Purl Alpaca Glacier Cardigan

Niobe-Jumper-by-Purl-Alpaca-Designs-front-viewThis cardigan originally started out as a jumper. I had purchased the beautiful Yarn Stories FineMerino and Baby Alpaca in toffee for Purl Alpaca’s Niobe Jumper, but after a couple of mishaps I had to rethink this plan!

The construction of Niobe is very interesting. You knit the jumper in the round from the bottom up, split in half to separate for the front and back, and then continue in a simple lace stitch for the arms and chest. You then split for the neck, continue the lace down the back and then graft the top of the garment to the previously knitted back. I had knitted all of it, I’d even managed to fairly seamlessly (and after many attempts) graft the top to the bottom, and was almost done, when I realised that I had more stitches left at the bottom of the work then the top. GUTTED.Fine Merino and Baby Alpaca Aran Toffee _ Yarn Stories

I emailed Kari-Helene the designer and with her help I realised that SOMEHOW I had managed to not equally split my stitches. HOW DOES A PERSON DO THIS?? Anyway, I was then faced with having to rip back right to the beginning, and so chose then to do the jumper in a different colour, and use the Yarn Stories yarn for something else.

I LOVE the colour of the yarn, but when I tried on the half completed jumper, I realised that there was a lot of brown, and that this might not be that flattering!

Glacier-Cardigan-by-Purl-Alpaca-Designs-front-viewSo back to the Glacier Cardigan. I knew exactly what I wanted my beautiful toffee yarn to be, a nice, longish cardigan with a shawl collar, and was surprised to find that Purl Alpaca had exactly this in their Glacier pattern. At first I wasn’t sure about the design, as the stitches for the top and bottom go in different directions. For the bottom piece you knit vertically from the bottom upwards and for the top you knit horizontally from cuff to cuff. After reflection though I decided I didn’t mind this, and I’m so glad I carried on!

GlacierCardigan_ - 1 (1)

 

I REALLY love the cardigan, it is EXACTLY what I wanted and I can’t wait for this silly warm November to bugger off and allow the cold November to arrive so I can fully appreciate it’s snugglyness!

I have to be honest though, as much as I love the design, the yarn is the real winner. I was impressed with Yarn Stories after knitting a vintage lace blanket for my friend in their Fine Merino 4 ply in the beautiful cobalt, but seriously the best was yet to come!

GlacierCardigan_ - 1 (2)I CANNOT even tell you how soft this yarn is! It has literally surpassed any of my expectations! The description of the yarn says that the baby alpaca gives the yarn “a touch as soft as cashmere” and this really is no exaggeration! I don’t want to take it off! The suggested needle size is 5mm, but I chose to knit using 5.5mm needles as I wanted a less dense fabric, so the resulting garment is soooo light!! It hardly feels like you’re wearing it! I’m guessing at the moment I sound like I’m on the Yarn Stories pay check, but this is unfortunately not true, and here is the downside.

 

GlacierCardigan_ - 1 This yarn is a bit pricey at £7.25 for 50g, but I think its 100% worth it. I originally bought 9 balls of yarn, and had to order an additional 3 to complete the cardigan, which makes it a pricey £87, way more than I would usually pay. Had I not been given some ‘thank you’ money from my cousin I probably wouldn’t have spent that much, but I’m so glad and I would pay it again for this yarn as it’s completely worth it! And when you look at the price of knit wear on the high street for something that’s not even 100% natural fibres, there really isn’t any contest.

Anyway, I’ll stop going on now! As the design of the cardigan is really straight forward I didn’t encounter any real problems. The only slight one was that I had forgotten to make allowances for knitting in a slightly larger needle size, so the bottom section of the cardigan was slightly wider than the top, which meant I had to do a some ‘creative’ mattress stitch to get the two to fit together. Once I had blocked the cardigan out though this was doesn’t really show (although I see it straight away!).

Overall this is my new favourite squishy woollen item and I encourage everyone to check out this yarn as it’s amazing!

Boy’s Hooded Cardigan

Boy's CardiganA while ago I knitted this lovely boy’s hooded cardigan for my friend’s little boy, using this very versatile Sirdar pattern. The pattern has four designs for ages 0 – 6 years, and is suitable for boys or girls.

I prefer, where possible to knit with natural fibres so I swapped the suggested yarn of Sirdar Snuggly DK and chose instead King Cole Merino Blend DK. Being fairly new to knitting and swapping one yarn in a pattern for another, I didn’t think to check the difference in length between the two yarns, and so ended up using 6 balls of the King Cole in comparison to the 4 suggested for the 1-2 year size, which really bumped up the cost with all the extra postage charges. I wont be making that mistake again!

Ribbed PatternThe cardigan has a lovely ribbed pattern across the shoulders and for the whole of the hood, and as my first attempt at knitting a garment, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself after joining the front sides and back,  until I realised that I’d mixed up the left and right front sections and had also made another mistake in the shaping of the shoulders, on both sides!! Dutifully I took it all apart and unravelled the two front sections to knit again, making sure this time that I followed the pattern correctly, and also attached the right sides!

The rest of the knit went fairly smoothly (minus a call to ma to clarify a few points!) and once it was all finished and stitched toegether, I felt really pleased! This is also the first time that I’d tried blocking and I’m really pleased I went to the extra effort as it fluffed up the knit and regulated the shape. I used flattened bin bags on an mdf board and I was surprised at how quickly it dried, even though it did still smelt a bit ‘sheepy’.

Toggles

I finished off the cardigan with these gorgeous toggle buttons from ebay and voilà, two extra balls of yarn, an extra month and plenty of bad words later it was finished!

Even though the cardigan was slightly on the large side, my friend and her boy loved it which made it all the more worth while.

First Scarf

For my second attempt at knitting I decided to be a bit more adventurous
and knit my friend's boy a scarf.
I decided on Rico Essential Merino Aran for the wool in navy, 
tangerine and burgundy, and I knitted the scarf using my favourite 
Addi aluminium 5mm needles.

Completely unintentionally the scarf ended up being slightly 
Hogwarts-eque, which is no surprise seeing as I am a HUGE fan!
I was really pleased with the end results, and more importantly my 
friend and her boy love it! My favourite moment was when I saw them 
last. When his mum asked him who knitted him the scarf, two year old M 
smiled shyly and said Ju Ju, AAAHHHHH!!! It made all the tense moments 
trying to recover dropped stitches completely worth it!

First Scarf