Heathered Cardigan and the Great London Yarn Crawl

17 September 2014

The Heathered Cardigan in Quince & Co 's Chickadee.

It's been a while, but here's a post about Something Wot I Have Made. It's a cardigan. A simple, navy blue version of Melissa Schaschwary's Heathered in Quince & Co's Chickadee. Peacoat is the hue in case you're wondering. For all it's wearable simplicity this is a special cardigan. One imbued with personal knittery significance and strong connections to the Great London Yarn Crawl. More of that later... first a look at the cardigan.

Behold! A lovely, long cardigan for lovely, long people!

It is in fact a grown-up version of the fluffy angora, Hackney-hisptery Cricket that I knitted for the Cherub last year. Fortunately, or sadly (depending on your view of things like how very quickly these tiny ones grow) the Cherub is now too tall for the Cricket and all its fluzzy glory so I can wear the Heathered without fear of too many Mummy - Daughter Matchy - Matchy concerns.

This cardigan has taken a jolly long time to knit. Reasons for this include:
  • My long-of-torso-and-even-longer-of-limb structure, which meant more sleevage and bustage needed knitting
  • My knitting speed is more that of an ultra-marthon runner rather than a sprinter. Slow and steady, slow and steady... 
  • Frankly, I am knackered. Who knew that mothering a pre-schooler would be even more tiring than mothering an infant? I think a lot of people out there do know this but, for fear of terrifying the next generation out of reproducing, tend not to advertise this fact. Due to knackeredness, I was lucky if I managed two or three rows of an evening before falling asleep in front of QI or a strangely soothing documentary about jelly fish
Anyhoo, having overcome these herculean obstacles I am finished. Overall, I'm pleased. No longer will I have to worry about cold wrists or an exposed sliver of torso betwixt trouser waist line and cardigan edge. The Andalusian stitch along the yoke adds a bit of texture and interest to what is destined to become a daily knitwear staple.

Andalusian stitch detail along the yoke.
Chickadee is a soft, bouncy yarn and a delight to work with. There has been some piling since washing and blocking but huzzah! for those those whizzy handheld de-piling machines. I am now free of unwanted bobblage. I chose Liberty Tana Lawn ribbon for the inside of the button band as well as for the covered buttons to give it a bit of ooomph beyond the Andalusian stitch.

Easy tigers. It's a flash of Liberty Tana Lawn behind the button band. Calm yourselves.
The downside? I'm underwhelmed by the wibbly tubular bind off on the sleeves and at the bottom of the waist that the pattern demands. The answer probably is that I need more practice rather than there being a problem with the cast off itself. But it is indeed stretchy as promised ensuring I won't cut off the circulation to my hands. Which is important.

Wibbly tubular cast off on the sleeves and the tell-tale rib of the Magic Hoop method. Apparently the latter will disappear over time. But, behold! The length of sleeve! The resultant warmth of wrist!
So, that's the cardigan bit. But what of the special significance? It's been almost a year to the day since I chose the cardigan pattern and then went off on quite a romp to acquire the yarn. This Saturday will be the 2nd Annual Great London Yarn Crawl. Essentially, it's an excuse for a whole heap of keen knittery types to gather and dash about en masse using London's public transport to visit an amazing selection of the Capital's best yarn, knit and crochet-type shops. Keen knittery types have a rollicking day out, independent yarn shops, spinners and dyers get support and contributions are made to the charity Refuge. Happiness all round, methinks.

Yarns and projects a plenty at Nest
Sadly, I won't be able to pop over the 17,000 km between Melbourne and London to partake this year's phenomenon. However, I was lucky enough to have been involved in 2013 for the first Yarn Crawl when I bought the yarn for this Heathered cardigan at Loop in Islington.

Pondering last year's Crawl I've realised how it's proved an important marker in my writing and knitting life. In March 2013 I was a random punter visiting Wool House at Somerset House and met Rachel Brown and Allison Thistlewood whilst they spun away as part of a demonstration about, you guessed it, spinning. Little did I know what madcap venture they were planning, a venture known by the quango-ish acronym the GLYC.

Six months later they'd corralled me; I was a volunteer leader for a group of Crawlers dashing about London like a crazed thing.

WARNING: Gratuitous crafting on public transport. Including drop spindling.
It was brilliant.

The results of that Saturday included a whole heap of fun, much caressing of skeins and succumbing to temptation followed by acquiring enough yarn for a cardigan as well as the chance to meet some amazingly interesting, textiley people; Renee Callahan of East London Knits (my patient and witty co-leader on the GLYC), Dani Sunshine of Lioness Arts and organiser of Unwind Brighton, Linda Lencovic of Kettle Yarn Co. and Kate Metherell of Yarn and Knitting to name but a few.

Until the GLYC, I'd no idea such things as Freelance Knitters existed. Now I do. And it's fantastic.

I even had the delight of writing up all our adventures for an article in Mollie Makes.

Therefore, I wish much merriment and delight to all those involved in the GLYC this Saturday. And if you're not going, sign up and make sure you can go along next year. Then knit yourself a cardigan from the yarns you buy en route. From such things are memories made.

Wine, cider and sock yarn at the GLYC 2013's after party. Happiness all round.
(Images: Zoë F. Willis. With thanks to my model and tall chum, Amy, and her own beautiful Cherub for gamefully sporting the Heathered (Amy. Not the Cherub) whilst I tried my best to be professional with a DSLR)

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