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

Friday, 27 January 2017

The next blanket

 The next blanket, #182, was not going to be any particular colour.  To the red I added brown, blue, green and grey.  I'm pleased with the result.  The colours merge nicely, with none too prominent.

I unravelled this simple hand knitted grey top.  A lace knitted yoke with a slit for neck and stocking stitch body stitches picked up and knitted downwards.  It fitted me perfectly, so I wore it for a while.  It is a 4 ply weight yarn knitted on large needles.  I think the yarn is a wool alpaca blend.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Account for 2016

I did quite well as far as buying less yarn went in 2016, until late November.  I had cut my charity shop budget in half, and I managed to stay within it, and it went towards buying half the amount of yarn.  This is until late November when I found 19 hanks of aran weight wool alpaca yarn in natural grey.  I bought it without hesitation while realising what it did to my budget.  After that I gave up, and bought whatever I liked.  The total was still less than half of the previous year.

Another thing that undid me was purchases outside charity shops, mainly in John Lewis.  They started selling odd balls of Rowan wool at charity shop prices.  If I would buy it in a charity shop, of course I would buy it in John Lewis.

I found that the weight of finished items was smaller than 2015, and that was as expected.  It was still nearly 20.5kg, and I'm very happy with it.  I have stopped stressing.  I will take time over knitting and enjoy it.

I had an idea that, in 2017, I would focus on weight of yarn bought rather than budget.  Unfortunately I went to John Lewis in the second week, and spent all of my January allowance there.  So now I think I should go back to my December state and buy anything I like.  With storage restraints at the back of mind and the realisation that I will have to knit all of this sometime perhaps I will refrain from excessive purchases.

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.