Wednesday, 30 December 2009

knit o'clock

Birthday present to my husband went pear shaped. Although I took all relevant body measurements ,I trusted the pattern and kept going and the end product is disastrous. I am so disgusted with it that it is all pushed at the back of a wardrobe not to see a day light for few months .

So from big aran needles I switched to a lace weight . The yarn is malabrigo lace and has the loveliest shades of blue . The kettle dying process brings out the most subtle variations which I like. It is a very soft spin so the feel of this merino is very , very soft , cashmere like I would say for a bargain price. The only negative is that I find it hard to wind the skeins , very sticky and at times tangly as well, very time consuming. The gauge is a whopping 35 sts to 10 cm so there is a lot of knitting to be done, hence the headline of this post. I chose a pattern by Marion Foale, tailored style cardigan which was published in woman's weekly. My girls from southsea knit club alert me when a good pattern is being publish . Texts starts running to and fro..we are a great team! Happy knitting year to you!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


I found the most beautiful buttons for my Coraline . They are vintage deep ruby glass buttons encased in brass. I've already blocked the cardigan and today made the buttons loops with embroidery floss matching the light grey rowan baby alpaca. The red and grey work great together and I like the smocking detail on the yoke.

Thursday, 12 November 2009


Here some shots of my finished coat sylvie .I'm wearing it all the time now, the easiest piece to slip on when in a hurry, school runs especially. I had a few comments about the hood , it is pointy , elvish if you like and quite charming , maybe it need a bell to attach to,only kidding!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

another shawlette

19102009672, originally uploaded by bespokeknits.

A quick project, easy to memorise. Lovely brown color of the malabrigo sock ,chocolate amargo. I admit I've blocked it too harshly: the edge loops are nice and defined but the garter is stretched beyond recognition so will block it again. I've finished my cable coat and will post an entry as soon as I get to shoot a few photos.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Back is back

I've noticed a few designs that make their focal point at the back. The front is usually basic or traditional or just slightly embellished . It could be a pretty lace insert like the 'Back Lace Panel Cardigan' from the classic elite Saturday afternoon booklet.

It is interesting. There is this alluring surprise at the back, draws attention to it. Here is another example;

This is the mountain view cardigan by Connie Chang Chinchio, lovely delicate lace.

You could make the back special by adding elaborate cables .This is Sylvi by Mari Muinonen ,a charming hooded coat and she is on my needles now..

I have used 2 yarns together to achieve the right level of thickness and sturdiness. This is a coat and not a floaty wrap. I have used my rowan chunky Scottish tweed together with the rowan Scottish 4 ply. Both yarns are the same color as far as I can see. The back in the photo is blocked so the cables are much more relaxed. The stitch markers are for picking up the marked stitches and knitting the petals. I have finished the fronts and am knitting the first sleeve. This is a fast knit and very rewarding. bye for now.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Aestlight shawl

This is one of those patterns that manages to rise above others and circulates in abundance within the knitting community, plenty of versions in ravelry. I have mention it first here and chose it to be my camping knitting companion or rather it was chosen for me as the yarn I purchased from 'knit n caboodle' never materialised and I had no response , not the slightest from that shop.

I'm rather pleased with the outcome.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Sugar complete!

It turn out not too bad. I like the look from the front but if I to do this cardigan again I would have modified it to have a much deeper sleeve cups. These sleeves have the shallowest cups I've ever knitted and I prefer my cardigans not too loose around the there you go.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Can I have some color ,please

Hi, The sugar cardigan is finally at the sawing stage. It seems to have taken longtime and the fact that I managed to knit 3 sleeves didn't help. Yes you've read right. three. Please count twice cast on stitches from now on..

So after all the whiteness I'm in need of color and in abundance. The more the better. Also the next project need to be relatively a quick fix to satisfy the knitting mojo which suffered some blows lately, ie three sleeve fiasco..

