Wednesday, 20 October 2010

I cast on for blanket #136 several weeks ago, and it is very enjoyable knitting. The yarns are nearly all smooth - no boucle and little mohair - so it lacks texture, but not in an unpleasant way. I continued the red theme from blanket #135, and a few yarns are the same.
In a charity shop I found a book on using yarn leftovers. The book is called Sally Melville Styles: a unique and elegant approach to your yarn collection. It was published in 1998 by XRX Books (ISBN 1893762-10-6) by Knitter's Magazine, in Canada, I think, so not our The Knitter. The patterns are all for garments, and not very inspiring, but the techniques could be used for blankets. The interesting thing about it is about the use of colour. She reminded me of the use of colour wheels. I do of course know about them, but I've never actually looked at one when I wondered whether to use a colour or not.
She also talks about the use of bright colours. Avoid them, unless you can use them as an accent or base a garment on them. So in this bright blanket (brighter than the picture in real life), I was able to include a neon bright pink wool that has been too bright for other blankets. Here it does not show at all. The burnt orange (from a Mulberry jumper) shows but it goes with the reds. I have also included other pinkish reds, rust and burgundy reds and it all looks fine.
Sally Melville does not cover something else that influences me. It is more important to me to use every last scrap of yarn because it is impossible for me to throw it away. So often a primary consideration is that I will be able to get rid of yarn instead of whether the result will be attractive. I remember reading a book about women doing patchwork in 1800s or early 1900s in the States, when their objective was to use every last bit of fabric, and they took pride in positioning it in the patchwork so that it looked as if it all belonged. I am less worried about how good it will look. The neon pink will not all be gone this time, but I will know what to do with the rest. Now remains some neon green, in acrylic this time, so perhaps it could be thrown?
For this blanket I unralled this cotton waistcoat in argyle pattern. I could not resist buying it because of the colours. It was fun to unravel as well. Except for the sides. They were sewn together so tightly with the ends from the argyle patterns that it was impossible to undo without cutting. In the pieces themselves on the contrary hardly any fastening had been done, so unpicking them was easy. Now I tell myself that I must throw the golden yarn away. I really do not want a golden blanket! The golden yarn feels very pleasant and not at all metallic. It consists of a knitted string that can be unravelled if you get hold of the end. The cotton yarn is nice, too, and the lengths are not too short. The colours will go to several blankets.
The other sweater was a Next fairisle men's sweater from the 1980s when Next did 100% wool quality knitwear. The colours and the pattern are a bit unusual. The yarn itself is nice and soft, and it was easy to unravel. Although the sleeves had not been serged they had been sewn together with several seems, one overcast, so I did do cutting and got shorter ends than necessary. For this blanket I use the mustard yellow shade.

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