Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The next blanket

The next standard blanket, #152, is another white, knitted in aran weight.

The main yarn is this yellow that I got very cheaply in a charity shop.  It is Greenock double knitting, manufactured in Scotland.  It comes in one ounce balls, so I would assume that it is from the 1960s.  It still feels fine though, and it is very nice to knit with.  There were 21 balls, so it is enough for several blankets.  It is interesting to see how the yellow colour disappears when it is mixed with other yarns.  The white - that used to annoy me - disappears too, so now I have fewer reservations about using it and I am getting accustomed to the idea that there will always be some.

There is also some pink mohair and this Jaeger angora wool blend in pink.  I love the picture of the rabbit on the label.  When I bought the Patons random coloured yarn I told myself that I had to use it in a blanket despite the fact that I would dislike the dark brown portions, so here it is.  I am also using up bits of thin cashmere yarn.  The cashmere gives such a nice soft feeling to a blanket although you can't see it, so I would like to continue using it.  I don't know what to do - it takes time to unravel such thin yarn and one blanket takes a full medium sized sweater, so it would be one sweater per blanket.  It is still possible to find reasonably priced cashmere in charity shops, even sweaters that haven't shrunk in washing.

I unravelled the Kaffe Fassett Outlined Star jacket that I bought a year ago.  I decided this as part of my effort to use the white yarn, but on the whole I think it is a good idea.  There didn't seem to be very much yarn there once it had been unravelled, and the unravelling was easy.  It is more difficult to separate three strands of wool when you come to using it.  The yarn is lovely of course.

The second garment was this fairisle cardigan in blue turquoise purple shades.  The label said Woodward Davey and it is obviously hand knitted. I wondered if it was knitted with self striping yarn, but it was not.  It was shortish lengths of a number of yarns in similar shades.  It is very nice shetland wool, with blue mohair that has shrunk.  It took quite a while to unravel, but it was nice to work with.  I have seen a second cardigan with the same label in a more traditional fair isle pattern, but I didn't buy it.  (You can now find links to them on Google.)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Diagonal squares blanket C7

A while ago I finished one of my bus knitting blankets.  I did it in my usual garter stitch diagonal pattern.  It is so good for knitting on the bus because it does not require any counting, and you don't even need to look at it.  I increase/decrease at the beginning of every row to make it even easier.  This does mean that the squares end up slightly skewed, but the skewness disappears when you join them.

For this blanket I unravelled four charity shop sweaters:

A Gazman's man's sweater in a nice olive colour.

A grey Eddie Bauer sweater in garter stitch.  The yarn looked like shetland but it was quite different unravelled.  It was thicker than the others, so it produced fewer squares.

A Jigsaw polo neck in dark brown.  I can't find a picture of this one now.

An unlabelled sweater in mole colour.  This was also on the thick side, but there was plenty of yarn, and it was very pleasant to work with.

I started knitting this in February 2010 and completed it in September 2012.  It took a long time because I did some bus crochet in between.  I thought about joining the squares by doing three needle bind off, but it seemed too much effort for a not particularly nice blanket, so I crocheted the squares together using slip stitch.  As edging I did one row double crochet and one row crab stitch.

The blanket ended up shorter than a full size single blanket, because I ran out of wool, and, with a yarn store full of yarn, I did not want to buy another sweater for unravelling.  I had fun arranging the squares.  I stuck to my first attempt, because otherwise I would never make up my mind.  On the whole I'm pleased with it.  I like the colours, and it feels pleasant, being 100 per cent wool.

And if you like exposed seams you can use the reverse side.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The next blanket

Note:  I am having trouble adding pictures to this post.  I'll publish the text and hope that Blogger will be more amenable later.  Now all done.

Along with my blogging my knitting has slowed down.  It is frustrating.  I don't know how I spend my time differently, but I just don't sit down to knit so often or for any length of time.  I would like to do more knitting.  I keep buying yarn, so the yarn store is growing bigger, and it is stressful to think about all the yarn I plan to knit and all the ideas of projects that I have in mind.


Blanket #151 took nearly twice as long as other standard blanket.  And this was even though it was in my favourite dark colours and in a tight tension with DK weight yarn.  To make it interesting for myself I added a strand of Noro Kureyon Sockyarn, bought at half price, in similar shades but with added bright green and light beige sections.  These will stand out for people who don't know what they are but it pleases me.

