All set for Summer with a North Sea Ramona…..

front of Ramona with seed stitch button band

I’m feeling tremendously happy as my North Sea Ramona cardigan is all finished,  it’s washed and blocked and while I’d like to say it’s all tucked away now for when it gets cold and the weather turns, it is in fact sitting on top of my sewing basket, along with things to darn……the cardigan doesn’t need darning but I was a bit over enthusiastic when I was increasing the sleeves and so they now hang down somewhat longer than needed.  I’ll need to just rip out the ribbed cuffs and perhaps an inch or too of the sleeve before working them shorter, not the end of the word by any means and I’m happy to tinker so it’s how I want it.

Apart from the sleeves, I’m really pleased with how the cardigan turned out, it’s not a colour I’d normally wear but I had the yarn already (I’d bought it some years back now at my local Salvation Army for 10 pence a ball….it’s 100% wool and it says it’s British though I’m slowly learning this might not mean it’s 100% British wool…..) and funds were a bit low to go buy more.  The buttons were from my favourte source for haberdasheries (Jenny’s stall in St Gregory’s Antique Market in Norwich)….there was one button left over so I’ve sewn that to the wool swatch I knitted to check my gauge and tension, hopefully this is a “safe place” and I’ll know where it is if one should happen to drop off.

knitting my first cardigan

I’ve really enjoyed knitting the cardigan, it’s slowly increased what I feel comfortable knitting and has taught me lots of new things, it’s also given me the chance to put into practise techniques I’ve been slowly learning these past months……the construction of the cardigan is very similar to the way the yellow shawl I knitted was worked, those increases either side of a stitch had me remembering the time I spent with Bernard in the morning quietly knitting while it was still dark outside and the household still slept……

side seam and bottom hem rib

The colour of the wool…all grey brown with blue flecks isn’t the prettiest combination in the world, however it more than a little reminds me of trips to the beach …even as a grown up visits to the dentist would often combine a walk along the sea front (it could be windy and blustery, right raw*, but we’d still bundle up and get a breath of sea air)……even more than memories of Southwold though are the Summer holiday bicycle rides to Walberswich and Dunwich I’d make with my friend Joyce…..there’s be a cream tea and coke in a glass bottle (with a paper straw) at Walberswick, Dunwich would tempt us with the biggest fish and chip lunches…..

Dunwich is so pebbly that one year when the storms had been bad the beach got washed away…..we all bundled up and drove off in the car to see it….there was this huge drop, 5 to 6ft down and then there was sand….sand at Dunwich (a thing not heard of)…..the local council ended up having to bring in lots of pebbles to protect the beach as the erosion there is so bad……even in high Summer on the most sunshiney day, the sea around Suffolk looks grey and murky, toe numbingly cold….we’d always take something warm to put on so a Northsea Ramona would be a perfect choice for shoreline strolls…..

sleeve stitches on tapestry yarn

(Apologies for the terrible light in this picture)……this was my favourite part in making my Ramona……at this point I can slip it on, it had stopped  looking like a capelet or shawl but became something that I can put my arms through and wear…..while not quite yet looking like a cardigan, when I stand in front of the mirror I can see the garment slowly taking form…….

sleeve stitches on dpns

I also really liked knitting the sleeves, perhaps a bit too much as I got a bit carried away with how long they’d need to be……this was nice rhythmic knitting…..the sort where you can easily loose an hour or so in the stitches and just switch off the outside world for a short while……my preferred needles to knit with are the Brittany ones (they’re hands down my favourite for crochet hooks too)…they feel really comfortable and I love the sound of them gently tapping together, the way the yarn shuffles over them…also they look beautiful with their carved ends….the  double pointed needles are very simple (no fancy carving) but still feel lovely and warm to hold……..

Ramona showing seed cuff detail

I made a few tweeks to the pattern, changing the button band for a moss stitch one rather than ribbing as moss stitch is my favourite….also I worked the cuffs in the same rib as the waist, I think when I re-work the cuffs I’ll just work a regular rib and make it shorter…I also increased the neckline by a couple of rows…I did wonder whether I’d made this a bit high, but after washing and blocking the stitches have loosened up, the yarn’s relaxed and so the neckline has dropped a bit and now fits fine……I’m hoping to arrange a coastline trip if the weather perks up so I can take some pictures of it actually being worn in a suitable location.

