When I was first learning to knit, I made a blanket. It was the second or third thing I started and it was a little dysfunctional. The full story of version 1 can be found here, but the short version is I ended up with a ‘blanket’ that was 2.10m x 0.85m.
My original plan had been to add borders but I’d used lovely merino wool (and lots of it) for the middle and in my searches for something compatible I hadn’t found anything as nice but cheaper (perhaps not a suprise). I didn’t want to compromise but couldn’t face spending potentially hundreds of pounds to make an overly large blanket. So I sat and thought about it for over a year.
Then on a wander round the internet I saw a tutorial for knitting squares from the middle out, and I knew I had found a vaguely more sensible idea, so I began unraveling the blanket.
Instead of just following the tutorial, I decided I wanted to make a rectangle not a square so cast on enough stitches to give me a 2 x 3 rectangle. However as you increase all sides by the same amount, you lose the rectangle pretty quickly because who can tell the difference when the sides are 150 x 151 sides. I should have gone back once I realised this at the beginning but I’m a little stubborn and too quick to rush into things. I think this might be why the final blanket tents a little.
I started on a long circular needle but quickly had to swap to using multiple circular needles like double pointed needles. Ive now ended up with 5 6.5mm circular needles, so I am set if I ever want to make another. I am a much quicker knitter now than when I started the first blanket and I was knitting it over Christmas and new year so there was a lot of in front of the tve knitting time, and it went together very quickly.
When I originally chose the wool, I’d planned on having a light purple center and dark borders, and had bought two balls of the darker colour. So when it came to thinking about casting off I thought about using up those balls. I found this useful comparison of cast offs a while ago and was drawn to the picot cast off. I decided to go for it and I really like the end effect.
The finished blanket could really do with being blocked to help with the tenting and rolling of the edges, but my flat isn’t big enough so it will have to wait. I may have had to make it twice but it is a lovely blanket for curling up under.
I was considering which one of the many things on my list I was going to finish this month, and decided on cracking on with my gloves. I had done quite a lot of work on them last month as I spent a fair few hours on trains and I find knitting on dpns is a pretty train friendly craft. I find knitting on normal needles needs more elbow room than a train seat normally provides, but with dpns I hold myself differently.
So on my trip home I managed to do the majority of the hand part of the glove, and when I went to pick them up the other day, I had much less to do than I had remembered, hence the surprise finish.
Knitting these gloves has been an interesting journey. Its only my second time using dpns, and as with my socks I’ve not quite nailed keeping tension the same across the pair but they fit comfortably so it doesn’t matter too much. The pattern is Treads by Victoria Anne Baker and was a free download from Ravelry. I really wanted proper tipless gloves as I don’t like the inability to do things that comes with gloves but wanted something a little more complex (and warm) than just handwarmers. I used Cool Woo Big Melange by Lana Grossa, which is a gorgeously soft merino wool but as its quite loosely spun I had to be careful not to split it.
The pattern was very easy to follow, even the slightly complicated lateral braid (which is even harder in my tight tension). I really love the look of the lateral braid and will definitely try and use it again.
Doing the fingers was tricky. This was the only place I found the instructions a little tricky. It turns out a fourchette stitch isn’t a stitch method but the name of the stitches that sit between the fingers allowing you to move them sideways. You create them by casting on new stitches. It took me a bit of googling to figure this out but once I had it was easy to do. The tricky or fiddly bit was all the attaching the wool and weaving in ends. It takes ages. For the first glove I did it all at the end but on the second glove, I did it as I went along – a much better choice.
So here we are another finish, which seeing as I’ve already been bookmarking cardigan patterns is probably a good thing, and it gives me a some time to put a few hours into other projects.
I carried on with my mission to finish things over the last week and I’ve managed to actually finish a few things this week.
First of all I finished off my knitted purses, the green sunglasses case and also the purse from my intarsia course. The sunglasses case is just what I wanted, and this time I wrote down the number of stitches and rows etc. in case I want to make another. The intarsia purse I’m less keen on. I like the design, but its not very me and I don’t need a purse that small. Also the clasp shows all the stitches used to fix the panel in on the outside rather than the inside, which makes it look very a little amateur. But I’ve learnt a new technique that I have big plans for in the future.
