And In With The New…Knitting

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During Easter I took the time to give the stash a bit of an airing and (predictably) now cast on a pile of things. I have even bagged up some Christmas sock knits (yes, I do know it is May). I had the slightly embarrassing conversation with Mummy KnitBug where I revealed the full extent of where the stash went (which is basically like admitting to how much you weigh, although it is possible that I might actually weight less than the stash – what a frightening thought….). The conversation started with asking what colour she wanted, which she said could be anything I could spare from the stash. This then led me to admit that she could pretty much name any colour and I would have it (for example I have a few different shades of purple) and yes, I did in fact have the requested bright pink/blue.

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Dolly Mix has progressed well, and has got the planned 6×6 (36) squares completed; to cover a double bed I think I need about 12×12 (144) squares but I knew before I started that there wasn’t going to be enough to do this in one hit. The point of the blanket is to use up scrap DK (from projects, free magazine yarn or from knit kits that don’t catch my eye) and not buy more yarn! So (as planned) I am now going to rest it until the summer to give me time to generate more scrap DK acrylic.

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One potential source of yarn is the now started crochet kit by Attic24 bought at last year’s Ally Pally. I usually resist kits, as in my heart I know that I can do it cheaper (or in a better colour, material or with massive design changes) but I would have bought the finished blanket (if available) as it is such a perfect balance of colours. For once I “want that one” and have no planned changes. I am still very much at the starting blocks, but given that projects can languish for years, a six month wait is practically a rush starter. I am considerably slower on crochet that knitting, so it might be done for winter (2015? 2017? 2049?). Hopefully I will speed up as I go and chew through all 84 rows (with 213 stitches per row) nice and quickly.

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Last (but not least) I have now flown through the blue yonder shawl. This is from the very lovely 4ply that KnitWit bought me at Christmas (which is incredibly soft) and I chose “Timpani” from Sock Yarn Shawls. This starts off with a plain section, which should show off the subtle blue/lavender purple colour wash and then ends with an interlocking rectangle lace trim. Things got a bit interesting when I completed the original number of repeats, popped in a little lifeline and then attempted to squeak in another pattern repeat before the trim. For those that heard the howl of frustration, I didn’t! but my trusty life-line meant that it was annoying and not soul destroying.

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As a top tip, I have used dental floss for my life-line; not as random as it sounds! The hive mind of Ravelry rates it for life-line as it is slightly waxed (making it easy to remove), stronger than sewing thread (so less likely to snap) and easy to stash in your notions case. However, the minty fresh aroma is definitely a little odd with the lavender scent generated by the anti-moth herb bag.   Let us hope the smell fades over time!

LouBug

 

 

 

 

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The Pillow of Glory

Gift knitting is always a tricky one for your average knitter. On the one hand you don’t want it to take over your life, on the other hand you want it to be so glorious that everyone around you sees your greatness. Vanity is a great motivator, and so begins the tale of the tree pillow.

My good friend M is a cross stitcher, and in the process of moving house she unearthed a bag of yarn from her one and only stint as a knitter and kindly re-homed it in my direction. Inside this bag was also a set of nine completed squares, the starting point of the blanket which never was. I felt sorry for these squares, once they represented a new hobby, an ambitious beginner project which gradually fell from favour and wound up vacuum packed in a loft. I also felt a bit sorry for M, these squares must have slowly destroyed the knitter in her (and, judging from the 12 balls of yarn, not even made a dent on the intended blanket). These squares were a failed dream and lost time. Playing with these squares I quickly realised that they made a good grid and were about the right size for a pillow. “Aha!” I thought “Christmas is coming and her new home could do with some new stuff. Let us turn a broken dream blanket into a Pillow of Glory!”

Hours spent poring over my stitch directories led me to a nice tree pattern (twin trees II) from Barbara Walker’s Charted Knitting Designs: A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns

This is a nice way of creating a picture by using knit and purl stitches, but in my brain it looked lacking in colour. Now I have done intarsia colour-work before and I have certainly done cables before, but never the two at the same time. As Mr T would say, “I pity the fool that tries complex techniques to a deadline”. What with miss-crossing a cable (fixable, but make sure you have a little lay down before and a large glass of wine after), 14 bobbins doing the twist and Christmas rapidly approaching my iron-will crumpled like a wet rag and it went into the sulk pile.

A pair of Batman hats for my nephews later, I was back in the game. Surprisingly things starting getting better (not to say I didn’t buy an emergency present just in case). The tree narrowed and the bobbins were removed, the finish line looked close. But, matching someone else’s gauge (especially a beginner’s) is a bit of a task. By this time I had picked up edge stitches to create a border and some of the stitches weren’t even facing the same way. Time was up and sadly Santa wouldn’t let me move Christmas (even though I had been good all year). Hopefully she will never notice that the massive blocking, stretching and swearing session slightly failed to match her work to mine. Maybe next year I will give her a nice book.

Back of Pillow

LouBug

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