Thursday, 14 January 2021

Green cable jumper and free flat knitted mitts pattern

Another jumper from second hand ( new unused balls!) off Ebay mohair. Bought in 2016 and since then just taking up room. 

 I have been wearing this jumper in various colours since I was about 22. Its just part of how I look now. Its the third or fourth time I have knitted this pattern but I really like to wear it. The first version in golden yellow was back in the 80s ( I do not have any photos) then again in the 90s though that bright green version took me 8 years to knit! I finally finished it in 2004.

Its been very well worn and is pretty bald now and tatty looking but I still wear in the garden but the bright green is really ready for the bin and I cannot quite imagine a world without this pattern of jumper in the wardrobe so here is my latest version.

The yarn is Hayfield Tuscany. The second yarn which is just shadow stripes and is also the main part of the ribbing and this is used as narrow stripes through the larger of the cables is some unknown but very high quality yarn which is very thick and fluffy and hard to knit. The narrow stripes create the shadow striped effect. You can see if you click on the picture what I mean. Its more of a turquoise but was the best I had to combine to get the right amount of yarn to ensure I have enough. As usual I probably could have just used the one colour. The purple stripes in the ribbing are left over lilac yarn from my recent purple aran.  I do like the slightly fancy striped ribbing though. I have not done this until recently. I used it as a way to ensure there was enough in the purple aran and its worked there as well. It is a good way to increase what yarn you have if there is barely enough for what the pattern is asking.

This jumper has a crew neck like the very first yellow version. I have no pictures of that one that I can find and they would be old fashioned prints anyway. The bright green version which is worn out now had a split neck a bit like a grandad neck but I never added buttons. I did make the button holes though! 

I cannot think of a lot more to say about this really. I, as usual, made one cable thats small with a larger cable alternating, rather than all the same size as the pattern directs. I have always done this with this pattern and I like the effect. It also makes it slightly more interesting to do the knitting.

As usual I have taken a photo of the pattern and instructions in case anyone wants to try knitting this. Its from a magazine called Womans Realm. I think its about 1986 because it was the year I adopted my first dog. I remember having just knitted this when I had him in February 1986.

I knitted on the correct needle size this time ( though the pattern is actually for Chunky, but mohair equates fine if you buy the right gauge,) and except for doing double rib with stripes and doing one cable smaller than the other this is " as pattern". Oh and I did not bother with the back neck shaping they tell you to do but just did as I always do with no shaping on the back ( ie; a square ) and put the centre X amount of stitches on a pin to pick up later.  I did for once do a proper neck knitted in the round though now I have my lovely double pins. I have circular needles already but just hate knitting with them. All my previous ( recent) jumpers have been knitted with a seam up one side of the neck. This is the first one I have done as my mother would want me to do it!

Then I made my second pair of mitts. These turned out a bit larger than the previous purple version. I may put a stitch in the finger part to make them more comfortable. They would be ideal over full gloves or mittens though as a double layer and today in the UK I wish I had one or the other because its very cold.

This was the pattern I used for the mitts. I decided because it was thicker yarn to go for a larger needle. That was the problem with my sizing so I think the original purple pair worked better. These are the next size up. Man sized? Still here is the pattern. Again these are made flat and sewn up so very easy to make.

The yarn used for the mitts is the unknown mohair type I used for the jumper ribbing and the darker green stripes are the main part of the jumper. They do tone together though and the mitts work for dog walking and are very warm.

Hopefully you can see there are 5 stripes of the main jumper yarn across the mitts. 

Two stripes below the thumb, one at exactly thumb level so where you divide for the thumb hole and two above then the turquoise ribbing. Its hard to see in this picture but I have not managed to get a better one yet. Each stripe is two rows wide. One Knit row and one purl row. 

The second picture shows the back of the mitt. The yarn used for these is so fluffy you cannot really see the seam at all. I do not know the name of this yarn or the content but by the amount of very sticky fluff I suspect well above 80% mohair. Its hard to knit on normal sized mohair needles too though the yarn is not thicker when put beside a 5.5 -7mm needle type of yarn. Its just more fluffy. The middle bit where the stripes are is actually looking less fluffy on the pictures of the mitts.

PATTERN - I would say this would fit larger hands or men

Green shadow-striped mohair mitts:

With a 4mm needle cast on 34 stitches using aran cast on and doubled yarn.

Using single strand of  yarn and the 4mm needles do k2, p2 ribbing for X amount. Mine have about 3.5cm of rib for the cuffs.

Change to 5mm needles ( I think this was my mistake, probably should have stuck with the smaller size or altered the number of stitches!) Knit in stocking stitch for 22cm including the ribbed edge. above the thumb measures 7.5cm more including ribbed edge.

