Thursday, 1 June 2017

FO - Nordic Wind shawl and a speedy cropped top

I've had the idea for a knitted tee in my head for a pretty long time now.  The L├ęger top was fine and I like it, but it doesn't really go with all the things, which was what I prefer from my handmade garments - if I'm going to put that much effort into creating something then it better be able to be paired with as many clothes as possible.  Something fairly plain in both colour and style and preferably made from stash materials.  Not that much to ask for, surely?

In the end, I decided I wanted a cropped tee to go with my denim skirt, summer trousers and dresses, and I wanted it NOW.  I knew top-down would be the quickest way to achieve this, so that was pretty much the only criteria I searched out on Ravelry.  When the Angela sweater popped up, I was sold.

Pattern - Angela by Purl Heroine (knit in size small) 

Yarn - Craft Aran by Aldi (242g)

Needles - 4.5mm and 5mm

Notes - First point to note - I knit up this sweater using cheap acrylic yarn from the charity shop, which pleases me since it's the ultimate slow fashion garment (in my mind) but I knew even before I started that it wasn't the best fabric I could be using.  However, nothing else in my yarn drawers appealed to me and, as I explained above, I wasn't hanging around this time.  However, after feeling fairly 'meh' about it when I cast off and tried it on, it's growing on me slightly.  I think it helps that it looks better in the pictures above than in my mirror...

I like the slightly oversized fit and the length is good.  The style works well with a fair few things in my wardrobe, another plus point.  On a less positive note, the neckline sits a bit higher than I would like - I'm quite broad of shoulder so I tend not to suit any styles that sit too high on my chest.  Also, the fabric ended up being quite stiff, although I've not attempted to block it yet.  I've not had much luck in the past with improving the shape of acrylic knits after finishing but I'll likely have a go anyway to see what happens.  

Right now, I'm on the fence with this guy.  The pattern was well written and I'd use it again (with some neckline modifications) but I think I'll try something in a DK weight next and see if I like the fit any better.  I purchased Ellison by Melissa Schaschwary a few months ago to knit into a striped sweater so I could knit another tee as a tester.

I hadn't intended to cast on this shawl so soon after my last one, especially knowing that I wouldn't get to wear it until autumn rolled around again but when I saw a KAL was in progress on Instagram, I was determined to join in (and oh my goodness, there's some gorgeous shawls on there right now). It would have been finished much sooner if I hadn't decided it was the ultimate cinema companion, saving it for all the times I popped in to watch something after work, like those three times I saw Beauty and the Beast.  (I'm hopelessly addicted, much to the amusement of my boss.  It's just absolute perfection and I'm now listening to the soundtrack on repeat until I can get my virtual paws on a download)

Pattern - Nordic Wind by Cabinfour

Yarn - New Lanark Aran in Woodland, Pebble and Oatmeal (280g)

Needles - 5.5mm

Notes - No surprises about my yarn choice here - New Lanark is my ultimate favourite right now.  It's gorgeous to work with and they have so many rich colours to choose from that I think I'd be quite happy knitting all my future garments with it.  I knit each colour until I only had scraps left, although the pattern does give instructions for when to change skeins to ensure an even spread of each colour.  I just knew I had the yardage to make a slightly bigger shawl and I wanted to take advantage of it!  I also omitted the garter stitch edging which doesn't seem to have been an issue since I blocked it - no curling up at the edges so far, although time will tell how it behaves after wearing.

The pattern itself was so simple that I only read it through once and didn't have to refer to it again.  If I was more of an experienced shawl knitter, I might have been a little bummed about paying nearly £5 for such a basic pattern but now that I'm learning more about shawl construction, I can use it as a base to experiment with.  I'm definitely not opposed to paying a reasonable amount of money for patterns, generally on a sliding scale of how intricate the design/colourwork is and how likely I am to repeat knit it, and I know I'll be making more of these for Christmas pressies.  All the shawls, all the movies.  That might be my new mantra for life.


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