Sunday, 10 December 2017

Big Wool Intarsia blanket

Rowan Big Wool is one of the yarn I have collected over the years. It is one of more popular yarns in charity shops, so I have acquired quite a few balls. Mostly you find odd balls but sometimes there are three or four, or more.
I was looking for a multi coloured patterns with as few breaks in the yarn as possible, and intarsia was one possibility. I had enjoyed the pattern I devised for my Summer Tweed cardigan, so I chose it. The way it works means that you can use a whole ball without cutting. Since most of my yarn came in full balls I made the columns different widths, to avoid starting a new shade in all columns in the same row. The Ravelry entry had complaints about numerous knots – this would have aided me – but I didn't find more than usual.

I started with six rows garter stitch and did a garter stitch edging on both sides. These plus the six columns meant that I had six yarns to manage. I put them all in a basket on the floor, and by careful arrangement they did not become tangled. Occasionally I had to do some disentanglement.


I chose size 10 mm needles because they were to hand. I will say this again – I really don't like knitting with large needles. Knit rows worked fine, but I had problems getting my fingers to find a rhythm for the purl rows. The knitting is therefore more uneven than usual for me. Otherwise I quite enjoyed it, and I appreciated how fast it was. Having finished the blanket I don't enjoy the result very much. The shades were combined at random and could have been done more effectively. I didn't appreciate how many pale shades there were.

 I was disappointed in the yarn. It is difficult to say why. It just didn't appeal to me. I had thought about knitting a jumper with the remainder, but it will go into the next blanket.

Big Wool Intarsia blanket

Pattern: own
Yarn: Rowan Big Wool 100% wool
Needles: 10 mm circular
Tension: 9 sts
Size: 125 cm by 165 cm
Weight: 1380 gr

20 October to 10 November 2017

Sunday, 3 December 2017

The next blanket

The next blanket, #190, is another with dark red and brown. The same yarns appear in blanket after blanket. There is nothing wrong with that because they are colours I like. A regular stripe of the lace weight red mohair yarn gives softness, and there are several shetland yarns – from very old cones – to give a different kind of softness, especially after washing.

For this blanket I unravelled a child's sweater. It is knitted in a traditional fair isle pattern, but in a DK weight yarn. The colours lead me to believe it is a Rowan yarn. The sweater was easy enough to unravel, expect for the numerous knots on the sides from yarn changes. Luckily the ends had not been sewn in.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Amitola cowl

I like wearing cowls – I find them warm and comfortable – and I have planned to knit one for several years. My last attempt was not very successful. I wear it occasionally but it is too narrow and thick for comfort.

Last summer I came across some Louisa Harding Amitola yarn reduced, and as it is one I have been coveting for a while I did not hesitate. The colour is called Berries, possibly the only monochrome one. I like it. I read up on it on Ravelry and it was a good thing because there were warnings – that it was thin in places and likely to break. So I thought it a good idea to add a second strand, and my Rowan Fine Lace was perfect. The shade 943 is called beige in places and stoneware in others. I prefer stoneware because of the green tinge. I liked the subdued colour it added to Amitola.

I devised my own pattern, a simple one, with just knit and purl stitches. It occurred to me later that a pattern that drew in vertically might be better for a cowl. This one was horizontal, and I had to live with it.

I did a tension square and calculated stitches. The finished cowl ended up near to my estimate, but on relflection the estimate was too generous, a circumference of 180 cm. I think it would be better shorter. For width I knitted until I thought it was wide enough, 25 cm. I knitted it in a round with one twist; some call this Mobius, but having read Cat Bordhi I know it isn't. The cowl too long for the twist to make any difference. One day I may knit a proper Mobius cowl.


It is comfortable and warm to wear. Wrapped once the long end acts as scarf, wrapped twice it is cosy and warm. It was nice effortless knitting – round and round – with the change in pattern every row giving interest.

Amitola cowl

Pattern: own
Yarn: Louisa Harding Amitola sh 103 berries wool 80% silk 20%
          Rowan Fine Lace sh 943 stoneware alpaca 80% wool 20%
Needles: 4 mm circular
Tension: 22 sts
Size: 180 cm by 25 cm
Weight: 235 gr (LH150 gr, Rowan 135gr)
10 September to 20 October 2017

Sunday, 12 November 2017

CKCA4 Gypsy patchwork

The next pattern in the Berroco book Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans was Gypsy patchwork by Margery Winter. It is made up of knitted blocks in four patterns – three with embroidered motifs and one fair isle. The blocks are joined using blanket stitch type stitches. This is not a pattern that would appeal to me – too detailed, garish colours, no challenging knitting and I don't do embroidery.

The pattern was suitable for my collection of Rowan Handknit Cotton. I chose the bright coloured shades and some that I wanted to finish. Instead of embroidery I wanted to do intarsia motifs, hoping to find patterns in the Debbie Abrams book of blanket patterns. But her patterns were too detailed for my liking, so I ended up improvising two, based on some of her circles.

