and turn it into a terrific day!

From now on I will go through my photos and Pinterest likes every Tuesday and find us a pretty picture to add colour and joy to the day.

xxxxxx

 20140608-150456-54296109.jpg

This is the main motif of this Japanese pattern for a crochet top. I adore it! Unfortunately, I won’t be making more of these pretty square lacy motifs because I need 18 50g balls of yarn for top! I only have 10 balls and seriously can’t justify having to buy eight more at almost £5 a ball – on top of the 10 I already bought! So, the yarn will be used for a knitted sweater which only needs 8 balls and this motif will beautify my bedside table. Once I worked away the two tail ends of course.

Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday.

Natasja

Terrific Tuesday

Tags

On a Monday I can still remember the fun I had over the weekend, Wednesday is the middle of the work week, on Thursday I start getting hopeful and on a Friday I can taste the weekend. But what about a Tuesday? It’s so…. just there. Weekend memories are too far away and the upcoming weekend might as well be a year away.

What we need is a bit of colourful inspiration to get us going on a Tuesday, don’t you think? A pretty picture, beautiful scenery or colourful imagery. Yup, that’ll liven up Tuesdays and turn it into a terrific day!

From now on I will go through my photos and Pinterest likes every Tuesday and find us a pretty picture to add colour and joy to the day.

xxxxxx

yarn and flowers on patio table

I took my toys outside to play on Saturday.

Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday!

Natasja

Progress on my Crochet Mood Blanket 2014

Tags

, ,

It’s been a long time since I showed you any photos of my Mood Blanket. I made an initial summary of my colour choices and I gave you a glimpse into A Day In The Life of a Crochet Mood Blanket, but no photos.

On Saturday morning I took advantage of the hour of sunshine and lay the blanket out on the patio table to take photos for you.

In case you’re wondering, I’m using Hayfield Bonus DK and Baby DK, and the pattern for my squares is Lacy Cross from Jan Eaton’s book 200 Crochet Squares.

crochet mood blanket 2014 in progress

 

Being 6 months in, I can truly say, hand on heart, that my moods are

all

over

the

place.

More so, around the middle of the month – I blame hormones. On the up side, I don’t have a lot of red squares which is a good thing – red is the colour I allocated to stress.

Are you taking part in Crochet Mood Blanket 2014? Have you learned anything about yourself in the process of documenting your daily moodswings?

Striped crochet coaster for Fathers Day

Tags

, ,

I was chatting to my mom yesterday and she reminded me that Fathers Day was on the 15th of June. Living in the UK, with parents living in South Africa I always have to plan far ahead to get presents and cards to them in time. (Mothers Days is even more of a planning mission because Mothers Day in South Africa is on a different day than Mothers Day in the UK. Very confusing and easy to forget about!) Thank goodness for Moms who remind us about Fathers Day, making it possible to crochet a gift for Dad in time.

I whipped up this easy striped coaster with DAD embroidered in cross stitch in an afternoon.

striped crochet coaster for Dad striped crochet coaster for Dad
striped crochet coaster for dad

With this quick pattern and two weeks to go to Fathers Day you won’t have any excuse not to make him a crocheted gift. And if, like me, you need to post the gift, the coaster is ideal to pop inside a greeting card.

Here is the pattern:

Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton in three shades. Ecru (colour A), Ice Water (colour B) and Linen (colour C). The cross stitch is done in Rico Creative Cotton Dark Blue

Crochet hook: 3.5 mm

The pattern is written in UK crochet terms. For US readers, the DC is SC.

Using colour A, chain 20.

Row 1: DC in 2nd chain from the hook, DC to end (19 DC).

Continue working in DC as follows:

Row 2 – 4: colour B

Row 5: colour A

Row 6: colour C

Row 7: colour B

Row 8 – 9: colour C

Row 10: colour A

Row 11 – 12: colour B

Row 13: colour A

Row 14: colour B

Row 15 – 17: colour C

Row 18 – 19: colour A

Row 20: colour B

Block the square using the wet block technique. Use dark blue to cross stitch DAD down the left side of the coaster. Leave two rows unworked at the top and bottom, and one DC stitch unworked on the side.

cross stitch pattern for DAD

If you want to know more about cross stitching onto crochet, I explain it more fully in this post.

I hope you enjoy making this striped coaster for Dad. The pattern is listed on Ravelry, so please link your projects so that I can see your coasters!

 

Terrific Tuesday

Tags

,

On a Monday I can still remember the fun I had over the weekend, Wednesday is the middle of the work week, on Thursday I start getting hopeful and on a Friday I can taste the weekend. But what about a Tuesday? It’s so…. just there. Weekend memories are too far away and the upcoming weekend might as well be a year away.

What we need is a bit of colourful inspiration to get us going on a Tuesday, don’t you think? A pretty picture, beautiful scenery or colourful imagery. Yup, that’ll liven up Tuesdays and turn it into a terrific day!

From now on I will go through my photos and Pinterest likes every Tuesday and find us a pretty picture to add colour and joy to the day.

xxxxxx

This bright granny square jacket is sure to make you smile.
Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday.

Natasja

Fantastic magazine subscriptions offer

Here is an offer that’s just too good not to share with my lovely readers.

From today to 27 May, you can get 30% off any of My Favourite Magazine subscriptions of over £15. That’s 30% off yearly subscriptions for amazing craft magazines like Simply Crochet, Simply Knitting, Mollie Makes and The Knitter, or buy a couple of the one-off magazines like Your Crochet Home and Irresistible Gifts To Crochet Volume 2. I’m pointing out the knitting and crochet theme magazines, but there are many more crafty magazines to choose from.

With Fathers Day coming up you could also use this offer to buy Dad or Hubby a manly magazine subscription as a gift. Share the love, right?

For your 30% off, follow this link and use voucher code: MAYBH14.

Happy shopping, and happy reading, friends.

 

Workshop research

Do you fancy taking two quick polls to help me plan for beginner crochet workshops? Just tell me what day of the week, and what time of the day would be right for you.

If you work fulltime you would probably want to do a weekend workshop right? But would you prefer morning, afternoon or evening? If you’re a stay at home mum, you would have to work around the kiddies, so what time of day would be best for you? Help me to help you :)

Remember, these polls relate to a 3 hour workshop.

 

 

Thanks for taking part!

Terrific Tuesday

Tags

,

On a Monday I can still remember the fun I had over the weekend, Wednesday is the middle of the work week, on Thursday I start getting hopeful and on a Friday I can taste the weekend. But what about a Tuesday? It’s so…. just there. Weekend memories are too far away and the upcoming weekend might as well be a year away.

What we need is a bit of colourful inspiration to get us going on a Tuesday, don’t you think? A pretty picture, beautiful scenery or colourful imagery. Yup, that’ll liven up Tuesdays and turn it into a terrific day!

From now on I will go through my photos and Pinterest likes every Tuesday and find us a pretty picture to add colour and joy to the day.

xxxxxx

Small soft sage green squishy succulents surrounded by hot pink aquarium pebbles. This photo is all about contrast, and I love it!

Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday.

Natasja

Looking back, looking forward

Tags

, ,

The last assignment for Blog Week couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m in a place in my life where I can see that all the great things I’m looking forward to, have been slowly but surely making their way to me since starting this blog back in 2011.

To make your dreams reality, it’s good to look back to see where you began so that you can appreciate how far you have come, because gratitude is the great multiplier in Life. The more you appreciate what you have, the more you have.

When I started my blog it was purely to share my absolute passion of crochet. As I learned more techniques, found amazing yarn, great patterns and saw inspiration all around, all I wanted to do was to share this with my blog readers. Over the last year I found I wanted to share crochet with people face-to-face at groups or workshops and to spend more hours of my day surrounded by things that would inspire me to be creative – things like sunny gardens, blue skies, the comfort of my home, time to really read and comment (not just glance and hit the “like” button) beautiful blogs and doing crochet or knitting (because while I knit and crochet creative juices really flow). What was holding me back was having to go to work five days a week. I blogged about this conundrum in March here, but the need to break away from the office have been coming on a very very long time. I just don’t want to say out loud, or type, the words of complaint and frustration too much because just as gratitude can multiply the good things, so too complaining can multiply the bad things.

