Olive Cardigan

This cardigan is almost one year old. I finished it right before last spring, which, for such an autumn coloured sweater, was maybe not the greatest idea. I was just starting to crave pastel and other spring hues, so it felt like I wouldn’t want to wear that cardigan a lot.

But strangely I did wear it a lot, and I didn’t even wait for September for that. I say strangely, but I guess the ever fall-like Belgian weather must have helped quite a lot.

I had bought the yarn (Drops Karisma, colour #57 olive) for this sweater in 2014, at my beloved local yarn shop, which has since closed. I had another much longer sweater in mind at the time, but when I decided to knit the Wainthropp cardigan, I didn’t want to buy any yarn unless I didn’t have anything suiting it in my stash. So I said goodbye to the long sweater and opted for the safest bet, yet another Andi Satterlund sweater, my eleventh if I’m not mistaken! 😀

I modified the button and neck bands: I didn’t like the garter stitch ones of the pattern, so I changed them for twisted ribs, matching the waistband and sleeve cuffs. As usual, I wrote down the details on Ravelry. The buttons are from my stash, once again salvaged from an old garment by my mother.

What more can I write about this cardigan from a designer I’m used to, knit in a yarn I’m used to? No much I guess, except that I’ve recently realised that, weirdly, I have a tendency to knit cardigans in fairly dull colours. It’s particularly obvious when you see them all together. My only bright cardigan was this one, but I’ve just got rid of it because it was too worn and damaged. It’s strange because I think of myself as someone who loves colour and is not afraid to wear bright colours even in winter, yet my sweater shelf says otherwise. Something to keep in mind the next time I buy some yarn!

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Le Quart des brumes

Quart1Woohoo, I can’t believe I’ve caught up on months of blogging slacking in less than two weeks! I have to say, being on holiday has helped a lot (who would have thought?), as well as setting myself a deadline.

I’ve kept the best for last: my Quart coat is by far my proudest sewing achievement this year! Proudest sewing achievement ever, in fact! I can see that it’s not perfect, and these pictures are particularly unforgiving, exacerbating each and every wrinkle and crease, also made worse by the fact that I have been wearing the coat every day since its completion, but I’m still very proud of all the work and time I put into this project.

Quart2I had been in dire need of a replacement for my Minoru jacket, whose pockets had literally started to disintegrate after three years of daily wear, so when I stumbled upon this olive green heavy water-repellent cotton twill at €3 a metre (!) at Tissus Passion last September, I didn’t think twice and bought 4 metres, more than enough for any coat or jacket. It didn’t take me long after that to choose Pauline Alice’s gorgeous Quart coat as a pattern, which I bought the very same day. The Venezia lining was in my stash.

I traced the pattern almost as soon as I got it, but then I got cold feet and sewed a few easy projects before finally starting on the coat for real in November.

Quart3This was my first time sewing a Pauline Alice pattern, and I like living dangerously so I didn’t make a muslin. I looked at the size chart and cut accordingly: a 36 for the bust and waist graded to a 40 for the hips. It’s alright for this twill coat that is not intended to be worn with a lot of layers underneath (usually a dress or a t-shirt with a hand-knitted cardigan or sweater, which is what I’m wearing in the pictures), but had it been a winter wool coat meant to be worn over thicker layers, I think it would have been a size too small at the shoulders.

Quart4Sewing the coat took me about a month, broken down in steps I could complete here and there. The only thing I found truly hard to deal with (had it not been near the end of such a long project, I’d have thrown the towel!) was attaching the lining pleats to the exterior fabric pleats: after a few trials and errors, I found it easiest to press the bottom of lining and main fabric flat to get rid of the pleats, and reshape the pleats once everything was attached. Other than that, the Quart coat is a loooong project to take on, but there’s nothing difficult to it.

Quart5I was impressed by the instructions, which I followed to the letter: I thought I’d need the step-by-step tutorial, which I downloaded from the website, but in the end I found the pattern instructions to be sufficient. I think there was only one step that had me stumped (step 36 for anyone making the coat – I thought I was supposed to start stitching at 4 cm from the bottom edge of the main fabric while you have to start at 4 cm from the bottom edge of the lining), but Mimolette helped me understand this one and I was back on track.

Quart8I bought the thinnest shoulder pads I could find at Veritas and made my own sleeve heads with some fleece from my stash. I used Karen’s e-book (which I had bought two years ago for that coat I never finished) to brush up on my bound buttonholes and everything went swimmingly. As for the buttons, they are probably my favourite part of this coat! I wanted some military buttons to go with the style of the coat, and when I couldn’t find anything I liked in any local shop, I had the idea of searching on eBay, where I found the perfect buttons, sold by someone living here in Brussels! They are Belgian army uniform buttons from WWI (big ones at the front, small ones on the epaulettes), and I love the touch of history they add to my handmade coat. Not to mention, I think they look so much nicer than what I had found in shops!

Quart7I was a little bit disappointed when I wore the coat for the first time on my bike because the sleeves suddenly seemed too short… Luckily, it’s nothing a pair of fingerless mittens can’t fix, and I think I was just spoiled by the extra long Minoru sleeves, drafted with a cyclist in mind. Something to keep in mind for the next time I make a coat or a jacket, but honestly, that won’t stop me from wearing this one to death!

Quart6