 NOTE: If you want to add the stripes you need to knit for 14cm (including the ribbed edge) then do 2 rows of contrast, 2 rows main, 2 rows contrast, 4 rows main, 2 rows contrast- divide for thumb after second row here:

To do thumb hole : K 8, put 8 stitches onto safety pin or stitch holder, cast on 8 stitches and complete the row. 

Then change back to main yarn and continue in stocking stitch: 4 rows main, 2 rows contrast, 2 rows main, 2 rows contrast and change to main for the ribbed edge. 

Ribbed edge: change to 4mm needles and do k2, p2 rib for about 3.5cm. 

Cast off using doubled yarn and a 7mm needle to give the edge some stretch and not be too tight when wearing. If you do not like a loose edge use maybe a 5mm/ 6mm needle to cast off. 

Using 5mm needle, pick up the 8 stitches held on stitch holder or safety pin for the thumb and in stocking stitch knit straight for 2cm then k2, p2 rib for a further 3.5cm and cast off using doubled yarn and 7mm needle. Sew up thumb carefully and then sew up back seams.

NOTE: for my purple gloves, which fit better, I only left 5 stitches for the thumbs and also I did the main part of the gloves in a smaller needle. I could not do that with these since the yarn was too fluffy. I should probably have also in that case have had less stitches rather than the larger needle. The purple gloves had 31 stitches but were a larger cabled rib. These are probably more woman sized though I have relatively large hands being a 5 ft 7 inches ( 170cm) tall woman. Watch this space though because I intend to perfect this pattern. If you do wnat a larger sized mitt this may well work for you - these measure 11cm accross the bit underneath the thumb and similar all the way up.

These are my purple mitts:



You can see the purple are tighter

See here.

 I am considering making traditional mittens next. I will probably move on eventually to full gloves but I need to make it all work first and these are too big but as an over layer over mittens they would be brilliant. Otherwise I need to sew them together between the fingers and thats seems a shame. My partner hates mohair and real wool so will not wear them. He also only wears black!

I will post the next version once I decide what to make next mitts-wise. 

Comments (or advice on knitting and especially designing of knitwear) welcome


Thursday, 7 January 2021

Ghoulish monster print dress

This fabric was expensive so I bought just 1m of it. I was disappointed in the colours which looked much brighter on my laptop. I bought this in the summer but only just now decided what t do with it. Because I only bought 1m  it was a difficult thing to work out what I can get from this to make the most of the print and not waste my fabric which cost me £10 for just a metre.

Its my TNT dress/ top pattern. I decided on this pattern because at least I will not make a mess of this. A new pattern is always a risk.


I did not have enough fabric for full length sleeves but with the offcuts I managed to add frills and make the 3/4 sleeves I could cut longer.  Adding a bit of lace gives them a fashionable finish, adds a little more length, and I really like the overall effect. I have not previously tried this look out so it makes a change.

Then I made a small hole in the edge when I overocked it and the fabric got eaten by the machine so I had to stop for a while, while deciding what to do about this. In the end a few weeks passed when I had to wait for the overlocker to be fixed. It turned out the blades just needed replacing due to having gone blunt. I did not actually need to use the overlocker to finish this but I just kind of had a mental block as to what to do next. So on the table it sat doing nothing and I gave up sewing.

Now the overlocker is back in action and I decided to twin needle stitch some more of my stretch lace to the edge. So really I could have finished this weeks ago. I got kind of stuck though when thinsg all went wrong. A few rows of stretch lace really finishes off the dress and its very wearable though perhaps a little thin for the time of year. A dress ready for spring though.


Stay safe and warm


Saturday, 2 January 2021


I have been making this for nearly 2 years and decided since the last series of Vikings is now on I really should get round to at least finishing it enough to wear it.

This is one of those silly things I just cannot help making. Just because I can.

And I am mad about the TV series Vikings and in particular Lagertha. I know shes not in the last series but still this does warrant me finishing it I think.

This project has been a real long term learning curve - in leather craft. I began this about a 2 years ago. Thats when it was just a vague idea. A conversation with a friend!
I made this from with a second hand purple leather skirt ( or in the end two leather skirts because as you can see later I made a serious error so had to adapt).

This just about cut up into the right sized bits tho I have had to join a few of them to make this work. The skirt cost 99p + postage from Ebay so not a great investment. It is leather but then viking armour was and I decided if doing this it should be at least vaguley correct. I had to wait quite a while watching Ebay to find something cheap enough to make it worth making this because I always thought it would end up being a disaster. It was just fun to try it.

The below was written as this went along so apologies if some is in the present tense.

Its taken me ages. Its far from expertly made or even pretty. Its basic unskilled leather work. I have not real idea what I am doing at all. I just wanted to have a go at this. First I used Pinterest to get an idea of how other people make this kind of garment.

