Category Archives: yarn

WIP: Another Month, Another Tank Top

Autumn is with us here in the UK, and leaves have started to turn to gold and lay fallen at the foot of trees. For the first time in many months there is a slight chill in the breeze that makes you want to pull your collar up ever so slightly, and consider the drawer full of hats and light scarves just before leaving the house. T-shirt weather has ended for the year, and an extra layer of warmth is a kind comfort.

When full bulky sweaters are perhaps a bit too warming for the middle seasons, a sweater vest, or tank top here in the UK, is a perfect Autumn and spring alternative. After finishing the striped tank top a couple of weeks ago, I have cast on a second experimental knit for Baby Awesome, something to pull on over a shirt or jersey top, just to keep the chest snug and warm the heart with a knitted cuddle.
I’ve used a variegated yarn in candy colours Regia 4-fädig Color in shade 5025 (Papillon), alongside a pale beige shade of Drops Baby Merino. Though the yarns are slightly different in construction and handle, the stitch I am using for the main body of the tank top gives enough bounce to make the two yarns work perfectly together.
The stitch I am using for this tan top works up slowly, but the effect is worth the knitting, and I hope that the finished sweater will be worth it when it is finished. Though I am using the showcase stitch for the main chest and back areas, the upper chest and shoulder areas are being worked in a squishy and sumptuous garter rib, matching that of the bottom cast-on edge.
Now that Baby Awesome has reached a year of age (a whole year of Baby Awesome being in the world has now occurred and this happy and emotional mummy can hardly believe it!) there is likely to be a bit of a slow down in his growth rate, and with any luck the things that I knit for him now may even still fit him in the spring, so this tank top may be useful for two seasons.
I’ve also been sidetracked from this current project with a bright and cheery little birthday knitting project which I hope to share soon. To further prove just how industrious I am being I also have two crochet projects on the go. It’s amazing what can happen when your baby quickly goes from waking 5-8 times a night to sleeping a 12-13 hour stretch (It’s been five weeks of good sleep, and I still don’t think I have caught up on the preceding couple of months, but I’m certainly getting there.

Enjoy any projects you have underway as the seasons change, whether you are moving into autumn or spring!

FO: Rainbow Baby Tank Top

After finishing Mr Awesome’s Socks a few weeks ago using Regia’s Pairfect yarn, I had written about my intention to use the same line of yarn in a non-sock project. The yarn is specifically designed for use in sock knitting, made to produce two perfectly paired socks, however I hoped to manipulate the single 100g skein to combine lengths of matching colour usually given across two socks to give longer stretches of colour over the larger circumference of (in this case) a tank top for a (very soon) one year old.
I knit this tank top freehand, working to Baby Awesome’s measurements as I went. After almost completing the project I decided that the length I had taken for the knit was perhaps a bit shorter than would have been ideal, so I adapted the bottom-up knit to lengthen the sleeve holes and shoulders, adding the press stud closures in case I needed to add further length to the sleeveless sweater.

As it happens, the length was fine, but the slightly deeper arm holes did drop the neckline to a very nice depth, so it all worked out well in the end.

When knitting the main part of the tank top I had to use two lengths of yarn to create each different coloured stripe, meaning that 18 lengths of yarn were used to knit the tank top before any edges were picked up and the ribbing knit. I decided to cheat a little and use a Russian join so that my evenings were not taken up doing nothing but weaving in ends. I like to do what I call a cheat’s Russian join, which negates the use of a darning needle (use of which is too close to weaving in ends to make much difference to me). As I had been asked about my technique for weaving in ends I posted the following quick explanation on my Instagram and Twitter account, so I have added it here for posterity:

Cheat’s Russian Join:
1:  loop old and new yarns (here two colours) as if they were linking arms. If ending at a particular point work out how much yarn it will take to knit to that point and create link there (I am changing colour at the marker and know roughly how much yarn it will take me to knit the six stitches to that point. It becomes very simple to judge after you’ve done it once or twice).
2:  knit with the doubled length of your current colour, up until the link (which I’ve chosen to be six stitches, ending at the marker).
3:  Slip marker and begin with new colour/yarn, again doubled at the link point.
4:  Knit with doubled yarn for six stitches, then drop short end and continue as normal. Both ends are worked in for six stitches either side of join.

The press stud closures are the standard type found on many baby clothes, but as these can be damaging to yarn the knitting is protected at the back by a very small amount of cotton jersey fabric, trimmed tight to the closure after application.

