Quick Sand Cardigan

And so theĀ  Lang Lino Saga ends. I actually finished my Quick Sand cardigan more than two weeks ago, but have only just found time for another wonderfully awkward date with the self-timer.

It only took me two weeks to knit, which might be a personal record (I usually average at about three months for a garment…)

Quicksand - back

The back of this cardigan is a thing of beauty. I like how it makes a feature of the shoulder increases, which create a sort of cascading sunburst effect over the shoulders. The slightly dipped back hem is also a lovely touch.

I don’t think the front looks bad, but it doesn’t have as much positive ease as I would have liked. My tension was particularly tight in this yarn, so I knitted the next size up on 6 mm needles to accommodate. Although it does fit, the front sections ended up quite narrow and this, combined with the drape of the linen, means they hang completely to the side with no front coverage. I also had a whole ball of Lino left when I finished, suggesting it might have come up a bit small…

Since it does fit, and is more of a cover-up for a warm day than a proper cardigan, I’m not going to fret about it too much, but I do prefer my sweaters a bit oversized.

Quicksand cardigan - front3

This was my first ever top-down pattern and I’m sold. I struggled with the neckline increases at first (mainly because I was distracted by the Masterchef final) but the rest knitted up super quickly and easily, and I loved not having to pick up sleeves around the armholes. It was also great to be able to try it on for length as I went – I knitted the sleeves a bit shorter because I’m a compulsive sleeve roller-upper.

My only niggle was that I found I got holes under the arms when I rejoined to knit the sleeves. Apparently this tends to happen with top down sweaters, so I tried to minimise gaps by picking up a few extra stitches. At least the holes are symmetrical…? If anyone knows how to avoid this, I and the Social Fabric knitting gang, would be eternally grateful.

Quicksand cardigan - hanger

Overall, I think the jury’s still out on this cardigan. I really like the colour and the drape, but I think I got quite carried away by the yarn and didn’t consider whether a mustard yellow linen cardigan in wet and (currently) unseasonably cold Devon is such a practical thing. My personal rule has always been to never buy yarn unless I have a specific pattern in mind, and maybe I’ve learned my lesson…

Hopefully it’ll come into its own when summer finally arrives!

Lang Lino Mark Two

I decided to knit Pam Allen’s ‘Davis‘ sweater last summer, but it was beset with problems from the start – no amount of swatching and needle swapping got me the right gauge, the armholes ended up too big, and I totally messed up picking up sleeve stitches. In the end, I angrily stuffed it in a bag and tried to forget about it.

After a seven month cooling period, I decided to salvage my six balls of Lang Lino from the wreckage, unravel the whole thing and cast on something completely different.

Quick Sand WIP

Quick Sand‘ by Heidi Kirrmaier. It’s my first ever top-down pattern, but I’m liking better already – no button bands, neckline, or sleeves to pick up!

Zen and the Three Colour Silk Cowl

I’ve felt pretty burned out in the last month, and didn’t feel up to the challenge of embarking on another big knitting project. Instead, I decided to give my brain a break with Joji Locatelli’s ‘3 Color Cashmere Cowl’ which seemed a perfect combination of easy but absorbing, and gave me an excuse to use up bits of my best left-over yarn.

3 colour cowl 2

I used Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply/sport (left over from my sister’s ‘Rivage‘ scarf) in ‘Oyster’ and ‘Water’ for the main two colours, and one treasured skein of Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in ‘Peridot’ (left over from my ‘Relax’ jumper) for the colour block section. The easy thing about using leftovers is that you can’t spend hours agonising over colour options!

Although both yarns have silk in them, they feel very different. The Fyberspates silk/merino is incredibly soft, and knits up really evenly, whereas the silk/alpaca is much hairier, and has more uneven stitch definition. I also couldn’t wet-block the finished cowl, because I know from bitter experience that the dye in the alpaca silk bleeds like crazy.

It was totally worth it for the colour though…

3 colour cowl 1

As expected, it was a lovely and very soothing pattern. The only section I didn’t like was the lace, which required more concentration than I was able to give (and there was much laughter at my knitting group when my eyelets refused to line up).

I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the ‘Oyster’ and the ‘Peridot’ together, but now that it’s finished, I think it works really well. There’s just enough contrast to make the blue and the green stand out, but not enough to scare my minimalist, pattern averse self.

3 colour cowl 4

I actually love this cowl more than I thought I would (it was more of a time-filling de-stress project, than a desperate desire to knit this particular pattern). It’s a great combination of luxury and practicality – probably the most expensive neckwear I’ve ever knitted, but long and close-fitting enough to be properly warm, and beautiful enough to be worth it.

I might even have enough yarn left over for matching arm warmers…