Friday, 9 December 2016

CKCA3 Retro

This is the next blanket from the Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans book, number 3 Retro.  It is by Norah Gaughan, one of my favourite designers.  The pattern is plain coloured, but as it is unusual that to come across one and half kilos of the same yarn in a charity shop I had to use my standard measure of a three yarn stripe.

I had long earmarked the first yarn, Jaeger Matchmaker Sport in white, 14 balls of 50 gr.  It was a bad buy, because it was expensive and because it is difficult to match white, so it had been unused for six years.  I was obvious in need of yarn when I bought it.  For the second yarn I used the lovely pale green that I unravelled for blanket #177.  It was too good for standard blankets. I bought the third specifically for this project because I thought it would go well with the others.  It was Rowan Yarns Cashsoft Aran in a nice beige shade.

I checked the Ravelry entry for the project before I started, and noted the errata.  But the link led to a blank page, so I was none the wiser.  It felt unsafe to start off on a pattern where anything could be wrong.  There was one obvious mistake - a key was wrong.  Surely there was other mistakes?  The stitches didn't match in one place when you started a new pattern repeat.  On Ravelry some knitters had corrected it, others hadn't, so I felt safe matching them.  Was there anything else?  I am not sure I got the number of rows between pattern repeats right, but I did them in a way that made sense to me.

I found manipulating the stitches difficult, too, and at one point wondered if I would have to give up.  But this project - to do all the patterns in the book - was supposed to be a challenge, so I continued.  The difference between knitting through the back loop and knitting through the back of the stitch still escapes me.  Because I do continental knitting?  But my version of the pattern looked pretty similar to the picture in the book, so I thought it was OK.  I was surprised that Ravelry users had given the pattern an easy rating.  I thought it was difficult.

To avoid seaming I knitted the five panels in one.  I inserted five rib stitches between each panel, partly to make the blanket wider and partly to made a divider between the panels.  I think I would have found it boring to knit five identical panels.  I did the same number of repeats as in the pattern which produced a shorter than full length blanket.

I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed the knitting once I had sorted out the problems and got going.  Partly this was due to the yarns - it felt different from the numerous strands in the standard blanket.  The Jaeger yarn was thicker than the other two, and it would have been better with something thinner.  The Cashsoft turned out to be my favourite.  I had stayed clear of the cashmere synthetic blend yarns before, but it was lovely to knit with.  The green was the thinnest.

I recalculated the number of stitches required for the border, slightly awkwardly with a pattern repeat of 8 stitches.  I cast off in pattern on the wrong side because I wanted a stretchy edge, but it turned out to flare slightly.

I am pleased with the result.  No doubt it would have been better in one single yarn.  Washing it made the texture disappear but I liked it better afterwards.  Best of all, I am so pleased with my efforts, that I managed to follow the pattern, more or less, and that I persevered with a difficult pattern stitch.

CKCA3 Retro by Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Jaeger Matchmaker Sport white wool 100%

           RY Cashsoft Aran beige wool 57% microfiber 33% cashmere 10%
           unravelled green presumed wool 100%
Needles:  5 mm
Tension:  18 sts to 10 cm
Weight: 1545 gr
Size:  160 cm by 145 cm
Made: 14 August to 19 November 2016

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The next blanket

In the next blanket I aimed to finish more of the bright yellow yarn, but it turned out that there was not so much left.  So I turned to pink instead.  I added a strand of the bright pink cashmere to every row.  It makes the blanket thicker, and the feel of cashmere is obvious although not as much as I had thought.  The other colours are mainly beige or light brown, and something urged me to include some blue, grey and green.

I unravelled the next Susan Duckworth Basketweave sweater - I wrote about these earlier.  I had not realised before that this one was knitted mainly in 4 ply wool.  The colours are similar to the pattern and they are the same brand, so I assume they are Rowan.  Thin yarn is always useful, so this is not a problem.  The exceptions are the dark grey, a synthetic, and the crosses which are in DK wool.

The blanket is pink.  I quite enjoy it.  My next aim is to finish the pinks and reds, and then my blankets will be dull and lovely.  I realise now that when I buy wool I check the quality first and that colour is secondary, so I have started reminding myself to consider the colour as well.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The next blanket

The next blanket, #180, is another pale one with white.  The white is not that prominent any more.  This is another attempting to get rid off bright yellow yarns, and there are some nice subtler ones as well.  I added pink and beige, and off white as well.

I have already written about the Kaffe Fassett Outlined Star child's cardigan, and now I have unravelled it.  It was all in acrylic 4 ply yarns, and it made me wonder why I went to the effort, as the yarns would add little to the blankets.  It was knitted in fair isle, with rows having at least three yarns carried along, so I just pulled.  A good thing acrylic doesn't break easily.

I started using this box of Patons Fuzzy-wuzzy white yarn, 55 per cent angora and 45 wool.  It came in a box with a label saying 10 balls, but the box contained 12.  Each ball is just 10g.  It is lovely.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

The next blanket

The next blanket, #179, is totally dark with no specific main colour.  I used yarns in dark brown, green, grey, burgundy, navy and black.  I like the way they all blend together.  There are a number of rough feeling Shetland and other yarns that will soften with washing, but now you notice the contrast with some nice merino wool.  I have included mohair, alpaca and cashmere for contrast, with a little cotton and linen.  It feels nice to be able to use up a number of yarns.

