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