Bronze Brynja

brynja1This cardigan is one of my last finished objects, the last FO of 2016 in fact. I was wearing it today when, coming home from work, I realised how long it had been since I published anything on this blog, so I’m glad I’ve finally stopped caring about posting my projects in the order I finish them! Please excuse the crazy hair, I had just been rained on. OK who am I kidding, my hair is always crazy! :-/

brynja3The pattern is Brynja by Linda Lencovic, in PomPom Quarterly, Issue 11 (Winter 2014). FYI, it is now also available as an individual download. It had caught my eye when it first came out, and I immediately thought of it again when, about a year later, the lovely Aïda brought 19 skeins (yes, NINETEEN – no, I haven’t used all of them) of Phildar Sport’Laine (Bronze colourway), a discontinued wool/acrylic blend, at our annual fabric/yarn swap. The yarn slept in my stash for a little over a year, which I guess is not too bad compared to how long some other yarns have been waiting in there. It was very pleasant to knit with, and its only downside is that the 49% of acrylic mean that things can get a little bit sweatier than with my other, 100% natural, sweaters. Sorry if that’s TMI. It does not smell though, probably thanks to the wool content?

brynja4I did not find the instructions for the cardigan completely user friendly, which I’m thinking might have to do with the very limited space they had to fit in the magazine (4 very small pages, schematic included). There were also a couple mistakes in there, which had me unravel quite a few rows (details on my Ravelry). Mistakes/Small lack of clarity aside, it was still an enjoyable knit thanks to the AWESOME cable pattern. I mean, isn’t it gorgeous?

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The buttons were rescued from an old jacket by my mother. Merci Maman!

And so easy to knit and to memorise. Plus, no need for a cable needle. I loved seeing those cables take shape and I love the texture they give the finished cardigan!

brynja5However, when I first finished the cardigan and tried it on, I felt pretty meh about it, if not seriously disappointed. All I could focus on were the very low armholes, which I am not used to. I forced myself to wear the cardigan nevertheless, on a very casual day at work… and I fell in love with it! The low armholes can’t even be seen from the front, only from the back, and they do not bother me at all anymore; I actually like their relaxed feel! They don’t look that good when the cardigan is closed, but I always wear it open, so…

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Pockets! A bit small for the hands but perfect for tissues and chapstick!

My Brynja has now become one of my most worn cardigans (I know I say that about a lot of my knits, but it is true, I do wear most of them on a very regular basis – the majority of them never even see the inside of my wardrobe from about September to June). Its colour goes with a surprising amount of prints and other colours, which I did not see coming. By the way, did you know the name of this colour in French is “caca d’oie”, which means “goose poop”? Oh, the glamour! It’s actually a very accurate description of the colour, much more so than the one chosen by Phildar, isn’t it? But I didn’t think “Goose Poop Brynja” would make as catchy a title! 😉

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Mimosa Cardigan

Tambourine1Quick, before summer gets here and makes it unbearable to wear this cardigan even for a short photo session!

I haven’t worn it since I finished it two months ago, at first because I hadn’t blocked it yet, and then because even though the weather had not been very warm yet, it was still not cold enough anymore for me to wear such a cardigan. It’s now patiently waiting for its hour of glory on its shelf in the wardrobe, and I’m pretty sure I’ll wear it a lot come fall and winter. I mean, aren’t those circles of nupps adorable?

Tambourine3I don’t think I’ll wear it a lot closed all the way up like this though. I prefer it open; it looks less strict I think.

The lovely pattern is Tambourine by Julia Farwell-Clay, from Pom Pom Quarterly #12, and the yarn is Drops Karisma (colourway 52), which I can only recommend since it’s already my third time using it. I didn’t like the contiguous button bands of the pattern, so I changed them into ribbing I picked up and knit on afterwards. I explained this in more detail on Ravelry.

Tambourine4I also didn’t feel like sewing the sleeves to the body, so I decided to try and replace them with seamless set-in sleeves. After I had done my calculations, I took a look at these instructions and saw that the sleeves of size M used the same number of stitches, so I simply used those sleeves instead of the Tambourine ones. The sleeves are a little bit snugger than expected (it may have something to do with my gauge tightening when I knit in the round), but they are still perfectly comfortable, so no biggie.

Tambourine5I lengthened the sleeves a little bit, too, because with past knitting projects I often forgot that sleeves tend to creep up when you wear them and ended up with too short sleeves.

Even though I haven’t worn it yet for meteorological reasons, I’m really happy with the outcome. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I can’t wait for fall to arrive so that I can wear it though, because that would be much too ironic seeing as how all I can think about right now is summer!

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Marinière With a Twist

Coronis1I don’t know whether it’s the gloomy weather or what, but I so haven’t been in the mood to take pictures of this project. It’s been finished since November 18 and I only (begrudgingly) took the pictures yesterday. I usually prefer taking pictures of my creations before I wear them for the first time because I’m afraid I’m going to ruin them and not get a chance to capture them for eternity or something, but this one has already gotten its fair share of wear before getting photographed.