I unravelled this cardigan knitted from a 1980s or 90s pattern presumably.  I had a quick look for the pattern without success.  The yarns are Rowan.  It has been knitted intarsia style with I think Grainy Silk as background.  Compared with the 4 ply Light Tweed used double and DK yarns in the motifs the Grainy Silk feels too thin.  There is some thin cotton chenille too.  It was easy to unravel, and the yarns are nice.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Preppy Ripple Throw C29

I am going through my wool store spreadsheet aiming to use up wool in order of acquisition.  Next in line was this wool unravelled from a Donna Karan jumper for blanket #140 but it was too thick to be used there, and the wool has lain around since then, spring 2011.  If I remember correctly it was in fact blended with 20% nylon, but you wouldn't know.  I looked around for a suitable easy pattern and I came across this, Preppy Ripple Throw from the book Undercover.


I found other suitable yarn, wool, in a similar thickness and colour, and found these.  Some were leftovers from C9, Geo Modern Throw.

I have seen the pattern before, under the name Feather and Fan or possibly Old Shale, a common Shetland lace pattern.  It seemed to be too complex to enjoy the knitting, but once I started it was simple, just four rows with two knit rows, one purl and one with increases and decreases.  Stitch markers between each pattern repeat stopped me from making mistakes.  There is a mistake in the pattern in the book by the way - quite obvious if you compare the pattern with the picture.  I found the same pattern on the Lion Brand website and there it was correct.

I enjoyed knitting it.  I changed yarns at random and I like the random effect it has had.  I had not anticipated that the colours would blend so well.  The biggest surprise was the Wendy Fashion 3 Continental yarn, a wool boucle, that adds even more texture and softness to the throw.

Having said that I prefer my blankets with less texture in thinner yarns.  I would only do this pattern again if I had a lot of chunky yarns that I needed to use together.

Preppy Ripple Throw C29
Yarn: chunky wool yarns
Needle:  7 mm
Tension:  13 sts to 10 cm
Weight: 1315 gr
Size:  132 cm by 175 cm
Made: 24 April to 19 July 2016

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The next blanket

For the next blanket, #178, I wanted to use darker yarns, except for black.  The colours are grey with burgundy and purple, but the pictures don't get the shine of the red shades across.  This colour combination is a favourite of mine, and it is my aim - to use up all the other yarns, so that I can concentrate on these.  And a few others.

But here the shades aren't distributed equally, and the blanket looks patchy and irregular.  Personally I don't mind much.  Again it was a case of using up yarn, nice yarn, and I could have made more of an effort to blend them.  The blanket feels nice, with mohair, angora and alpaca yarns.

I unravelled the next Kaffe Fassett garment, a long sleeveless jacket for Peruvian Connection.  The cotton yarns are similar to the ones in the cardigan in blanket #173, two or three strands, some boucle, in different shades used together.  I don't separate them anymore, but use them as they come.  It is easier here with some strands very long.  This is a pattern that Kaffe has used several other times.  I enjoyed the unravelling, and the cotton yarn is a pleasure to work with.

Monday, 13 June 2016

The next blanket


The point of the next blanket, #177, was to use up some more bright yellow yarn, and other difficult to place yarn, without much regard for the result.  I buy odd balls of yarn that take my fancy not considering how I'm going to use it.  Here it feels great to get rid of some of it.  Sometimes I still look at the knitting thinking how awful it looks.

I unravelled this knitted sweater.  I like the design, a celtic pattern, along one side, one sleeve and shoulder.  But the knitter didn't take account of the fact that the cabled design pulled the fabric together, so one shoulder is much narrower than the other.  The wool yarn feels lovely with a sheen; perhaps Bluefaced Leicester?  The kinks very nearly disappeared with washing.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Timetable pullover


I actually finished a garment some months ago.  Blankets are easy, but sweaters have to fit, and that is difficult.  It was the pattern that caught my interest, Timetable pullover by Andrea Sanchez in Interweave Knits Spring 2015 issue.  It was brown, it was a close fitting sweater in a thin yarn, a top down pattern with interesting pattern detail.

I decided to use Noro yarn, in order to reduce the Noro yarns in the yarn store.  I bought the Taiyo 4 ply sock yarn two years earlier in order to crochet a cardigan.  I started and did quite well, getting the required tension.  I didn't like it because I thought that the fabric was too stiff, and I had been looking for an opportunity to unravel it.  I washed the yarn, but you can see that the knitted sweater is uneven because the kinks did not disappear fully.

I can't remember much about the knitting now, except that it took a long time.  I enjoyed it but I had to follow the pattern row by row because of changes in the cable pattern.  It wasn't difficult, and I enjoyed the knitting.  The standard blankets are much more fun though.  I tried it on several times to check the fit.

In the pattern the cable continues around the corner along the bottom hem at the back, and this appealed to me.  I hadn't appreciated that the angle was very sharp, and that I didn't like.  I tried it, and undid it, and just did several rows garter stitch in the end.

