Going Knit Large

large

The sun is out, the flowers are blooming and nature is definitely choosing to strut its stuff. Ok, so maybe we have also had torrential rain, and ok, the snail population is having its share of the new flowers, but it is still a good time to make and play. Knitting in hot weather is always a tricky one, as working on winter things always feels like you are jinxing the sunshine. With the length of time needed on bigger projects it is smart to knit while the sun is shining, so that things are ready for when it doesn’t.

large1

As ever I have been flitting between projects like a dizzy kitten, I have even returned to nibble at some of the winter colour-work projects (too fiddley to keep my brain focused!). After pretty much trying at everything in the WIP box, I have settled on working on some of the bigger projects. Admittedly it is because four blanket sized projects do rather swamp my storage, but it is nice to work on large things after a few week of small shawls and socks. So this blog is going to be dedicated to the joy of big projects.

large3

Yes, I know I am usually about the joy of socks and wisp like shawls (practically made from kitten’s tears) but there is also something very satisfying about a project that you know will take months and the best part of a kilogram of yarn to complete. It is like the difference between hopping on a bus to the next town and planning a four-day road trip. Or the difference between an ice lolly and a full on Knickerbocker glory. It can be nice to knit/crochet a project of an evening that has absolutely no expectation that it will be finished or require anything more than a few more rows added to it. Oddly, I find this type of continuation project perfect for summer knitting (which is why I seem to end up making blankets in the height of summer) as it doesn’t require much brain power or attention. It also helps that the four blankets (which actually surprised me, I certainly never planned to have four on the go – it sort of just happened) have very different personalities.

large4

The eldest, a log cabin blanket. Started (I think) at the end of summer after falling in love with the look from my (then) new Maison Dixie knitting book. Being on a pre-Ally Pally yarn diet, I was delighted to find the perfect combination and amount of yarn already deep in the stash. It is starting to get a touch large now and I have already up-graded to my 150cm cord (lucky I have a cable connector because I am going to need it to join both long cords before the end). I am currently working on the seventh stripe out. Looking at the remaining yarn (and factoring in that each stripe out is about one inch longer than the previous stripe) I think I will just make it to the originally planned 10 stripes.

A potential issue looming, is that I didn’t consider that the blue stripes use more yarn (because they are all two inches longer than the same row purple ones – which soon stacks up). It will have to be a carefully measured-out final row, or risk frogging back three meter long (20 row) stripes. One thought I had, was to switch the purple and blue around on the last stripe to create a frame effect (and hopefully balance out this difference in the remaining yarn). Or perhaps stripe the last row and alternate between the purple and blue. Whatever way I jump, I am definitely going to end with a dark purple stripe (the same as the centre) to create a good border. The plan was to pick up all of the edge stitches and see how many rows I can get in the purple (I doubt I will manage a full 20) and cast off with the light blue accent yarn. Big blankets can suffer visually if they just seem to stop, and even a simple crochet border in a contrast colour can really lift it (as I found out on my Granny’s Garden blanket). However, I strongly suspect that I have a long while to think on this!

large5

Next up (age wise) is the Dolly Mix Mitre blanket. This is only about 3 months old, and had a really big kick of action over Easter. Based on a gift baby blanket I once made, it is chugging along with the only purpose purchased yarn being the black background colour. Everything else has been stash bustingly-tastic! The only hold up to it powering through, is that I need to generate more scrap! I have been careful to keep some colours back (mainly to prevent puddles of similar colours) but I think I will have to wait a finger curling amount of time before I can return back to it. Unless I crack and raid the 25g DK stand at my LYS. Which won’t happen. Nope not a chance…..

large6

As previously mentioned ,I could legitimately get some of this scrap from my kit blanket (Attic24 ripple blanket), but each row is officially as wide as I am tall. Once you factor in the ripple stitch, it is a lot of crochet per row. I haven’t had a head of steam on this yet, but I am picking at it and trusting that it will reach a natural tipping point and get going. It doesn’t help that I need much more attention on crochet than knitting (plain knitting can now be done without looking!). It doesn’t help that it still looks like a strip of ribbon (which makes it flop about while working) and it doesn’t help that I know that I have done a mere 3 stripes out of 84. What does help is that the picture of the finished item looks fantastic and I really want one! I think I will have to deploy standard tricks like one row an evening (or even as much as I can finish during one episode of The Big Bang Theory) to edge it along. Things should pick up as it starts to take shape and look gorgeous, but all I can see at the moment when I look at it is 81 stripes (so 162 rows) with 213 stitches per row. Bleugh!

large8

And then there is the new kid on the block. My gift yarn busting Giant Granny Square. This is getting done (mainly because I find granny squares relatively easy and quick), and I am getting a bit done by the sea of red. Annoyingly, I am so used to predicting yarn amounts for knitting that I spectacularly messed up my estimating (grey stripe was planned to be six rows and failed to complete three) so my clever plan to use up some long-standing stash yarn has now been vastly simplified.