Though it would be great at this point to share a wonderfully modelled picture of the tank top, Baby Awesome is due to turn one next week, and he is full of fun, opinions, and most importantly baby wiggles. There is no picture where he is not scooting or crawling past the camera at such speed that he is basically a rainbow blur, so the only photo I have managed to catch is by laying him down, and even then he is such a little wriggly thing that the knitting ended up all bunched behind him. You’ll just have to imagine that it is neat and not covered in porridge by this point.

May you find happiness in your yarn. I’m off to try to finish baby Awesome’s next knitted gift, as I’d like to have it ready for his first birthday next week!

FO: Pairfect Socks In Awesome Stripes

Mr Awesome’s socks are finally finished. I say finally, as I see that the first time I wrote about these was on the 20th October, 2015, so I must have cast them on when Baby Awesome was only a month old, and he is now fast approaching being a year old.

I magic looped the socks two at a time to avoid second sock syndrome. It did work in that now that I have finished, both socks are complete and ready to wear, but goodness me it did feel like acres of stockinette in the round, even if you really can’t compete with a simple vanilla stock for classic wear and function, and with a yarn like Regia’s Pairfect they can also come with oodles of style.Regia’s tried and tested fibre blend is hard-wearing and holds colour well, and the unique dye pattern of the yarn allows for two perfectly paired socks with a wide cuff, striped leg and plain foot. I bought a couple of colourways of this yarn, and now that I have put it to it’s obvious and suggested use I want to see if I can put the next skein to some other, more innovative knitting idea. Perhaps gloves, maybe a baby garment. The stripe pattern has a few possibilities, though I may have to manipulate and re-wind the skein a bit to experiment.
The last 2/3rds of the socks took a couple of days to knit, and I’m glad to have the needles free again. One fewer Project lingering in unrealised potential is a positive thing, and as the finished socks are a gift for my husband (happy birthday for, uh, February, Mr Awesome!), it feels especially good to be able to finally pass on the gift (don’t feel too sorry for him, he did get other gifts).

To knit both socks at once I had to re-wind the yarn into two matching skeins as the yarn is supplied in one 100g ball and beginning of each sock is denoted by a few yards of bright yellow yarn (which serves only as a marker and is not intended to be knit). Regia Pairfect yarn would work perfectly for any sock pattern knit top down: the stripes form the leg, and then any combination of heel and toe could be knit once the solid block of colour was reached. Toe up socks could be knit if the yarn is rewound into a reverse cake, though if the knitter wished the striped legs to begin at the ankle, a cut and join might have to be made once the foot was complete.

I want to clear at least one more outstanding project off the list before I even think about casting on anything new, and I still have a pattern to format and publish, but I think it was an important step getting those stitches on the needle and the project swiftly finished off.

Bud To Bloom In Marshmallow Cloud: Kits Now Available

bud-to-bloom-kits

In an extraordinary show of generosity and support, It’s A Stitch Up have announced the availability of a limited number of kits in support of Refuge, a charity which does a great amount of work to support women and children escaping domestic abuse.

The kit includes both skeins of yarn needed to complete the two hats above: Bloomin’ Marvellous on the left and Little Bud on the right, as well as an eBook containing both patterns. The kit retails at £28, which represents great value for money when costing up the price of the yarns and patterns separately, but even more importantly, £5 from every kit sold will go to Refuge.

If you are a buyer who has already purchased a copy of the eBook and are interested in the kit, please let me know and I will refund you the original price of the standalone eBook back to you, so you can get yourself even more of a special treat of a deal.
The yarn included in the kit is It’s A Stitch Up’s hand-dyed Marshmallow Cloud. It is super-silky baby alpaca, dyed to be as rich and sumptuous to the eye as well as to handle. The yarn is a chunky-weight yarn, but incredibly light to handle. Each of the light and long fibres is incredibly smooth, dyed beautifully with no matting or felting of the delicate wisps of baby alpaca. There is a generous 100m (109 yards) to each 100g skein, and it is a perfect yarn for accessories such as hats, as it is so very warm without any itchiness at all. Baby Awesome and I wore our matching hats out to the supermarket yesterday, pompoms bobbling brightly in the cold, and we remained as snug as two little bugs.

Buying this kit will not only give you a wonderful sense of warmth on your head, but also inside, knowing that you are helping those in need. To make your halo extra shiny, you can also rest assured that your yarn is ethically sourced and spun. The fibre for this yarn is sourced from Peru, where it is hand-sorted through two rounds of grading to ensure that only the finest fibres from the first shearings of the baby alpaca make it through. The fibre sorters and farmers are fairly paid for their work by a mill based in the UK where the yarn is spun, which also provides and education program for the children of the workers and farmers that provide their skills and expertise to produce the fibre.

