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.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The next blanket

The next blanket, #180, is another pale one with white.  The white is not that prominent any more.  This is another attempting to get rid off bright yellow yarns, and there are some nice subtler ones as well.  I added pink and beige, and off white as well.

I have already written about the Kaffe Fassett Outlined Star child's cardigan, and now I have unravelled it.  It was all in acrylic 4 ply yarns, and it made me wonder why I went to the effort, as the yarns would add little to the blankets.  It was knitted in fair isle, with rows having at least three yarns carried along, so I just pulled.  A good thing acrylic doesn't break easily.

I started using this box of Patons Fuzzy-wuzzy white yarn, 55 per cent angora and 45 wool.  It came in a box with a label saying 10 balls, but the box contained 12.  Each ball is just 10g.  It is lovely.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

The next blanket

The next blanket, #179, is totally dark with no specific main colour.  I used yarns in dark brown, green, grey, burgundy, navy and black.  I like the way they all blend together.  There are a number of rough feeling Shetland and other yarns that will soften with washing, but now you notice the contrast with some nice merino wool.  I have included mohair, alpaca and cashmere for contrast, with a little cotton and linen.  It feels nice to be able to use up a number of yarns.

I unravelled this cardigan knitted from a 1980s or 90s pattern presumably.  I had a quick look for the pattern without success.  The yarns are Rowan.  It has been knitted intarsia style with I think Grainy Silk as background.  Compared with the 4 ply Light Tweed used double and DK yarns in the motifs the Grainy Silk feels too thin.  There is some thin cotton chenille too.  It was easy to unravel, and the yarns are nice.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Preppy Ripple Throw C29

I am going through my wool store spreadsheet aiming to use up wool in order of acquisition.  Next in line was this wool unravelled from a Donna Karan jumper for blanket #140 but it was too thick to be used there, and the wool has lain around since then, spring 2011.  If I remember correctly it was in fact blended with 20% nylon, but you wouldn't know.  I looked around for a suitable easy pattern and I came across this, Preppy Ripple Throw from the book Undercover.


I found other suitable yarn, wool, in a similar thickness and colour, and found these.  Some were leftovers from C9, Geo Modern Throw.

I have seen the pattern before, under the name Feather and Fan or possibly Old Shale, a common Shetland lace pattern.  It seemed to be too complex to enjoy the knitting, but once I started it was simple, just four rows with two knit rows, one purl and one with increases and decreases.  Stitch markers between each pattern repeat stopped me from making mistakes.  There is a mistake in the pattern in the book by the way - quite obvious if you compare the pattern with the picture.  I found the same pattern on the Lion Brand website and there it was correct.

I enjoyed knitting it.  I changed yarns at random and I like the random effect it has had.  I had not anticipated that the colours would blend so well.  The biggest surprise was the Wendy Fashion 3 Continental yarn, a wool boucle, that adds even more texture and softness to the throw.

Having said that I prefer my blankets with less texture in thinner yarns.  I would only do this pattern again if I had a lot of chunky yarns that I needed to use together.

Preppy Ripple Throw C29
Yarn: chunky wool yarns
Needle:  7 mm
Tension:  13 sts to 10 cm
Weight: 1315 gr
Size:  132 cm by 175 cm
Made: 24 April to 19 July 2016

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The next blanket

For the next blanket, #178, I wanted to use darker yarns, except for black.  The colours are grey with burgundy and purple, but the pictures don't get the shine of the red shades across.  This colour combination is a favourite of mine, and it is my aim - to use up all the other yarns, so that I can concentrate on these.  And a few others.

But here the shades aren't distributed equally, and the blanket looks patchy and irregular.  Personally I don't mind much.  Again it was a case of using up yarn, nice yarn, and I could have made more of an effort to blend them.  The blanket feels nice, with mohair, angora and alpaca yarns.

I unravelled the next Kaffe Fassett garment, a long sleeveless jacket for Peruvian Connection.  The cotton yarns are similar to the ones in the cardigan in blanket #173, two or three strands, some boucle, in different shades used together.  I don't separate them anymore, but use them as they come.  It is easier here with some strands very long.  This is a pattern that Kaffe has used several other times.  I enjoyed the unravelling, and the cotton yarn is a pleasure to work with.

Monday, 13 June 2016

The next blanket


The point of the next blanket, #177, was to use up some more bright yellow yarn, and other difficult to place yarn, without much regard for the result.  I buy odd balls of yarn that take my fancy not considering how I'm going to use it.  Here it feels great to get rid of some of it.  Sometimes I still look at the knitting thinking how awful it looks.

I unravelled this knitted sweater.  I like the design, a celtic pattern, along one side, one sleeve and shoulder.  But the knitter didn't take account of the fact that the cabled design pulled the fabric together, so one shoulder is much narrower than the other.  The wool yarn feels lovely with a sheen; perhaps Bluefaced Leicester?  The kinks very nearly disappeared with washing.