The Mara Sweater

Hi there, how are you ? All melted away with the recent heatwave maybe? I hope not!

We had a few days of seriously hot weather here in Normandy which is not my favorite as I really don’t enjoy much heat. Also knitting in 30C+ is not the best, think clammy hands and sweat! Not a nice picture;

Luckily the weather has cooled down some and so I’m feeling better and knitting like crazy.

But before I can show you what I’m currently knitting on I have to show you my latest secret test knit.

This was a pattern by Renée Callahan of East London Knits. This was a top down sweater with what looks like an all over colorwork but is in fact a slipped stitch pattern and so very easy to do and no tension issues as there sometimes are with fair isle/stranded knitting.

The pattern calls for a slightly cropped sweater with 3/4 sleeves but you can easily knit to your liking and have a full length sweater and either full length or even short sleeves.

As you decrease on the sleeves you end up not being able to keep the patterning all around

I so loved this particular pattern that I actually knit two sweaters! And I finished both before the deadline for the test knit. Though I admit I still have not weaved in the ends of the second version just yet. But it is all ready for me to finish for good.

So I chose to use a wonderful UK yarn which I have used before as I took part in other test knits for other designers. I chose yarn from Cambrian Wool in the UK. I chose their 4 ply yarn and chose too very contrasting colors, Arian and Welsh red – that is a very pale grey and a rust red.

The prototype uses a main color and a gradient set as contrast colors but I felt like just using solid colors and limiting them to just two.

The stitch pattern is very addictive and I feel the sweater was easy to knit and the pattern well written.

The only issue or point where you have to be careful is where you split for the sleeves. As there are short rows on the neck, if you miscalculate your sweater will look wonky.

I admit that I made a mistake on my primary sweater and so once I had finished it, I ripped back the neck ribbing and short rows and reknit them.

I chose to knit 3/4 sleeves on this version and I quite like that.

Here are more pictures of me wearing the sweater

Then there was the second version. For that one I wanted to see how the garment would look if I only did the slipped stitch pattern on the yoke. I also chose a different combination of yarns. I chose Holst Garn Tides which is a wool and silk blend and I knit this held double with a thread of a lace weight sequinned mohair. I then used Nateby yarn from Eden Cottage yarn for the colorwork as contrast color.

See how the sequins sparkle?

This version turned out very different from the other. Because of the completely different yarns, this version turned out looser, less form fitting on the body. Also the sleeves are wider though I secretly suspect I may have made some mistake there and maybe knit on too many stitches. But it’s ok, it is still wearable.

I also chose to do 3/4 sleeves as this version is also quite warm so full length sleeves might be too much.

So I yet have to finish weaving in the ends and have pictures taken of me wearing the sweater. I will do later this summer.

You can check out my pattern page on Ravelry here https://www.ravelry.com/projects/bogga/miara-sweater

If you feel like knitting a garment and you like the colorwork look then this just might be the project for you 🙂

That’s all for today. I hope you are doing good and enjoying your summer so far. I will be back later to show you my latest socks, Olive Leaf cardigan and summer tee not to mention my next cast on which will be the Navelli by Kaitlyn Hunter.

So until next time, Happy Knitting!

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Knitting and audio books

Hi there, how are you? I hope you are doing good and enjoying your week. I’m doing fine. Christmas is getting closer and last weekend I did some cookie baking with my kids and that really put us in the Christmas spirit:) Soon we’ll be putting up our decorations and purchasing gifts. In Iceland, or at least in my family, we put up our tree on the 23rd of December and we take it down on January 6 which is the end of Christmas in Iceland. Here in France people put their decorations up earlier and I think we’ll be decorating our home this coming weekend. How about you? Do you celebrate Christmas and if yes, have you already put up your tree and decorations?

Last week we had an internet outage for two days. No internet is a total catastrophe! Not only does it mean that I cannot work as my regular job depends on an internet connexion but it also means no home phone, no tv and of course no watching YouTube or anything else! So what is a knitter to do? Well, lucky for me I have an Audible account. I have bought a few books but haven’t listened to a lot of them. As I was unable to work for two days I did get some time to knit and knitting in silence is not my thing, at least not for a long time. And so I was so happy to have my Audible account and I took the opportunity to finish one book I had been listening to and to start a new one and I really got into them. I find that I equally enjoy knitting while listening to a good book as I do while watching a podcast or tv series.