 Vikings SourceLagertha from Vikings # viking Braids lagertha

Then I did a drawing of what I intend to try to make.

Work out measurements of Harriet vs me. Harriet is my vintage dress form. I do not use her often but she is invaluable for things like this. Then I used my The Vampires Wife inspired dress blocks to make a new pattern which I cut similar to the pictures of Lagertha's armour from, I think Season 2 (I need to check this so do not quote me on that one.). I mainly used the TVW blocks because I had never made any others so I keep using them as a starting point for anything it seems. Being vintage Harriet moves around a bit. Shes meant to be exactly my size! Heres hoping this works.

basic dress block
I traced my block and divided the basic block into two halves for front and back and draw lines for armour shape. Pinterest has many many pictures and loads of other people have given their versions which make this relatively easy to follow through. 

Divide armour into sections:

 Ignore my wiggly line that is a mistake. Find darts and draw down join lines of the sections.

Cut at approximately where you want your individual sections and then divide darts between these sections.

 I numbered the bits before cutting up and marked all sections carefully to ensure I do not get confused later .

 Then having got my individual sections I stuck them together on Harriet to see if this may actually work.

This was not easy and the tapes kept falling off as I stuck it all round the dress form.
Looking reasonably Lagertha like though!

Work out how best to cut up the skirt to get all the sections. This was an american size 8 skirt so no room to play here. I used just about every mm even the facings and waistband. The scraps left over were miniscule. I had to piece some bits together

Then I cut the tiny offcuts which included edges of seams etc to make thongs. I used a hammer and a leather tool that I do not have a clue what its called to make holes. Its a bit like a bradall which does a similar job in woodwork. This came as a kit from Aldi with rivets and studs but I cannot get them to work yet. I sewed the panels together. This is taking ages. I started in February and had to stop due to damaging my hand. I got a trigger thumb but its now had a cortizone injection so I am managing to complete this. I know not good, but needs must and whats the point if you cannot live your life. Though I really do think its due to the amount of hammering I did that caused the injury!

It went together slowly.This has taken months to sew up. I pierced each hole seperately ad matched a hole on the other panel so they sort of match up. Because of the type of lacing though each panel is mobile so moves next to the other.

Reverse of the front

In the start I was putting the numerous knots I need to join my small bits of thong together at the front because in real life these will be horrible and make the wearer sore in battle. Then my partner pointed out that I will not be living in this and it looks rubbish with all the knots on the right side so I altered it so they are all now hidden. Then I have just the one side panel to add and I get the brilliant idea to add rivets to the closure so it will wear better getting in and out of this. Not of course that I will be wearing this often or maybe not more than a couple of times but being me had to make it perfect.

Bad idea. I recked the panel. I have no spare fabric (leather). What to do to finish this?

I actually bought 2 skirts from ebay. I think the other one had been boiled or washed because its like cardboard. Normally I'd have returned on grounds its not as advertised because it does not even resemble the picture BUT for the price, for armour, it could be useful. Its almost hard. It was mean to have poppers down the front so I am then considering could this became 100 armour instead. I mean its definitely based on medieaval viking armour and its based on the TV series but I can adapt because its not like this is for a Viking re-enactment. I suspect this would not be good enough quality for that anyway. And this will solve the problem of getting in and out of my armour. So from Lagether this has now evolved into a 100 series costume. Not I suppose that dissimilar really but definitely not historical. Never mind I can do dystopia instead.

But having spent a few months doing this next adaptation I just did not like the end result so took it appart again. I have no photos of this unfortunately. So then what to do?

I cut another piece of the stiff leather and oiled it and left it a couple of months. I used massage oil in case you need to do this and it made the leather all supple again and it smells lovely! It sunk in completely and does not feel even slightly oily to the touch which was a surprise.

So then I cut a second piece that is identical to the original bit. By now the series 6 of Vikings is about to start and its 29th December 2020. So nearly 2 years I have been making this. I decided to get round to this at last and spent a day hammering and threading- take much longer than you would expect! and then I added overcast thongs around most of the edges though I have not quite finished this. I want photos now though while its still current so here they are and complete with braided hair too though I need a lesson on how to do that viking style really. I know there used to be some directions for braiding hair on the website so may check that out.

Now I have to admit I intend to continue with this. Because I am so rubbish at applying the studs and rivets I have decided to make small strips of leather then add studs and rivets to them and if that works to sew by thonging down each strip of armour. Its a technique used alot in Vikings and will minimize my liklihood of ruining this.

So its not quite done with yet. Also interestingly we took the photos of this several hours ago and its very comfortable to wear since I still have this on. Its cold outside so I am going to take my dogs a walk now whilst wearing my armour.

Ah and the white top is another of my self drafted tops

It works very well with the armour.

Have a lovely day