Saturday, 27 April 2019

The next blanket

The next blanket, #203, is another dark one, in black, navy, brown, grey.  After my decision to stop buying yarn I decided to use yarn store yarns for my standard blankets.  There is no need to hoard them anymore; now the objective is to use everything.

I go through my spreadsheet chronologically, and add multiples of balls of yarn to the blankets.  I have another pile of odd balls to supplement, and now I include aran weight and anything that doesn't seem too thick.  This time I added hanks of Rowan aran Magpie, in this case dark navy, 25 gr hanks of Rowan DK and black Rowan 4 ply botany wool.  These have all been in the yarn store for many years, and it feels good to see them disappear.

The garment I unravelled is a navy cotton Cos cardigan.  It is huge and heavy, nearly 1 kg in weight.  It is my size but far too large and heavy to wear.  It looks reasonable in the picture.  I like the yarn, a smooth cotton that is easy to knit.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Afghan in a minute C40

The yarn was the reason for this blanket C40, a second version of Afghan in a minute from The best from Annie's Attic.  This was my first version.  It followed my decision to knit all my yarns as blankets and in simple patterns.  In fact, since it was aran weight the yarn should have gone into my standard blankets, but it was good quality, and I had wondered about what to do with it for years, so this is what it became.

The yarn was Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran, pure wool.  I had 10 balls in dark grey, shade Granite, and 7 balls in Light natural.  With this I looked for a brighter yarn, and found Cascade 220 Superwash in three shades of pink/lavender.  For more interest in knitting I added Regia Handdye Effect sock yarn.

I did my usual one row three yarn stripe.  I had planned to do a kind of gradient effect pattern by using up all of one ball of the pink before starting the next and the same with the sock yarn.  It didn't work, because I realised too late that somebody had written 85 gr on one of the Regia balls, which meant that I switched both pink and sock yarn at the same time with a sharp contrast.  Right in the middle of the blanket.  I realised too late what had happened.

I enjoyed the knitting with nice yarns.  Very easy.  I didn't do a border this time, because I liked the look of the tension square without borders.  Because of the sock yarn, there was enough yarn for a full length single blanket.  I cast off when I had run out of yarn.  The blanket is warm and cosy, as long as you don't look at it too long.

I didn't like the Regia yarn much.  The colours are fine, but it consists of wool surrounded by a thin nylon, I think, thread.  It is a nuisance, because it splits easily, and once the nylon has separated it get entangled with other yarn.  I don't know what it would be like on its own. 

Afghan in a minute, The best from Annie's Attic C40

Yarns: Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran, 100 % wool, Granite and Light Natural
            Cascade 220 Superwash Shades 834, 837, 807
            Regia Handdye Effect sock yarn Shades 06553, 06557, 06550
Needles: 5.5 mm
Size: 120 cm by 170 cm, 1560 gr
Knitted 23 December 2018 to 16 March 2019

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The next blanket

The next blanket, #202, lacks photos.  Somehow I managed to give it away without taking pictures.  It looks very similar to #198, as it uses a lot of the same yarns, in the same red blue green shades.

I used to unravel two or three garments for each blanket, but at some stage I started using odd balls that I bought for the blankets, and they became so many that I reduced the unravelling to one per blanket, and then to one per every three blankets.  Now that I have stopped buying yarn there will be no additional odd balls, and there are not many - in comparison - left, so now I will unravel one garment per blanket.

For this blanket I unravelled a fair isle waistcoat in dark green background.  Somebody has been having fun with this, using scrap yarn to try out different fair isle patterns.  I recognize the Kaffe Fassett poppies.  I like the bits of odd yarn that something like this produces.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

The next blanket

The next blanket, #201, contains more red, along with pink, beige and some green and blue.  There is also nice yellow and orange.

The nice red wool came from a bag of odd yarn.  I like bags where you can't see the content clearly because of the fun of opening it up and seeing what you've bought.  In this bag I could see some nice dyed sock yarn, and there was more good quality Lang sock yarn, very nice knitting despite the bright shades.  The red yarn was knitted into some odd shapes, intended as a bag I think.  It was knitted doubled, in a very tight tension in an aran pattern, painfully tight.  Intended as a substitute for felting?  I unravelled it and was surprised to find it completely straightened after washing, so it must be pure wool.  Here I included it as a regular red stripe, and there is more for another blanket.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

The next blanket

This is the blanket, #200, where I learnt to appreciate white.  I have complained about the colour before.  In the process of rearranging my yarn I brought all the whites together, and gasped at the amount.  I decided to do a blanket in white only, with one strand of lavender sock wool.  After about 25 cm I decided the knitting was too boring, and I didn't like the result much either, so contrary to my principles of not unpicking blankets, I did, and reknitted it as a standard blanket, #200.  This was much more satisfying.  I did two regular white stripes, but here they are barely obvious.