This was my first cardigan, it’s not perfect but I’m so pleased with it, if you’ve not knitted one yet then this is a very nice pattern, it’s relatively easy to follow and the pattern itself is written out really clearly.  I’d certainly think to knit this again, there are some lovely examples on Ravelry of some other people have made…..this is one of my favourites…..

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Lousie of Knit British, she bought me the Ramona pattern at Christmas and like the sock patterns from Julia and Anne, knowing someone has faith in you to make something is always such a good incentative to keep going even when you get to tricksy spots that might make you want to fling your knitting across the room (although I had to rip out and un-ravel  fair bit, it was always because I’d done something daft rather than the fault of the pattern)…..

*an expression at home meaning cold

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10 thoughts on “All set for Summer with a North Sea Ramona…..

  1. Your cardigan is lovely and the yarn is looking nice too. Well done! Makes me want to do one as well but I am doing the Talisman Shawl from The Shawl Society on ravelry, using up some stash yarn!

    1. Hi Sally, thank you. I just had a look and wow, that’s a gorgeous shawl….I’d like to try a crescent shawl at some point as they look lovely and wrap-roundable x

  2. I like the colors in your Ramona and especially the front bands done in moss stitch. I think I reknit the front bands on my Ramona three times before I was satisfied. ( And I’m not sure I’ll ever wear it in public.)

    1. Hi Elaine, thank you…the yarn isn’t anything fancy but it’s a nice heathery blend if a bit puddle watery. Oh everything in my Ramona has been knitted, twice and then some….I’ll wear it out in the Autumn as I try to put off wearing a coat as long as possible. I’ve ripped out an old blue scarf I wasn’t wearing as I think it’s colour will pick up the blue in the Ramona.

  3. I love the colour in this yarn, it is very ‘me’! Such a great bargain too, the charity shops seem to charge a lot more these days, or at least down here, sometimes yarn is more expensive than I could get it ‘new’! I’m working hard to get a couple of ‘dragging’ projects done and then I’m hoping to move onto a crochet cardigan, I don’t feel ready to knit one yet!

    1. Morning Sharon, yes it’s the same here regarding yarn, although it used to be lots better….this yarn was purchased, oh 13 years ago at least, someone donated the remains of as shop after a relative had retired/died….the charity shop had a big wooden trunk that they just kept topping up with yarn until it was all gone……
      The cardigan was a lot easier than I thought it would be, no new stitches although I needed to learn about picking up stitches for the neckline and button bands, the button hole is a very simple one so wasn’t hard to make at all….hardest part…choosing buttons x

  4. You should be proud of such a beautiful cardigan. The colour is actually very attractive and looks like it will go with anything, always a bonus 🙂 I have this cardigan and a few others (Miette is the one that I like most) queued up in Ravelry but I am just so nervous about such a big project. So this evening I cast on another pair of socks instead! What a chicken I am.

    1. I’ve planning to cast on Hetty which is by the same designer as the Miette………please don’t be nervous about casting on a cardigan, as long as you can do the knit stitch, purl, m1L and m1R then you can knit the Ramona…..using a wool yarn is good as then you can spit and splice the ends together as you work, and also I find that sort of yarn copes better if you should need to un-ravel…..my ravelry notes on the one I made are pretty lengthy and might help…..I do know what you mean about feeling nervous but the feeling you’ll get when you put it on after casting it off is wonderful xx
      Thinking of you at the moment as I’m reading a book by Charles de Lint, he’s a Canadian writer. He’s one of my favourite authors and I re-read his books every few years.

      1. I have some bright red worsted weight wool I bought when I arrived here for when I take the plunge. Maybe I’ll have one knitted by Christmas, who knows?! I think I need to use Ravelry like you do as I keep all my project notes on scrap paper then lose them 😦

      2. Ohhh bright red, that’s made my heart skip, I love red……
        Yes I find Ravely really helpful for writing up my notes and thoughts on what I’m knitting….I tend to jot down and scribble in a notebook/on pieces of paper/back of envelopes etc and transfer across so it’s then easier for me to find and read it all later.

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