In the meantime my dear husband had also been looking for a career change. Through a series of events, most of which were brought on by his positive attitude, he is now doing his dream job for more money. Best of all he didn’t even have to change firms – he still works with the same people, at the same place, 10 minute walk from home.

Then, in February I grabbed an opportunity that has the potential to change my life. A fellow PA announced that she was going on maternity leave. She works only Monday to Wednesday….. I put myself forward to do her maternity cover, and I got it! As of this week, I only work Monday to Wednesday! Thursdays and Fridays are now blogging, photography, crocheting and knitting days! Yes, my salary is less, but with John’s new role and his excellent financial planning, we don’t have to worry too much. We’ve also made a few small changes (like rethinking the type of train ticket I buy and not getting a bi-weekly cleaning service any more), but I am so happy! With my free time I can now set wheels in motion to turn my hobby into a career.

Thursday was my first day at home. It was amazing!

It started with a morning tea overlooking the garden while the laundry was drying.

20140516-110331.jpg

Mid-morning I caught up with The Big Allotment Challenge. This is where things get a bit nasty… our bedroom has been unusable since the Bank Holiday weekend. John replaced the ceiling with a new one that has better sound proofing (we live in the ground floor of a maisonette and our upstairs neighbours are very noisy….). It was a massive job but he did it wonderfully. Now we have plasterers in to skim the new ceiling and the walls. When they are done, John and I will paint everything white and then we get a new carpet. I can’t wait to have our bedroom back! Until then, our bedroom furniture is all over the place, including the living room.

At least I have my knitting :)

20140515-140326.jpg

I soon got tired of looking at the back of the book case and two halves of the bed base, so I moved the knitting outdoors.

20140515-135618.jpg

Then it was time to prepare lunch. Lunch with John! If you think I’m happy to be home on Thursdays and Fridays, you should see John! He loves that he can spend his lunch hour with me. I set the table with placemats and a little posy of flowers from the garden.

20140515-135625.jpg

I made a salad and quick lemon juice & thyme dressing. My knitting and laptop is still on the table within reach. Of course.

20140515-135633.jpg

After lunch and waving John goodbye at the door (how 1970′s housewife am I?! I love it!) I continued watching The Big Allotment Challenge, this time with my Crochet Mood Blanket. I was in the messy living room again but at this point it really sunk in how much time I will now have for crochet and knitting. I was half way through the first day and already I had swapped between my two crafts and I still had the whole afternoon ahead of me! When our house is back to normal (we are also redoing the bathroom) I’ll be able to use my Office Behind The Door again. That’s going to be great! (I’ll also be able to fit in an afternoon nap…ooh yes!)

20140515-144135.jpg

When things in the living room / bedroom campsite got too much I moved outside again to continue working on Crochet Mood Blanket.

20140515-171151.jpg

I got up every now and again to check on the dinner (no housewife is worth her salt if dinner is not on the table when husband gets home) and pack away laundry. If I say “pack away laundry”, I mean fold it and pile on top of any of the three stacks of wardrobe drawers on the floor of the study. Our clothes are not neat (or easy to find), but at least it’s clean.

I really had the most amazing day. I just know that because I’m so happy, relaxed and busy doing what I love, everything, including the crochet workshops I’m holding, is going to work out. How could it not?

In the meantime, I’ll follow my own advice – I won’t focus on the messy house I’m in now but rather focus on the beautiful white walls and modern bathroom that is to come. And to take my attention away from dust and inconvenience? I’ll knit and crochet.

 xxxxx

This post is Day 7 of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 5: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Annual-2014-Knitting-Crochet-Blog-Week-on-Eskimimi-Makes

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,121 other followers