I unravelled this Marilyn Moore hand knitted sweater.  The yarn is mainly wool, two 4 ply strands together or, in case of the brown boucle, three, with a little bit of silk and nylon.  It was OK to unravel although it had a lot more knots than strictly necessary.  I cut ruthlessly.  It gave me a lot more short lengths, admittedly of nice yarn, but it will take years to finish it.  The colours are good too, except that I have decided that I want to stop knitting red.  There are a lot of red hand knitted garments in charity shops, so I tell myself - that's red, don't buy it.

The second sweater was a Marks and Spencer bright red cashmere sweater.  This is one of the ones I bought for £9 when they sold cashmere at low prices in sales.  I have several that I got for £5, too.  M&S no longer sell cashmere so cheaply, and cashmere in charity shops is often shrunken so difficult to unravel.  I like adding a thin strand of cashmere.  Sometimes it is noticeable, sometimes it isn't.  It is always easy to unravel, and it doesn't matter if the thin strand breaks.

In blanket #150 there were a lot of ends to be fastened.  I don't mind because I enjoy it but it takes a long time.  It is a very relaxing activity.  I will show the crocheted edge as well.

Friday, 14 September 2012

And a cushion cover

I had a request for a cushion cover to the pattern of the blocks in the Modern Throw and I was happy to do it.  This time I bought brand new wool.  I liked the Icelandic Alafoss Lopi chunky yarn that went into the throw, so I bought some more.  It is surprisingly inexpensive in comparison to other chunky yarns, and it is so lovely and soft.  It comes in something like 17 shades, but the shop only had a few.  The request was for a blue cushion so I chose two 100 gr balls in grey and one each in a pale and a darker blue.  I wasn't too happy about the lighter shade because I thought there was too little contrast between it and the grey.

I aimed for a cover with a 40 cm side so I cast on a few more stitches than for the throw.  Again I selected the number of rows randomly, and did one side with darker blue and the other with paler blue stripes.  Then I picked up stitches around the edge and did a three needle bind off on three sides.  The fourth side I crocheted together in slip stitch using a thin blue yarn which disappeared so you can hardly see it.

The finished cover was about 41.5 cm square and it was too loose for a 40 cm cushion pad.  The 45 cm pad fitted much better.  A cushion does look better if the cover is slightly stretched.  The finished cushion is squashy and comfortable and pleases both the recipient and myself.

Modern Cushion

Yarn:  Alafoss Lopi chunky, 245 gr used
Needles:  6mm
Knitted:  15 July to 20 August 2012

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The next blanket - #150

Blanket #150 turned out to be red and yellow, mixed with beige, brown and rust.  I like the little bit of green added.  There is still quite a lot of these bright colours in the yarn store, however much I try to get rid of them.  At least I like red.  Some of the yellow is too light for this blanket, but then it seemed too dark for blanket #149, and I have to include it somewhere.  It is dispiriting, too, that there are so many yarns that don't really blend but need to be used up.

#150 is such an even number, but it does not really mean anything.  The numbers go by the rows in the spreadsheet that I started in 1994.  I must have knitted some 20 blankets before then.  Occasionally I ask myself why do I do these - are they really any use.  Now I could afford to buy new wool, so there is no need to confine myself to the knitted garments in the yarn store.  But I still enjoy the unravelling, and using purely new wool would give a different character to the blankets.  I like the economical and ecological benefits of using unravelled wool.  The plain answer is that I knit these blankets because knitting them gives me so much joy.

For this blanket I unravelled a Bolivian knit cotton sweater from a charity shop.  It is knitted in a combination of fair isle and intarsia, quite well except for the part where the third shade has been swiss darned.  It was so difficult to unravel.  The yarn is a nice smooth mercerized cotton and I thought it was 4 ply weight doubled.  It turns out to be a thinner yarn trebled.  I don't mind dividing two strands but three is too much and the individual strands are too thin to use as 4 ply.  I went for removing the third strand and this gives a yarn of suitable weight.  The colours are lovely pink and blue pastel shades.

The second knit was a shawl knit in a brown shetland yarn.  It was very nicely knitted, but the yarn, a thick 4 ply, was too thick to produce a nice shawl.  This is probably why it ended up in a charity shop.  I bought it because I like the brown shade - very useful and will blend well.

