Monday, January 5, 2015

I need some knitting advice...

I fell in love with knitting when I was about 7 or 8 years old. A very patient aging aunt took it upon herself to teach me the basics of both  knitting and crochet. The knitting I found to be delightful, the crochet a trial,  so it was the click clack of tortoiseshell sticks that resounded through my Nana's little flat on many a cool evening when I was young.

Having babies is a bonus for avid knitters, isn't it? All mine were decked out in pretty cardigans, mittens and hats straight from the hospital!
 I didn't stop knitting until the babies stopping coming, and that was simply because they didn't want to wear handmade anymore. So the needles were packed away, balls of wool donated to the op shop, and I dabbled in a bit of cross-stitch to while away the occasional rainy day until I discovered quilting and surface embroidery about 9 years ago.

But last month, with my year of gentle domesticity about to begin, I had a desire to pick up the needles once more and when I found this book at the library...
...I knew there would have to be something inside to inspire me!
And so there was.
As soon as I saw this pattern I thought of Blossom...

 She's naturally modeled her clothing style on Audrey Hepburn since she was about 10 years old, choosing pretty little sundresses for day to day wear even to this day(she is turning 21 this year). 
This sweet little cardigan had her name stamped all over it...
 Isn't it the prettiest design?!
When she saw the photos she immediately glowed with approval over my plan to knit it for her, so I'm going to.
But I need some advice, as I have not knitted for years and 'back in the day' there wasn't as many yarns available and a 4ply was quite simply, just a 4ply.
We live in the tropics, and quite frankly even in winter it's not cold, so I want to knit this in a cotton yarn.

Can I substitute this yarn...

...for a 4ply cotton yarn??
And would I need to change needle sizes from those used in the pattern?

Any help from you lovely knitters would be so gratefully received. 
{{thank you}}

all those who contacted me with their desire to participate in the very first Stitchery Club Swap have been emailed their swap partner's information.
If you haven't received your email would you please let me know and I'll resend to you.
This is a secret swap so don't let on who your partner is, but feel free to share sneak peeks of your swap items on your blog or social media. 
(and leave a comment if you do so I can go have a peek too, ok?)

Today I am stitching away for my swap partner. I love the secrecy!
Enjoy your day,


  1. que pena!!! não sabia deste acontecimento, pois caso contrário teria participado...fica para a próxima!!! abraços

  2. I would be careful substituting cotton for wool. Cotton has a different weight and drape. I have used some lighter weight cottons successfully, but first do a gauge swatch. Then, wash the swatch to see how it drapes after washing. Most widely available cottons would be too heavy and distort easily.

  3. I can see why Blossom loved the cardigan. I love it too! Sorry I can't help you with your yarn question. I'm sure there will be someone out in blog land who can help. I'm quite excited about our swap. I've already made a great start on my project.

  4. I am not a knitter but wanted to write you a note....I am a new "follower" and love your photos and style. Mostly I love how you love my Jesus! I just wanted you to know that I have prayed that your Mr. E finds work soon. I pray that the Lord would give you hope, His peace and meet all your needs. My husband and I live in France. We are Americans and work with an evangelical church here. We have been here for 27 going on 28 years. I teach quilting classes and do long arm quilting for my students. I am excited about following your thoughts and projects. Thank you for sharing your talents and heart. Joy Sims

  5. I'm clueless about knitting, having had the opposite reaction to knitting and crochet. =) I love the sweater, though, and that little dress it's covering is adorable, too. I'm excited about the swap and will start planning this week!

  6. Do not swap wool for cotton. The design is balanced in weight, fibre, and size as it is. Cotton cardigans pull out of shape dreadfully when worn by children. If you want to knit this cardigan but have a few simple doubts use acrylic instead of wool. This swap usually works well.
    This is a complicated project if you have not knitted for a while. It will also be expensive to make. Are these yarns actually available in Townsville or will you be ordering over the internet?
    If you doubt the usefulness of the garment then do not make it. Make something else. You could embroider a bought cardigan and get a similar effect.
    Make your sample squares before deciding to change needle size. For a project such as this I would also have a square where I attempt at least part of the pattern.
    Townsville gets cold in July so it is possible that your daughter will wear this cardigan a few times a year. Then it can become an heirloom and be stored for a cousin or grandchild.

  7. Thank you, Louise. Blossom is almost 21, and works in an air conditioned office, so if I use baby wool (or acrylic) it might actually be ok.
    Will have a think about it - this would be something she'd wear a lot.

  8. I am with Louise on this question. I think very sound advice. It is a lovely pattern. Goodluck. xxxx

  9. Hi Jenny, enjoying all you offer, looking forward to your apron tutorial too. The cardigan is gorgeous and with substituting good to knit a sample piece to check tension guage (this probably the important part), so all the patterns say, and test, maybe a cotton mix with acrylic or even a fine merino wool would not be too warm for Townsville. Merino is lovely to work with too. Might be an idea to test two or three different yarns and work out the tension and wash n wear too. Sometimes if so inspired good to just to see how it goes. Some of the bought cotton cardigans wash n wear very well these days I find. I haven't knitted garments since my grandchildren babies and wool does not agree with my daughter and her children also unfortunately I am unable to knit in summer. Your post has brought back memories of my dear late Mum who used to knit all our family's knitwear for the cold weather of Tasmania, recall her own beautiful lacy patterned 4 ply twin sets, just gorgeous, probably the abundance of knitting made possible by having a family friend work at Patons and Baldwins in Launceston in those years gone by. Maybe a visit to a specialist wool/yarn shop or contact by phone could provide some helpful advice. Have a wonderful week. Judithann:-)

  10. Mm, I am agreeing with the no swap idea. My very first thought was knit or buy a plain cardi and do some lovely Jenny Stitchery on it!

