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


Sunday, 5 November 2017

Tabert cardigan



A year ago I wanted to knit a roomy cardigan with a round neck that can be buttoned up under a coat. So many patterns are for v-necks or edge to edge shaped fronts. The yarn I had in mind was the Rowan Pure Wool Worsted aran that I had bought in the sales. I had enough of shade 107 – Chestnut.
 
After a lot of searching I decided on Lisa Richardson's Tabert cardigan from Rowan 60. I liked the shape, and I thought I could lower the funnel type neckline and add some closures. For the second colour I had one ball of shade 110 – Umber, that went really well with the Chestnut.
 
 
 
 
 
The yarn in the pattern, Felted Tweed Aran, knitted to a looser tension than the Worsted, so first I had to recalculate stitch numbers. Then I cast on. I had decided to knit it in one to the armholes and that went fine. Recalculating stitches for the pockets took a while, as I had to judge whether my figures looked OK.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I did the shoulders with short rows combining with three needle bindoff. The theory was good, but my execution was not elegant. It worked. So did my neckline. I finished with rows of garter stitch, as per the pattern. Then I picked up stitches round the armholes for the sleeves and knitted downwards on dps. I had in mind that my tension was likely to be tighter this way, but I did nothing about it. By this time I knew that my one ball of Umber would not be enough for the wide border on the sleeves, and luckily I picked up a second in the same dye lot, so I could do the border.
 
 
 
 
 
 




This is where the cardigan should have been finished, but I was not happy with the garter stitch bottom hem because mine folded upwards. This was likely to be a result of my tension getting looser, but it didn't look good. So I unpicked it and knitted a broken rib border downwards. The cast off of my pockets was unsightly too. It folded downwards. Looking at the picture in the magazine I came to the conclusion that it worked there because the knitter had done a tight cast off. After many years of perfecting the loose cast off required for blankets it is something that I can't do, so I tightened it with a row of crochet slipstitch in a matching thin yarn. Now it is not too bad.

I started the cardigan in December last year, thinking I would have it finished by end of January. It took until the end of August. The reasons were mainly to do with having to rethink many aspects of the pattern, and putting it away while I did so. Then I washed it and, as super wash wool is liable to do, it stretched. It is not too bad though. The sleeves are on the long side, but the length and width are just right. I like the style. I added hooks so that I could close it. Overall I am reasonable content with it.

When I started knitting there was no Tabert project on Ravelry. Now there is one, so it is not a popular pattern.

Tabert cardigan
Pattern: Lisa Richardson Rowan 60
Yarn: Rowan Superwash Worsted wool, shades Chestnut and Umber
Needles: 4.5 mm
Size: Small
Weight: 525 gr
7 December 2016 to 30 August 2017



 

Sunday, 29 October 2017

The next blanket




The next blanket, #189, is back to the reds. I wanted to include orange and burnt orange yarns, but it turned out to be fewer than I had thought. I added greens, yellows and beiges, and it looks very colourful and bright. It was fun knitting, but it would have benefitted from some unifying yarn.
 
 

Saturday, 21 October 2017

The next blanket

The next blanket, #188, is a light one, using the never ending white yarns.  White is a popular colour for yarns found in charity shops, and I acquire them when I buy bags of assorted yarns.  At one time I tried to get rid of them, but now I have learnt to appreciate the shade they add to the blanket.







This blanket also has several cotton yarns that add texture and wool in interesting shades of green.  Softness comes from Paton's white Fuzzy Wuzzy which lasts a long time, for 10 gr balls.  I like the wool boucle yarn and the handspun.