Finished: Wintertrui 2014!

It’s finished! It’s comfy! It’s handspun!  (Hmm? you think I buttoned my cardigan wrong? So did I. But I didn’t.)

How smart of us, that’s you and me dear reader, to figure there would not be enough blue wool for the whole cardigan. That we decided to use white wool for the back panel. And to see how far we’d get on for the sleeves but have the white wool standing by. The sleeves are long and cosy and we are champions in estimating meterage!

This is what’s left of the blue yarn.
Champions I say!

Champions who probably will wear their cardigan unbuttoned in 2015.

Now, while it’s still light outside, I’ll have a look at Peabody Sweater. Will I finish two garments on the last day of 2014? Update next year also known as tomorrow.


Weird Wool Wednesday: 2014 having the last laugh

I had noticed it on the pictures I took when I was wearing the vest that the top is not even. New pictures confirm: the blue sits higher on my left shoulder than my right. The white is higher on the side too. Weirdly higher:

No idea how this came about. The short rows in the blue are situated in the same stitch both on the left and the right. The white part is the same on the left and the right. The rest is knitted top down, with the same amount of rows left and right.
I really have no idea why my cardigan is wonky.

But I can fix it a bit, yes, I found a solution. I fixed it and then I tugged a bit at it and now it’s better. This solution insures that the white shrug part now sits more level. There’s still a slight difference in the blue part but the white sits level now. Yes, this is acceptable!

Why the weird expression then?


I’m having a weird look on my face because this is the solution I came up with:

2015: the year I’m the lady with the wonky blue bulge near the face? Or the year that I’m that lady that cannot button up her cardigan?
choices choices

Wintertrui 2014: one sleeve and one not so sleeve

I finished one sleeve. Kitchenered the cuff on it. When I encountered the knot in the middle of the yarn I thought the sleeve might be just long enough.

I picked up stitches on the other shoulder and started shortrowing my way down. But something didn’t sit right.

Looking at it flat it shows: the shoulder has a bulge. Nice if it’s right on the shoulder. Not so nice when it’s halfway your upper arm.

It’s caused because I knitted the top 7 stitches twice before short rowing. And I added two stitches because the whole sleeve needs two more stitches than the stitches I’m picking up.
I thought: why not put them in the top?
Well, now I know. Why not.

frog frog. Better start a new sleeve.

Wintertrui 2014: new sleeve in progress

New set-in sleeve, knitted top down. It looks a little small but the white part of the cardigan extents over the shoulder. The sleeve starts in the round with 49 stitches, that’s enough.
I picked up 46 stitches, most from an edge made of slipped first stitches. I really like how neat it turned out. No holes.

I’m just knitting in rounds now. I’m down to 37 stitches and now it’s straight on, no more decreases. A few cm more and I’ll meet the cuff. Or the knot that indicates the middle of the yarn. It’s still a surprise which one of the two.

This room has no x-mas tree. Still I wanted more lights.
Logical solution:

Wintertrui 2014: ripping out the sleeves.

Gauge on my handspun is not the same as gauge on the Donegal Heather yarn, these sleeves are too wide.

I also have no good idea how to knit this sleeve onto the armhole. The only solution I know of is knitting a sleeve shape flat -following perhaps the pattern of a sewing pattern or of a knitted sweater- and sewing it into the hole afterwards.
This does not particularly enthuse me.

It rather feels like it would become one of those things that needs to be done, to be pushed through. A chore. And I’m not particular good with knitting chores…

I’ve decided to change course to a more lu(di)crific path: rip out the sleeves apart from the two existing cuffs. Knit the sleeves topdown from the armholes. See if I’ll get there with the existing yarn and otherwise have a white band around the wrist.

… I also may have cast on a new cardigan with the blue Donegal Heather Yarn. Which uses the same needle as the sleeves do…

The last day of this year I will spend with Peabody Sweater to close up its shoulders. A technique I’ve never done before and I cannot visualize easily although I’ve tried:

but it didn’t work.

Which is why it’s been laying around for two years since I knitted it.
By now I have a sneaky suspicion I knitted that sweater too tight all over. That I won’t be wearing it with pleasure, once finished. That it would be better to rip out and start anew…

Oh and buttons for Cocoberry shawl: I’ve bought darling buttons in Utrecht. Mislaid them. Bought new ones on the market in my city. Have already sewn on half of them so there’s progress there.
(But I don’t like what I’ve done so far. Contemplate redoing them.)