I bought this Drops Vivaldi yarn in the flea market behind Frederiksberg city hall on my spring break.  There was about 200 gr, some of it knitted into the back or front of a sweater.  It was easily unravelled.  The colour is a nice lime green.  It is very thin, reminiscent of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, but it is only 58% mohair, the rest wool and polyamide.  It adds a lovely sheen to the blanket, and you can only just about see the colour.  In the biting wind in the outdoor market I did not notice the smell, but as soon as I got inside it was evident that it reeked of tobacco smoke.  The smell disappreared after washing.

Monday, 6 August 2012

The Noro Blossom blanket done

At last I finished the Noro Blossom blanket.  When I got to about 165 cm it seemed long enough, but there was still plenty of yarn left.  It didn't seem wide enough so I picked up stitches and knitted another 5 cm on each side.  At the top and bottom I added just a few rows.  I had planned to finish it off with an I-cord, but the beauty of the cord got lost in the unevenness of the yarn, so I did a double crochet cast off with the brighter shade instead.  I am pleased by the contrast which is not too bright.

The blanket is lovely.  It is warm and light and I love looking at it and wrapping it around myself.  It seems slightly lopsided with the top/bottom and side borders of unequal widths, but it is intended to be used, not to be looked at.

The needles I used, 5 mm, produced a loose knit, and I would have preferred the end product to be tighter, but the boucle yarn would have made it too uncomfortable to knit.  In the end I used less yarn than anticipated, possibly because of the loose knit.  I regret that I didn't take the opportunity to do a more challenging pattern than garter stitch or one that used the random striping to greater effect.  That is for future projects.  I must remember that I don't like knitting boucle yarns and I don't like knitting with thick needles.

Noro Blossom blanket C13

Yarn: Noro Blossom wool 40%, kid mohair 30%, silk 20%, nylon 10%; 1 250 g
Needles: 5 mm
Tension: 12 st

Size: 173 cm by 140 cm
Pattern: own
Knitted:   12 February to 14 July 2012

Sunday, 15 July 2012

And blanket #149 again

I forgot to mention the very obvious fact that in blanket #149 every third row is bright pink.  This is shetland wool from a cone that I could not resist buying recently despite my reservations about bright colours.  The cone weighed exactly 500 grams, including the weight of the cone.  The label inside says Uppingham Yarns shetland wool.  The yarn is quite thin for 4 ply weight and not at all soft.  It is fine for the blankets, but too thin if you put it with another thin 4 ply, for example from the Sheila Duggie sweater.  I weighed it again after I finished the blanket.  Exactly 150 gr had been used, and that is useful information.  If I want to use the same 4 ply yarn every third row I will need at least 150 gr but probably less than 200 gr.

Another old nice favourite that went into the blanket is this Jaeger Wool Silk in a 20 gr ball.

And here is my Cabbage Patch doll dressed in the baby jacket.  This is the very first one that I bought, and I think the oldest.  She is smaller than more recent ones.  I love her dread locks and the way you can style them with your fingers.  She is sitting on my Kaffe Fassett star cushion next to some unravelled Noro Kureyon.  She no longer needs the jacket since I found some well fitting doll's clothes for her in a charity shop.  Regrettably she is not available for a photo session in her new outfit right now.  The idea was that I should knit or crochet or sew clothes for my dolls, but all my yarn is too precious for dolls.  I am considering buying some especially.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

With some more pictures

Blogger is playing with me, or I don't understand it, so I will add two pictures here that should have gone in the previous post:

The next blanket

My knitting got derailed when I went away on a short holiday in May.  I stopped working on the Noro Blossom blanket - because it was nearing completion and I had to work out what to do next.  I took my bus knitting with me, a sock yarn sweater that I have not written about, and I have not touched it either since I came back.

I have been knitting on the standard blankets the whole time.  I finished blanket #148 and started #149.  In a way it is comforting to do just knitting that you don't have to think about, but now I do want to use my brain as well, and I have gone back to the Noro Blossom blanket.

But I will write about blanket #149.  This is in pale pastel colours, in double knitting weight, the kind of blanket that I knit time and time again and that is pleasurable each time.  There is nothing much to say about it.  (The holes that you can see in the picture will disappear when the ends are fastened.)

The first charity shop that I unravelled is a recent purchase.  I wanted a pale woollen 4 ply yarn, and this seemed to fit the bill.  It appears to be machine knitted with a label saying Sheila Duggie.  The off white yarn is a bit too thin, slightly unevenly spun with a fleck of the same colour.  I think it is wool, it behaves and it feels like wool.  I like the flower decoration and the stitch around the shoulders.  I could not work out how it was put together.  The neckband and the ribbing around the bottom and the wrists had been knitted together, but I could not find an end to start unravelling, so I had to resort to cutting.  Otherwise it was no trouble at all.

