the quilted tortoise

Sunday, 22 December 2013


I fell in love with this pattern immediately!  It's from the gorgeous Journey knits by Shannon Cook and Jane Richmond.

I'd bought the yarn for one project and had started another when this pattern was released.  Since I don't really stash sweater quantities I can never really start a pattern as soon as it's released.  It suddenly occurred to me that I had the perfect yarn already on my needles!  I hadn't done a lot of that project so it got frogged and Antrorse was started!

The yarn is Plucky Primo Aran in Oatmeal.  It's beautiful!  The Primo has 20% cashmere and is perfect!  Oatmeal is a perfect natural colour too with quite a bit of variegation.  I alternated skeins every row once I started the body.

The pattern is well written and easy to understand.  It's my first yoke sweater construction.  This would definitely be a great pattern for a beginner wanting to jump into sweater knitting!

My project notes are all on the Rav project page so if you want the technical goodies head over there.

Sunday, 20 October 2013


Knitting is my one true love at the moment.  I love each project I finish more than the last and Acer is no exception…what can I say?  My favourite finish yet!

Acer is a DK / 8 ply weight cabled cardigan by Amy Christoffers.  The woman is a genius - I want to knit all her patterns!  It is knit bottom up and then divided at the underarms.  The shoulders are joined with a three needle bind off.  The sleeves are also knit bottom up - well, cuff up.  I knit mine two at a time and then changed to one at a time for the sleeve cap section.  The sleeves are then seamed on to the body.  It's the first time I've tried seaming sleeves and they were a bit tricky - a combination of mattress and kitchener.  I think they look ok though.

The yarn is Madeline Tosh DK in Baltic.  I bought it at the Brooklyn General Store in New York.  This was my holiday and plane knitting for our recent trip to the UK.  I love that this yarn began its life in the US, came to Australia, visited the UK and now lives back in Oz :)

I am so in love with the fit of this cardigan.  DK weight is quite heavy and I knit a size 38.  I usually wear a size 8-10 on top and I certainly don't have a big bust so I must have a large back measurement or something.  My Neon feels a little big so I was starting to wonder if I should start knitting size 36's instead, but this is perfect.  It's not too long and has gentle but clear waist shaping.  I'm finally starting to consider what will suit my height and body shape when choosing patterns.  I don't know why it has taken this long for the light to come on?!?!

I haven't decided on buttons yet.  I have some pretty shell pearl ones but they look a little bright and stand out a bit too much.

Ravelled here.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Winding Way

At the beginning of the year I joined the Plucky Knitter Classics Club and chose to receive one skein of Plucky Feet sock yarn.  A surprise colour arrives every second month.  The first colour I received was Lollipop Guild and I love it!  The colour is almost violent - in a good way.  Maybe vibrantly shocking is a more positive way of describing it.

This sock pattern is called Winding Way by Tin Can Knits from the book Handmade in the UK.  I like to knit my socks two at a time (taat) magic loop toe up.  The pattern instructions are for top down, however it's a perfect pattern just to take the lace section and insert it into toe up.  I even bothered to start the lace on the correct rows so that the pattern is mirrored on each foot.

Now that I'm getting more experienced as a knitter I realised my previous socks could do with being a bit smaller so for this pair I knit 52 stitches (yes, I have small feet…yes, I can and do occasionally buy kids shoes).  The foot length is still a smudge long and I now need to use a looser cast off, but overall I'm really happy with these.  Ravelled here.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Neon {cardigan love}

Wow!  Look at my gorgeous Neon cardigan!  My first cardigan!

When this pattern was released I instantly fell in love with Joji's cardigan and the wonderful bold Plucky colours.  I remember badgering my husband at 6am for his opinion on the chosen colour so I could order my yarn.  "Now, now, answer now!  Quickly, quickly, I'll get cartjacked!"  If you've bought from Plucky you know that the updates are a frantic now or never!  

The colour is called Icey Audrey and the yarn is Plucky Sweater, a DK/8 ply weight.  It has 10% nylon so it's not the softest yarn and I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when it arrived.  The colour though is fantastic and I'm sure in the long run the nylon component will make it wear better.  Don't get me wrong - it's not scratchy and is fine to be worn against your skin, it's just that I've been spoilt with lovely soft super wash wool.  I love the other Plucky bases - the Primo ones include cashmere and are heaven.

The cardigan is knit top down, in the round in Tulle stitch - it looks a lot like crochet to me.  When I knit my swatch I was a bit worried it had a nanna-crochet look to it and not a cool-crochet look, but the Plucky Ravelry group assured me it was cool :)

The sleeves are called the contiguous method and they are so very clever!  Since this is only the second sweater I've knit I had absolutely no idea about the construction; however I followed Joji's instructions and hey presto - amazing sleeves!!  The sleeves are knit in the round compared to the body which is knit flat - so the method for the stitch changes.  Like many knitters on Rav I went up 2 needle sizes to maintain gauge.