The Marshmallow Cloud yarn is available in a number of shades, from bright solids and semi solids, through variegated and pastel tones, and each skein can be purchased separately for £14.

Find out more about It’s A Stitch Up’s yarns and patterns by visiting the online store.

To read more about the eBook project and the two patterns within it, please do find a moment to read this post. Thank you once more for your support and care, and happy knitting!

Two New Patterns, One New Yarn And One Fantastic Cause

Today I have two new hat patterns ready for the world. On the left is Bloomin Marvellous, and on the right is Little Bud: a duo of hats that have been designed to celebrate and support women in children in need. The proceeds of this eBook, which compromises two hats (Bloomin’ Marvellous and Little Bud) will be donated to the women’s shelter charity Refuge.

The price for an eBook containing both patterns is set at a modest £3.50, however, if you would like to pay what you can, please visit This Page to make a donation (anything from £1, $1, €1, etc, up to whatever you can afford, more or less than the pattern (added to which benefit, no Paypal or Ravelry fees will be deducted, and no VAT if you are a UK taxpayer… Just pop your Ravelry name, email address or some other way to contact you in the comments section there, or drop me a line here or on Ravelry, and I will send your pattern (there may be a slight delay as I will not be at my computer all the time).

Both hats are designed to have a gathered crown which provides soft yarns with a lesser amount of structure the support to make a pompom look it’s best. Instructions for making a pompom and templates to do so are included in both patterns.

The embellishments on each hat are what set each apart, symbolising the growth and new beginning of those in need who receive help and support, whether it be from loved ones and friends, or organisations and charities such as Refuge that go towards helping women and children grow and bloom, and one day hopefully to help people become Bloomin Marvellous. Little Bud is also a poignant name, as the photos are of me and my own little one, who though still just a bud, will bloom himself. He is also my little buddy, and another form of support alongside my husband, my friends, and in the past Refuge, the charity for which any proceeds are directed.

The colours for each hat are reversed from its partner, and you can make both hats (one Adult, one baby from just the two skeins of yarn. You could make two adult hats from two skeins, but the pompoms would not be as big and full, should you choose to top them with the cheery balls of fluff.

These hats knit up very quickly as they are made from a bulky but ever-so-buttery-soft yarn: It’s A Stitch Up’s Marshmallow Cloud. One skein of each of two shades (Night Moves and Rebel Rebel) was plenty to provide enough yarn for not only both hats but the two fine pompoms and then quite some left over. There would be enough yarn in two skeins to make two adult hats, with perhaps smaller pompoms.

It’s A Stitch Up have very generously put together a Bloomin Marvellous/Little Bud Kit to support Refuge. The kit contains both skeins of yarn used in these designs (Marshmallow Cloud in Rebel Rebel and Night Moves) and copies of both hat patterns, which will be emailed to you when your yarn is dispatched. £5 of the sale of each yarn kit will go towards Refuge.

I was going to put a review of this gorgeous yarn into this post, but in all honesty I think it is deserving of a post all of its own, so I shall write a dedicated post for the yarn in the coming day, but in short it is one of the most beautiful yarns I have used. I would love to see versions of this hat in the un-dyed shade teamed with either the soft pink of the ‘Baby Cakes’ shade, or with the vibrant pop of colour from ‘Hot Thing’.

A wide range of sizes are given for both hat designs, as below…

Small Baby: 37cm (14.5”)
Newborn – 3 months: 38cm (15”)
4 – 6 months: 39.5cm (15.5”)
7 – 11 months: 40.5cm (16”)
1 – 2 years: 43cm (17”)
2 – 3 years: 46cm (18”)
Child (3-12 years): 49.5cm (19.5”)
Teen: 53cm (21”)
Adult Small: 56cm (22”)
Adult Large: 59.5cm (23.5”)

Anyway, stop reading this: please just chuck a small donation this way by purchasing a pattern, or kit from It’s A Stitch Up, or via The Charity Donation Page and feel good to have made a difference today!

Yarn weight: Bulky / 12 ply (7 wpi)
Gauge: 16 stitches and 21 rows stitches = 4 inches/10cm in Stockinette stitch
Needle size: US 8 & 9 – 5 & 5.5 mm
Yardage: 75 – 150 yards (70 – 140 m) used for sample size
Sizes available: 10 sizes, from small baby to large adult
Price: £3.50 add to cart or buy it now