Do you listen to audio books? I like mystery and police thrillers but for audio books I see that I also like fiction. So far I have listened to the following books/

Precious Victims by Don W. Weber – this is based on a true criminal case I believe and was quite captivating.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova – this is a fiction book about a young woman that suffers from Alzheimers. This was a really poignant story and I felt really touched as my grandmother suffers from age related dementia and in some aspects that resembles Alzheimers and so this book really touched me.

The amazing Mrs Polifax by Dorothy Gilman – this is a mystery that in some aspects makes me think of an Agatha Christie mystery in the fact that the hero is Mrs Polifax, an elderly sleuth and her adventures.

And the book I started last week and am still listening to is The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty –  this is a fiction with some crime mystery also. The author is Australian and the actor who reads is also Australian and I really love the exotic accent. This is a wonderful book that talks about a few women who’s lives intertwine at a critical moment in their lives. I have about 3h left and I’m really enjoying this.

If you enjoy audio books maybe you will enjoy one those books too. Also if you have any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear about the books that you most enjoy.

On to knitting. So last week I shared with you a color work cowl that I knit. It was the Boreal Forest cowl by Renée Callahan and it was part of this years Knitvent from Helen Stewart of the Curious Handmade podcast. Last week we got the fourth pattern of Knitvent and it was the hat to go with the cowl so of course I cast on for that and I have finished, twice really because after knitting the hat once, I wasn’t happy with the results so I ripped most of it out and knit it again. Unfortunately I’m still not satisfied. For some reason the hat is too small, too shallow actually. It’s written in one size with a change of needle size to knit either the child or adult version. I did use the correct needle size for the adult version and my tension was good and yet it still is super small. I like my hats to cover my ears and this one only covers the top of the ears. I think I will grow a little with some aggressive blocking. Or at least I hope so. Here’s a picture:

boreal-forest-hatIt’s somewhat blown out but you get the picture I hope.

I’m still working on the color work mittens, the Owl ones and I hope to finish them this week. My daughter is super excited about those and can’t wait to use them.

And then there is the Project Peace. This is a free pattern on Ravelry meant for us to knit while reflecting on world peace. Thousands of people have joined and I decided to do so as well. This is a slipped stitched patterned cowl and the 4 round pattern is repeated 21 times so the idea is to knit one pattern repeat a day. Sometimes I don’t have the time and then I knit two repeats the following day and currently I’m on time. The yarn I’m using is one I got in my Knitting in France Birthday Game swap this year. It’s a new to me yarn and a very luscious blend at that. It’s from Expression Fiber Arts and the colorway is called June Alexandrite. Its a superwash merino and silk in a singles base. It feels super soft and the colour is really intense. Here are some pictures.

Last week I told you about a sock I was test knitting for designer Dana Gervais. Well she published the pattern on Ravelry yesterday so now I can share that with you. It is a very simple slipped stitch color work pattern. The sock looks super complicated but it’s actually deceptively simple to do. I really enjoyed knitting this and I highly recommend this pattern for anyone wanting to try some fun color work.

The pattern is called Beach Ball Socks and you can find this on Ravelry. I knit this using my bronze sparkle yarn and I really love the outcome. I have only finished one sock… I got caught up in all the other knitting projects… but I have cast on for sock number two and hope to finish it soon. Here are some pictures:

The newest project I’m working on this week is a hat, the Maryam hat by Mina Philipp of the Knitting Expat. I’m knitting it in my non superwash BFL Aran weight yarn. I just cast on last night so I’m not far yet but here’s a little picture of my progress so far:

maryam-hatThis is a fun pattern with some cables and as it’s Aran weight I think it will be done quickly.

This is about all I think I wanted to share with you this week. I do have plans to cast on for a pair of Aran weight mittens, maybe the Bella mittens – a free pattern on Ravelry. I think I might do some Christmas gift knitting after all….

I hope you have a wonderful week with lots of knitting time because that is just the best! Until next time, take care 🙂