Friday, 11 December 2015

The next blanket

The next blanket, #173, is not very nice.  I feel compelled to use every inch of yarn in the yarn store, and in this one I added all the bright greens and blues together with some very nice green and blues.  I like the browns that go with them.  A yarn that disturbs me too is the brown beige white random striped Jaeger Spiral Spun but I could find no other place for it.  One day I may learn to discard yarn.

I unravelled this Peruvian Connection cardigan.  It is a nice flower intarsia pattern, in my favourite colours, brown beige red.  Unravelling was a strain.  The ends had been securely tied together and sewn inside themselves.  The yarn consists of three strands of very thin cotton yarn, the three together not thick enough for DK weight, so I have divided them.  I am pleased with the way the yarn appears in the knitting, but it is debatable if it is worth the effort.  I tried wearing the cardigan.  It is the right size, but it is just not me.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

The next blanket


The next blanket, #172, is another light coloured one.  I have decided to stop avoiding the white yarns and instead including as many as I can.  The blanket does in fact not look very white in the end.  I added pink and apricot as well as yellow and beige, and I'm quite pleased with it.  There are no darker shades that look out of place.  The boucle yarn from the first sweater that I unravelled gives it texture, and also pink and apricot mohair.

I am really pleased with the boucle yarn.  It comes from this sweater, with a label that says Brian Barnes English Lakeland.  The sweater is obviously quite old, possibly from the 1960s or 1970s, and I think machine knitted in fisherman's rib.  When unravelled I could see that the yarn was used doubled, one strand in boucle and the other in a thin 2 ply, both from the same undyed wool.  The wool is so nice.

The second sweater was another Susan Duckworth - with a label saying so.  The pattern is nice, garlands of flowers with broad plain coloured bands between.  The yarn is a 4 ply cotton, at a guess Rowan's Mercerized Cotton.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Chunky slip stitch blanket C23

 This blanket started from one 2 oz hank of yarn, a chunky yarn from the 1950s judging from the label, Argyll Wools Bulkee, in dark green.  A few months later I found a second hank of the same yarn, in the same shade in a different shop some miles away.  So I started collecting chunky woollen yarns in matching shades, and came up with two hanks of Jaeger Naturgarn in a pale rust and two hanks of brown Icelandic yarn from a French company, Laine d'Islande from Laines Berger du Nord.

I planned to find the rest from the yarn store, but just before I started knitting I found 16 more hanks of the Jaeger Naturgarn, this time in a mustard yellow.  The shade went well with the other yarns.  So now I had plenty for a full sized blanket for a single bed.

My plan was to knit the blanket in the same way as gungstolsmattan, with fringing at each end so there would be no need to fasten ends.  But with so much of one single yarn that was no longer necessary, so I looked around for another pattern.  A slip stitch pattern still seemed a good idea, but I would rather try something else than do linen stitch again.  I looked in my copy of the Harmony Guide volume III.  There were a number of suitable patterns, and it was difficult to choose, so I went for the first one II.1 on page 24.

My pattern looks different, because I used three strands instead of two, but I rather prefer the lozenge shapes of this one with the slipped stitches forming crosses.  Knitting was easy, as long as you kept track of the stitches, and I enjoyed it, partly for the pleasure of knitting with nice chunky wool.  I had to add some Annabel Fox chunky brown wool in the middle, from my Geo Modern Throw.

All in all I am very happy with it.  There are two things.  The pattern was supposed to symmetrical from the centre, but I kept knitting without measuring, so it doesn't, and I really didn't want to undo it when I realised.  The other thing is that I wished I had tried larger needles, as it might be even nicer knitted more loosely.

Chunky slip stitch blanket C23
Jaeger Naturgarn, Laine d'Islande from Laines Berger du Nord, Argyll Wools Bulkee, Annabel Fox Donegal Tweed, all 100% wool
size 6.5 mm needles
125 cm by 175 cm, 1900 gr
Knitted 14 May to 31 August 2015

Monday, 7 September 2015

The next blanket

The next blanket was due to be one of the dark ones, with dark red and purple this time.  I enjoy knitting it, the same as with all the rest.  There are no awkward yarns this time, no colours that stand out, and hardly any synthetics.  The colour in the picture is much too light.