  11. I am no help with knitting however I do love this little cardigan. Blossom will be very lucky indeed. Creative Knitting Bliss...

  12. It's a lovely cardigan! I would head to a local yarn shop and speak to the experts there. Or maybe email (local) online shops would be a go- knitters, like stitchers, are always happy to help. Not only will they know the new yarns, they will be more likely to have yarn that works for your climate. A lot of cotton yarn comes mixed with other fibres now, like bamboo, silk or acrylic. Absolutely knit a swatch first,before deciding on the needle size- some yarn stores let you try out yarn too

  13. I agree with a couple of the other comments. Don't use won't have the same look and will have no give.
    You could try looking at Ravelry..see if anyone else has knitted the pattern ..there will be comments about the pattern and also what yarns people have used. I don't think the yarn suggested would be too bad in Townsville.
    The idea of contacting a yarn store is good too.. Try Yarn Glorious Yarn in Brisbane.. The lady who runs it will be helpful.

  14. Hi Jenny, cotton is definitely not a good swap. It doesn't give the same as wool so the stitches don't mesh together in the same way. I think the cashmere and silk sounds perfect. I suggest buying a few single balls and knitting up a square. If one is right then buy the rest.
    I did some recipe cooking for lunch and dessert today. Such fun.

  15. Hi Jenny the cardigan is gorgeous,if you want to substitute,you need to find a cotton that will knit up the same for the tension bit,say for example the tension is 18 stitches to 10 cms and 24 rows to 10 cms,you will need to cast on 18 sts and see if it is 10cms wide and knit 24 rows and see if that measures 10cm,that is just an example that i got off a ball of wool here and then you need to find out how many mts in the original wool that is used for the pattern and then check the label on the cotton and see how many mts in a ball to work out how many balls you need of the substitute,boy i hope this makes some sense,lol.xx

  16. Hi Jenny,
    a little advice ... don't change yarn ... cotton is different from wool ... and the result will be different.
    So choose the suggested yarn ... maybe you can swatch with silky yarn and make the gauge for the right needles ....
    For the cardigan you should try with Alpaca yarn in spring colour ... it's an idea .... have a great week

  17. I know nothing about knitting, but I love the sweater!! Lucky Blossom!!

  18. I am a knitter as well and have taught my granddaughters. My oldest Granddaughter, Abbey, is 10 now and makes things for her sisters. She loves to make up her own patterns. The sweater is adorable. Good luck with it!

  19. That sweater is beautiful! I knit a little, but not enough to advise you on the yarn switch.

  20. I think you could subsitute cotton for wool. But best would be to look in this beautiful site. There you will find your wool and also the substitute for it. Perhaps it could fit.
    All the best to all of you, and especially to you Jenny. All your articles are welcome all over the day. I'm from France.
    happy new year and a lot of joy,

  21. Jerri is right - ANY Change in yarn means knitting a gauge/tension swatch first. And DO go to your local woolshop and ask for their advice - they should be helpful.
    I am knitting my husband a sweater at the moment- from a Phildar pattern I bought in 1979 [he is a truly patient man, waiting all this time!!] The suggested yarn is no longer made, but MY woolshop were incredibly helpful suggesting alternatives, and thus far it is knitting up beautifully.
    God bless you with grace, patience and perseverance as you attempt this new project. Happy new year, dear blogfriend xx

  22. I'm sure you could knit this is a 4ply cotton I've knitted very similar Rowan yarn designs in it and Susan Crawford also does 4 ply cotton patterns. Both suppliers have good colour ranges.
    You could check both out online - either their own sites or Ravelry
    Just make sure that you check out the yardage so you have enough yarn as wool tends to go further!
    Let me know if you need any links

  23. II wish I could help you with this question. But sadly I have never learned to knit...

  24. Gorgeous cardigan. Don't know about swapping fibres, however someone mentioned merino ... this is a fantastic fibre for both winter and summer wearing. Would Bendigo Woollen Mills in Australia be any help to you, Jenny? Just a thought ... many travellers prefer to wear merino.

  25. What a lovely sweater. Sorry I don't knit. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

  26. I second everyone who said do a gauge swatch first. Also - you might look into a bamboo/cotton blend .. or something similar .. Cotton or bamboo does drape differently than wool, but if you like it, I'd go for it!

  27. According to Marina: Wool is better for this kind of colorwork than cotton because it clings together better. If it's written for a wool and silk blend, you might want to go for a wool and cotton blend. The main difficulty when you make something in cotton when it's meant for wool is it will be heavier and denser because there is less elasticity in the yarn. She also said substitutions are fine, but you need to know what the yarn will do. (Phew! Hard to type out her response once she starts talking about knitting!)

    Peace and Laughter!


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