Hmmm. Ripping sleeves, considering ripping Peabody, wanting to redo Cocoberrybuttons… I would do better to keep my inner knitter perfectionista at arms length for the remainder of the year:

(ooooh, this picture by Dennis Elema makes me want to continue knitting on my little Dragon Cardi!!)

(but no no no. It’s on small needles and they make my shoulder hurt more. Seeing the doctor about that on the 6th of January. A good little dragon I am.)

Wintertrui 2014: buttons on, vest finished.

I sewed on the buttons. And all of a sudden it’s a finished garment. I made a vest!

I’m still knitting the sleeves but I’m a bit confused because this is wearable:

I like how the side bust line continues into the line that picks up stitches for the collar. It looks like a princess seam to the bottom. Would be nice in a solid coloured garment.

Weird Wool Wednesday: seeing the point

I spend so many hours knitting the pockets, thinking up the button band and making it just right. Binding off was a tedious task in which I had to take care to maintain the same tension. It was a long block of concentration. Afterwards I spend a good hour sewing in all the threads.
Worth it:

I was so proud when I finished it.
I sat back. Admired my work. Admired the neat button holes, the nice edge and the way the pockets had come into existence on the very last row, the bind off row.

Then I turned the collar, to admire the inside.


In Dutch we have an expression, for when you no longer see the point of something. It literally translates into “I no longer see the hole”.

Which is kind of the point. With button holes. To keep seeing the holes.
All those hours of concentration and not once did I realize I was closing the pocket shut over the button holes!

Well. After some more sighing and head shaking I used my reading glasses to find the sewn in ends and undid the bind off at the pocket. I then redid it, making the pocket close in front of the button holes. I took some spare yarn and sewed the pocket shut and then bind off. And then sewed in all the threads.

Once again, I can see the hole of things.

New Old Louet Wheel and two sleeves and trees in progress.

Remember that old battered Louet S70 I found at the thrift store?
It’s now restored, given new flashy bits and polished with coconut oil:

Love it!

It will stay in the city, together with my all round wheel (which still has white Long Draw Hampshire Down on it from … Spring 2014sssh)
My other Louet S70 stays in the cabin, it has green Long Draw Dutch Sheep on it, for sweater Sprig. (my good resolution for 2015)

Oh, how I love this type Louet! Solid oak, I can spin worsted and woolen on it, lace and thick yarn and various types of artyarn. Love it!
I’d love to spin right here and now. But I can’t, I’m knitting.

The progress on sleeves of the Wintertrui 2014 is slow but steady. Sleeves take up about as much knitted fabric as a front panel or a back panel. And I’m knitting two at a time so that’s a lot of stitches. It also makes my shoulder hurt (Another Good Resolution for 2015: see doctor about this. And listen to Dutch Wool Diva who advised me to see a Manual Therapist about it because posture plays a role in this for sure)

Now with the holidays there are some car trips and visits where I can knit so I might finish these this year.
I love how I only spend my time this holidays with people who like me knitting!

Happy Holidays everybody!
Here’s our tree. I put the empty boxes of the decorations under the tree. As well as the waffle iron we’ll be using on Friday and the weekend. It looks like presents! (we don’t have presents with Christmas, we have them on Saint Nicholas day. With witty poems to poke fun of our loved ones.)

This is a fake tree.
But I’m a real tree kinda woman. Who is tired of seeing real x-mas trees being hacked up every year and die in shops and streets and houses. Tired also of seeing the ones with roots eventually wither away in the garden. But a fake tree… is fake. It made me sad last year, the plastic phoney.
So this year I brought some pruning of the hedge around the cabin with me to the city to create some sort of garland or wreath in the sitting room. It smells amazing!

Some assembly still required.

Kersttakken 2014

Hmm. I’m in a bit of a hurry. How about a quick Abstract Expressed X-mas Decoration?

Kersttakken 2014

Maybe not. In the end I’m just another slave to convention:

Kersttakken 2014

Besides, I needed some greens to frame this lovely bird with. And the pinecones are chocolate and I don’t like chocolate in abstract art anyway. Or any art. I like chocolate in ma belly!