I unravelled this nice dark red hand knitted sweater in a standard pattern in reverse stocking stitch with two narrow lace panels.  It is very well knitted with no signs of wear.  The yarn is obviously wool with a slight halo, and it is a pleasure to knit.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

The next blanket

I love the colours and the texture of the next blanket, #170, murky with browns, greys, mauves and muted blues.  The only brighter irregular yarn is the shawl yarn from #167 that I felt inclined to add.  There is some angora yarn to add a hazy soft feel.  The texture looks good too and I think it is because all the yarn are of a similar weight, with few thicker or thinner.  I would like all my blankets to end up in these colours - there is a long way to go (ie a lot of brighter yarns to be knitted) before I get there.

I unravelled this lovely cardigan.  It is nicely knitted with front and sleeve cables and shiny gold buttons.  I can't work out what fibre it is.  It is heavy and slinky and nice.  I thought silk or silk blend or perhaps bamboo.  It was very easy to unravel.  In the end I decided the colour was wrong for this blanket, so it will end up in one with more brighter greens.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Sari silk throw C22

I have looked with interest at sari silk yarn, and even found two hanks in charity shops.  So I could not resist buying this wrap when I saw it.  The changes in colour make it obvious that it is knitted from several hanks.  It is knitted in garter stitch with regular rows of dropped stitches.  I thought that the loose ends of yarn were due to inadequate fastening, but when I unravelled it the yarn fell apart by itself, so it was not sufficiently tightly plied.  I liked working with it - it has a very nice feel.  So I unravelled it and washed the yarn.  The washing made it cleaner but had no other effect.

I didn't think that there was enough yarn for a throw even, so I looked round for something else to add.  I had already bought this top, a navy Vera Moda top in a chunky cotton ramie blend.  I bought it because of the interesting construction, six hexagons with ribbed neckline and hemlines.  It didn't fit well, because of the way the sleeve hexagons had been joined there was a lot of bulk around the upper arms.  I approved of the way the hexagons had been joined using knitting, but I had not noticed that they had been knitted flat and that there was a seam. 
Still, the yarn was OK, the right thickness for the sari silk, and I liked the contrast of navy with red.

The pattern was just garter stitch on 7mm needles with regular rows of navy.  I miscalculated the amount of yarn, so I ran out of sari silk before the throw was longer than the width.  I could have used more of the navy yarn if I had realised, to make a bigger throw.  I am happy with it anyway.  It is lovely and slinky, so nice to the touch and the colours are a pleasure.  I decided against adding the two new hanks in case the difference in texture would be noticeable.

Sari silk throw C22
Sari silk and Chunky cotton ramie
size 7mm needles
105 cm by 82 cm, 828 gr
Knitted 13 April to 29 May 2015

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The next blanket

The colours in the next blanket are ones that I have knitted numerous times - pink, blue, lavender, lilac.  I like them, but I do wish I would run out of the bright pink yarns.  Nowadays I remind myself to pay attention to the colour as well when I buy yarn, not just the quality.

The next garment to be unravelled was this brick coloured wrap.  The colour is unsuitable for this blanket, but I like the discipline of unravelling things in order of purchase.  That way everything gets transformed into yarn, sooner or later.  I still leave the ones that are clearly unsuitable for standard blankets.  This stole was presumably knitted by a novice.  It is a very easy lace pattern, but one row went completely wrong.  The stole was bordered by a row of double crochet, to neaten the edges, partially in a different yarn.  It has a fringe border too short for any use.  Unravelling it was so easy, and the yarn is a lovely double knitting weight alpaca.

