Monday, 22 May 2017

Thr nrxt blanket



The next blanket, #185, was going to be pink, but when it came to it there was not so much pink yarn any more. I added blues and the usual background colours of grey, beige and light brown. The blanket looks subdued with no strong contrasts. The strong pinks blend in nicely. There is angora for softness and some alpaca.

I decided not to unravel any knitted items this time, because there is so much yarn set aside for the standard blankets. In theory the store should go down with every blanket, because one knitted item is on average one third of the weight of a blanket. What actually happens is that I add to it by buying yarn for the blankets. Any yarn, as long as it a natural fibre and the right weight. I have trained myself now to consider the colour as well, and to reject colours that won't look good in the blankets. I enjoy trying out odd balls of yarn this way. But the store just increases...
 
 
 

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Willow crochet blanket

 

 
 
I like the colourful blankets made from crochet blocks that have become popular in recent years. This one bought in a charity shop was a favourite, especially because of the white surround. I did granny squares myself many years ago, and I was looking for a different pattern now.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The yarn I had in mind was Rowan's Siena 4 ply, a cotton yarn. I like cotton for crochet because of its crispness, and it is easy to unravel. The yarn comes in several guises, Jaeger, Rowan Classic and plain Rowan. I bought the main lot ten years ago when the Jaeger version was discontinued, and then I had in mind to knit cotton fair isle. I tried, and it didn't work out. Since then I have bought more in charity shops. The ones without a label may well be a different brand. Some are thicker, and I wonder it they are Cotton Glace. Some are not mercerised, and they are probably something else. In the end I had a large number of shades. I excluded the darker and the white ones. I had 13 balls of the Clover shade, and I set it aside for surrounds.
 
 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My book of crochet blocks is Jan Eaton's 200 crochet blocks. There are other books, but I think this one is comprehensive enough. I briefly thought about doing a number of different blocks, to try out patterns. But there were so many shades that I thought it would be too confusing for the eye, and I looked for one block. My criteria were that it would have no more than three shades, that it would be crocheted in the round, and that it would appeal to me. There were just a few candidates in the end, and I decided on the Willow pattern.


The pattern was easy to memorise and enjoyable to crochet. Somebody on Ravelry had found problems with round 5, and I did too. The sample block seemed fine, but with the rest I was uneasy – it didn't seem right. I ignored it though, because it looked OK at a quick glance.



 
 
 
 
 
I worked out an elaborate system to choose shades for the blocks, to achieve as many combinations as possible. I really do not like having to select things at random by myself. I didn't set out to eliminate duplicates, but I may have, because so far I haven't come across any.



I had decided to do the last two rounds in the Clover shade, and to use the final round to crochet the blocks together. So I did all the blocks first and arranged them trying to avoid putting similar blocks together. This is a stage that I should have spent more time on. It would be restful for the eye if it could discern some kind of order, but here it can't. It might have worked better with fewer shades.

When I calculated the number of blocks needed I was under the impression that the last two rounds would be trebles. They were in fact double crochet, so the blocks, and the whole blanket, ended up smaller than I wanted. I would have had enough yarn for more blocks, but possibly not for the Clover surrounds, so I left it small. I had had enough of the crochet, and I wanted it finished. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't knitting.

I devised the last round with spaces for attaching to the next block, and it worked well. I liked the ridge between the blocks that appeared naturally. I did an edging of several rounds of double crochet, with one cyclamen round, and ended with a round of crab stitch

I like looking at the finished blanket. It is heavy for a blanket. I doubt I will ever do anything similar again. I will do crochet, but in rows so that it is quicker. Each block seemed to take such a long time, and then joining them. It all took ages, and I had to set myself a target, to finish it in a reasonable time. So that I can go back to knitting.

Willow crochet blanket

Pattern: Jan Eaton 200 crochet blocks – 189 Willow
Yarn: Jaeger/Rowan Classic/Rowan Siena 4 ply cotton
Hook: 2.5mm
Size: 130cm wide 165 cm long
Weight: 1630gr

30 November 2016 to 31 March 2017

 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The next tapestry cushion

I think I bought the kit for this while I was still buying anything indiscrimately. It is from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, from a Kate Greenaway drawing. I saw the possibility of doing the letters in blocks immediately. I was not going to do mice, even clothed ones, even I could have. The pale print on the canvas had faded badly but not the dark coloured letters.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I planned the colours of the blocks, and started stitching in the middle of the canvas deciding on the actual shapes as I went along. I learnt a valuable lesson in the process. I am not much good at planning colours. I took shades into account but not tone. I did two strands of different colours together. I restricted myself to the yarns provided in the kit (and it annoyed me that the shades had been cut to different lengths) so one was always white. It would be more successful if you did similar tones together.
 
 
 
I didn't use a frame so the canvas slanted.  I straightened it a little by doing some rudimentary blocking when it was finished, but I relied on it not being noticeable after putting it over a cushion pad.  The pad by the way is from John Lewis, and after finding that feathers escape from their feather and down pads I now buy ones with polyester filling.  They are a bit too round and bouncy from being overfilled.

 
 
 
 
Afterwards I could see how it could have been improved with more foresight. I had planned to do some patterns of my own, but now I am doubtful.

On the whole I enjoyed the stitching, but I don't think much of the result. I like it because it is my own. It took longer than previous cushion covers because I no longer stuck to my decision to do a bit every day.

