Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Account for 2018

Unexpectedly 2018 became the year when I stopped buying yarn.  More or less.  The decision was made, without prompting, on 1 May when I sorted the yarn store and the amount of yarn there became overwhelming.

I allowed myself a small allowance, of 100 gr per week, and I even managed to keep within it having 750 gr left at the end of the year.  Not buying became quite effortless in the end.  Looking at yarn I would think about what I would do with it; in most  cases I already owned similar yarn, and, if I bought it, it would end up in the yarn store for years to come.  Instead of finding nice yarn cheaply my objective has become to knit the yarn I have.

I continued to knit at a similar rate to previous years.  I used 22.4 kg.  For the first time, since I started keeping records, I knitted more than I bought, in fact twice as much. (I bought a lot before 1 May.)  It feels good.

I hope I can continue not buying.  The 100 gr weekly allowance adds up to more than three blankets per year, so I have reduced it to 75 gr.

Two pictures of nice yarn that I did buy, both American.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

The next blanket

The next blanket, #197, has the colours I like, no bright shades, no discordant shades.  I continued with the random coloured Lister Tahiti mohair from blanket #196, and here it fits much better.  In other words, it adds to the total by being barely noticeable.  The other yarns are brown, beige and grey with some touches of blue and green.  It really appeals to me.  When I have used up my bright yarns all my blankets will be like this.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Frosted rose sweater by Sarah Hatton

This is the sweater I spent most of this year knitting.  Knitting anything other than blankets is a slow business, especially if it involves following a pattern.  It was the yarn that led it.  I am going through my yarn spreadsheet with the aim of using yarn in the order I bought it, and the sweater uses two of the next yarns.

The first is Rowan Kidsilk Spray, a random coloured version of Kidsilk Haze.  It had brown, my favourite, with cream.  The second is Rowan 4-ply soft, all wool, in a lovely ply in mousy brown.  I have used these before in different shades, so I knew I would like the fabric.

The pattern came from The Knitter 118, Frosted rose by Sarah Hatton.  I liked the simple construction, knit front and back, do three needle bind off at shoulders and pick up stitches for knitting the sleeves downwards in rib.  Sarah's version was in Kidsilk Haze doubled.  I did a tension square with the Spray - singly because I had not read the pattern carefully - and I wanted something thicker, so I added the 4 ply soft.  I didn't do the lace pattern because I thought it would disappear in the random colours.

Because my tension was now different I recalculated the stitch count.  

The knitting was slow, but no problem.  The neckline in the pattern was too wide for my liking, and I tried to make it smaller, with little success.  I wanted long sleeves, so I lengthened them.

It turned out to be a lovely warm sweater, and now it is colder I wear it a lot.  As can be seen from the pictures.  I have not yet washed it.  It is a shame about the pooling on the front.  There is a slight puff sleeve effect because of the way the stitches were picked up, but it is probably more me and the yarns than the pattern.

Frosted rose sweater, Sarah Hatton, The Knitter 118

Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Spray 70% mohair 30% silk, Rowan 4 ply soft 100% wool
Needles: 4 mm, rib 3.5 mm

Tension: 20 m and 30 rows stocking stitch with one strand of each yarn
Knitted:  4 December 2017 to 29 August 2018
Weight:  425 gr

Friday, 12 October 2018

The next blanket

The next blanket, #196, is a light one with white and pastel colours.  I decided to add this Lister Tahiti mohair, random coloured white beige dark brown, and it does not really fit.  But it used up quite a lot of the yarn.  The white yarns will never run out.  I come across more and more.

This time I unravelled a cardigan, large white Esprit in the 1980s oversized aran knit style that is becoming fashionable again.  I bought it because of the yarn, an aran weight unplied wool.  This is so useful as background in the blankets giving them stability.  I used to buy them - garments in this type of yarn, especially Jigsaw did some nice ones - but with buying less I gave up.  I couldn't resist this one because of the low price.  Unravelling was a dream.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Sock yarn blanket 4

I started the next sock yarn blanket two years ago, and the knitting took some seventeen months.  Then it lay ready waiting to be finished, and I picked it up again in this summer.  I have forgotten a lot, so I rely on my notes.

This is according to the pattern set for the other blankets.  Garter stitch knitted on the diagonal, with 4 ply sock yarn and plain wool sock yarn knitted together.  I used 4.5mm needles.  Among the yarns used were Wendy Roam, Elle (SA) Sockwool 4 ply, Red Heart and Woolcraft Sock yarns, Sirdar Talisman 4 ply dark green.  The bright blue green yarn came without a label, but I think it may be Debbie Bliss sock yarn.

I did the knitting on the bus as usual with no problems.  This time I decided to crochet the blocks together, and it was easily done.  I did it with one strand of yarn, so the join shows from the right side, and the blocks open to lie side by side so there is no ridge.  I'm not sure if this is a good way of doing it or not.  It is interesting.  I did one round of double crochet as edging, followed by one row of crab stitch.  It turned out to be heavy warm blanket.  The colours are dour.

Sock yarn 4 blanket C34
Wendy Roam and sock and other 4 ply yarns doubled
size 4.5 mm needles
125 cm by 175 cm, 1500 gr
Knitted 4 September 2016 to 1 August 2018

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The next blanket

The next blanket, #195, is another dark one.  It contains the usual black, navy, brown and green yarns, and I added a regular stripe of various dark red and burgundy yarns.  The black mohair yarn is nice, adding softness and texture.  An odd picture - too light showing the fussiness of the mohair.  The black yarn is prominent.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

CKCA5 Bright Star

The next pattern in the Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans book, Bright Star by Norah Gaughan, is the reason I bought the book. I found it very attractive as it is based on a patchwork pattern, and I was intrigued to see how the pieces were fitted together.

I was disappointed when I read the pattern to find that it involved a lot of seaming. But since my objective was to knit some version of all patterns in the book I persevered.
My second problem was working out the instructions. My hands can follow knitting instructions but my brain gets in the way. Here I had no idea of how Square A was supposed to look. The diagram was little help because the same type of line denoted edges of blocks, divisions of shades and mitres, and the same letters blocks and shades. A few words of explanation would have been very helpful. Garterstitch intarsia was new to me too. I got there with the help of Ravelry.

Once I had worked out how to knit Square A it was easy. I quite enjoyed the knitting. The yarn was lovely. I decided to use my store of Rowan Pure Wool Aran. It felt so much nicer than its replacement, Worsted Aran. I was limited to the shades I had bought in the sale. I ran out of the green, and as I was reluctant to pay full price plus postage for a discontinued yarn from an internet retailer I did the remainder in a pale grey.

The seaming was a chore. My brain couldn’t stop working out ways of reducing the numbers of seams. I did the corner squares and the side rectangles from picked up stitches. For edging I did my favourite three ridges of garterstitch.

I am quite pleased with the result. I like the way the red and brown stars really stand out. It is a shame about the grey substitution yarn. When I took the pictures I inadvertently stretched the blanket lengthwise – easily done with garterstitch – so in reality it is shorter than it looks. It does not quite cover a single bed.
It took me more than six months to finish the blanket, but this is misleading because I set it aside for the three months that life got in the way. The blocks took two months and the fastening ends and seaming about seven weeks.

Bright Star

Pattern: Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Aranl 100% wool
Needles: 5.0 mm
Size: 135 cm by 160 cm
Weight: 1880 gr

22 November 2017 to 2 June 1018