Just so you know, crochet eats yarn like a man-versus-food challenge.

LouBug

 

 

 

Summer’s Here!

wpid-1373290314056.jpg

The sun is shining, a Brit has won Wimbledon and I’ve managed to get through the last few days without 3rd degree sunburn – it’s like summer, but not as we know it…

To complete this summer theme, I’ve a new addition to my dining table. These knitted flowers/convenient pen holders took waaaaay longer to complete than I expected, but look great. In fact, I’d go as far as to say the photo just doesn’t do them justice.

By the fifth flower, I was a little board (the pattern from Knitterings shows ten in the final image, special praise for stamina).

I managed five, but what with the sorting of trailing ends, blocking and general botching of ones that had gone a bit wrong, it did take a while.

Flower timeline, plus associated musing for your digestion below:

Stage one – getting my brain around icords, ready for stem creation.

wpid-1372944389434.jpg

Stage two – First dodgy looking petal completed.

wpid-1372340132366.jpg

Stage three – Getting there.

wpid-1372944735714.jpg

Stage four – Time to tidy up all those random bits of wool.

wpid-1373210570167.jpg

Stage five – Genius!

wpid-1373214236865.jpg

Stage six – Blocking. Note the lack of drawing pins thanks to KnitWit-In-Law.

wpid-1373225405988.jpg

Stage seven – Complete!

wpid-1373290579685.jpg

wpid-1373290525350.jpg

wpid-1373290314056.jpg

KnitWit

Little bit of Lace

bathmitt1

Summer is a funny time for knitters. Christmas knits are starting to happen, but the will and want for summer knits is still burning bright. Those cool cottons, non-sweaty silks and light linens call more to me than the heat packing acrylic and animal fibres on my to-do list. I am a great believer in being a selfish knitter (not necessarily by not knitting for others but knitting only on my own terms) and so my eye has turned to my stash and my books.

bathmitt2

First up there – progress on the bath mitt front.

bathmitt3

I personally like the duck one, but concede that the picture is hard to see (any thoughts, oh great hive mind?). The heart one is fun, and the rectangle is a better shape but I’m not sure I like the 4ply as it is not as soft on the body. Next plan is a simpler zig-zag pattern and it really has to be this orange!

Bathmitt4

Inspired by KnitWit’s lace scarf, and unearthing some lovely yarn while stash diving, I have decided to dust off my much browsed, yet to be used, copy of Victorian Lace Today.

I love that book. It is full of ridiculously beautiful lace projects (the ones that casually ask for 1700 yards of sewing thread fine yarn) with lovely photos and tempting instructions (chart led for those who are curious). I have owned this book for years, even started a few patterns, but never had the nudge to start.

bathmitt5

Sisterly competitiveness aside (Mr LouBug accused me a starting my lace scarf just to flex my knitting mojo at KnitWit), this was the nudge I needed.

It is made from some Kid Silk Haze, which has the distinction of being both the most expensive yarn beginner me ever bought and the most frogged. Seriously, frogging anything with mohair type hair should be a punishment only for the truly naughty. It was originally bought about seven years ago when I was trying to make a cardigan from a magazine and not really understanding how to substitute yarns.

The crucial difference between a cotton/wool based aran and a microfibre/cotton based DK was a lesson learnt the hard way (I tried to match the gauge and really didn’t understand why it mocked me from afar). Luckily I hesitated before buying the trim yarn, which was seven balls of Kid Silk Haze (which was actually the named yarn) and hedged my bets with buying only 3. The cardigan taught me that I do not like modular clothes (the back didn’t match the front and could have fit a hunchback elephant) and caused me to learn how to use circulars to knit flat (as the flexible cable means you can try it on as you go).

This then resulted in me both knitting and designing my first cardigan and leaving me with 3 balls of Kid Silk Haze. This yarn has quietly guilted me. Too nice to knit something plain, but any mistakes in lace with it are punished swiftly and with malice. After failing to knit a complex leaf pattern (which would only have been properly visible after blocking) I saved what I could and buried it deep in the stash.

bathmitt6

Until today. Since that wine soothing, chocolate healing frogging hell I have mastered many skills. For one I can read a chart without losing which line I am on! So here I go again, but this time with a much simpler, much more haze yarn friendly pattern (that leaf pattern would work better with a silk based yarn).

LouBug

%d bloggers like this: