Testing for Andi again

Some time ago, Andi Satterlund showed us this gorgeous sweater which immediately caught my eye.

Very recently she requested pattern testers for it and I didn’t mind that I needed to knit two baby cardigans, sew a hoodie for my niece or test a sewing pattern. I also didn’t mind that the deadline was a bit close and that I’m not specially fast at knitting lace. No, I didn’t mind at all because I believed in this project and I wanted to make it mine.

So I bought some wool and alpaca blend that feels soft and squishy and warm, and I started knitting. This lace pattern is extremely easy and I’ve made just two minor mistakes that I fixed on the spot. Yay for easy lace!

I love the pattern and the color of this yarn. I can’t wait to get it finished.

Completed: Calimero

I don’t know if you remember an old TV show for kids called Calimero.

I confess I didn’t watch this during my childhood since the first series was too early for me and the second too late (I was already a teenager with other things in mind).

But when Elizabeth proposed me to test this pattern, I thought the name couldn’t have been more appropriate. With dented edges, this cowl reminds us of the broken eggshell Calimero used to wear.

It’s very nice and cozy as a hat, with the possibility of attaching a pom pom at the end (something I haven’t done yet), although you can leave it unattached and it’s still very wearable. If you fold the lowest part you will get double thickness and really warm ears. Believe me that I was suffering that day. It’s still quite warm here in Madrid, and the least thing you want is wearing something wooly around you!

But my favorite way of wearing it is as a cowl. I have issues sometimes with cowls, because I have a thin neck and drafts can get inside them and make me shiver. With this cowl this won’t happen. There are four different sizes based on the size of your head, but you can always adapt it if you happen to have a thinner neck since the finished cowl is very elastic and you can wear it folded hugging your neck.

Sorry for this picture. I was busy taking the photos when my sister called and I spent some time talking to my niece Paula. She will turn 4 in December and she is such a smart ass. While we were talking my sister went out for some minutes to let the dog out and my niece was complaining because she couldn’t open the windows to see her mother (they live on a ground floor) and my sister had taken her keys, so “you know, auntie Elena, if she had left the keys I could just go out and look for her”. Luckily my sister was back in less than five minutes.

It can also be worn like this, and it seems such a good idea for those very cold days of winter. I remember when I was living in Belgium, I used to get headaches just by breathing the cold air through my nostrils. I always had to cover my nose to avoid that. Another reason to cover my nose and mouth is that cold air affects me A LOT and makes my asthma worse. I’m so happy that I have made this cowl!

The pattern is very easy to follow and it’s supper easy to memorize, so it’s a fun knit for those evenings in front of the TV or while being a passenger in the car. The garter stitch can make it a bit repetitive, but it’s a pretty fast knit and so relaxing after confronting a complicated lace pattern, a hard day at work or any other inconvenience.

Following this pattern is so easy that I failed to spot something that was missing in the pattern. Luckily another tester realized about it, but we were some who completely overlooked the mistake. That’s what you get with easy to follow and memorize patterns!

And you know, this cowl is even fantastic if you just want to hide from the camera!

This pattern has just been released today and you can purchase it via Ravelry here. You can also check my Ravelry project here.

Andi’s pattern ‘From A to Z’ is finally released!

As I’ve previously mentioned, testing for Andi from Untangling Knots was a real pleasure. The moment I’ve laid eyes on this cardigan I fell completely in love with it. With that retro look and imagining how good it could go with my dresses there was nothing else that I needed. I was hooked and I needed to make it. Period.

I found the pattern very well written and the construction immensely clever. As I’ve said before, this is a nice project to try intarsia, since it’s used for the pocket bands. Ideal for a first try but not overwhelming. I would definitely say that if you want to try to see how intarsia feels, you should try this pattern.

The pocket construction is different from the one I did on Émilien, but it’s also very well designed and it was one of the things that made me fall in love with this cardigan. And there’s no sewing involved! No mattress stitch, no blanket stitch, no stitch at all!

And you can stuff your hands in them, or your keys, or some coins. They are ideal and usable pockets.

