Capsule Summer Knits Wardrobe

Calico-full-length

Living in England, I don’t have much need for summer clothes! We get a week or two each summer where it’s safe to leave the house without a cardie or jumper. This means I often end up knitting more winter garments – but we do have a lot of ‘in between’ weather, where a cover-up is definitely needed but it’s too warm for anything woolly.

After taking part in Me Made May, Ive been looking at my wardrobe differently. Instead of knitting things because I’ve fallen in love with the image – I’m thinking more about the outfits I wear the most and feel comfortable in and what I can knit to go with them.

I really struggle to find trousers that fit so I mostly live in skirts and dresses, with the occasional pair of stretchy jeans! So I’ve got in mind a few things that would fit in with my Summer/’in between’ weather wardrobe and have linked to my favourite wearable summer knits below.

I love floral summer dresses with long comfy cardigans over the top. It makes the outfit more casual and is essential for a summer day in the UK! I’m currently knitting a long winter cardie and would love a cotton version too. The image at the top is Calico by Kim Hargreaves and the three images above are Jane by Sarah Hatton, Wilder by Kim Hargreaves and Lessing by Martin Storey. I’m veering towards Wilder – and I do have a cowboy hat so I just need to find a grassy field to pose in!

A lot of my dresses and skirts flare out from the waist and look best with a shorter cardigan. My fave summer picks are Violette by Martin Storey, Karen by Sarah Hatton and Coral by Kim Hargreaves. They’re all  really classic and would go with most of the things in my wardrobe.

I’m more of a cardigan knitter than a jumper knitter. I think this is because they’re more versatile for layering in the winter, but I do like a good cotton jumper in the summer! I particularly love Bev by Sarah Hatton, Posee by Marie Wallin and Prairie by Kim Hargreaves. I already have the yarn for Posee (in teal of course), but I think the others are beautiful and love how Sarah has styled Bev with the denim dress.

I’ve been planning to knit a cabled summer jumper for years! I love Tide by Kim Hargreaves, Lunaire by Martin Storey and Faye by Kim Hargreaves. I think Lunaire is probably the right sort of fit and would look great in cream. I can see myself wearing it with denim shorts, skirts or over a dress. But I also think Faye would be gorgeous with a full circle skirt.

During Me Made May I rediscoverd a t-shirt I knitted years ago! I stopped wearing it as it was a bit short and snug – but it looks good under my pinnafore dress and has made me want to knit a new t-shirt. My favourites are all by Kim Hargreaves – Shore from Echoes, Raquel from Honey and Dree from Wilder. Shore is very similar to my original t-shirt so I think that’s the one I’ll go for, but perhaps without the stripes.

I think a long cardie, a short cardie, a fancy jumper, a cabled jumper and a t-shirt will give me an excellent capsule summer knits wardrobe. But this will definitely be a long term project!

What would be in your capsule summer knits wardrobe?

Wave Cardigan

WaveCardieDespite being quite a quick knit, this cardie has been on the needles for a long time!

Wave is from Kim Hargreaves Echoes book. It is knitted with two strands of Kidsilk Haze on one 4.5mm needle and one 9mm needle to create an open lacy texture. I loved how simple it was to knit, but found it rather fiddly on the 9mm rows! I’ve mentioned before that I’m a pit knitter (I tuck the needle under my armpit), but I tend to do my work knitting on straights and personal knitting on circulars – which means I can’t tuck. Changing needle types helps me to avoid RSI, but I really do find chunky circulars fiddly!

It was definitely worth it though! I love how light and warm Kidsilk Haze is and I can see me getting a lot of wear out of it. It was very quick and simple to knit, with very little shaping, making it a perfect project for knit group. I adore this shade – it’s called Trance and I’ve wanted to knit myself something in it since doing a cardie for my mum a few years ago.

Now that I’ve finished Wave, I’m intending to stick with my new year goal of only having one project on the go per category (ie, knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting etc). Work knitting doesn’t count right?!

So now I need to finish my Brona jumper before starting my next project which will be Kim Hargreaves Jamie Cardigan from Embrace. I’m not sure I can wait!

Yarn provided by Rowan

New Cardigan!

I’ve finally finished my Captivate cardigan from Kim Hargreaves North book!