Coronis4This means I can reflect more objectively on its qualities and flaws: I realised by wearing it that the sleeves, which I wanted to be long, have a tendency to creep up a little bit after a moment and not cover my wrists anymore. As you can see in some of the pictures, I mostly wear my sleeves rolled up, but still, I like having the option of real long sleeves, for when I’m riding my bike in the cold for example. Same with the body: I wanted it to hit exactly at my waist, which it does, but once again when I move it rides up a little bit and I have to readjust it. It’s not so much a problem when I wear it with a dress like I do in the pictures, but with a skirt I risk exposing what I’m wearing under the sweater. I still have enough yarn left, so I’m thinking of unravelling the ribbed parts, add one or two stripe repeats then reknit the ribs. Easy. We’ll see how long it takes me to get to it! 😉

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See how the sleeves creep up?

The pattern is Coronis by Emily Ringelman, from Pom Pom Quarterly #10 (best magazine name ever by the way) and it was really easy to follow yet pretty interesting to knit. You can take a look at my Ravelry notes for more technical details.

From afar it looks like yet another navy/white striped sweater, but there’s a twist! Look at this detail picture:Coronis7These stripes may look complicated, but they aren’t at all. You only work one colour per row, and the pattern is really easy both to understand and to memorise. The wool is Drops Alpaca, which I loved working with and love wearing. I already have another project in my queue using this same yarn.

Coronis5I completely messed up the gauge on this sweater: I suddenly decided my gauge (which I had checked beforehand) was too loose, so I unravelled what I had already knit and started over with smaller needles. I still don’t know what possessed me: when have I ever knit loosely? The answer is NEVER! I’m a tight knitter, have always been and will always be! It’s a good thing I had decided to knit this sweater with positive ease for once and ended up with a sweater with negative ease, instead of a too tight sweater as I would have if I had decided on a sweater with negative ease, which is usually my preference for that kind of cropped sweaters.

Coronis6Because of that impromptu change of needles, I had to knit way more rows to get the length I wanted, so I ended up with more stripes than on the original. And I’ll have even more rows and even more stripes when I add some length to the sleeves and body.

But I guess having too many stripes is not the worst flaw a sweater can have, so once I get to lengthening it I won’t have anything negative to say about it anymore! I really like the style and the fit and I think it will look very cute with quite a few of my dresses and skirts!

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Winter Heather

Bruyère1Phew, I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time on a knitting project… According to my ravelry notes, I started this one at the beginning of November, which means it took me close to four months to finish it, yikes!

Bruyère3It’s not even a very intricate project, but as I said before, the lace made me lose my sanity. Well, the lace at the bottom of the body did: the lace of the sleeves went without a hitch (yay stitch markers!).

And just when I was done with the scary lace, I realised I still had to knit more than sixty centimetres of ribbing for the sleeves… I HATE knitting ribbing! Oh, and after completing the sleeves, I realised I still had to knit the equivalent of a sleeve for the collar, gaaah! The collar went really fast, though, especially since I knew I would be done after that.

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Resting bitch face!

And I love the end result, so I don’t even regret spending so much time on this one. After all, if after spending four month and a few stressful moments looking at the same yarn (Drops Alpaca Silk – colour #08/Heather), you still love its colour, it means you made the right choice. I also love the style of the sweater, so light and flowy! It looks great with the Sureau dress you see on the pictures as well as with a few other pieces from my wardrobe. I’ve already  worn it a few times since I finished it, which bodes well for the future.

There were two things I particularly liked about the construction of this sweater: grafting the shoulders and the way you knit the collar. Grafting was one of those techniques I had never tried and was pretty scared of until I actually tried it and realised how easy it was and how good it looked (I used this video). As for the collar, they have you knit double its height, then fold it to the inside and sew it down. That way the collar holds its shape perfectly.

Bruyère5The only part I’m not really happy about is the lace: even after blocking it doesn’t really look like a garland of flowers like the original. The sleeve lace looks closer to the original, so I’m wondering whether it’s not just the yarn that suffered too much from being unravelled and reknit so many times. In any case, at least it still looks cute, so I’m not going to fret!

Bruyère2PS: Here’s what I’m working on now.

Knitting: pompom Garland

GarlandNo, I’m not knitting a pom pom garland, I’m knitting Garland, the beautiful sweater from the cover of the latest issue of pompom!

I’m using Drops Alpaca Silk, a mix of brushed alpaca and mulberry silk, in the colour Heather (#08). It’s been a really nice yarn to work with so far, and for a mohair like yarn, it’s also quite easy to unravel (ask me how I know!).

It’s been more than two months since I started working on the sweater and I’m finally reaching the end of the body. The sweater itself is really easy (a lot of stockinette in the round, with no increases and hardly any decreases), but the five rows of lace of the bottom gave me the hardest time! If you plan on knitting this sweater, I strongly recommend placing a stitch marker between every repeat of the lace pattern. Yes, that’s about forty stitch markers, one every seven stitches if I remember correctly, but if I had placed them from the beginning of the lace I would have saved myself a lot of tears, time and frustration! Only after frogging the lace rows for at least the fifth time did I place the markers, and even though I still had to frog the lace a few times, I don’t think I would have been able to complete it without them.

After spending so much time on so few rows, I had kind of lost the motivation to work on the sweater, which is why it’s been taking me so long. Also, after all my efforts, the lace looks weird: I don’t really see the cute flower motif I’m supposed to see there… I’m hoping this will change after blocking, especially since I’m quite sure I followed the chart correctly! Anyway, there was no way I was going to frog the lace AGAIN, even if I did mess something up!

And one row here, one row there, the body is almost finished, which gives me a new motivation! Though I kind of fear the beginning of the sleeves, which feature the dreaded lace pattern again!