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

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bicolor Chevron

I bought the book Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans because it had the pattern for the Bright Star blanket, based on a patchwork pattern, that I had long admired.  Glancing through the book I thought it worth buying because it had many other interesting patterns for blankets.  I know that I would be happy just knitting my standard blankets over and over again, but there are so many patterns around that I would like to try (and there is so much yarn in the yarn store).  So I decided that I would make each pattern in this book, in the order that they come.

This is another aspect of the randomness that I like.  That I do things to a predetermined order so that the weight of making decisions is taken away from me.  I have flexibility in the choice of yarn, because I can only use yarn in the yarn store, and I can interpret the size and tension as best fits.

Looking through the book quickly I had not realised that the yarn used throughout is Berroco Comfort yarn, a nylon acrylic blend in several weights.  As it is an American yarn I have not actually seen it but it does not really matter as I was going to use my own yarns anyway.

The first pattern in the book is called Bicolor chevron by Donna Yacino, and it is a chevron pattern in crochet.  So this follows on from my knitted chevron blanket.  I decided to use my Rowan Cotton Glace which is thinner than the yarn in the pattern, so I used a smaller hook and recalculated the number of stitches.  The pattern said to crochet rows 1 and 2, and then return to the beginning of row 2.  Because I was going to use more than two colours I turned round every row, so my blanket will look different from the pattern.  But this is the kind of decision I can take.

It was an easy pattern to crochet, and so relaxing.  The one thing that bothered me was a hole at the decrease, and I can't say if it is me or the pattern.  You decreased one stitch by skipping two spaces.  I could have decreased two by crocheting two stitches together and avoided a hole, but this was not how the pattern was written.

The two Rowan Cotton Glace yarns came from charity shops, in shades Oyster and Candyfloss.  I had 10 balls of the first and 8.5 of the second, so on their own it was not enough.  I added an unlabelled mercerized yarn, that feels like cotton, in a natural shade, and Anna og Clara cotton yarn, bought very cheaply in Copenhagen.  I used three of the shades in the picture.  It was not mercerized, but feels very nice, and it fits very well.  I did my 3 * 3 stripes, which was probably too long.  I must experiment with shorter stripes.

The pattern did not have an edging, but I wanted to hide the yarn carried along the sides, so I did a row of crab stitch all around.  Other than fastening a few ends there was no more finishing to be done!

I like it.  I so enjoyed the simple crochet.  I must do more crochet.  The colours look good together, and they are the same pastel colours as in my knitted chevron blanket.  On the whole I prefer the knitted one, because the knitted fabric feels nicer to snuggle up inside.  The crochet blanket is good for other uses.

CKCA1 Bicolor Chevron

Yarn: Rowan Cotton Glace, Oyster and Candyfloss shades, unlabelled natural yarn, Anna og Clara cotton yarn, all 100% cotton
Hook:  3.5mm
Tension:  23 sts to 10 cm (how do you measure tension for chevron?)
Weight: 1320 gr
Size:  125 cm by 170 cm
Made: 28 July to 17 December 2014