Sunday, 16 November 2014

Inside out blanket C16

When I knitted my Geo Modern Throw I wondered how it would work if you knitted the blocks starting from the middle and ending up with a row of stitches that you could then join by three needle cast off.  Then I found this wool - Stylecraft's Nature's Way, five balls named by breed of sheep, Cheviot, Jacob, Hardwick, Swaledale and Southdown, and later on five more, this time all the same from an unnamed breed.  With them I bought 12 balls of Freedom Spirit Chunky in a marled white green shade in a sale, and I thought these would be enough for a blanket.

For pattern I found one for a cushion cover in Claire Crompton's The knitter's bible - knitted throws and cushions (a book with some surprisingly good ideas), and I cast on.  I had difficulties with the cast on, and I devised my own, which has not been very successful.  I have since worked out it might be due to working with five dps and stitches slipping off the needles.  With a circular needle the stitches will stay put.  You can then switch to dps after the first row or so.  I preferred my own increasing as well as it creates the ridges I liked in the Geo Modern Throw.

I wanted to use up all the yarn with as few ends as possible, so I experimented doing striped rounds as before.  I had to give up because the calculations got too complex.  Each round gets longer, so it is difficult to estimate without doing numerous swatches.  With the outside in blocks it is much easier to do adjustments as the rounds get smaller and smaller.  Instead I did the inside with half a ball, and completed the block with a darker shade.  This is so that one ball would make two blocks.  I weighed the first ball, and switched to the dark shade when I had used half.  For the second block I stopped when the yarn round out.  The Stylecraft wool had less length in one ball than the Freedom Spirit so the darker rounds aren't the same, but it hardly shows.

For the darker round I used some dark brown Aran wool that I bought in a 20 ball pack some years ago.  The label says Honeywell and that is all I know about it.  It is lovely, and I wish I could have put it to better use, but a third went to the Geo Modern Throw and a second third here, so now I have the last third left and that is not enough for anything useful.  With it I put some unravelled alpaca thin yarn, to mimic the marled nature of the other yarns.  I like the way varying shades in the Freedom Spirit creates subtle rounds.  Stylecraft managed to obliterate all characteristics of their yarn, so apart from colour, the yarn looks and feels the same for all five breeds.

I worked out that the blocks should have a side of about 25 cm for a suitable sized blanket of five blocks by seven, so I found some Freedom Spirit grey wool alpaca for the remaining five blocks.

Once I had worked out the pattern the knitting was fine, but I still had to force myself to pick it up.  Knitting the standard blankets is so much more fun.  I put the stitches of the blocks on spare lengths of tapestry yarn - easily recycled in a blanket afterwards - one for each side to make it easy to put the stitches back on needles for joining.  I washed the blocks before I started joining them.

I worked out that I preferred the cast off on the reverse side, the better to hide the join.  I thought the join on the right side would be flat, but it is very noticeable.  The middle of my blocks is a mess.  I stitched them securely together when I fastened the ends, but it does not look good.  I had to reinforce the corners of the blocks as well, because my method left gaps.

To finish it I did a garterstitch log cabin style border.

So overall I am not very happy with this blanket.  It is finished.  It is a serviceable blanket, soft and warm and lighter than the Geo Modern Throw.  It was an experiment, and now I know I don't want to knit another one like it.

Inside out blanket C16

Yarn: Stylecraft Nature's Way, Freedom Spirit Chunky and Purity, Honeywell Aran
Needles:  5.5mm
Tension:  13 sts to 10 cm
Weight: 1315 gr
Knitted: 9 December 2013 to 5 November 2014

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