Can I introduce Daybreak shawl by the young Stephen West:
This shawl appeals to me, the colors, the theme, the simple geometric design that represent the sun rays..There are few variations on the color scheme which can be seen on ravelry but I'll stick to the original sock yarn, Schoppel Wolle Zauberball in burnt almond and choco creme. I ordered it from knit n caboodle, which are closing down so fingers crossed I'll have it soon for my family camping holiday in Dorset. If the yarn won't arrive in time, option number two is the Aestlight shawl by the shetland trader. I'm going to knit this shawl in two colors. Here is what inspired me, this and this. Now I will use green as the main color , the Jameison spindrift in moss and the mesh part of the design in Kauuni rainbow, just the green yellowy part. So what will it be? Let the postman decide!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Vintage buttons

Last evening I was given a precious present. Have a look at this..

Those beauties came from a well established button shop in Southsea , this is all I'm saying. Dont want the vintage supply to dwindle out, haha. They are all individual and bottom row plays on the moon , sun and stars theme . All metal and absolutely charming ! Thank you ever so much , Caroline, you are as obssesed as me!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Friday, 24 July 2009

Featherweight inspiration

My favourite past time when fed up with my office work is to check other knitting blogs, ravelry, online magazines, etc.. You can learn a lot about whats going on in the knitting world. what patterns are popular, which magazines got out, books etc. I think its wonderful people can self publish their designs all online , no need for books. Great opportunity for working from home and even setting up your own business. I take great pleasure in watching how knitters pick their favourite design and then make it their own, modify it, substitute the yarn, change a few details. I get so much inspiration from it. Here is example of this kind;

Hanna Fettig from knitbot published a breezy little top, done in Malabrigo lace, featherweight cardigan. Now when I saw it I thought its is cute , charming and good for using my Malabrigo. Then I spotted such a wonderful version knitted by Taryn : see photo above as well.

Taryn used dream in color , baby, in shiny moss color. The photography helps but you can see how elegant this top became after adding the feather and fan hem. I absolutely adore this piece and thank you so much Taryn for explaining how you modified Hanna's pattern. Sorry Hanna, but in this case I think the pupil might outdone the master!
Socktopus , as far as I know are the only ones who stock baby but the colors are limited and when phoning them did not seem to be helpful in ordering shiny moss for me so I might be needing to order it from the states..
Where is the summer by the way? Is that it?!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Slow growth..

I've been busy with sugar. It is growing painfully slow, endless white knitting..I have 2 black and white border collies that shed hair at the same speed I managed to clear. The black hairs somehow always manage to lift themselves and lodge in the white pristine stitches. I've always raised an eyebrow when shopping on e-bay for wool and reading the 'pet free house' comments but now have a greater sympathy for the subject. Just have to accept that my white cardi is going to be a mixture of silky mohair, supreme shetland and canine fur..

The construction of this cardigan is unusual , not your normal 2 fronts, back and 2 sleeves . So far I've knitted the back and 2 front seamlessly up to armholes , put the 2 fronts stitches on scrap yarn and knitted up the back while decreasing for the armholes.

July is an anticipation month for the forthcoming autumn season. My postman does not know it but he is being watched constantly. I'm learining from past mistakes and wont allow my collies to get to my Rowan magazine, not even a sniff. I prefer my magazines without toothmarks, you see..;-) .I've seen some previews of the patterns and the fair isles are good.

goodbye for now.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

White as Sugar

I'm always looking up for unic wearable designs and my latest find is the danish designer Marianne Isager. I was aware of her but when I stumbled upon her book Japanese Inspired Knits I thought that is one to look out for. She has a nice way with colors and what looks like simple forward approach towards knitting but a closer look shows a thoughtful brilliant construction about her garments. I have started knitting a piece from Classic knits.

Its called 'Sugar'. A clean lined cardigan worked in garter stitch, punctuated with narrow two stitch cables.