Kersttakken 2014

Wintertrui 2014: fixing the pockets

The edge of the pockets was too ruffled, it had too many stitches and/or was knitted on too large a needle size. So I crocheted a line of chains on it. Crochet has minimum elasticity, contrary to knitting that’s very stretchy.

This one is too lose though.
I took out the crochet and started anew, this time putting in less crochet stitches. The next one is better:

Ohooo! Nice! No more ruffles:

Yes, yes. Very nice:

Now the second pocket.

Oops, too tight:

Did you notice my lucky cat’s foot? I always keep it close.

Preferably attached to snores and cuddles.

I redid the crochet on the second pocket more loosely. And now:


Next: knitting from the sleeve cuffs buttom up until I run out of blue (green?) yarn. And attach buttons. With the blue (green) yarn. Before I run out.

(How am I going to knit a sleeve buttom up into its sleeve hole? I’ve only down top down sleeves until now. I’m kind hoping I run out of blue/green yarn so I can knit the sleeves at the armhole with white and later graft them onto the blue parts. But at the mean time I’m hoping to have all blue sleeves because I think that would look nicer.)

Wintertrui 2014: on button bands

Right. I’ve knitted the collar, focusing on shortrowing in the neck and making those pockets.

Lots of short rows to give the neck just a little bit of blue (green) and the collar lots:

I’ve knitted merrily along and now it’s time to start the button band. This needs some pondering.

Putting button holes into plain stockinette stitch will stretch the fabric terrible because all the force of the button is put on just a few stitches. This happens also when you’ve got garter stitch instead of stockinette stitch (to prevent the curling).

Besides that the outer edge of the button hole ban will crumple up, making indentations as show by this baby cardigan F578 by Plymouth Yarn Design Studio. It has a button band of just garter stitch and it has non-reinforced button holes in it:

You see it has little waves where the buttons are.
The edge does have a nice amount of extra garter stitch rows so the button doesn’t stretch the hole straight out of its surrounding fabric.
But it’s the waves I don’t want.

If you want a button band to lie flat when buttoned up it ought to be reinforced.
Criollo cardigan by Justyna Lorkowska does this by ribbing the button band on a smaller needle and adding a sturdy i-cord to the edge. It lies flat even though the cardigan is form fitting:

That’s good knit-engineering because even when fully closed (with quite a bit of pull on the fabric and the button holes band) it’s fairly flat. Only minor waves going on.
And what a nice border!

On a side note: so lovely to wear a fitted cardigan with a happy skirt. Makes me go all summery in the head and wanting to twirl. (However, I don’t see the point of woolen cardigans that fit close around the body when said body is kinda hot and sweaty from Summer and twirling. I’d keep washing my knits. I’m too lazy for that. I mean efficient)

Anyway, back to thinking about the button band for my winter sweater.
My preference would be a Double Knitted button band with an i-cord edging. No curling, no flipping, no stretching, no waves.

I found this tutorial by Pieknits helpful.

On the next row you double all the stitches (k, ktbl) and then work the rows *k1,p1* with two separate yarns. One for the k stitches and one for the p stitches. Pieknits works them at the same time, bringing two strands along. When I did the double knitting at the borders of my pockets I worked with one strand, bringing it up working the k stitches and slipping the p’s. And then down working the p stitches (which were k stitches seen from the WS) and slipping the others.

Pieknits also explains double knitting should be done on needles two sizes smaller than the main knitting. This makes sense since basically you are knitting ribbing. And with two yarns at that, which adds extra bulk.
It explains why the borders of my pockets are so ruffled, I did not go down in needle size. (I will tighten them in the back with a row of crochet I think)

Yes, a double knit button band will give excellent button holes.
Pieknits shows in her excellent tutorial how to make the actual holes. She lets you cast on new stitches with the two yarns while at the same time you bind off existing stitches. It’s a nice trick, without breaking yarns or having to sew in threads.

I’m partial to Tulips button holes by Techknitter because it reinforces the short sides of the hole. I’ll see what I’ll do. Perhaps only incorporate the wrapping of the stitches on the side…

I leave you with cardigan pattern Lewenwick from Gudrun Johnston who uses the tendency for button holes to make waves as a design element:

Emphasized by using a wavy lace pattern for the button hole.
Smart engineering 🙂