Thursday, 13 January 2011

New blanket, new year

I started blanket #138 several weeks ago.  Progress has been slow because I didn't finish unravelling the two projects before I cast on.  Sometimes it works out like that.  This blanket is blue and brown with green and grey and a little rust for contrast.  The bright blue is a difficult colour and one that needs to be used up.  I like teaming it with brown, and something prompted me to add the rust.  It is fun knitting it, but it turns out a little bit too stripey.

I unravelled this charity shop find for it, a cowl neck sweater from Hoss.  The yarn is alpaca, two thin strands knitted together.  It will work as 4 ply.  This was easy to unravel, and the yarn is nice although too pale for this blanket.

The second project is a throw, 95 cms square, knitted from a lovely angora yarn.  It is knitted as a garter stitich square bordered by a garterstitch edging with points. This was slow to unravel.  The throw had been used and it had felted in the middle.  Starting it was not as difficult as I feared.  The edging was sewn on and I happened to come across an end that had not been fastened properly.  Unravelling was slow though; every stitch had to be torn apart.  The edging was even more difficult, with the cast off stitches in the point.  It is the kind of work I enjoy anyway, and now I have finished it.  The yarn is lovely and soft after washing, but most of the fluffiness has disappeared.

With the new year I have also done the sums for my 2010 knitting.  I used up 12.4 kg wool, less wool than in the previous two years.  Even so, that works out at 237gr per week or 34 gr per day.  In 2008 I used 13.0 kg and in 2009 13.8 kg.  There are two reasons why I knitted less wool in 2010.  The first is that I did not knit anything in chunky wool, and I did the two previous years.  The second reason is because of the timing of the blankets.  A blanket takes on average seven weeks to knit, so it depends on when in the year the blanket cycle starts, or ends.  Last year I finished seven blankets and I will finish the eighth by the end of January, I hope.  The previous two years I finished eight.  (There seems to be something odd with my maths here.  It looks as if I were lucky to complete eight in those two years, or the average has increased.)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

And wool again, and Noro wool again

I didn't make it until the end of December without buying more wool, despite my birthday resolution.

On Monday 27th I went to the John Lewis knitting wool sale, both at Oxford Street and at Peter Jones.  There was nice wool there but nothing that I could not resist.  In previous sales the wool has been discounted by 50%, this time it was more like 25 - 30% - difficult to calculate exactly in my head, so it helped that it was not ultracheap.  I did like the discontinued shades of Felted Tweed though, and Wool cotton and especially the Cocoa shade of Kidsilk Haze.  I looked at Kaffe Fassett's Colourscape, but I could not see myself knitting anything with it.  The most difficult thing to resist was Noro Yuzen with great colours.  But I went away without buying anything.

On New Year's Eve I found myself unexpectedly going past John Lewis so I had to go in again to check how the sale was going.  The nicest yarns had gone, but there was still plenty covetable left.  I studied the laminated price list and noticed that it included Noro Sock Yarn.  I was surprised because I had not noticed any in the sales baskets.  So I memorized the four shade numbers and went off to the Noro shelves to check if any of them were there.  My heart sank - there were about a dozen different shades, so I thought I could not possibly go through all of them.  I looked at my favourite shade anyway, the black brown beige one, and it was one of the four sale shades!  So I took it to the assistant who promptly said 'That's not in the sale'.  I showed her the shade number, she checked it against the computer and it was reduced.

After that it was impossible to put it back.  I found two more balls of the same shade on the Noro shelves, enough for a sweater for me, possibly with short sleeves, and I bought them.  Now the three balls sit on my coffee table, looking at me reproachfully.  I know the pattern I want to knit with them, but now is not the right time.  I look towards the summer after the New Year.

I have noticed it in charity shops as well.  Once you start talking to an assistant it gets very difficult not to buy.  If I see wool, even if it is something that I have no intention of buying, I need to know how much it is before I leave it.  Often wool in unpriced so I have to ask, and then I end up buying.

So I bought 300 gr of wool on December 31.  I could say that I used my January allowance (and a little of February's) early.  But I think the whole project is unrealistic.  I will have to see how it goes.

I am knitting.  I finished knitting blanket #137, and here is a close up.  Blanket #138 is underway.  On the Noro Transitions jacket I am doing the collar, but without a pattern it takes time.