Nuts and Bolts

Looks like Autumn’s here, before we ever had a summer… Time to dig out the wooly WIP’s from the back of the wardrobe and get them ready to wear.

Of course the reason they’re languishing in there is that they’re at the sewing-up stage, and I haven’t been able to face them. In retrospect, maybe I should have entered the WIPs Wrestling event in the Ravellenics? At least then I’d have had a strong incentive to get stuck in. Or I could save them up for the next time? I can just imagine what a mountain of sewing would accumulate in 4 years!

Oh, alright, it’s now I need to wear them, so here goes. I know I’m not alone in hating this stage, but it doesn’t make it much easier. Does anyone else dream of the good old days, when the Mammy or the Granny would do the finishing? Sigh…

Let’s try some Psychology 101 and begin with something easy. Sewing on buttons and other fastenings generally means being able to wear the result immediately: instant gratification!

Last Spring I finished a lovely hooded coat (from More Big Girl Knits, by Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer) in Donegal Aran tweed. It was designed to be worn open, but that’s much too draughty for the Irish climate, where wind chill combines with damp to give “cold” a whole extra dimension. So I’ve been keeping an eye out for a suitable fastener, and last week I got lucky. A local drapery is phasing out its haberdashery department, so I descended like a vulture on the remnants and found (don’t laugh) bikini closures. Clear plastic, light weight and tough: worth a try!

See the bikini clasp just peeking through the gap to the left of the packaging?

While I’m at it, the grey Donegal tweed jacket could do with some of the same. The pattern (Fatto a Mano booklet 184, design no. 36) uses a single ply Donegal Soft yarn which is available from Lang in balls, but also from the original source in Donegal, on the cone, like the Aran-weight tweed I used for the coat above. This works out a lot less expensive, as long as you like to knit a lot with tweed, which I do!

This jacket I constructed to be reversible, so see-through fastenings are definitely a plus. I used crochet for the sleeve seams, so they form a feature on this side.

I thought I might use another one on my Monet/Ravellenics cardi, but it’s a bit chunky and might pull the fabric. Time to play around with fiddly old hooks ‘n’eyes….

I’ve designed a child’s unisex sleeveless hoodie which one of the girls in my knitting group is going to model for me, once I’ve decided on the buttons. This is made in Cushendale’s 100% Irish wool (300m/100g hank). Like the Irish sheep, it’s got a lot of bounce and wears very well, making it ideal for garments for active people! Now I’ll have to finish writing the pattern in such a way that people other than me can decipher it (may take a bit longer!).

The overall colour impression of this hoodie is jeans blue, but up close you can see how lively it is!

Then there’s the man’s cabled gansey, in Cushendale’s light Aran-weight (200m/100g hank),  which needs to be adjusted at the cuffs with the aid of a cooperative male (aka Darragh, pronounced Da-ra, means oak, that’s him below). I consistently underestimate the length of the arms, which is why I prefer to knit all sleeves top-down… I continued a cable from the body pattern all the way down the inner side of the sleeve, and decreased invisibly on either side- I’m happy with the way it worked out, but I can’t show you the cuffs just yet, they’re back on the drawing board. I’ll see what I can do by next Monday!

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