Friday, 9 February 2018

The next blanket

The next blanket, #192, is supposedly white, but I am adding more pastel shades.  This blanket is a mix of pinks and blues, with green, beige, grey and yellow.  I have done numerous blankets in these colours over the years.  The yarns change but the colours do not.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Account for 2017

As I had decided at the end of 2016 to abandon all attempts to curtail my yarn acquisitions I bought a lot of yarn in 2017, more than the previous year.  That is about all that can be said.  I bought a lot of very nice yarn.

I used up a similar amount of yarn as in previous years, 21.1kg, and that is encouraging.  I feel stressed sometimes that the thing I like knitting the most is the standard blankets, and I will always pick the current one up in preference to anything else.  That standard blankets use unravelled yarn, and the very nice yarn remain untouched.

For this current year, 2018, I will continue buying but try to concentrate on quality yarn.  I will, for the first time, try to consider colours to avoid ones I dislike.

To make my accounts look better, I have decided to exclude knitted garments that I buy in order to wear, even if they will eventually end up unravelled in a blanket.  And I am trying not to buy knitted items just for unravelling.  There are already plenty in the yarn store.

Here is one of my nicer purchases:  sock yarn at a very good price.

Monday, 8 January 2018

The next blanket

The next blanket, #191, is another dark blanket, using the same yarns as in the previous
one, more or less. This time I added a regular row of black mohair, and it adds some nice softness. My objective of reducing the amount of yarn in the blanket box is working well. I have nearly used up all the DK weight yarns. That means that I have run out of new yarns to add. A blanket uses about 100 gr of each shade, and I will need some 15 – 20 different yarns, so it means that I will need to find some more shades. I am itching to start on my box of yarns reserved for special projects, and I will have to decide between it and unravelling some more items. Ideally I need a mixture of the two.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Big Wool Intarsia blanket

Rowan Big Wool is one of the yarn I have collected over the years. It is one of more popular yarns in charity shops, so I have acquired quite a few balls. Mostly you find odd balls but sometimes there are three or four, or more.
I was looking for a multi coloured patterns with as few breaks in the yarn as possible, and intarsia was one possibility. I had enjoyed the pattern I devised for my Summer Tweed cardigan, so I chose it. The way it works means that you can use a whole ball without cutting. Since most of my yarn came in full balls I made the columns different widths, to avoid starting a new shade in all columns in the same row. The Ravelry entry had complaints about numerous knots – this would have aided me – but I didn't find more than usual.

I started with six rows garter stitch and did a garter stitch edging on both sides. These plus the six columns meant that I had six yarns to manage. I put them all in a basket on the floor, and by careful arrangement they did not become tangled. Occasionally I had to do some disentanglement.


I chose size 10 mm needles because they were to hand. I will say this again – I really don't like knitting with large needles. Knit rows worked fine, but I had problems getting my fingers to find a rhythm for the purl rows. The knitting is therefore more uneven than usual for me. Otherwise I quite enjoyed it, and I appreciated how fast it was. Having finished the blanket I don't enjoy the result very much. The shades were combined at random and could have been done more effectively. I didn't appreciate how many pale shades there were.

 I was disappointed in the yarn. It is difficult to say why. It just didn't appeal to me. I had thought about knitting a jumper with the remainder, but it will go into the next blanket.

Big Wool Intarsia blanket

Pattern: own
Yarn: Rowan Big Wool 100% wool
Needles: 10 mm circular
Tension: 9 sts
Size: 125 cm by 165 cm
Weight: 1380 gr

20 October to 10 November 2017

Sunday, 3 December 2017

The next blanket

The next blanket, #190, is another with dark red and brown. The same yarns appear in blanket after blanket. There is nothing wrong with that because they are colours I like. A regular stripe of the lace weight red mohair yarn gives softness, and there are several shetland yarns – from very old cones – to give a different kind of softness, especially after washing.