Now Marianne knitted her cardi with her own yarns which are not readily available in the UK. I have swatched a few times to achieve a slightly tighter gauge and came up with a combination of rowan kid silk haze in white teamed with a cone of Lacy Shetland 'supreme' which was bought last year in Ally Pally.

Knitting is very slow with this one as it is garter and the back and two fronts are being knitted in one go. I'm putting myself a target of achieving at least one button hole per day. so far so good.

Here is a close up. The book shows 2 cardigans , one with dark buttons and one with creamy color. I chose to have the dark ones from rowan as contrast. What do you think? We love...!

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

blocked sleeves

The sleeves are nicely being blocked. Cotton is not giving in knitting , there is no flexibility so to sort out unevenness in cotton, blocking should be strongly considered. This is how I block;

I fill a bowl with lukewarm water and rest the pieces on the water letting them slowly absorb the water until all is sank, stir it gently and let it swim there happily.After few more minutes I'll drain the water from the ball and take the soaked dripping pieces into the washing machine , then spin cycle. When all done , I'll find an available mattress. my favourite is my son's spare one, the straight lines on the pattern make it easy to alienate the sleeves . Then it is a matter of pulling gently to the right measurements and pinning it down. Then its waiting, and when you think its done wait a bit more because although the outside looks dry the inside is still wet.
next is sawing..

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Its summer, glorious summer, well and truly here. Which brings me to cotton. My preference goes to wool but when the temperature soars , even wool goes off. Now, cotton is a plant fiber, stronger than wool and stronger still when wet. A few issues arise around the 'how green ' is cotton, I've read that as a crop its requires vast amounts of pesticides and fertilizers and if I'm not mistaken this crop needs lots and lots of water.

A decade ago , I did not know much about cotton, did not know there are many level of quality and varied personalities. A leaflet from Lidl came with an advertising of 3 balls of cotton, marketed from Germany, for £1.20. What a bargain I exclaimed at the time and rushed and bought most of their stock. cotton is cotton I thought. What a disaster! This cotton found its quite way to charitable venues...

Egyptian cotton is considered the best, go and see hoe expensive bed linen are made from the staff. Apparently its to do with the longest staple length. Then its followed closely by the Pima cotton grown in the united states and Peru.

regarding the process the Cotton is undergoing I tend to least favour the mercerised cotton (invented by John Mercer in the early 19Th century). Although shiny , the increased strengh make my fingers ache after knitting for a while. much prefer soft spun like the rowan purelife organic range or their 4 ply cotton. If I can help it I know not to pick an aran weight , a cardi made from the staff will make you feel as if you were carrying sack of potatoes . Also another tip, try to knit cotton firmly, garment will keep its shape longer.

So, what is on my needles now? Another Kim Hargreaves charming piece Daisy.

Daisy uses pima cotton by rowan. I went for the 'grellow' look, combination of grey and yellow that I find very appealing. The buttons are a great find from ebay, true glass vintage yellow beauties. and isnt that pocket adorable with its contrast.? a simple pattern really, moss bands , fitted.. I have a good feeling about this one!just a warning about the gauge, kim states 26 sts per 10 cm, impossible for me to achieve even after sqizzing the hell out of the pima. I reckon it is a mistake.

Happy summer knitting!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Here's ash

Here I am staring into the distance with the finished ash proudly on my head.

Many thanks to my friend Wendy for rescuing me and giving me some 'cooking apple' enough to finish the last 4 stripes

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The bag

My mum was born on Xmas day. not such a special day in Israel but here in England it raises a few eyebrows. She was 60 years old and deserved a special present. After some thinking I remember a really beautiful pattern designed by Fiona Morris. Now Fiona is a dear friend of mine but beside that she is phenomenal in her knitting knowledge and in my opinion what Fiona does not know it is nor worth knowing.

The pattern is a silver evening bag, very glamorous, perfect for the theatre, weddings and black tie parties..

