Foggy Sunset

Foggy Sunset
Photo by Aisling Doonan

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Kerry Petrol Cape & Allergic Reactions!

Santa was a very generous man this year and I had a very knitterly Christmas.  My parents, siblings, and I all did Secret Santa and I received a set of Knit Pro Interchangeable Symfonie Deluxe needle set.  I was thrilled to pieces and I love working with them, the cords are so flexible and the tips gorgeous. 

My husband bought me five 200g skeins of Kerry Woollen Mills Aran in Petrol, which I’ve been dying to try out.  I have been looking for ages for a neat cape pattern in Aran but my searches turned up nothing that tickled my fancy.  So I decided to make up my own pattern from scratch with all the things I wanted the cape to be.  Initially I wanted a heavily textured piece or something that was interesting in construction, in Aran weight, but still flexible, drapey and warm.  I want to wear it for Spring & Autumn but not have it so voluminous that I couldn’t take it off and carry it without weighing myself down.  In the end, I decided that the most important part of this cape was that it had to be seamless and knit in one piece from the top down including a collar.  So I left out the texture, decided to go with stocking stitch with moss stitch collar, hem, and button band.  Once I have perfected the design I can add all the texture I like! 

I’m within reach of the end as I write and I’m pondering on the virtues of patch pockets!  I don’t want to spoil the drape of it with heaviness at the front.  I think pockets would be unused anyway.  I did consider a muff to hang around my neck and keep my hands warm (odd fashion choice?), but in the end, I think I’ll probably end up making fingerless mittens instead.  I have already made a slouchy beret to match and I felted it slightly in the washing machine (it didn’t really shrink, just became all soft to touch).  I didn’t use much agitation or very hot or very cold water and I really only intended to wash it and see what happened!  I am pleased with the results and the beret is now drying on a dinner plate (it’s actually bigger than the plate but it’s just to give it a bit of shape as it dries). 

The cape is a very simple design; the only shaping involved is for the shoulders and after that it’s just a matter of stopping when you reach your cuff (bearing in mind your button placements on the button band, so it could be an inch or so longer or shorter depending on your preference).  I took it off the needles to measure, photograph and wear today, it is quite neat and flattering, and you don’t have to fight with it to use your arms.  I think it will be easy to even wear a bag across my body when it’s on.  So it’s practically perfect then!

I might even try the washing machine trick on it when it’s finished as I really like the feel of the beret.  The mittens will only take a weekend to make and wash so I should have some nice photo’s to show you all next week, including the pattern if anyone is interested, please let me know.

The only blight to my Christmas and New Year was an allergic reaction I had to something that affected my face, legs and the back of my hands.  I was a little worried as I was driven mad by the itch, especially around my eyes, nose and mouth so I took a hay fever tablet and tried to figure out why this was happening.  I initially thought it was the water I was using – we had no running water over Christmas (again, grrr…) and we were using well water kindly given by a relative. 

I thought maybe the well water had some minerals or something that I was allergic too in it.  But nobody else was affected and the symptoms lessened and I thought no more about it.  Then our water unfroze and I blocked my gorgeous Winter Garnet Pi on our double bed.  The next morning I woke up to a large red rash on my face and hands again.  Guess what I’m allergic to?  Yup, Icelandic wool.  I’m crushed.  I was so looking forward to using my new shawl/blanket and buying some more yarn for more projects.  Other wools I have no problem with, so it has to be something in the dye used or maybe just the fact that it is unspun and ‘crunchy’.  I am severely disappointed, I’m afraid to touch it now.  If anyone out there has no trouble with unspun Icelandic lopi and would like to buy the shawl, please contact me.  Plenty of others have knit with it and come away unharmed so I can only assume it’s just me!

Keep warm & happy knitting!

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