Those of you who have been following me for a while may have noticed that I’ve been saying this is nearly finished for quite some time! May has been a busy month for me so this has been sitting in my knitting box waiting for me to pick up the neckline, sew up and block. I actually really enjoy making up (strange – I know!), but I think you need to have lots of time and a relaxed mind so that it’s not rushed.

It doesn’t have buttons yet – I’m thinking some little shell buttons would be perfect.

captivate3

 

I’m really happy with my choice of colours. I used Fine lace in cobweb and Kidsilk Haze in majestic – which has a slight purple tone to it, so overall it creates a nice warm grey. I can’t describe how lovely the combination of these two yarns is. It was a joy to knit – even though it was on 2.25mm and 2.75mm!

I had the perfect opportunity to wear it on Thursday, when I was the guest on a Create and Craft show with my book Cute Little Knits. Live TV is somewhat daunting so I haven’t been brave enough to watch it back, but I hope you enjoyed it if you saw it!

I’m setting you a challenge for June – get out those garments that just need making up and get them finished! If you’re stuck – you could come along to one of my professional finishing techniques workshops and I’ll teach you the joys of mattress stitch! x

Yarn provided by Rowan

Knit thinking

After a lovely long weekend with friends at Centre Parcs, playing crazy golf, kayaking and nearly drowning on the human rapids – I returned home with a very bad cold!

They say that you know you have flu if you’re really really thirsty but can’t find the energy to sit up for a drink. I think there is something in between a cold and the flu and the main symptom is being ‘too poorly to knit’! So on Wednesday (and part of Thursday) I admitted defeat and took some time off sick.

I might not have had the energy to knit – but you can’t stop me thinking about knitting! I find thinking about knitting very relaxing. When I’m driving I always think about knitting, when I can’t get to sleep I think about knitting and when my pilates teacher tells me to switch off all my thoughts – I think about knitting!

So here’s a little collage of what was going through my mind while I was tucked up in bed watching Netflix and eating hula hoops.

What does your knit thinking look like?

My Favourite Cardigan…

They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone – and that is true with this cardigan. It’s missing and I miss it so much!

wpid-img_20150324_110711.jpg

There have been so many days since it went missing, that I’ve put on a dress and thought ‘my lovely Teal cardigan would be perfect with this’. It just went with everything and was beautiful and warm and comfy and cosy and the best shade of Kid Classic ever!!

I’ve asked around the obvious places where I might have left it –  but if you’ve seen it or can remember seeing me wear it (last sighting was Sept 14) – please let me know!

So now I have the quandry of whether to knit it again. I always think that I will re-knit things that I love – but what if I make another and then I find it? That would be time that I could have spent knitting one of the other millions of cardies I want to make!

wpid-img_20150324_112511.jpgFor now I’ve decided to knit a summer version. This Kaneshon pattern by Sarah Hatton has a similar shape with the waterfall front and I’ve got the Cotton Lustre yarn in the lovely Cornflower blue shade. This will be next on my needles and I’m really looking forward to it! It’ll be nice and quick. I’m enjoying knitting my Captivate cardie from Kim Hargreaves North – but I’m looking forward to knitting on something bigger than 2.25mm and 2.75mm!

My missing cardigan was from Kim Hargreaves Winter Blooms – so I could get the yarn and re-knit it for winter. But I think I’m going to wait and see if Kim does any lovely new Kid Classic patterns this year before I embark on a re-knit.

wpid-img_20150324_114203.jpgI’ve also been lusting after Comfort from Kim’s Still book. It uses Kid Classic and Kidsilk Haze stranded together. It would be eleven balls of Kid Classic and seven balls of Kidsilk Haze for the XS – so quite an investment and not something I would want to lose! But I don’t think I would ever take it off so I’d be unlikely to lose it.

So what do you think? Should I re-knit or move on? If only I had time to re-knit the things I love that have been lost or worn out AND knit new things – that would be the dream!

 

 

 

Making Diary

A couple of weeks ago I decided to keep a visual diary of my ‘makes’ over on Instagram. I often reach the end of the week and feel like I’ve not achieved much. This diary has taught me that my expectations are maybe a bit high- I make a lot!