There were a few options of beads and yarn combination but I chose the original:

3*10 grams balls of no. 8 Pearle cotton in pale grey

160 grams of size 10 seed beads

size 1.25 mm needles!!! (American size 0000)

All materials for this bag available from Fiona

The metal hand bag frame in Nickel available from 'Bags of handles'.

The making of this bag took me about a month. It is on very small needles and at the beginning you have to get used to the small stitches. The beads need to be prestrung to the cotton with a beading needle and some nymo thread. The technique used is called beaded knitting. The bag is knitted in Garter stitch with beads strung between stitches. The shape of the bag is produced by stringing different numbers of beads between the stitches and some short row shaping.

The large amount of beads give this stunning bag some substantial weight. I decided to saw an inner silk material for extra touch. I wish I could see my mum's face when she opened her present, I gave it to my sister before she flew to Israel...

Monday, 8 June 2009

hot and a hat


I'm in a funny mood, just don't know what to cast on. The problem is the weather. Its fairly warm so cotton, linen , silk are calling to be picked up and I do have cupboards filled the stuff. But which pattern? I have tons and tons of gorgeous patterns for winter, for example silvy and my bohus wild apple..and then the answer came , a hat. another hat? you ask. yes ! one could never have too many hats, and one have lots of relatives who keep a close eye on what you knit and not shy of begging..yes mum, that includes you, dear.

So on the needles is the lovely ash.. Kim Hargreaves of course.

The patterns calls for rowan fine milk cotton but decided to destash some of my rowan 4 ply cotton so are using the long discontinues 'cooking apple' which is a very pale green and 'aegaen' blue. love the color combination of this hat, it is bright, playful, and suits spring and summer.

It is knit in the flat although you can easily convert it to circular needles.

Here is another pattern of Kim's, knit with the now discontinued rowan lurex, navy color and the rowan 4 ply cotton. It is very similar to Ash but chose to keep the purl side as the right one. Here is my daughter modeling the back.

and me next to the Itchen river.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Presenting the Jacket

I spent the last couple of days sawing. Never rush sawing ..You need to be patient and attentive to details... Then happiness arrives and you got a garment to be proud of. It took 9 balls of rowan 4 ply soft in 'leafy' for the extra small size.The pattern is very textured and give the jacket its stability. I knitted pockets for the first time and shaped a somewhat fancy collar. very pleased with the results and got few compliments today from my border southampton knitting group.

and the back:

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Wild Apple

Not so long ago I bought 'poems of color' knitting in the bohus tradition by Wendy Keeley. Its a lovely book with lots of traditional examples of the bohus style. The garments are lively colored on stockinette stitch background with interspersed purl stitches for texture. Fair Isle garments have just two colors per row and utilize steeks. In the bohus stickning patterns ,there could be any number of colors in a row, and steeks are not been used.

Kerstin Olsson is a bohus stickning designer and is one of my favourites. I have ordered her 'the wild Apple ' kit from Solveig Gustafsson in Sweden. she is a clever dyer and produces the original colors for the official patterns.

Here is what my postman delivered yesterday. I'm so glad my two border collies did not get the parcel first . would have been a really expensive disaster.

The yarns are in a superb quality and hence the price. Its a blend of angora and merino, %50 each. realy soft but not 'mohairy'.There is enough to knit an extra large cardigan so I'm sure I will manage a hat or two with the remains.

this is a version done by the ,

Now will have to be careful with the gauge, I knit the colored bit slightly tighter than the plain stockinette. Have to be strong though, still half a sleeve to go on the Marion Foale's Jacket..

Monday, 25 May 2009

The perfect shawlette

I have finished one sleeve of Marion Foale's green Jacket but I think It is a bit like watching paint dry, few more inches will be too boring to show so decided to bring you ishbel, courtesy of Ysolda On ravelry you can see dozens of this lovely shawlette.

I purchased the same yarn the original pattern was made from, an Old Maiden Aunt yarn. a 4 ply mix of alpaca and merino, 'moody'.