I tried a fair isle design, but my tension grew wider and the blocks would have ended up a different size so I gave up on that idea. Instead I did stripes. For the fourth design I did just plain shades. I did the blocks in stocking stitch with a moss stitch border around the edges.

The knitting was more fun than I had anticipated. I have always looked at Handknit cotton with caution because it seemed thick and inflexible, but it was a pleasure to handle. After doing half the blocks I thought I would wash them before joining, and that was a mistake. The yarn turned harsh, and spinning left creases. This was after a machine wash – surely cotton yarn can be washed in machine – and the same happened when I handwashed another. I ditched the washed blocks and decided to do a smaller blanket with the rest. I didn't have the heart to start again.


I crocheted a border around each block to imitate the blanket stitch and then joined them using double crochet. I quite like the blanket in the end. I enjoy the colours; they are sort of gypsy like. It was nice doing intarsia after many years, and the stripes were satisfying.


Gypsy patchwork

Pattern: Margery Winter; Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans
Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton
Needles: 4 mm
Tension: 20 sts
Size: 135 cm by 105 cm
Weight: 1035 gr

2 July to 11 October 2017

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Tabert cardigan

A year ago I wanted to knit a roomy cardigan with a round neck that can be buttoned up under a coat. So many patterns are for v-necks or edge to edge shaped fronts. The yarn I had in mind was the Rowan Pure Wool Worsted aran that I had bought in the sales. I had enough of shade 107 – Chestnut.
After a lot of searching I decided on Lisa Richardson's Tabert cardigan from Rowan 60. I liked the shape, and I thought I could lower the funnel type neckline and add some closures. For the second colour I had one ball of shade 110 – Umber, that went really well with the Chestnut.
The yarn in the pattern, Felted Tweed Aran, knitted to a looser tension than the Worsted, so first I had to recalculate stitch numbers. Then I cast on. I had decided to knit it in one to the armholes and that went fine. Recalculating stitches for the pockets took a while, as I had to judge whether my figures looked OK.
I did the shoulders with short rows combining with three needle bindoff. The theory was good, but my execution was not elegant. It worked. So did my neckline. I finished with rows of garter stitch, as per the pattern. Then I picked up stitches round the armholes for the sleeves and knitted downwards on dps. I had in mind that my tension was likely to be tighter this way, but I did nothing about it. By this time I knew that my one ball of Umber would not be enough for the wide border on the sleeves, and luckily I picked up a second in the same dye lot, so I could do the border.

This is where the cardigan should have been finished, but I was not happy with the garter stitch bottom hem because mine folded upwards. This was likely to be a result of my tension getting looser, but it didn't look good. So I unpicked it and knitted a broken rib border downwards. The cast off of my pockets was unsightly too. It folded downwards. Looking at the picture in the magazine I came to the conclusion that it worked there because the knitter had done a tight cast off. After many years of perfecting the loose cast off required for blankets it is something that I can't do, so I tightened it with a row of crochet slipstitch in a matching thin yarn. Now it is not too bad.

I started the cardigan in December last year, thinking I would have it finished by end of January. It took until the end of August. The reasons were mainly to do with having to rethink many aspects of the pattern, and putting it away while I did so. Then I washed it and, as super wash wool is liable to do, it stretched. It is not too bad though. The sleeves are on the long side, but the length and width are just right. I like the style. I added hooks so that I could close it. Overall I am reasonable content with it.

When I started knitting there was no Tabert project on Ravelry. Now there is one, so it is not a popular pattern.

Tabert cardigan
Pattern: Lisa Richardson Rowan 60
Yarn: Rowan Superwash Worsted wool, shades Chestnut and Umber
Needles: 4.5 mm
Size: Small
Weight: 525 gr
7 December 2016 to 30 August 2017


Sunday, 29 October 2017

The next blanket

The next blanket, #189, is back to the reds. I wanted to include orange and burnt orange yarns, but it turned out to be fewer than I had thought. I added greens, yellows and beiges, and it looks very colourful and bright. It was fun knitting, but it would have benefitted from some unifying yarn.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

The next blanket

The next blanket, #188, is a light one, using the never ending white yarns.  White is a popular colour for yarns found in charity shops, and I acquire them when I buy bags of assorted yarns.  At one time I tried to get rid of them, but now I have learnt to appreciate the shade they add to the blanket.

This blanket also has several cotton yarns that add texture and wool in interesting shades of green.  Softness comes from Paton's white Fuzzy Wuzzy which lasts a long time, for 10 gr balls.  I like the wool boucle yarn and the handspun.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The next blanket

The next blanket, #187, is another dark one, this one without dark red, so greens and blues on top of the standard very dark shades, black, grey and brown. I started on the black unlabelled Rowan wool DK yarn that I rejected for the broken rib blanket, every fourth row, but it blends in so well that you don't notice it.
I unrevelled a Marion Foale cardigan. You still see her knits in charity shops quite frequently, sometimes with a very high price, sometimes as for this one, reasonably priced. It is plain stocking stitch with moss stitch trims, knit in a thin 4 ply wool. The wool was extremely pleasant after the wash. The kinks came out, and it is soft.


Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Broken rib blanket C32

The reason for this blanket was the next yarn in line in my spreadsheet of yarn acquisitions. I was looking for a nice easy quick pattern, and I found or devised this broken rib pattern. It is very easy – row 1 knit row 2 knit 1 purl 1. Repeat.
The yarn was Jaeger Luxury Spun Double Knitting with Alpaca. I had found a pack of 10 balls more than ten years ago. I knew the yarn well, having knitted a sweater in the 4 ply version in the same brown shade many years earlier. I decided that if I had hung on to it for so many years without finding a better purpose it may as well become a blanket. The alpaca content was 10%.

I then looked for a second double knitting yarn to go with it. The black Rowan DK yarn that I had in mind didn't seem good enough quality to go with it. Perhaps it was one of the earlier Rowan yarns, and I think at one time they did a light DK yarn. So instead I used the Christian de Falbe pink Chandos yarn because of my difficulties with bright pink. A good opportunity to get rid of it. I had 370 grams. The label said 80% lambswool 20% merino. I once knitted a favourite cardigan from this brand in a shetland wool plied with a metallic yarn. It worked well.
Thirdly for softness I was going to look through my store of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, but first I came across some pink Wendy Air – 70% mohair 30% nylon – that I had forgotten about. The colour suited very well. There were five 25 gram balls.
I could work out that I needed to supplement the pink wool so I found two balls of Patons Pure Wool DK in a dark red shade, for borders.

I thought putting the three yarns together would make a thick loose fabric, and it did, on 9 mm needles, and it became soft and slinky. Nice for a blanket. The knitting was quick, but I didn't enjoy it much. I prefer knitting with thinner needles. I stopped when I ran out of the pink DK, and finished with the second ball of Patons DK. It is not large enough for a standard blanket but it would be nice for a throw.
The reverse has a quite different pattern and texture.
I should have foreseen that I would run out of the Wendy Air, so I had to add some Uppingham mohair in red. I hope it looks as if it was the intention from the start.

I cast on with Pony circular needles and it was hard going. I have previously had problems with Pony needles, so I avoid them, but it was what came to hand. I realised why it was difficult. The tip was tapering on the part where I formed the stitch so pushing the stitches along was difficult as the tip got thicker. I found some metal circulars and the knitting went much more smoothly on them. Does this mean that I will have problems with lace needles as well? The yarn shop assured me they would work as well as ordinary circulars.
Broken rib blanket C32
Pattern: my own
Yarn: Jaeger Luxury Spun DK with Alpaca
           Christine de Falbe Chandos DK
           Patons Pure Wool DK
           Wendy Air
           Uppingham Lace Mohair
Needles: 9 mm
Size: 135 cm by 120 cm
Weight: 975 gr
18 May to 13 June 2017



Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The next blanket

The next blanket, #186, was based on a regular stripe of bright red. I added more red, rust, brown, grey and some blue, and it all merges together to look red from a distance. This is another blanket using solely yarn already unravelled and odd balls.


Some nice handspun grey. It doesn't fit so well with the rest, but once started I can't undo it.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Rowan Summer Tweed Striped Sweater

I spent last summer knitting this. I have knitted with Rowan Summer Tweed before, and it is one of my favourite yarns. I planned to knit a striped sweater from the odd balls that I bought from charity shops.

I started with a top down sweater, but it didn't work out. I got muddled with the striping because I had not worked out a design in advance. And the tension was wrong so it was too large.  It reminded me of the awkwardness of doing stripes in a seamless garment, because of the bulk where you carry yarns along.

I didn't give up. I started again with a plain seamed design in my usual 3 row stripes. No pattern, just back and front with 3 needle cast off joining the shoulders, and then picking up stitches for the sleeves, knitting downwards. So the only seams were the side and sleeve seams. Very simple. This time I had planned the stripe pattern.  The colours on the body and the sleeves didn't match deliberately - because there wasn't enough yarn.
The knitting was easy. Finished I tried it on, and decided it was no good. The sleeves were too narrow – I had thought so when I was knitting, but I hadn't got a tape measure out to check. The rib pattern at the bottom made it flare over the hips, just where it was not needed. This was at the beginning of September. I couldn't decide what to do with it – I didn't have the heart to start again, and I didn't want to give it away either. So I put it away for the winter.
This spring I got it out again, and tried it on. It wasn't that bad. The sleeves grew comfortable with wearing, and I could ignore the extra fabric over the hips. So now I wear it, and I rather like it. I like the texture of the yarn, and I like the stripe pattern. It goes to show that knitting adapts to your body, given a chance.
Rowan Summer Tweed striped sweater
Pattern: my own
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed silk cotton
Needles: 4.5 mm
Size: Small
Weight: 380 gr
7 June to 3 September 2016