Friday, 26 April 2013

The next blanket

This blanket is in my favourite dark colours - but then they are all my favourites - in aran weight.  It contains a lot of the odd balls I have been buying.  Occasionally you come across bags of these and I find it difficult to resist them.  Partly because of the joy of finding out what is in there and of sorting it out, and partly because I like to think that I rescue wool that nobody else is interested in.  Sometimes it is obvious that the wool originates from the 1950s or even earlier - to think that somebody has held onto it for so long.  Some is in such a bad state that it has to be thrown out.  I avoid synthetics, even the nylon yarn from the 1960s.  I like the idea of putting such wool into my blankets.  But now I have so much dark wool that I wonder how I will do the dark blankets when it comes to an end.  And with my yarn diet I have stopped buying odd balls so it won't be replenished.

I have also added other yarns from the yarn store.  I could not resist buying the Patricia Roberts Shetland fleck yarn, although I could see that I would have problems with the bright green.  I bought the Debenham brown aran because I didn't know they had produced an own brand yarn.  It is pure wool but it is not good quality.  I have stopped buying angora yarns as well, and even Patons Purple Heather - a favourite 4 ply pure wool yarn.

For this blanket I unravelled the last of the 'proper' Kaffe Fassett garments in the yarn store.  (The others aren't in the right yarns, ie as per the patterns.)  This is the Landscape pattern that I wrote about earlier.  It took a long time to unravel.  I had planned exactly what I was going to knit after I finished the chevron blanket, but instead it took me a month or so to do this one.  The only way to do it is to relax and enjoy doing it.  The reason I like the Kaffe Fassett garments is because they use lengths of yarn that are just right for my blankets.  Kaffe himself advises you to take a length of about three feet.  This knitter had followed his advice to excess, using lengths of one foot.  All tightly knotted together, totally unnecessarily.  Well, it is done now.  The yarn is nice of course, lots of the KF kidsilk mohair yarn and the tweedy 4 ply.  The yellow squares annoy me - the yarn being just too short to be reused.

The second sweater was an oversized Jigsaw ribbed poloneck in dark brown from the 1990s.  Over the years I have unravelled several of these for my blankets, and they produce very nice wool and, as the sweaters are heavy, lots of it.  Again, this is the last one in the yarn store and I have promised myself not to buy any more.  There are still plenty of them available in charity shops.

To continue about Kaffe Fassett - I went to his talk at the Victoria and Albert Museum last December.  I have heard him talk before, so I have heard a lot of it before, but it was still interesting.  Two things struck me.  About his mosaic work he said that he used to go to bootsales to buy china so that he could smash it for his mosaics and he wondered what the sellers would have said had they known.  Similarly I wonder what he would say if he knew what I am doing.  Admittedly he did not himself knit any of the ones I unravel.

The second thing he said, in reply to a question, was that he does not design the shape of the garments in his patterns now.  He does the design of the pattern, and hands it over to the company to do the rest.  This is what I have suspected.  It seems unlikely that he would bother to follow the changes in fashion.

This week I also went to his exhibition at the Textiles and Fashion Museum that accompanies his autobiography - I will buy the book when I see it in a charity shop, at a reasonable price.  I had seen a lot of the things on show in his books before.  I liked the tapestry cushions and the quilts.  I came away with an Ehrman catalogue but less tempted to buy any of his kits.  There are some very nice recent ones at10 holes to the inch when I have found that I like smaller stitches better.  The rugs are attractive, but would I dare walk on it if I did one?

Monday, 15 April 2013

More Kaffe Fassett's Outlined Star plus Patricia Roberts

In some ways my yarn diet is working well.  I stick to my permitted items, and it is easy - something is tempting, but it is not on my list, so I don't buy.  Not to buy knitted items is much more difficult, and I can't help succumbing.  I have thought about removing these from the yarn store altogether but I have not decided, yet.

In February I found a Patricia Roberts child's sweater.  The pattern is called Chesil, and I have it in her Knitting book no 11 from 1988, but then her patterns are found in several publications.  I really like the pattern.  It comes in adult sizes as well.  I did not realise it when I bought it, but the picture on the front is sewed on.  The pattern says that it is available from the Patricia Roberts shop.  If the right yarn has been used it is Patricia Roberts Pure Wool.

My purchase in March was another Kaffe Fassett Outlined Star pattern.  If the previous one was oversized this one is tiny.  It would fit a very small child.  I think it is charming.  It is knitted in pastel shades of 4 ply in quite tight tension.  The knitter obviously thought that the sleeves were too short, so she picked up stitches to lengthen them, in the same pattern.  The only thing wrong with it - that does not come across in the picture - is that the yarn is nearly all acrylic.

And a more complete picture of Susan Duckworth's Indian Weave:

I did not finish any projects in March.  I had great plans, but the whole month was taken up with unpicking the next Kaffe Fassett sweater.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The next blanket

Blanket #153 is in one of my favourite colour combinations, pink/blue/lavender.  It is in DK weight, and a pleasure to knit.  I'm so behind with this blog that I have in fact finished knitting it, and started on #154, but that belongs to another entry.

For this blanket I unravelled an unremarkable Marks and Spencer wool angora blend striped sweater.  I bought it cheaply in a sale quite a few years ago, with the intention of ultimately umpicking it, although I did wear it several times.  It was comfortable and I liked the buttoned poloneck.  It was easy to unravel and the different colours are useful.  The yarn is soft and a bit too thick to be treated as 4 ply.

The second garment came from a charity shop.  The pattern came from Rowan Magazine 39 - Martin Storey's Crinkle.  It did have the ribbon along the front edges when I bought it, but I thought it silly so I removed it.  I wore this several summers, and it was comfortable, without the ribbon.  The knitting was not so expertly done; one front was longer than the other, and the edging a bit awkward.  But then I have never been fond of Martin's patterns.  They don't look as if they would fit me, so I was surprised that to find that this was one of his.  I thought the cyclamen colour of Rowan's Cotton Glace a bit garish, but unravelled it comes to its own, and it looks very nice in the blanket.

My yarn diet is going fine, or was going fine.  I manage not to buy yarn not on my list of allowed yarn.  The total in the yarn store went down in February, because I finished the chevron blanket then.  I did buy yarn, my favourite Rowan Summer Tweed, for a project I have been promising myself for several years.  March was more difficult.  Not only did I spend the month unpicking the next garment for blanket #154, instead of finishing the blanket I had planned, but I won wool in a prize draw in Knitting magazine, one whole kilo!  The parcel arrived unexpectedly, and I was very pleased, but it did not help my yarn diet.  And I bought something else too, an impulse addition to my list of allowed yarn.

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