Sunday, 18 March 2012

Knitting Noro Blossom blanket

I succumbed to the temptation of Noro Blossom when it was remaindered in the July sales nearly two years ago.  I remembered liking the picture of the Acton cushion in Jane Ellison's booklet Simply Noro.  It was the garter stitch stripes that appealed to me.  Judging by the measurements in the Acton pattern I worked out that 1 kg would be enough for a blanket.  That was expensive enough, as the yarn was just reduced by a third, not half.  But it nagged at me that it wasn't enough yarn, and when I did some more calculations I realised I would need another bag of 500 gr.  Luckily I could still get one of the same shade and dye lot.

After all of that, and quite disgusted with myself for spending so much money, I put the yarn away safely because I was no longer minded to start knitting with it.  Now, with the Geo Modern Throw finished I got the yarn out again.

I was surprised.  This must be the first time that I have bought a Noro yarn without any turquoise or bright green.  The pink I like because it is nice with the lavender and blue shades.  I don't even mind the apricot coloured red.

I had in mind to knit a log cabin pattern.  For this purpose I bought another two hanks of Noro Blossom last autumn; this time in a bright pink shade.  I didn't like the block.  It seemed to me that the yarn was too busy for the pattern, with the colour changes and the boucle.  I tried another way of garter stitch blocks knitted together, but I didn't like that either.  But, this method I will bear in mind for some future project.  So it was back to plain garter stitch stripes.  That's what attracted me to the yarn in the first place, but it does seem simple.

I use my method of one row stripes by three yarns, to avoid abrupt colour changes with a new hank.  I decided not to match shades at all.  So I cut the first hank when I had knitted approximately one third and the second after two thirds.  This way I avoid joining new hanks for all three at the same time.  The only decision on shades is which end to start knitting from with a new hank.  Sometimes I avoid a shade, other times I look for one.

As a result the shades are all over the place.  In some places there are distinct stripes, in others the shades merge nicely.  In other words, precisely like my standards blankets.  I have no idea at all how the shades are arranged, if they are symmetrical or not.  I suspect the runs are unequal lengths.

I'm surprised that I don't enjoy the knitting very much.  I can't get on with the boucle, the needles are too thick and the yarn slippery, nice and soft but still slippery.  I am impatient to get ahead with it so that I can continue with the next non-standard blanket, and I force myself to keep knitting.  I would be happy knitting two or three rows per day, but that way it would take months to finish.  I do like the end result though.  It is going to be a blanket that I like very much, both the colours and the texture.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

And the next blanket

The next standard blanket is a light coloured one.  Again I decided to knit aran weight on 4.5 mm needles.  This time it was because I decided to include a lot of the white wool from the granny square blanket I unpicked, and I thought that knitting it double with another 4 ply yarn would make the white less obvious.  And it has, so it was successful.  This is shows how much nicer the wool became after washing.

Over the years I have bought a lot of tapestry wool yarn.  Initially I think I had in mind to use it in the blankets and then I thought perhaps I will design my tapestries, and it is a good thing to have a lot of colours to hand.  Meanwhile my collection just grows and grows - it is around 8 kg now.  I must really do something with it.  So I sorted it out.  I will keep whole skeins.  The rest is to go into blankets.  So in this blanket I have used white and yellow short lengths.  The wool is lovely and soft and a pleasure to knit with.  The picture shows just a small proportion of the collection.

For this blanket I unpicked another Kaffe Fassett project.  This time it is one of his triangle cardigans.  I think this was available as a kit in the early 1990s.  This is the second that I have unpicked.  It is knitted in a small size, and it has been washed and shrunk slightly, so the fair isle knitted pattern comes across as quilted.  It was easy to unpick nevertheless, and the shrinkage gives texture to the yarn.  Again it is Rowan double knitting wool in lovely pastel colours.

The second sweater is a pale blue man's v-neck cashmere sweater.  The brand is Pure.  There is little to say about it.  It is crumpled on the picture, easy to unpick.  This time I included it on every row, so it gives a blue tinge to the blanket.  Adding an extra thin strand does add time taken to knit as well, as you need to make sure it is included, and I often wonder if it is worth it.  I quite like it because it is not obvious.