Ipsden altar frontal: the everlasting pea

Just a short post today.

Ipsden altar frontal: the everlasting pea (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

We are but 10 days away from moving house and while my head is still filled with the new baby, the new baby’s wardrobe, the intricacies of Roman blind making for Daughter No 1’s bedrooms (and sundry other comparatively frivolous things), my dutiful and beloved husband has been molelike in his determined passage through the labyrinthine online world of house rental contracts.  Too often I would return from the newborn’s house to find him hunched over his computer in a semi darkened room as he tried to download yet another document, or attempted to enter data into text boxes visibly resistant to data entry (and had been trying to do so for hours). Who knew a the cat needed a whole contract just for herself? But we are – dare I say it –  almost through that now and June will find the caravan unpacking in Cheltenham.

Ipsden altar frontal: the everlasting pea (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

I chose this wild looking flowering pea for the altar frontal because I regarded the wonderfully scented and heavily domesticated sweet pea as being too much the product of human interference. I thought this rampant hedgerow climber was the real thing – natural, native and untainted. And if you see such a plant with narrow leaves and a dull pink-purple colouration it is indeed the Narrow -leaved everlasting-pea (L. sylvestris) a plant indigenous to old woodland and ancient hedges. But I was thinking of a plant with a much brighter flower and even a hint of irridesence and this it seems is the Broad-leaved everlasting-pea (L. latifolius), a Southern European pea now naturalised.  In both these peas the scent is absent and when I consider the pleasure the sweet pea’s fragrance gives (no summer wedding can do without them) I now think I should have embroidered this much loved long standing immigrant (L. odoratus originally from Sicily, Cyprus and the Aegean) instead.

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Chanel style jacket to welcome a new baby

Debbie Bliss jacket with moss stitch band knitted in Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk (Silver)

Little Xanthe was born early Thursday morning and took us all by surprise for being a girl. (The nurse operating a recent scan had suggested mother and father look away at a certain point if they didn’t want to know the sex of the baby, and well, after that we all assumed one thing… ) But what a delightful surprise! As yet little Xanthe is very contented and peaceful, so fingers crossed this sweet disposition will continue.

Debbie Bliss jacket with moss stitch band knitted in Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk (Silver)

Nothing is more chic than a little unstructured Chanel jacket with patterned banding around neck, hem and cuffs, even if you are only a matter of hours old. After my recent passion for coloured knitting and Fair Isle patterning, handling the shawls shown in the previous post reminded me I hadn’t made this new little baby anything even vaguely whitish and when I saw the Debbie Bliss pattern for this simple classic jacket I was hooked. The moss stitch borders in particular attracted me and I enjoyed the way the front band segued into the neck edge.

Debbie Bliss jacket with moss stitch band knitted in Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk (Silver)

It was a very satisfying piece of knitting, although a couple of aspects of the pattern made me stop and chew on my needle.  After knitting the moss stitch band, the cuffs looked much too narrow, so I undid what I’d done and cast on again with an additional 5 stitches. Even now, with the garment finished I still think the cuffs look too tight and should I make the jacket again I would add a further 5 stitches at least (10 or more in total). You can always roll the cuffs up a bit if they’re a bit roomy. I was also not very keen on the tiny buttonholes, which take a bit of scrutiny to find.  I’m not sure Xanthe’s dad will work out where they are  as the requisite two stitches knitted together followed by yarn forward  scarcely causes a visible hiccough in the pattern. Does anyone have any favourite way of making buttonholes?

Debbie Bliss jacket with moss stitch band knitted in Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk (Silver)

The pattern called for DB’s baby cashmerino but I as I had her Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino silk I wanted to use, I did a tension square and was pleased that it knitted up as required. It is a lovely yarn – 75% extra fine merino wool, 20% silk and 5% cashmere and a joy to knit with. Although a bit more expensive – I think I paid about £6.25 a ball in Loop –  I only needed 2 balls.

Xanthe comes from the Greek for yellow. I did try yellow buttons on this little cardigan but the plain mother-of-pearl looked so much nicer. There’s only one thing to do – get the needles out and make another little jacket in primrose this time!

Xanthe (not quite a week old) in her new cardigan


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