Finally finished!

I kinda went on a hiatus there didn’t I? I blame the clocks going forward, I really do. More daylight hours in the evenings = more time outside gardening, and therefore less time on the blog. I also must admit that various Steam Sales had something to do with it (I can’t find an apt link, so you either know what that means or you don’t – it involves my new PC, the internet and games).

Anyway, the sprout blanket is finally knitted, ends sewn in, washed, blocked and labelled up to go to the recipient, who is now nearly a month old (oops). I got everything together last Friday to finish it off.

Yarn review: The yarn (Patons Cotton Twist Aran) was quite pleasant to use. The resulting blanket is soft and drapey, and the acrylic nicely tames any harshness from the cotton. However, it is a “Z” twist yarn, which according to Doris Chan is better suited for crochet than knitting and I believe her. Basically, yarn is either “S” twist or “Z” twist (to find this out, hold the yarn vertically and see which letter the twist represents). “S” twist yarns have the twist reinforced during knitting, and get unravelled during crochet. “Z”s are the other way round. Therefore I found that the yarn became a bit easy to split with the needle tip, but I reckon if I crochet with it it’ll be fine.

Pattern review: The pattern was easy to follow and not that difficult knitting-wise. My only complaint is the use of pfbs, as these leave a larger loop on the right side of the fabric which to me looks untidy (even when there’s a nice pattern of larger loops). I did make a mistake here or there, the most noticeable of which left a hole in the stem of the central sprout. Oh well. Have some photos!

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Starting off using the long tail cast on. I really like this cast on (was my first time using it). You get a neat edge and it’s very quick to do once you get used to it.

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Adventures in frogging. I noticed I’d made a mistake when I suddenly had the wrong number of stitches and the pattern no longer fit. I tried to fix it from the current row, but it just made it worse so I got a contrasting yarn and threaded it into every stitch of the last correct wrong side row. I chose to go back to a wrong side row as the stitches used were either purl or knit, nothing fancy to think about. The second picture shows the yarn going underneath the right hand “leg” of the stitches.

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Success! The first photo shows one of the sprout tips correctly hung on the lifeline. I was so, so, SO relieved by that. I spent ages trying to work out just which bit was the right hand leg of all those stitches. Patience and logic is definitely the key to success there. I might do some sort of tutorial when I get some time (and can remember what it is I did).

The second photo shows threading the needle back through the loops, following the lifeline (and putting the stitch markers back on when prompted by the yarn ends). And then voila! Back on the needles! Woohoo!

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And there we go, one finished blanket, all ready to go to one baby girl. :) I used a sewn bind off to match the long tail cast on. It’s a reasonable approximation, not exact, but you’d only notice if you look very closely (and that’s probably more to my lack of skill than anything).

To go with the blanket, the parents said that they didn’t have enough hats that fit (their baby is super cute but very tiny) so I decided to make a Greenleaf Baby Hat from the left over yarn (found via Ravelry pattern suggestions which worked very well). I’ll post up about it in more detail later, but until then here’s a photo of the finished article:

DSCF5452I’m going to try very hard to avoid another hiatus. It might be that every couple of days or so I just post up a quick photo and a short line of what’s been going on since I last posted or during the 2 month(!) hiatus. We’ll see.

Adventures in lace knitting

One of my new year’s resolutions was to attempt lace knitting. I decided my first project would be Jan Eaton’s Leaf Lace Washcloth as a) it’s a free pattern, b) it’s not tooooo lacy and c) washcloths are small and therefore reasonably quick. After a false start due to a very messy cast on edge, I created this over a weekend:

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Yay! It was done using 4mm needles and Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton DK in something like the Frost colourway. Doing the lace stitches themselves wasn’t too bad actually. I found that the hardest part was following the pattern as I kept mis-reading or skipping stitches. Coincidentally, I am now reasonably good at un-knitting (my definition of this is reversing the knitting motions to un-knit the required number of stitches until I reach the mistake. Not large scale frogging where whole swathes of fabric are unwound in an instant).

I also had my first foray into blocking with this. I pinned out the washcloth to a thickly folded towel laid on the ironing board (using the blocking pins Rob got me for Christmas!) and then waved a steaming iron over it until it was pretty damp. I then realised that I had to move the whole assembly to the sofa as the ironing board blocked all access to the bathroom – not my cleverest move. Note to self – next time lay everything out in its final position before commencing Operation Block. Anyway, it turned out alright, and I gave it to Rob’s Mum for her birthday. I haven’t a clue what she can do with it though! It’s not the most useful of pieces.

Following on from that adventure, I started on a scarf sweater for my Mum. The premise behind this is you knit a long scarf, wrap it around your top half and then sew the ends together to form a sweater. If you can believe this, it was supposed to be a Christmas present! Ahem. Hopefully I can complete it by her birthday (October).

Anyway, I must have had a brain malfunction when ordering the yarn (Debbie Bliss Rialto in light grey) as I got in Aran weight instead of Chunky. After frantically making some gauge swatches with various sized needles, I worked out that if I made the large size scarf with 7mm needles I *might* just be able to achieve the width of the small size and still have enough yarn left over.

Gauge swatch:

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When ripping back the gauge swatch I had to take a photo of the last row as it really resembled a soft, squishy caterpillar:

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Scarf commenced!:

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After measuring, it’s just under the small size by about an inch, but I think that’ll be ok as fortunately my Mum’s quite skinny. ;) I’ll post an update about this soon as the above photo was taken on the 28th January, and I’ve done a bit more since then. :) I’ve also got even better at unknitting, and even had to delve into frogging territory. I can safely say that frogging lace knitting is not my favourite thing in the world to do, but I have at least emerged on the other side relatively unscathed (bar the nightmares).