The second garment was a baby cardigan knitted in a very nice pale blue yarn, probably a wool blend.  I bought it for one of my Cabbage Patch dolls which came without clothes.  Although loosely knitted this was not so easy to unravel either because the ends had been very thoroughly fastened.

And this is one of the vintage yarns used - Patons Fuzzy Wuzzy - an angora wool blend probably from the 1970s.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Tapestry cushion finished: Primavera's sunflowers by Joanna Allen

This is the next tapestry cushion that I finished a while ago.  As with all my tapestry kits I bought it in a charity shop, this one some seven years ago.  It is by Primavera, and the designer is Joanna Allen.  You can still buy the kit, from John Lewis among other places.  It was not one of my favourites, but I still enjoyed stitching it, and I am very pleased by the way it turned out.  Somebody else helped stitch the flower bottom right, and it shows that it has been done in a different style.

The background wool for this kit was a dark red, and I was doubtful about how it would turn out.  The ones in John Lewis had a cream background, and I could not find a red one on the Internet either, although there was one in navy.  I thought cream would be too light and impractical, so I looked for a different colour.  In the end I chose a medium grey, and I like it.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The next blanket

It has been so long since my last entry that I have finished knitting blanket #148 and I have started crocheting the edging.  It is the next dark blanket, very similar to blanket #142, because a lot of the yarns are the same, but it is brighter with more and brighter reds and some bright blues.  This one is knitted in aran weight too.  I used the dark grey angora in this one too, and some random coloured navy mohair, and it makes it so soft.  (The colours in the pictures are too light.)

The next Kaffe Fassett jumper in turn to be unravelled was the Lattice patten from Glorious Knitting.  It is knitted exactly as in the book.  The problem with this kind of regular pattern is that all the yarns are the same lengths and there are a limited number of them.  The yarns are nice anyway, Rowan Spun Tweed and Fine Tweed and some fine chenille.  I like chenille yarns, but the thicker ones are inflexible to knit with.

The second garment was a Per Una zip front cardigan from the time when they did 100% wool clothes.  I bought this several years ago aiming it for a bus knitted blanket, but then I had second thoughts.  I thought it was shetland yarn but it is not.  The yarn came out quite well anyway, after washing.  The fronts were cut so I discarded them.  I have so much yarn now that I no longer have patience to deal with a lot of short ends in indifferent yarns.  I threw away the thick yarn in the collar and cuffs, too.  I could have split it, but I did not have a mind to.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The next blanket

My guidelines for choosing yarn for blanket #147 were simple - medium colours and no reds.  This blanket is knitted in double knitting weight and I enjoy knitting with smaller needles.  For want of red it became blue and green as well as my favourite neutral beige grey brown shades.

I added some yarns that I had rejected for the previous blanket #146 as too dark.

And some bright blue and greens.  I keep saying that I don't like these because it is so difficult to avoid them spoiling the look.  From now on I would like to reserve them for the dark blankets, if I can only remember.

For softness I added these.  The grey on the left is from a charity shop.  I bought some five balls without labels.  I like to think that they are mohair.  There may be some acrylic content, but they smell animal.  The next is the angora yarn from blanket #138, and the blue is a Pingoiun yarn, d'Esprit Angora.  It feels like angora, but the label buried deep inside says that it is only 10% angora, the rest acrylic and nylon.

The two garments that I unpicked were also soft.

The first is a Peruvian Connection picture sweater.  This was lovely, and such a work that has gone into knitting it.  It was so difficult to unravel, though.  The ends, and there were thousands of ends, had not been woven in, but sewn in, into themselves two or three times.  I wondered why I wanted to unpick it.  The only way to cope was to forget about time, and take it slowly getting into the rhythm of unpicking.  The yarn is alpaca, 4 ply, knitted double, and the sweater yielded lots of nice wool in lovely colours, all in different lengths, some even very long.  I am pleased with the yarn.  It will last a long time.

The second is an M&S cashmere cardigan, tied with a silk sash.  The colour is a nice light brown and the yarn very soft.  I have included in on every row, and I like the sheen the colour adds as well as the softness.  I am pleased that there will be enough to do the whole blanket.