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.