It is the perfect size for me to use as a cowboy triangular scarf;

Here I am in a chilly spring day somewhere in the new forest. Love it and it is almost always in my handbag ,ready to be pulled out in time of need.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Double Martha

While the knitting the Marion Foale's Jacket goes somewhat slowly, I thought to start organise previous knits into some manageable order. In Rowan magazine no 37, 'Martha' in 4 ply cotton by Stella smith proved to be so successful I have knitted it twice. In 2006 I chose a green 4 ply mercerised cotton which I purchased in the historic town Trogir-unesco world heritage site, Croatia and set it with the jeager turquoise beads.

Husband knows that when travelling, no matter where, the missus has to have her yarn shop fix .I'm doing my bit of research and bookmarking all interesting 'yarn /buttons/beads' places .Whilst in Sardinia, I have read in the tourist guide that a Macomer ,has a long tradition in wool manufacture so with high expectations I dragged the tribe along in a filthy cold weather but upon arrival nothing was in sight, a complete sleepy town. I stopped at a cafe to drown my sorrows and while having the best chocolate I've ever tasted, I did some pantomime and tried to ask the Sardinian waitress ‘ donde' wool? She of course did not understand a word in English but after a few tries she pulled me out of the cafe and next door, hidden at the back was a little heaven of yarny staff...bliss..and there I found my really soft charcoal hairy 4 ply alpaca! Written on the label - silke by arvier, bergamo Italy. The six soft balls lay dormant in the stash until I felt the crave to redo martha again. The beads are the gunmetal from jeager. This one is one of my favourites.

and zooming in, see all those white hairs on the black background…

yum..I'm going to have my own llamas, you'll see..I'm already asserting it on dear husband...

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

First design..

When purchasing the Weardowney knit couture book , I fell in love with this cardigan.

Actually I was drooling over it. Last October when visiting the knitting and stitching show in Alexandra Palace, London , I went purposely to the Weardowney stall, and started chatting to the heavily pregnant Gail Downey. I made strong hints towards getting the pattern for this cardi but was told that it was part of their line and now discontinued. This was when I made my mind to try and create something beautiful similar to this. I purchased from Gail the original lurex yarn, about £8 per 100g ball. Its looks very similar to the now discontinued rowan lurex. The color is very vintage pink bronze.

So after a lot of experimenting I came out with this. The color is the same as in the book but looks here pink purple. The challenge in this piece was the shaping in the chevron pattern. I had to find a way to increase without being to noticeable. I placed my increases next to the natural ridges occurring in this pattern and I'm quite pleased with the results.

I think the best way to wear it is actually to twin it with your basic jeans otherwise it is too sparkley. Also I got a tip from Gail Downey, the lurex if washed with a fabric conditioner becomes much more 'silky'. I'm very fond of those bronse buttons which were purchased in Paris. The right buttons do beautify a garmen and I always ponder much about which buttons to saw in.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Marion Foale's Jacket

18052009422, originally uploaded by bespokeknits.

Its actually green, but looks here blue. So far sleeveless..

Monday, 18 May 2009

The beginning


Before I start I would like to apologize in advance if my grammar etc are faulty as English is not my first language.

I grew up in Israel. My mum used to have a knitting shop so me and yarn and knitting go back a long way..

On my needles at the moment is a beautiful classic piece of Marion Foale. I'm sure many of you are familiar with her designs. very tailored, very textured. She made a few appearances in the rowan books but We (My knitting group in Rosie's wine bar , Southsea, Portsmouth) have spotted her kits and patterns in WOMAN'S WEEKLY, out of all places!.. Few of us fell in love with the' thyme green Jacket', and a knit along started.

The pattern calls for Marion Foale's dk sport wool which looks a bit optimistic as the gauge is 29 sts... Anyway I used rowan's 4 ply soft,'leafy' and those chevron and double moss stitches are well defined. I find it very satisfying to knit: easy to memorise but not that simple.
So far I've finished the back, two fronts, colar, buttons..
I'll publish it as soon as I will figure out the technical bits...