Dear Santa, let me explain!

I started knitting this jacket in October 2016, planning to have it finished for christmas. It must have been years since the last time I procrastinated a good project this long. But I have the best excuses. Dear Santa, let me explain!

The Rohrspatz & Wollmeise Lace yarn is a fantastic yarn – I think by far the best quality yarn I have ever worked with. I also had this gorgeous cable pattern in my head that I wanted to try out in a project, and I thought this must be it.

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There is one major problem with Wollmeise, and that is that the yarn is not easily available. On the contrary, there is only one dealer in my country that sells this brand, and from my place it is maybe 500 km to this shop. In addition to this, the yarn comes in only 300 g skeins. That pretty much limited the options concerning what type of garment to make, and thus also my motivation. I originally wanted to make a dress, but that takes a lot of yarn, so I was not sure if it would be possible. But I started making sleeves, since most useful garments have sleeves, and I got around to do half a sleeve before the doubt took hold of me again.

It became clear very quickly that there wouldn’t be enough yarn to make a dress, so a jacket was the next option. But  jackets also are very yarn consuming, so I spent a lot of time contemplating if it would even be worthwhile to give it a try. I decided that it was not, at least not yet, and worked on some other projects in the meantime.

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After a month or so, I gave it another try – thinking I could finish a jacket for christmas, or worst case a cropped sweater. I finished the first sleeve and barely started to work on the second. Then once again I started to doubt that the jacket could ever be finished as I wanted it. So I put it aside once more.

During christmas I finally got around to do some serious work on it, and I finished the second sleeve. After both the sleeves were finished, I weighed them and calculated that there was enough yarn left to make a jacket, if I made it quite short and with a wide neckline. So the design had to be adapted to a snug fit jacket that barely covered the waistline of my jeans. Fair enough, I like an excact fit, and the 1940’s fashion can be quite inspiring.

Christmas came and went, and in January bright green seemed a little «last years fashion». So the project went back into the basket once more.

But then – in the beginning of February – after a few months of «darkness», one day the sun was up when I went to work and it was still there when I came back. I came to think that green is actually a good color for spring. So finally I was able to find the motivation I needed to pick the project up again for the fourth time.

So Santa, there will be no green christmas jacket. I am working on plans for a red christmas dress, though.

The Whisky dress

For those of us that are not so big fans of cocktails, there is  an alternative – luckily. Beeing as whisky, in my opinion, is a drink very well suited for cold weather, the whisky dress should be made of wool. So here it is.

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The dress is very simple, in order to let the colors in the yarn show. It is knit top down and the yoke and sleeves are knit in one piece (contiguous). This makes for a good fit over the shoulders, quite similar to a good bottle shape. It is fitted in the waist, but otherwise it is a straight dress. The ribbings have a little bit of texture because of the twisted stitches.

I like to wear the dress both with jeans and with stockings, depending on mood and temperature. It can be made shorter (as a tunic or sweater) and with longer sleeves if you like.

The pattern is available on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/26-the-whisky-dress

Copenhagen jacket

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This jacket is made in thin pure wool, in stockinette and with garter st edges.

There is a decorative tuck in a contrasting color both on the sleeves and around the edge of the jacket.

The construction is as a regular, longer jacket, with raglan sleeves, and it has a knitted edge around, that makes a very flattering shape.

It can be worn open, or, if desired, closed with a pin or button. The collar can be worn on the inside of the tuck, or it can fall out over the tuck. The sleeves are quite long, and can be worn as is, or folded up to half the length of the cuffs.

The pattern is available on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/21-copenhagen-jacket

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Bristol sweater

dsc_0138This sweater has a 50’s feel to it, don’t you think? It is similar to the Dublin dress, but the sweater is knit with only one strand of yarn and on thinner needles. Another difference is that it is knit top down.

As always, I have paid a lot of attention to the details. I have used the contiguous method so that the sleeves and body comes together perfectly. To ensure that the finished garment is extremely elastic I have used italian cast on and bind off together with a pattern that basicly is a rib/cable pattern with small bobbles in it. The elastic pattern and cast on/bind off makes this almost a one size fits all (but of course the pattern is available in S, M and L, to secure the perfect fit that we want).

The pattern is available on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/18-bristol-sweater

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Milano mittens

20160925_191638_medium2Super easy and simple mittens. The Malabrigo yarn chosen for this pattern is beautifully colored and there are no need for anything more than simple stockinette stitch. But both colorwork and lace pattern can be added to the design, if you like.

The pattern is made in one size for women, but can easily be adapted to somewhat smaller or bigger size by changing needles.