The number #200 is not significant.  The numbering came about when I started entering the blankets in a spreadsheet in 1995.  Rows 1 and 2 were headings, so the first blanket was #3.  But before then I knitted some 20 blankets that were entered manually in a notebook, and it should still be around, somewhere.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Moderne Log Cabin blanket

I was intrigued when I came across log cabin knitting in the Mason Dixon Knitting book.  Achieving a traditional patchwork log cabin look would require fastening a lot of ends, and that put me off.  The pattern for the block I tried was rectangular and that threw me too.  Now I realise its convenience for blankets which tend to be rectangular and here the same number of blocks in rows and columns simplifies things.

I really liked the look of the Moderne Log Cabin pattern, the sleek look, the colours, the simplicity.  But it would be difficult to achieve with the variety of yarns that I had.  You would need yarn in the same brand in carefully chosen shades.  And, as pictures in Ravelry show, an even tension.  So I decided to use my standard three shade one row pattern.

First I had to upscale the pattern to achieve my standard size for blankets, larger than the pattern.  This involved knitting a tension square and adjusting for my tension.  That was interesting, and the plan I ended up with looked reasonable.

I chose the following yarns:

First an alpaca yarn unravelled from this Nicole Farhi cardigan knitted in an intricate lace cable pattern.  It was fun unravelling.  The yarn is beautiful and a pleasure to knit.  It turned out to be thinner than DK so I added a strand of a 4 ply brown wool.

The second yarn was Rowan Tapestry yarn unravelled from two charity shops projects.  One was a completed sweater and the second parts for an unfinished sweater.  The purpose of this yarn was to add interest because of the changing colour, but it was hardly noticeable in knitting, and the light sections jar in places.  I decided which blocks should use which shades, but you don't notice that either in the finished blanket.

The third yarn was some old Jaeger Matchmaker DK pure wool.  There was enough blue, so I didn't use the mauve.  I have always liked the brown blue colour combination.

Then I cast on, and started knitting casting on the number of stitches calculated in my plan.  The problem came after picking up stitches for the second block.  My garter stitch tension does not work as it should.  One stitch does not equal two rows.  The second block came out too wide.  I thought it was a fixed rule that in garter stitch one stitch equals two rows.  For me it doesn't.  I haven't noticed it earlier because it hasn't mattered, or, as in mitred squares, it has been fewer stitches.  Here it mattered.  I solved it by picking up one stitch per ridge, as usual, and in the first row did k8 k2tog.  That worked and won't show at a casual glance.

Perhaps it is my tension.  I selected needles, 4mm, that would suit the yarns best.  I am not going to swatch to get the tension according to the pattern, because what do you do when you can't get there after trying four five sets of needles?

This was going to be my project for picking up when I needed easy in between knitting and I was in no hurry.  It took even longer because of the time and effort it took to interpret my plan every time I came to a new block.  Otherwise I enjoyed the knitting.  Towards the end I abandoned the plan, and did what was easiest.  It had taken such a long time, it was a relief when it came to an end.  I did my usual border, pick up stitches, a three row garter stich border, crochet cast off.

I like the look and the feel of the blanket.  It is warm, heavy.  The colours are restful.  The difference in weight gave additional texture to the garter stitch, and the alpaca and Tapestry are so nice.  The join between the blocks does look clumsy in places.  Overall I am happy with it.

Moderne Log Cabin blanket

Pattern: Mason Dixon Knitting
Yarn: unravelled alpaca, 4 ply wool, Rowan Tapestry, Jaeger Matchmaker DK
Needles: 4.0mm
Size: 125 cm by 170 cm
Weight: 1490 gr 
Knitted: 4 November 2015 to 22 December 2018

Sunday, 10 February 2019

The next blanket

The next blanket, #199, is a standard dark blanket with black, grey, brown and navy yarns.  A lot of these yarns are familiar ones continued from blanket to blanket.  I like the restful dark ones.  This one has green for highlight.  The colours in the pictures are too light.

I unravelled this jumper, a cabled design in an aran weight yarn.  The label says W and that doesn't get you far in identifying the brand.  The content label shows that it is not BhS, and it gives no further clues.  The yarn is nice, very suitable for background, a good dark brown colour.  I enjoy unravelling cables.