Thursday, 10 February 2011

Starting something new

From reading knitting blogs I gather that quite a few knitters suffer from startitis - the tendency to start new projects before finishing current ones.  I seem to suffer from the opposite - a reluctance to start something new.  I have mountains of yarn in my yarn store, there are hundreds of patterns I'd like to knit, but I find it difficult to get the yarn out, do the calculations and cast on.

There is quite a bit of chunky yarn in the store, and it is too thick for my regular blankets.  To my delight I found the first Mason-Dixon book in a charity shop (in Belgravia of all places and the male assistant started telling me about the Herne Hill wool shop that I already knew about), and it has a pattern for three nested boxes.  I have read the Mason-Dixon blog ever since I first saw their column in the Knitter magazine.  Their fascination for miles of simple garter stitch mirrors mine for stocking stitch blankets, and it makes me want to knit log cabin blankets.  And I will, once I have finished the chunky yarns.  Their box pattern uses Lamb's Pride Bulky yarn, and luckily I had already found five skeins of it in another charity shop.  A box seemed to me excellent use of this yarn.  I only wanted one, slightly larger than the largest in the pattern.  This uses three skeins, so my five should be enough.

The skeins have been sitting on my coffee table for several weeks, and it was not until yesterday that I found the needles, 6.5 mm as per the band.  I see mine as a basket rather than a box, and the sides will be striped, so I wanted to do the bottom in the darkest colour.  True to my thorough nature I weighed the skeins first, and there is only half the weight in burgundy, the darkest.  I cast on anyway, but it turned out too small, so I put it away.  That is what I should have done in the first place.  When I hit a problem I should give myself time to think about it before I decide what to do.  That would save me a lot of effort.

Thinking about it overnight I decided to do the bottom in a different colour, green, my least favourite, and I cast on again with more stitches, and now it looks OK.  I have knitted 10 cms, and with my calculations there will be enough green yarn for a nearly square bottom, just what I wanted.  The corners will be rounded so I did two increases either side.  I call this a basket because I see it as a knitting basket. 

Now, this should of course be felted, my first venture into felting.  Naturally I abhor felting, for the obvious reason that once something is felted you can't unpick it and knit it into something else.  Because my reason for knitting chunky yarn is to get rid of it finally it does not matter that it can't be reused.  I am still apprehensive that it will turn out a failure and totally useless.

I have been knitting blanket #138 while I've been looking at the Lamb's Pride yarn, and enjoying it.  It is nearly done, but the last week I've been unravelling the sweater to go into the next one, and it is taking a lot longer than I thought.  This is what the sweater looks like.

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