The sweater fits nicely, and that is the main thing.  I wear it now that the weather is more appropriate.  The Noro yarn does of course obscure the cable pattern, and it is really superfluous, but I liked doing it.  It would be a much nicer sweater in a plain yarn.  The Noro yarn produced a wider tension than the pattern, so I knitted a size smaller.

It took me nearly eight months to complete one sweater.  (I haven't worked out how many blankets I knitted meanwhile.)  So I thought I should give myself deadlines, three months for one sweater.  Because I see so many patterns I would like to try, and there is so much yarn reserved for sweaters.  I did complete the next one within the deadline, but not the third or the fourth.  My deadline doesn't allow for deciding it is no good and starting again from scratch.  And it is stressful.  So I will have to be content with sweaters taking a long time, if I want to enjoy knitting them.

Timetable pullover by Andrea Sanchez, Interweave Knits Spring 2015

Yarn:  Noro 4 ply sock yarn cotton 50%, wool 17%, nylon 17%, silk 16%,  260 gr
Needles: 3 mm
Tension: 24 st

Size: Small
Knitted:   15 May to 30 December 2015

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Afghan in a minute C28

The yarn came first here.  I bought five 100 gr hanks of each of three shades of Klippan's Mattgarn - rug yarn.  It is aran weight, nice and thick quite tightly plied.  I liked the colours, purple, burgundy and teal.  I didn't buy the white hanks.  To soften the yarn I put it in a normal wash in the washing machine.  It did get softer and it unplied a bit as well, curling back on itself.  Extra texture is no bad thing.

My idea at the time was to knit Woolly Thoughts' Curve of Pursuit, and I saved the pattern from one of the early issues of The Knitter.  When I got it out to knit a test block I discovered that the yarn needs cutting between each segment, and there are eight segments in one round.  That is by no means economical efficient knitting, and I would not have enjoyed it.  So I abandoned it without regret.  I wish I had read the pattern thoroughly when I first saw it.  Otherwise I do like the design.

Thinking about an alternative easy pattern I thought a basket type stitch would be good as the blanket would lie flat.  I found a pattern in The best from Annie's Attic - Afghan in a minute.  My yarn is thinner, so it took me longer than a minute.  I used the 10 stitch block and a 5 garter stitch integral edging from the pattern.  My needles were 6 mm.

I enjoyed the knitting because it was so easy and I could do it while watching TV.  I over-estimated how much yarn a full size blanket would take, so I cast on too few stitches.  There would have been enough yarn for a wider blanket.  I do like the blanket though, especially the contrast between the knit and purl blocks.  The thickness is just right.

Afghan in a minute, The best from Annie's Attic C28
Klippan's Mattgarn
size 6 mm needles
Tension:  13 st per 10 cm
Size 115 cm by 170 cm, 1255 gr
Knitted 8 February to 19 April 2016

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The next blanket

The next blanket, #176, is white with green and blue, for no particular reason other than a change from red and pink.  I like it.  I managed to exclude any discordant shades.  There is the white of course, but it blends in nicely.  I have included some synthetic blends - because the yarns are there, usually obtained in bags of assorted balls - but they are not very obvious.

The first garment I unravelled is this 1930s style sweater in Rowan 4 ply soft, one of my favourite yarns, in a slip stitch pattern in pale blue and grey.  The pattern is Pandora by Leah Sutton is Rowan Magazine 38 without the Big Wool bow.  The sweater is very very short according to the style of the period, and for me the sleeves are too long.  The insert at the front could look OK but it should be sewed in, and it is difficult to make it look good, as the picture proves.  The sweater was a pleasure to unravel, and the yarn is nice.

The second garment is this Asser and Turnbull cashmere zip up jacket.  The yarn is between 4 ply and DK in weight, and quite nice.  The beige colour is very useful.  The fronts have been cut at the zip, so I ended up with a lot of short lengths.  I begin to have less patience with these now, when there is much yarn in the yarn store.  And I didn't use the yarn in this particular blanket, because there is so much unravelled already.  It will come in useful at some stage in the future.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Primavera Single Rose by Julia D'Court

I am still doing tapestries, slowly.  I had seen tapestries with close-ups of flowers, and been attracted by them, so when I saw this kit, very reasonably priced in a charity shop, I didn't hesitate to buy it.  The yarn was Anchor pure wool, in skeins.

Stitching it was not as nice as I had anticipated.  I like doing large areas in a single colour, but I think I was too close to appreciate the picture.  The finished cushion looks much nicer at a distance.  Also, the pale colours soon looked soiled, despite washing my hands each time before taking it up.  I washed the canvas before adding the backing.  I did the stitching without a frame, and I was pleased that it slanted just slightly.

It took me a long time to get around to doing the backing.  I used the same yellow patterned Laura Ashley fabric (a 4m length from a charity shop) as on other cushions.  My cushions have long pointed corners.  I think it is because of the synthetic stuffing in the pads I buy from John Lewis.

Now I have the Single Iris tapestry to look forward to.

Stitched 1 August 2014 to 6 June 2015