Wednesday, 27 July 2011

King Cole Mirage child's blanket

This was my bus knitting for several months.  I bought the yarn, 4½ balls of King Cole Mirage, from a charity shop one day when I was badly in need of a yarn fix.  It is 50% wool 50% acrylic so by no means on my list of allowed yarns.  But it reminds me very much of Rowan's Tapestry, same structure, also slightly fuzzy but not at all as soft to the touch.  The acrylic means that it is machine washable so it is eminently suitable for a child's blanket, and that is all that the yarn would stretch to.  The balls were 100 gr.

I tried knitting a log cabin block, from the instructions in Mason-Dixon Knitting, but I was not happy with it.  It was not square.  I could have worked that out before I started, but it still took me by surprise.  Also, the picking up stitches would be too complicated for bus knitting, so I reverted to my usual diagonal blocks.  And I greatly enjoyed knitting the 36 blocks that the blanket took.

The stripe sequence in this yarn, unlike Tapestry, is regular, so there were no surprises.  I did consider knitting all blocks the same, but thought it was too risky, because one small discrepancy between blocks one and two would turn out to a large large one between 35 and 36.  I had fun arranging the blocks.  I tried forming diamonds but I thought it too sophisticated for a child, so I went for diagonal lines.  Now I see a large diamond instead.

I crocheted the blocks together, this time with slipstitch, and it works better than double crochet, but it still makes the blocks bumpy.  Blocking the blanket - laying a damp towel over it and leaving it to dry - did improve it.  I considered knitting an i-cord edging, but it seemed too much effort for this project so I crocheted a crabstitch border instead.  (And I enjoyed the crochet so much that now I'm crocheting on the bus, but I will write about that later.)

King Cole Mirage Child's Blanket
Yarn:  King Cole Mirage 50% wool 50% acrylic, 400 gr
Needles: 3.75 mm
Tension: 24 st and 28 rows per 10 cm
Size: 65 cm by 65 cm
Knitted: 1 October 2010 to 4 July 2011

Friday, 22 July 2011

Kaffe Fassett Autumn Leaves

It has taken me a long time to finish this tapestry cushion.  I finished stitching it nearly a year ago.  Since then I have tried to decide on a suitable fabric for the backing.  In the end I went for a piece in my store - bought as a remnant in John Lewis more than 20 years ago.  I like the backing to be similar in colour to the front of the cushion.

Then it was a question of cushion pad.  Being rectangular it is of course a non-standard size so it is not possible to buy one the right size.  I worked out the sizes of two I needed.  I usually use down pads, but the thought of opening them up and having down all over the room made me think again, so I used polyester filling.  I sewed a new cover from a pillow case, opened up the two new pads and stuffed the new one.  I don't think I put enough in the corners because they form points.  If I wanted to redo it I would have to undo the seam, so I won't.  I hope the stuffing will settle with use.  If the tapestry looks uneven and the backing creased it is because I washed bothe before sewing them together.  They have both been around for a long time.

I enjoyed stitching this very much.  In places the shades were very similar, so I was glad there was a chart I could refer to.  I think I like doing these because it means handling wool, because I like seeing the design take shape and because it is fairly mindless work.  You don't need to think while you do it.

Now I have the next cushion to do a backing for.  This is a standard size so I will be able to buy a pad.

Monday, 11 July 2011

I am practising not buying yarn

with little success.  My plan to limit my yarn purchases to 300 gr per month lasted for no more than a few weeks.  I have made a little advance.  I have a (mental) list of the kinds of yarn that I'm allowed to buy, and in the main I'm sticking to it.  Unfortunately the list tends to expand according to what I see.

There are two purchases that I wanted to show.

I have a theory that you can find anything that you set your heart on in a charity shop, sooner or later.  Some days, when I set out, I fantasize about what I would like to find today.  One item on my wish list for a long time has been a Kaffe Fassett kit, and I did find one.  Not quite right, not Kaffe Fassett, but it was a Rowan kit, an Annabel Fox.  It is for a sweater, called Persian Iris.  There were 800 gr of wool - a cream tweedy yarn, Kaffe Fassett mohair silk and DK wool.  The small balls all weighed 25 gr, so they had not been weighed according to the amount of yarn required in the pattern.  I don't have any intention of knitting this sweater, I don't think, so I will just take pleasure in owning it for some years, and then the yarn will end up in a blanket.  Probably.

The second purchase was 32 balls of Rowan Tapestry, one of the yarns that I just can't resist.  There were two shades, 175 and 177, but they are very similar, in shades of blue.  I have already knitted a sweater in this yarn, and I was very pleased with it.  There was a pattern for a cardigan in the same Rowan booklet that I liked, but for the time being it will remain in the yarn store with all the rest.  I like being able to play with ideas for it.