The second garment was this Marks and Spencer cashmere polo neck sweater in stripes of red, pink and grey.  I bought this at an incredibly low price in a sale - it is such a shame that M&S no longer sell cashmere at such prices.  I have worn it quite a lot, but the colours are wrong for me.  It looks smart.  The narrow stripes were a nuisance in unravelling. The ends had been tied together in knots that were impossible to undo.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Sock yarn blanket2

A few years ago I started buying sock yarn, not just from charity shops but from those little wool shop selling budget ranges of yarn.  Some salesman must have persuaded them that sock yarns were going to be big sellers, but, as it turned out, not in those kind of shops so the yarn had been marked down to half price.  And I bought.  This is the 100 gr balls of 4 ply self striping yarn, 75% wool 25% nylon.

In a charity shop I found 9 50 gr balls of Patons Diploma Gold 4 ply yarn, 55% wool 25% acrylic 20% nylon in a nice olive green that I thought would go well with the sock yarns.  It was the fact that it was machine washable that made me buy it.  I liked the idea of knitting 2 rows sock yarn 2 rows plain  with the plain yarn forming a calming background to the more colourful sock yarns, in the style of Blanket C13.

I used my standard pattern of diagonally knitted bias blocks.  Because I was so tired of the joining together I decided to go for larger blocks - with a 21 cm edge.  I had intended to do an adult size single blanket, but when I got to the end of the Patons yarn it seemed a shame to introduce other main colours so I decided to leave it as a child's blanket.

This time I crocheted the blocks together, using the method from Blanket C17.  It was quick, possibly because of the size of the blocks.  I did a garter stitch edging, in log cabin fashion.

I am quite pleased with the blanket.  The knitting - on buses and train - was enjoyable.  I am not convinced with large blocks.  I do prefer smaller ones, despite the extra work.  I am not sure either of my method of placing the blocks so that four blocks meet at one point.  With blocks this size it looks odd.  It would look more harmonious if all stripes went in the same direction.  I like the colours.

Sock yarn 2 blanket C18
Patons Diploma Gold 4 ply, various sock yarns, 4 ply
size 3mm needles
110 cm by 110 cm, 800 gr
Knitted 22 June 2014 to 13 May 2015

Sunday, 17 May 2015

The next blanket

The next blanket, #168, was due to include white, and I managed to use quite a few, so it has ended up lighter than many others with white.  There is some green and yellow with the white, and beige and grey and blue, but I didn't have very much of the other colours.  I am pleased to have got rid of so much white.

The garment next in turn to be unravelled was the first of my Susan Duckworth Basketweave sweaters.  The pattern is published in Hugh Ehrman's Designer knitting, 1986, and it was sold as a kit.  This one is knitted exactly as the pattern in the book, down to the three buttons on the left shoulder.  There is no sign of use.  The yarn is Rowan Double Knitting Wool in a total of twelve different shades.  The crosses were annoying, both to unravel and because they are a bit too short to reuse.  Otherwise it was a pleasure to unravel entre lac, called 'a strongly geometric arrangement of multi-coloured diamonds.

It was interesting that it took some 25 years for me to find the first one in a charity shop, and that I would then find three more in a short space of time afterwards, none of them identical.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Rowan Tapestry Mitred Squares Blanket C20

It started with the yarn which I bought in a charity shop, nearly four years ago.  I had already knitted a sweater with it, and I knew I liked it.  There were two blue shades, Sh 175 and Sh 177, both in blue, but one with a section with a brown tint.  There was enough for a full sized blanket, and over time I decided I would knit a pattern that had interested me for a while, mitred squares.

I spent some time working out the design - how to use the two shades, and how to arrange the squares.  Patterns only tell you how to do things; not why you can't do something else, so I worked out for myself that it was not possible to do a block of four squares with the mitres meeting in the middle, or facing outwards for that matter, if you want to join the squares by picking up stitches and not breaking the yarn.

I did decide to start in the middle, and that meant that I picked up stitches along a cast on edge.  It was slightly trickier than picking up from garter stitch ridges.  And working to the right I had to pick up stitches from the reverse side.  It was fine, when I got used to it.