Monday

I spent most of the day doing some secret work knitting- sorry! I’d love to show you, but I need to maintain an air of mystery. I then spent the evening working on Kim Hargreaves Captivate from her new book North. It’s all a bit grey!

Tuesday

More secret work knitting and making up during the day. Tuesday is knit group night, so I did a bit more of Captivate and then caught up on my mood scarf when I got home.

Wednesday

Final touches on my secret work knitting during the day, followed by a bit of Captivate knitting in the evening whilst watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is getting a bit repetitive isn’t it?

Thursday

After finally finishing my secret knitting, I had a bit of an admin day on Thursday, which included making some buttonhole samples in preparation for a workshop. Being the first Thursday of the month, it was pub-knits in the evening, so I did a bit of Captivate and a mood scarf catch up in the Roundhouse.

Friday

Friday was supposedly my day off- but I spent all day knitting my new workshop mascot ‘Ted Bear’. And watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

Saturday

I hosted the monthly Rowan coffee morning at John Lewis Nottingham and then spent the afternoon merchandising their Rowan wall. After a hard day of playing with yarn (!)- I spent the evening working on my rag rug and watching  The Muppets (excellent film!)

Sunday

As well as a mood scarf catch up, I did a bit of Captivate and also decided to make some lampshades with old yarn. I might add more yarn before popping the balloons so I can’t show you the results yet. Blog to follow!

If you decide to keep your own making diary please share it with me! x

Lovely Kim Hargreaves

I’ve always been a fan of Kim Hargreaves, but I’m currently verging on obsessed! Her new book ‘North‘ is gorgeous and it’s taken me a couple of weeks to narrow down my decision of what to knit from it first!

Front-cover-North

One of the best things about being a Coats Territory Manager was that I was given samples of all the new books to show to retailers (and then use myself)! It was also one of the most frustrating things, because there was so much temptation and not enough time to knit!

This is highlighted by the fact that most of my knitted garments are made in yarn which is now discontinued- and I’m still working on a cardie in Fine Milk Cotton (which was discontinued about 3 years ago) from Kim’s ‘Misty’ (which is now out of print)! I’m hoping to finish the cardie before I publish this blog- so there might be a pic at the bottom if you’re lucky!

I’ve knitted many Kim Hargreaves garments over the years- some of which have been disasters: A Lima dress that clings to all the wrong bits (but it’s lovely and warm), and a little cardie which I did in Cashsoft instead of cotton and then accidentally shrunk! But I’ve only got myself to blame for those and I also have a fair few Kim garments which I really love and get lots of wear out of. Here are my favourites!

 

Left: Patsy from Touching Elegance, knitted in Wool Cotton. I have worn this so much it’s looking a bit tired! I love the shape and how it fits me. It’s really wearable and goes with all my dresses and skirts. I’m thinking about knitting it again in Felted Tweed with a bit of fair-isle.

Middle: Arielle from Misty, knitted in Sienna 4-ply. The yarn is discontinued and the book is out of print, but this top is still going strong! It was meant to be knitted in Fine Milk Cotton, but I thought the Sienna would be more hard-wearing and it’s been great- I just put it in the machine on a cool delicate cycle. I don’t actually have many clothes that go with it, but I find the shape really flattering so it’s still one of my favourites.

Right: Teal from Winter Blooms, knitted in Kid Classic. I’ve also worn this lots, but it’s holding up to wash and wear better than the Wool Cotton and still looks brand new whenever I wash it. I used to wear this with a belt sometimes, but now I just wear it loose and it feels a lot more casual. I love knitting with Kid Classic because it’s really quick and you get a lovely light fabric which is really cosy.

After a few years with very little time for selfish knitting, I’m really excited about knitting myself a new Kim garment! So from North I have chosen ‘Captivate’ which I’m going to Knit in Fine Lace cobweb (left) and Kidsilk Haze majestic (right).

 

 

So now it’s time for the big reveal of my Fine Milk Cotton cardie from Misty! Well- I’ve not quite finished it, so here are the sleeves blocking and you’ll have to keep an eye on my Instagram and Facebook page to see the finished thing!

sleeves blocking

Which is your favourite Kim Hargreaves design?

Yarn provided by Rowan