The pattern contains both a general pattern and an alternative pattern with provisional cast on. The provisional cast on is a good technique to use if you don’t know if you have enough yarn – typically when you use scrap yarn.

I use city names for some of my designs, and normally the name will indicate that the design or garmend is made or worn in the city that named it.

The pattern is available on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/22-milano-mittens

The Dublin dress

This is a classic A-line dress, with shaped shoulders. I have used the same method as contiguous, except that the dress is knit from the bottom up.

The yarn is 2 threads of thin wool in two contrasting colors, except for the facing of the hem, where only 1 thread is used.

The top part has a simple and quick knit pattern with small cables and bobbles, and is very elastic. Even if it has cables, no cable needle is necessary.

Pattern is available on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/17-dublin-dress.

More pictures on the project page: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/MarianneSkatten/the-dublin-dress

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The Hamilton dress

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Finally The Hamilton dress is ready!

Last year I went on summer vacation to Edinburgh, Scotland, and I fell for this fabric that I found in the Tartan Weaving Mill on The Royal Mile. According to the seller, the tartan belongs to The Hamilton Clan, hence the name for the dress.

Anyway – after having thought about it for a while, I came to the conclusion that I wanted the fabric to become a dress. And of course I had only bought enough fabric to make a skirt.

Normal people would probably go ahead and make a skirt under such circumstances, but being a dress addict, that was not going to happen. So the fabric lay in a drawer for a few months…

In spring this year, I discovered Holst Yarn in Denmark – they make the most wonderful, thin wool yarn, Supersoft. And it comes in many colors – and the price is very reasonable.

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So I bought a few colors, some greys, and after another few months I bought some more greys, still not thinking about the tartan.

About a year after the summer vacation in Scotland, I pulled out the fabric again, then I came to think about the yarn I bought, and wouldn’t you know – four of the grey yarn cakes matched pretty well to the fabric.

Then I found a supereasy dress pattern, and cut out the front and back parts of the dress. The dress had insitions, but I dropped these to show of the tartan as untouched as possible.

Having reached the point of no return, i.e. the cutting of my fine fabric, I took the necessary measures and started knitting the pieces that was still missing.

There is no pattern for the dress, but I will give a short description of how to make it here.

dsc_0918First of all, it is important that you have enough stretch in the hem to walk comfortably, so I started with italian cast on for the knitted side panels.

To have a close to perfect fit, it is also preferable that the knitting itself is as stretchy as possible, so I chose to make the side panels in one by one ribbing.

To look slimmer, the stripes should ideally have been vertical, but then I would have to sacrifice a good fit and comfort, so this was not actually an option for me.

Then there was the problem of choosing edge stitches – I didn’t want the knitting to become too loose compared to the fabric, so the solution was double edge stitches.

Shaping was the next challenge – and how to shape the dress from hips to waist and up to under the arms. I have decreased and increased only the purl stitches, so that the lines of the knit stitches are undisturbed. And at the same time I have made sure to keep the edge stitches, and place the decreases and increases at least 3 stitches from the edges, so that there’s one continuous line from the hem and up to sew in.

There’s an invisible zipper in the back – this is actually not necessary, because the dress is stretchy enough to be pulled over the head. Inserting zippers gives me a headache, so next time I make a dress like this, I will definitely drop this.

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Other than the back seam, zipper and neck facing, the dress is sewn by hand. It takes a lot shorter time than one should expect, but it is of course more time consuming than machine sewing – which is not possible to do with a good result when knitted and woven fabric shall be united. I have used invisible hem stitches, and for the joining of the knit and woven fabric I used some sort of back/matress stitching – I am afraid my language skills when it comes to hand sewing techniques are not good enough, so I will describe it instead: Put the fabrics right sides together. Insert the needle into the knitted part, as close to a knit stitch as possible and grab two treads of yarn (from 2 rnds), then go 1 mm back and insert the needle into the woven fabric, and pull it out 2-3 mm above, then grab the next two treads from the knitted part, and so on. This is firm enough to hold the two pieces together, and at the same time gives enough stretch to pull both fabrics and the seams as much as needed for normal wear. (At least I hope so, only time will tell if it will tear in the seams…)

That is basically it. No lining yet – but maybe I will put some in later on.

The dress will be put to the test next week, I am going to Scotland again, so it seems to be a good outfit for some more fiber shopping. I will not wear it to the pub though, there might be karaoke and dancing, and the best way to keep accidents from happening is probably to not wear it when drinking.

The next challenge will be making a cardigan to go with a button my mother gave me a few months ago. She has had it since the 1970’s, and it is a  royal blue retro plastic gem of a button that deserves a stunning garment…