Another thing I learnt was cable cast on, and I got a lot of practice.  I had tried it before, and I didn't like it because it is not as stretchy as my usual cast on, and I had to make an effort not to make it too tight.  It worked.

I was pleased with my design.  I had just enough of both shades for it to work, and there was enough of the brownish shade to do a narrow garter stitch border.  It was very enjoyable knitting, and I could do it watching television.  The blanket is just the right size, and there is something very comfortable about a garter stitch blanket.  My knitting is far some perfect.  In a pattern like this, and in this yarn, any unevenness will show.

The yarn is nice and soft.  I made no attempt to match shades when I joined a new ball, partly because I didn't have too much yarn.  There were, to my mind, too many knots in the yarn, and shades hadn't been matched there either.  In some seven eight balls an extra 5 gr or so of yarn had been tied to the outside end and stuffed into the middle.  Had these been marked as seconds - they should have been.  In a couple of balls the yarn was unevenly thick and thin, with some extremely thick sections.  I included them.  I still like the yarn very much, and there is more in the yarn store.

Rowan Tapestry Mitred Squares Blanket C20
Rowan Tapestry, wool 70% soya bean protein 30%, DK weight
size 4.0 mm needles
185 cm by 145 cm, 1460 gr
Knitted 28 November 2014 to 1 April 2015

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The next blanket

The next blanket, #167, was due to be dark green, partly because I seem to alternate between red and green, and green was next in turn, and partly because I want to use up the bright green yarns that I have got.

The green black marled Patricia Roberts Shetland irks me, because it is so noticeable and there is so little you can do with it.  And even now, using it every fifth row, I still won't finish it.  It is a nice yarn with the attractive rough Shetland quality that get softer with washing.

The other bright green, or dark teal more accurately, I will finish this time because there is only one ball left.  It is a Sirdar DK crepe wool that I found as a bag of 25 one ounce balls.  I like knitting with crepe - you don't really find it now - but again it is the colour that is so difficult, and it will be nice to see the end of it.  (After nearly eight years.)

I unravelled this shawl.  I bought it, inadvisably, because I convinced myself it was high quality yarn - alpaca or silk blend - and that I could use it for dolls' clothes.  But the colour runs are too long for small items; it would just look ridiculous.  And washing didn't remove the kinks so I wonder if it is an acrylic blend instead.  It serves me right, and I like including it here.  The red portions don't bother me at all.

The next in line was this cotton cardigan in a lace stitch, in a nice lavender colour.  It is so nicely knitted and faultlessly seamed together.  The fronts have been sewn together in a matching sewing thread - perhaps it was too small.  I bought it to wear, and I wore it several summers.  Fashions have moved on, and it is not comfortable anymore, so here it is.  The yarn is mercerized, and now that it has been unravelled it looks very much like Rowan Cotton Glace.  I have not tried to research if it is a Rowan pattern.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Koori tapestry: Echidna by Leann Jean Edwards

I bought the kit for this tapestry cushion because both the design and the colours appealed to me.  I like the look of Australian aboriginal patterns, and one day I may knit one of the patterns in Jenny Kee's Nature knits.  This design depicts an Echidna and it is by Leann Jeann Edwards.  The blurb mentions 1992, so it is post 1992.

The kit is very well prepared.  It contains, as well as the detailed colour photograph, a graph of the design, and the yarns are clearly labelled.  The yarns are Anchor tapestry yarns, so they are good quality.  The printing on the canvas is very clear and easy to follow.  My only complaint is that either the yarns are too thick for the canvas (because of the deep shades?) or that the holes in the canvas - 12 to one inch - are too small for the yarn.  I often had to tug hard to get the yarn through the hole, and it spoiled my pleasure.  I experimented with needles with different size eyes to no avail.

I really enjoyed stitching this, and I like the finished cushion.

Stitched 24 October 2013 to 10 June 2014