The buttons are from Purl Soho - I took my swatch to New York with me :)

Given the tulle stitch is very lacy the cardigan is as warm as toast!  I heart you Neon…

Ravelled here.  The Wiksten Tank in Nani Iro I'm also wearing in the pics is blogged here.

Friday, 23 August 2013


Marin is a gorgeous, relatively simple, one skein shawl.  Not too small, but not too cumbersome.  I've used Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Grove. These photos were all taken out in the sunshine so inside the colour is a little darker (although still quite different to how the yarn looked on screen when I chose it).

This is a gift to take my mother-in-law when we go to visit in a few weeks.  That's right, always stay on side with the mother-in-law :)  Last time I saw her they were staying with us and I started my very first knitting project and she helped me out with casting on and knit and purl stitches.  I can't wait to show her how far I've progressed!

I'll definitely be knitting another Marin for myself.  I really want one in a darkish grey…maybe a bit boring, but will go with everything!  Ravelled here.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Socks and sock sacks

I am a total sucker for jumping on the band wagon!  Recently on Instagram lots of folks started making Romona Rose's sock sack.  I suspect some were making it just so they could say they were making "a two ball sack".  I, of course, was not one of those ;)

I have to admit I wasn't that keen on them in the beginning, maybe a bit too cutesy for me?  Plus I have some great zippy pouches that I already love.  Then I had a couple of times where I would notice that my yarn was frayed and almost split in sections.  It was happening with different yarn too - that can't be a coincidence.  The only thing I could think of was that it was rubbing on the teeth of the zip as it fed out of the ball in the pouch.  Not fun having to break and rejoin my yarn!  Eek!  Suddenly my zippered pouches were not my friend…

So I jumped on said band wagon and made a few sacks up and started some more socks.

They are actually very useful - perfect for two at a time socks.  There is a divider to keep each ball of yarn, little holders for your yarn to feed up through (without any grizzly teeth!) and a drawstring so you can pop your knitting in and easily take it with you.  The pattern is $4 over on Craftsy.

The socks are called simple Skyp socks.  "Skyp" is an acronym of the stitch combination.  They are easy and fun and really suit variegated yarn.  The pattern is for cuff-down but lots of people have just done them toe up instead like I did.  The pattern ends up being upside down but it really doesn't matter.  

The yarn is Hedgehog Fibres Sock - heavenly stuff!  This colour is called Gem and it really was an assortment of beautiful rich jewel tones.  All of the Hedgehog colours are gorgeous, I haven't seen one I don't like.  It's not always available but it's not too difficult to get either.  Signing up to the newsletter is the best way and popping into the shop ready to buy when you receive an email.  

I have realised that most of my socks are actually too big for me.  I've been so focussed on trying to get the length of the foot right (which I'm still working on) that it hadn't really occurred to me that they are probably too loose in the circumference of my foot also.  I really like this pattern so I might try them again some time with one less stitch repeat - 48 stitches instead of 56.

Ravelled here.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Short Row Sweater

I was lucky enough to have a holiday in New York this year and I had time to visit two yarn shops, Purl Soho and The Brooklyn General Store.  Both were fabulous and I did indulge!

Some of the good stuff going into the suitcase!

In Purl Soho one of the girls was wearing a really cute knitted vest over a long sleeve shirt with skinny jeans and high top trainers - she looked very cool!  I asked her about the vest and it happened to be one of the shop samples - the short row sweater.  She whipped it off so that I could try it on.  I was ridiculously excited.  Keep in mind that my yarn stalking is usually done on a computer screen and being in a room surrounded by actual skeins of Madeline Tosh and Brooklyn Tweed can make me a bit giddy!

So I bought myself the deliciously soft Blue Sky Sport weight baby alpaca in colour 505 Natural Taupe (the same as the sample).

This vest is really quick to knit up - it took me less than 2 weeks.  I'd read a lot on Rav about gauge being really important as no row gauge is provided and some had trouble with it being too long as well as too wide.  I knew the sample fit me perfectly so I was really fussy about gauge and had to go down from the recommended US 5 needle to a US 3 needle.

The pattern starts with knitting the bottom ribbing and then it's short rows to get the great curving shape.  It's a free pattern so pop on over to the Purl website and have a look at the diagrams of the clever construction.

I'm really happy with it, it's cute, it's toasty warm and it's fun to wear.  Ravelled here.

Sorry about the iPhone photos!  I realised one of the reasons I'm so slack at posting is that I haven't got around to taking photos with the good camera.  I figure it's better to post with ok photos than not post at all :)