Friday, 14 February 2014

where the wild sheep roam

When I heard that my cousin was going to have a baby boy in February I started to browse for the perfect baby cardigan pattern on Ravelry. I had recently learned Fair Isle knitting and was keen to embark on a Fair Isle project. I didn't want to make a traditional Fair Isle cardigan but something a little quirky. I eventually found this pattern on Solveig's blog Solstrikke. I downloaded the pattern and then spent days worrying about the colours I was going to choose for the 5 rows of sheep. I went to The Yarn Cake, our local yarn shop and bought what I thought were perfect shades of Jamieson 2ply jumper wool. When I got home, I didn't like  all my shades and went online to order a few more that my local yarn shop didn't stock. I rationalised with myself that I would be able to knit a few more phone socks, like this one, with the leftover shades and that really, I didn't waste any money.


The pattern is clearly written and easy to follow. Being relatively new to stranded knitting, I was not quite sure what to do with the main colour when only the alternative colour was used for knitting the sheep bodies. I emailed the designer Anne Myhre, who is Pinneguri on Ravelry. Within one hour I had a reply and continued knitting. I felt a bit silly for asking because the answer was so obvious that I should really have figured it out for myself.... drop the main colour and pick it up again later. Of course.

 
I have never knitted a bottom up seamless cardigan and I was puzzled about the sleeve attachment. The instructions simply said to knit the sleeves onto the body. I thought I'd follow the instructions up to the "knit sleeves onto the body" and worry then. As it turned out, there was only one way to do so and it was rather straight forward. I noted that the cardigan was not actually seamless because under the arms there are holes that need to be sewn together at the end. I suppose there are no proper seams and I am being a bit fastidious.


Once the sleeves were in, it was a breeze to finish the yoke although the last row of sheep was a bit troublesome. I had to knit this sheep row several times until I was happy with it. I didn't quite like the faces as they were in the pattern and made some adjustments (I tried and frogged, no planned adjustments).


I knitted the border on each side of the steek before cutting the masterpiece. I was so exited to get to the point of cutting that I forgot to take a picture. I folded the steek in to give a smooth finish and hand seamed it.


I think the inside of the cardigan looks just as nice as the outside (but in a different way).


Then I closed the underarm holes and spent a good while selecting buttons. I found perfect ones in my granny's jar of buttons. It is nice to have something from my late granny added to a cardigan destined for her newest great grand child.

 
 


Next I washed the cardigan with Fairy Liquid (dishwash liquid) because this is what was suggested to us when I went to a Fair Isle knitting class last year. I gave the cardigan a good workout, I pulled and tugged and kneaded it for a good while before pinning it down on a towel to dry.

I am really pleased with the result. I would happily wear an adult version of the cardigan. My only worry is that the cardigan will be too scratchy for a little baby... Jamieson 2ply jumper wool is rather rough to the touch. Personally, I love the scratchiness of wool but I am on the eccentric side. The smell of the cardigan is quite divine, too. Nothing much beats the smell of sheep wool and I would be the first to buy a sheep wool perfume if it existed.

I don't know what is going to be my next "big" project. I have a pattern in my queue on Ravelry that I might try. It is a lacey shrug of sorts, perfect for a cool summer's night. But I can't imagine it being summer just now and I am not sure if the time is right. I always find that the time needs to be just right for a project. Another option is to make a new jumper for Sam. He has ordered a replica of an orange pullover I made a few years ago and is now too small.

For now, I am working on my March sock. It is looking good so far. I am also making a granny square tea cosy because I wanted one for a long time. What are you making just now?

Have a great weekend. Cx

18 comments:

  1. Oh, wow. Christina, this is absolutely beautiful. Any mother would be thrilled to have this for her baby. You did a wonderful job with it. I think that as long as she puts a long-sleeved shirt or bodysuit under, it won't be too scratchy for the baby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good idea Jennifer, I might pack a couple of soft bodysuits to the cardigan before sending it to the baby. Cx

      Delete
  2. What a delightful little cardigan and I love the idea of using your Granny's buttons. Have you tried washing woollen things in Eucalan? You just leave to soak and then squeeze out - no rinsing so very easy and leaves no synthetic smell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip Anne, I'll get some Eucalan for my next project. Cx

      Delete
  3. That is very cute. I think I would be terrified of cutting my knitting! I have too many projects on the go at the moment and some more yarn arrived this morning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cutting is the most exiting part Gina! If you use good old fashioned sheep wool (not superwash) it works a treat, it is almost as if the yarn was full of teeny weeny hooks that stop the knitting from unravelling. I have cut alpaca, too. This is a bit more slippery but I have had the cardigan for months now and it is still pristine. I love yarn deliveries! C

      Delete
  4. That sheep cardigan is the cutest thing ever! You did a wonderful job on it, Christina. The J&S yarn actually softens up a fair bit once it has been washed. And since it's a cardigan it won't be directly on the baby's skin, so it should be fine. I am just like you - I love the smell of sheep wool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad I am not the only one who loves the smell of sheep wool. My family thinks I am a on the mad side of eccentric... Cx

      Delete
  5. Christina well done on challenging yourself with this gorgeous make, It does look fabulous and I guess if it is too scratchy for the baby it can be worn like a coat on top of baby clothing so it doesn't touch the baby's skin. Thank you for all the pictures showing your progress and your narrative told me that at times you doubted yourself with this one. The buttons you chose from Granny's jar are just perfect, lovely job x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did indeed have some doubts but I am glad I persevered with it. I have enough yarn to make a wee hat to match and might practice my new skills some more. Cx

      Delete
  6. This is just beautiful, I love the little sheep design. I have never tried stranded knitting before...I am too scared to be honest!
    Marianne x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stranded knitting is not so scary Marianne, it is a bit fiddly at the beginning but never boring. Cx

      Delete
  7. This is absolutely adorable. I'm sure your cousin will be delighted with it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You are so very clever Christina, I couldn`t begin to contemplate such a project, though I did knit a blue jumpsuit whilst expecting my first. .. GIRL! So much for mother`s intuition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure she looked just beautiful in her blue jumpsuit! I tend not read the pattern before I start, this gives me a sense of "everything will be just fine". It is a bit like doing a hurdle race without knowing where the hurdles are. When I bump into one, I work my way around it (many times sometimes). Thank you for visiting Fiona.

      Delete
  9. That's such a fab cardi Christina. Its the kind of gift you'd keep forever :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. You're too clever I can't even look!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx