Marion Cardigan

I’m so excited to have finished my Marion Cardigan!

I knit this up using an 8ply wool-alpaca blend and 6mm needles.  Despite my swatches turning out absolutely perfectly on gauge, the cardigan is too big.  I found it really hard to figure out my size – is it for my actual bust measurement or the finished bust measurement?  Is negative ease included?  So I suspect that’s where I went wrong.marion-front-pool

I made a couple of changes when knitting the sleeves.  The pattern has you knit a decrease row, knit another 10 or so rows, then repeat about 5 times.  The pattern is for 3/4 sleeves – in order to get them the right length, I had to omit 3 repeats of the 10 knit rows, I just did the decreases.  Lucky too, or the sleeves would have been much longer than full length!

If we don’t talk about the size, I’m actually quite happy with it.  I learned heaps – it was my first time with cables.  There are, of course, a few mistakes, but I’m the only one who will ever notice them, so I figure it’s all good.  If we include my sizing problems… I’m not sure I’ll actually wear this.  I’m considering frogging it and re-knitting it in a smaller size.  I can’t quite handle committing to that process right now, though!marion-buttoning

The cuffs have cute little cables on them, which unfortunately aren’t so cute on my version!  The cable pattern is written with right sides and wrong sides, but as I was knitting in the round on double pointed needles, I was only working the right side.  Needless to say, I forgot all about this until halfway through my second cuff.  So every second row of my cable is the wrong way round.  Woops!  I made the executive decision not to go back and fix it.  This was partially because I couldn’t be bothered, but also because I don’t know how to undo a bind off and get the stitches back on the needles.  It was Christmas day and it just didn’t seem worth the effort of learning how, then unpicking all those stitches.  I hate unpicking on double pointed needles.

One new thing I did try this time around is bamboo double pointed needles.  My wrists have been pretty dodgy since I worked at Coles (a supermarket) on checkouts.  I have a bit of RSI after four and a half years of picking stuff up and twisting it in front of the scanner.  Knitting has been okay, but every now and then my wrists play up and I have to take a break.  What’s the relevance of bamboo needles?  They’re significantly lighter than their metal counterparts (my previous favourites).  My wristiness has been less of a problem since I started using the bamboo dpns.  I’m always a bit paranoid I’m going to snap them, but they’re sturdier than I realised.  Plus, in the grand scheme of things, they’re not actually that expensive, so I can probably just suck up the $9 if that does happen.  I’m really keen now for a set of wood/bamboo interchangeable needles from KnitPro.  My birthday is coming up – maybe I should drop a few hints?marion-grimace

I actually find knitting sleeves on double pointed needles unbearably tedious, even with bamboo needles, so after I’d finished Marion, I decided to learn the magic loop method.  It worked quite well actually, thanks to YouTube!  I started knitting the sock pattern at the back of my knitting reference book, but ended up frogging it because I couldn’t understand the pattern.  What kind of beginners book includes patterns, but doesn’t have all the abbreviations explained somewhere in the book?!  Gah!

I have a couple of projects planned.  I’m super duper keen for a pale pink cardigan.  I was leaning towards Hetty, but I’ve started wondering about the Peacock Eyes cardigan, cropping the length.  I’d also like to try the Andi Satterlund pattern, A Cropped Sweater for Winter – it looks perfect for knitting while listening to lectures.  It’s basic and easily knit, but also really cute with the scallops and colour-blocking!

So much to knit, so little time!

The Ring Ring Dress

A couple of weeks ago, Kyle and I went to the wedding of some friends from church.

It was just beautiful and really fun – but we’re here to talk about what wore, right?!

blue-elisalex-live-frontIt was billed as “formal”.  Over the last year or so, I’ve thrown away a lot of RTW clothes for various reasons (fit, fabric, style…), so I don’t have anything suitable anymore.

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Mum wasn’t sure what to get me for Christmas, so she was going to buy me a dress to wear.  But we got tired of dress shopping fairly quickly, so ended up at Spotlight, fondling fabric.  I ended up choosing a lovely cotton sateen.  I’ve always loved Spotlight’s range of sateens – they’re really the sort of designs you’d see on a posh dress, so it was nice to look at them properly, actually needing a dress like that.

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I went with the Elisalex dress pattern from By Hand London again – I’ve been sewing it a lot lately – with the short sleeves and my flared skirt modification.

blue-elisalex-frontI planned to line the bodice with rayon lining, but did such a rubbish job of cutting it out, I didn’t even bother putting it in.  All my inside seams are overlocked, my neck and arms bias binded.  It actually looks pretty good on the inside, if I do say so myself.

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The amusing thing about this dress?blue-elisalex-zip

I’d all but finished sewing it and just had the sleeves and skirt to hem.  I tried it on one last time… and the zip got stuck.  I couldn’t get the dress off.  I think it was the combination of heavier fabric, bias tape and lack of bendy arms just meant that I couldn’t hold the top of the zip and pull it down at the same time.

So, as I was home alone, I had to leave the dress on, add jeans, runners and my leather jacket and ride the motorbike 15 minutes to Kyle’s house so he could free me.  He thought it was hilarious.  It was one of my more embarrassing moments.

And, to be honest, I haven’t changed the zip.  It’s perfectly serviceable, I just can’t bend my arms the right way.  I sort of figure I’ll just wear it when I can ask someone to undo it at the end of the night.  A lapped zipper probably would have been better, but I’m not really very good at them.  I want to tackle another soon – we’ll see how it goes.

Also – there are no pictures of the back with me actually in the dress.  I was home alone doing the self timer photo thing so I didn’t do the zip all the way up at the back.  Yeah.  Valerie the Mannequin does a pretty good job of standing in!

blue-elisalex-tilly-bowAnyway, I also made a bow belt, from Tilly’s tutorial, to go with it.  It was a piece of cake to put together, if we gloss over the fact that I accidentally cut it out on the fold, therefore cutting out enough fabric for two belts.  Ahem.

I think it’s actually a bit much for this dress, what with the sleeves, busy pattern and then the bow belt.  I’ll still wear it, just not with the matching dress. 

The Elisalex is quickly becoming my go-to dress pattern.  I can’t believe it took me so long to make it!