 
 
Stitched 8 June 2015 to 31 August 2016; finished cushion 25 February 2017
 
 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The next blanket

 

The next blanket, #184, was supposed to be pale pink, but when it came to sorting out the yarns it turned out that there was little pink.  So I added the remains of the yellow and some apricot, and the rest is neutrals - white, off white, beige, grey, sheep coloured (undyed wool) and so on.  I like it.  The boucle is from Blanket #172 and it adds texture.  The softness comes from the angora in yellow Paton's Fuzzy-Wuzzy.





I unravelled this shawl, knitted according to a Shetland pattern.  The unusual thing about it is that the centre is knitted in moss stitch - usually it is done as garter stitch.  The other thing is the choice of yarn, an ordinary wool, not shetland.  I thought it was 4 ply, but unravelled it was much thinner, a 2 ply.  It is still very soft, and a pleasure to knit with.








 


Monday, 20 March 2017

Sock yarn blanket 3

After finishing blanket C18  my continued bus knitting was blocks for the next sock yarn blanket. The background yarn was Wendy Roam, a 4 ply sock yarn, bought cheaply when it was discontinued. I had four 100 gr balls. The other yarns were a Rico sock yarn, in cheerful pink yellow shades and two Schoeller and Stahl yarns, in white/black/navy. I also found some remains of a grey black yarn.
 
 
 
There was a point in doing large blocks in blanket C18  - to reduce the effort in joining – but I prefer smaller blocks, so here I made them smaller, aiming for a 15 cm side. The knitting was fine, effortless. I enjoyed watching the pattern emerged from the self striping yarns, and the green Roam yarn was a nice match.

 
 
 
 
 
 
This time I decided to use my favourite method for joining, three needle bind off. I had run out of the Roam yarn, so I used a blue Sportico sock yarn. In artificial light in the winter months you could really not see the difference, but in day light it is obvious. The joining took a long time. I quite liked doing it but I did wonder if it was worth it – I could have done so much other knitting. I did a 6 row garter stitch edging.

 
 
 
 
I hadn't planned the placement of the blocks at all, and I was pleased that it worked out so well. The Rico yarn lightens the blanket.  It is deliberately smaller than a full size adult blanket, because it is so thin and not very warm.  It is suitable for a child.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sock yarn 3 blanket C21
Wendy Roam and other sock yarns, 4 ply
size 3mm needles
123 cm by 1153 cm, 890 gr
Knitted 31 March 2015 to 25 February 2017



Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The next blanket

I didn't have a colour scheme in mind for the next blanket, #183, just that it should be dark.  So that is what it is, a mixture of all dark colours.  I omitted dark reds, but there is some reddish brown.  I seem to consider brown a dark colour, although so often it is not.  The blanket has texture from a black mohair and from black Rowan Alpaca Cotton, so there is interest.

I unravelled this jumper, with the brand name Angelo Litrico.  It is apparently a C&A brand - I remember C&A from my time in Brussels many years ago.  The jumper, in a man's size, is obviously hand knitted in pure wool.  I thought I would get strands in long lengths, ideal for the blanket, but the knitter had taken the advice to use short strands in intarsia to avoid tangles, and even used them in the large grey sections.  So I ended up with lots of short strands, just what I don't need.  The yarn is lovely though, soft and the right thickness for DK.  The grey is a Shetland type yarn. 
 
 


I found this picture of the yarns used in the gloves in the previous post.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Hat and gloves

 
I find it difficult to concentrate enough to knit small items. I have been in need of new fingerless mittens for several years after the ones I knitted nine years ago have slowly worn out. I have darned them several times , occasionally with non-matching yarn, but now they are really beyond repair. They illustrate the foolishness of using Kidsilk Haze in items with heavy use.

 
 
 
 
It occurred to me that Noro Sekku, a lace weight yarn with cotton and silk, would be a good choice for light mittens that I could use autumn and spring on my cold hands. Because it is so thin I added a strand of other laceweight yarn. I like to think of it as Debbie Bliss Rialton Lace, but I could be wrong.
 
I found the pattern in the book Noro Accessories. It has a random cables, but as I'm incapable of doing randomness without devising an intricate system to achieve it, I decided to leave the cables out altogether. I used the stitch count and thumb shaping from the pattern. It worked fine. The panel of stocking stitch on the sides didn't end up in quite the right place, due to my misreading the pattern I expect. The yarns worked fine, too, and the mittens are very comfortable to wear, even when it is quite cold. The colour repeat is longer than the yarn needed for two mittens. They look much neater after washing and wearing.

Random cabled mittens, Noro Sekku and Debbie Bliss Rialto lace, size 2.0 mm dp needles, 30 gr
Knitted 16 September to 31 October 2016

The hat was part of a Christmas present, ie the present consisted of an offer to knit a hat. Since the offer was not accepted until it got cold after Christmas I didn't start knitting until then.
 
I found the pattern in Erika Knight's book Men's knits – Striped hat. For yarn I chose Rowan Hemp Tweed, 75% wool and 25% hemp. I wanted to use double pointed needles, but as I had given away my set of 4.5 mm I had to use one size smaller, so I had to recalculate the stitch count. The row
tension had changed as well, so I adjusted the row number of each colour, and I did the shaping every 3 instead of every 2 rows. And I started from the crown, and did the shaping a different way. So in the end, there was very little left of the pattern.
 
It turned out to be a very useful hat after all. It fits. I liked knitting with the yarn. It lacks the pure wool feel, but it is nice. It would be good for a lighter sweater than wool.
 
Striped hat, Rowan Hemp Tweed, shades Pumice and Granite, size 4 mm dp needles, 62 gr
Knitted 30 December 2016 to 11 January 2017