I also finished my blanket, although I got half way through casting off and ran out of wool. This blanket is a pretty good example of why you don’t start a full blanket as your second ever knitting project. I decided I was going to knit a ‘square’ and then add borders, but being a beginner I didn’t do a tension square. I just cast on – onto joined needled – until I thought it looked long enough. Which is why my blanket it 2.1m long. It is considerably longer than me. Another problem, is that it’s all knitted in stocking stitch, before I learnt how to stop it curling, so it has considerable curl along all the edges. And then because its so long, it took a lot of wool to make it a reasonable width. In the end its 0.85m wide, and that took nearly 20 balls of wool. Oh and I didn’t really know (believe) about how different dyelots can be so I just bought the wool from all over the place.
However, it is beautiful colour, it’s unbelievable soft and cosy, while casting off I was so warm underneath it. For the mean time it’s been put down and come the winter I will figure out how to add border to bring it to a usable width.
Other things I’ve been trying to finish are another knitted dishcloth, my epp diamonds for a cushion and the beaded fringed handbag – I’m on the last row of fringing now. All are coming on nicely and I have big plans for several new projects and new techniques I want to try.
I had a quiet weekend and I’ve spent it doing a lot of little bits and pieces. As I mentioned last time, I’ve been working on hard on a few projects in order to get them finished soon, and with another two days I’ve managed to get quite a few projects to a semi-finished place.
I finished all the needle turn applique on my Hawaiian quilt. I really like this technique, even after starting with something that was definitely not beginners material. All of those tight concave curves and points are really tricky, and you can definitely see which half I did first and which I did later on. I’m planning on trying out some hand-quilting on the panel (and maybe turning it into a tote bag), which I figure will help hide some bits and secure it as well. I’m still thinking about colours as the current blue/white isn’t really my thing.
I’ve been remaking my knitted sunglasses case, as I lost it somewhere in India. I’ve finished all the knitting but I need to buy a zip before finishing. I love this colour though.
I finally attached all of my bezelled seaglass pieces together. I attached them together two at a time, to try and keep it balanced. It ended up being a curve, and know I need to figure out if its stable enough to just add hoops for a chain at the ends or if I want to put hoops and chain all the way along.
This is the front
The stitching is more visible in day light, promise
And I finished stitching both sides of my artist trading card for the Very Berry ATC swap. It’s a slightly different take on the phase ‘say something’ to most peoples interpretation, but hopefully my partner doesn’t mind too much.
And despite having achieved lots there is still plenty to do. Isn’t there always.
Back in November I went to the country living christmas fair, and among other things I bought a knitting kit to make a hat from stitch & story. I’d intended to make it while driving around on my holiday (in India), as I can knit without getting carsick. However it turned out, the suspension was incredibly bouncy and although knitting wasn’t making me car sick, the bouncing made my knitting pretty dodgy.
Once I was home, I started again. And the hats suddenly appeared. Honestly they were so quick to knit up, it was very satisfying. The patterns are very easy to follow, and look really good when finished. Honestly the only problem I had was finding something with a diameter of 4 cm to help me draft the pom pom pattern.
When I was buying the kit I wanted different colours to the pre-made kits so ended up buying extra wool. This meant I had extra wool left after knitting the first hat. So I made another, its nice to feel productive when making things. Often I start long projects and then they drag so the finishes are few and far between. So being able to start and finish something the same day is unusual and quite pleasing.
After writing my beginning the month list, I realised that it was growing at an unreasonable rate. So I spent some time this weekend finishing stuff off.
First I finished off my sunglasses case. This was simply a case of sewingup the sides. It’s a slightly odd shape but it fits my glasses in nicely and while it won’t stop them getting crushed, it will stop them getting scratched. I like the chevron pattern so much I’ve since started a scarf with it. Which probably negates having finished this, but oh well.
Then I had a go at finishing the zig zag necklace. As I mentioned before, it’s much floppier than I’d anticipated. So in order to make it a firmer, I used some metal earring rods (do they have a proper name?). They reach the length of the third zigzag. I used the invisible thread to tie the loop of the rod to the zigzag. This helps a bit but the middle loops are still floppy. For now I’ve added chain, it looks fine if you place it properly but I reckon after a while it will move and twist and be a random shape. I’ll wear it a couple of times and find out before I do anything.
An then I finally finished the june tacklethatbeadstash challenge. I had to do the second half, but it was much quicker now I understood the pattern. I’m not that happy with the final result. Its just not that impressive for the time it took. If I do it again I’ll play with changing the sizes of the spine beads. I’ll write about it properly in a separate post along with the july challenge.