I love seamless sweaters. I have to say that I don’t really enjoy sewing by hand, and joining sleeves and other parts to my knitting projects is not really my cup of tea; but sometimes it’s nice to escape from the typical raglan construction. And this is a construction that will surprise and please you. Again, it’s so clever! The final project looks like a traditional cardigan with joined sleeves, but it uses a seamless construction. I really want more of it.

As you can see, the cardigan is fitted, enhancing the female figure. The sleeves were also a nice surprise, since most of the time I need to modify them and make them narrower than what the pattern says, but this was not the case. The sleeves were just right for my arms.

It looks nice buttoned and unbuttoned, and it feels so cozy that I want to wear it all the time (that is, if the temperature is not 40 ºC).

The pattern includes charts to double stitch each letter in the alphabet. A nice and unique touch to make your cardigan really custom made.

When making the arm bands I thought about using jogless stripes, but those only really work if they are wide, since at the joint the stripe is one row thinner and it would look too evident in this case. I thought about using travelling jogless stripes, but that meant my rows travelling 4 stitches and I was not convinced. I tried them anyway and decided it was not worth the hassle. Again, Andi was right.

This is by far my favorite cardigan until now. Bravo for Andi and her really clever construction.

If you want to make this beautiful cardigan you can get the pattern on Ravelry.

Here my project page in case you want to take a look.

New cardigan sneek peak

Let me introduce you to the new cardigan designed by Andi Satterlund.

I’m wearing my Hawthorn dress underneath, all wrinkly from my suitcase, sorry.

I’ve been working on it during the last month and I can say that I feel very fortunate to have tested this pattern. The design is vintage and feminine, ideal for wearing with your favourite dresses during the cool spring and autumn days; though it would also look super nice with a pair of pants and a scarf for winter. It’s a fitted design with perfectly functional pockets. The design reminds a little bit of those cheerleeders from the 50’s, which makes it retro and gives it a flavour of youth.

This pattern will be available very soon, so stay tuned.

Intarsia

Whenever I go somewhere I have so many pictures and things to tell that I create loads of posts in my mind but nothing gets typed. Last weekend we were in Valencia and I still need to rescue some pictures from Koen’s phone to be able to show you my bikini in action.

For now I will tell you that I’ve been knitting in the train on the way there and back and also during some brief moments at the hotel. This cardigan has a bit of intarsia, just a tiny little bit, so it’s ideal to get initiated into this colorwork technique without being overwhelmed by it.

Testing a pattern means that you have to be very careful when you read the instructions, following them very carefully (no cheating allowed!) and being able to spot any mistake. If something doesn’t match you have to re-read again, count your stitches and find out if you made a mistake yourself. If that’s not the case, then the designer should be contacted so that she can verify it and then correct it. It’s a process that requires continuous feedback and requires a good communication in both ways.

Have I told you how much I’m enjoying this knitting?

Starting the test

After a couple of months not knitting on a daily basis, today I’ve decided to start the pattern test for Andi. I received my wool this week and today we are leaving on a weekend trip to Valencia. The train there takes slightly longer than 90 minutes, so I think I will make some progress. I cast on yesterday evening, counted the stitches four times (I think I was getting sleepy) and knitted two rows. I always need to go down two needle sizes instead of one because when ribbing I use Norwegian purl.

This project has almost the same gauge as Émilien, so I’m skipping that step and plunging ahead. My iPod is full of rock’n’roll music and knitting podcasts and our baggage is almost ready. I’m planning to wear my new bikini for the first time. That will be another test to see if I need to make any mods for the other one.

I love Madrid and its weather, and it would be perfect if it had a beach (well, there’s one at the river, but that’s not a beach BEACH). I always lived by the sea. Well, until I left for Belgium 7 years ago (I should stop thinking I live my whole life in Vigo), and even I was not a beach aficionado, I miss it sometimes. It’s very relieving to walk on the sand after a hard day at work. We’ve never been at Valencia before, but I’m sure we’re going to have a great time there. We don’t ask for much: sun, sea, sand and nice views for a couple of days.