Saturday, 2 September 2017

Festival of Finishing and my first knitted sweater

Folded blue hand-knit sweater

Earlier in the Summer I shared with you details of the Festival of Finishing, a craft along organised by Fay from The Crochet Circle Podcast.

The response to the CrAL has been fantastic, raising lots of money for the wonderful Knit for Peace charity.

I set myself the target of completing four projects for the CrAL:

My Festival of Finishing planned projects
1. Socks
2. Westbourne sweater
3. Patchwork project bag
4. Captain Barnacles toy

I managed to finish three objects - the last one, my Westbourne sweater at 10.45pm before the midnight deadline on 31st August. Phew!
Pile of finished Festival of Finishing projects
The socks and toy were straight forward but completing my FIRST knitted sweater was a really mission. I have learnt so much in the process and feel as though I have become a 'proper' knitter. This is really quite ridiculous, surely being able to knit socks and do cables also makes me a 'proper' knitter too?! But making a 4ply, top down, seamless long sleeved feels like a real step-change.
Knitting on my hand-knit sweater

In an earlier post I talked about some of the skills and techniques I had learnt in making in the sweater but now I have my sweater off the needles I wanted to share the top five things that I've learnt:

1. Metal needles: Now I'm more experienced, metal needles seem to be best (although I reserve the right to change my mind on this...again!). I switched from wood needles during the project and my progress became much quicker after I had made the switch. Louise Tilbrook shares her tips for power knitting, which include super-speedy metal needles in a recent post on her website.

2. Short circulars: I knit the sleeves using short circular needles and although they took a while, I would still be knitting them now if I was trying to knit them using magic loop.

3. Stripes: I probably should have gone for a DK or worsted weight yarn project for my first knitted sweater but I didn't - knitting a 4ply yarn sweater is a big undertaking but the stripes on the body and sleeves really helped keep my interest and get the project done.

4. Managing the yarn: I learnt so much about managing the yarn on my needles - to keep an even tension and ensure speedy knitting. I think that it's only because I had such a big project, involving so much knitting that I became so mindful of the stitches floating beneath my fingers.

5. Knitting without looking: Given my previous point, this might seem a bit random, but this was the project during which I learnt to knit without looking. This is incredibly handy when I had so much knitting to do, but it also really helped with the consistency of my stitches. Andi Satterlund has a helpful blog post if you want to give it a go yourself.

I still need to wash and block my Westbourne sweater but it feels lovely to wear already. I can't wait for weather to get a little cooler so that I can wear it ALL the time!
Hand-knit sweater waiting to be washed and blocked

I have many other projects that I need/want to work on but I must admit that I do feel bereft now that I don't have a sweater on my needles. I can foresee spending some time on Ravelry this weekend researching my next knitted garment project.

Back to School Sweater CAL
In Back to School Sweater CAL news, Tamara (Crafty Escapism) launched the blog hop last Saturday with a great post exploring some of the reasons why we should be making crochet garments.

Jo aka Jojotwinkletoes is hosting the blog hop today so do hop over after 7.30am (British Summer Time) and visit her blog for a post on current trends, choosing a style to suit you and some crochet designers to check out.

The Crochet Project are very kindly offering CAL participants a discount until the 20th of September on their patterns in their Ravelry store. The 25% discount code - backtoschool25 - can be applied to individual garment patterns as well as books that contain cardigans, sweaters or tees.
It's my turn to host the blog hop next week, with a post on yarn substitution. I hope you have a great week! x


  1. You've ended up with a beautiful sweater, and I'm sure it'll get a lot of use. Well done on all your finished projects. I love Captain Barnacles 💞

    1. Thanks so much Sam! I am really pleased with all my makes and R loves Captain Barnacles x

  2. That sweater is wonderful Helen. Well done! You did it! Nothing like a deadline to work to!

    1. Thank you Tamara, I didn't know I needed deadlines but it appears I do! x

  3. Well done on finishing, Helen! It looks amazing and I can't wait to see what you cast on next! I will bookmark these tips for years from now when my knitting gets to the sweater stage - it's a looong way off but it's good to have ambitions isn't it?!

    1. Thanks so much Jo! You'll soon be knitting garments. We'll have to plan some knitting time at Unravel x