For this blanket I unravelled a child's sweater. It is knitted in a traditional fair isle pattern, but in a DK weight yarn. The colours lead me to believe it is a Rowan yarn. The sweater was easy enough to unravel, expect for the numerous knots on the sides from yarn changes. Luckily the ends had not been sewn in.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Amitola cowl

I like wearing cowls – I find them warm and comfortable – and I have planned to knit one for several years. My last attempt was not very successful. I wear it occasionally but it is too narrow and thick for comfort.

Last summer I came across some Louisa Harding Amitola yarn reduced, and as it is one I have been coveting for a while I did not hesitate. The colour is called Berries, possibly the only monochrome one. I like it. I read up on it on Ravelry and it was a good thing because there were warnings – that it was thin in places and likely to break. So I thought it a good idea to add a second strand, and my Rowan Fine Lace was perfect. The shade 943 is called beige in places and stoneware in others. I prefer stoneware because of the green tinge. I liked the subdued colour it added to Amitola.

I devised my own pattern, a simple one, with just knit and purl stitches. It occurred to me later that a pattern that drew in vertically might be better for a cowl. This one was horizontal, and I had to live with it.

I did a tension square and calculated stitches. The finished cowl ended up near to my estimate, but on relflection the estimate was too generous, a circumference of 180 cm. I think it would be better shorter. For width I knitted until I thought it was wide enough, 25 cm. I knitted it in a round with one twist; some call this Mobius, but having read Cat Bordhi I know it isn't. The cowl too long for the twist to make any difference. One day I may knit a proper Mobius cowl.


It is comfortable and warm to wear. Wrapped once the long end acts as scarf, wrapped twice it is cosy and warm. It was nice effortless knitting – round and round – with the change in pattern every row giving interest.

Amitola cowl

Pattern: own
Yarn: Louisa Harding Amitola sh 103 berries wool 80% silk 20%
          Rowan Fine Lace sh 943 stoneware alpaca 80% wool 20%
Needles: 4 mm circular
Tension: 22 sts
Size: 180 cm by 25 cm
Weight: 235 gr (LH150 gr, Rowan 135gr)
10 September to 20 October 2017

Sunday, 12 November 2017

CKCA4 Gypsy patchwork

The next pattern in the Berroco book Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans was Gypsy patchwork by Margery Winter. It is made up of knitted blocks in four patterns – three with embroidered motifs and one fair isle. The blocks are joined using blanket stitch type stitches. This is not a pattern that would appeal to me – too detailed, garish colours, no challenging knitting and I don't do embroidery.

The pattern was suitable for my collection of Rowan Handknit Cotton. I chose the bright coloured shades and some that I wanted to finish. Instead of embroidery I wanted to do intarsia motifs, hoping to find patterns in the Debbie Abrams book of blanket patterns. But her patterns were too detailed for my liking, so I ended up improvising two, based on some of her circles.

I tried a fair isle design, but my tension grew wider and the blocks would have ended up a different size so I gave up on that idea. Instead I did stripes. For the fourth design I did just plain shades. I did the blocks in stocking stitch with a moss stitch border around the edges.

The knitting was more fun than I had anticipated. I have always looked at Handknit cotton with caution because it seemed thick and inflexible, but it was a pleasure to handle. After doing half the blocks I thought I would wash them before joining, and that was a mistake. The yarn turned harsh, and spinning left creases. This was after a machine wash – surely cotton yarn can be washed in machine – and the same happened when I handwashed another. I ditched the washed blocks and decided to do a smaller blanket with the rest. I didn't have the heart to start again.


I crocheted a border around each block to imitate the blanket stitch and then joined them using double crochet. I quite like the blanket in the end. I enjoy the colours; they are sort of gypsy like. It was nice doing intarsia after many years, and the stripes were satisfying.


Gypsy patchwork

Pattern: Margery Winter; Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans
Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton
Needles: 4 mm
Tension: 20 sts
Size: 135 cm by 105 cm
Weight: 1035 gr

2 July to 11 October 2017