If you had read my previous ramblings about blocking you will know I was in two camps, especially since I have never had to do it.
Whilst at the hardware store I noticed 9 interlocking play mats for £4. Yes, only £4. Obviously, I bought them as this was a bargain I could not leave. I had seen on Amazon blocking mats that were £35 for exactly the same thickness and size, the only difference was the Amazon ones had squares so you could measure the knitted item on it to block. This is really not something that I required as I have plenty of tape measures so why bother. I bought a box of T pins for £2.49 and have all I need for the job saving £28.51p. Bargain!
I had made two of the squares for the Great American Afghan one of them was smaller than the other and needed blocking to the correct size, so I put my purchases to the test. I admit, I was very happy with the result. Both squares at now the same size. All I have to do is the other 22 squares. Who knows when that will be finished as my knitting is like my reading, I swap to different projects/books all the time back and forth.
This is the third blanket of this design I have made. I made us one a good few years ago, then M’s mum which we got back a few weeks ago after her death, and this final one is for the bedroom. One thing I was not happy about is a line that has appeared within the knitting where the rounds meet, and this is not on any of the other blankets, and I have made it exactly the same way and with the same needles. It will be placed over the headboard, so the line will be hidden, but again, not a happy bunny.
Pattern: A Bit of Iceland Designer: Stephen West Yarn: Women’s Institute
Over the past week, I have been looking at Shetland knitting after seeing some of the incredible items in one of my knitting magazines. I have done Fair Isle knitting in the past and do stranded knitting quite a lot, but I have never really gone the distance and made any Shetland garments. The blanket I am currently making is getting close to the end and I am doing the lace pattern edging now, so I thought I would look for something to make over the next few months, and a Shetland Kep seems in order. One that I have found that I really like is Uradale Fisherman’s Kep kit which I found at uradale.com site. It isn’t all that cheap, £42.40 including postage, in the kit you get a copy of the pattern and 6 balls of 25g each and 1 ball of 50g, a total of 200g of organic Shetland breeds wool. Not a massive amount for the money, but worth it as it is top quality wool which should knit up something special. If I get it, I will first try with other yarn to get used to the patterning again as I have not done Fair Isle for quite a bit and do not want to waste any of the good stuff.
Another project I quite fancy is home dying yarn. I have found a kit from UK Alpaca for £40.75 including postage. The kit contains 2 x 50g skeins of DK and 2 x 50g skeins of 4ply and of course, the dyes and full instructions. It looks like a lot of fun, and all I will need to do is find something that I can make with the skeins, I was thinking about socks, as that is the go-to for the 4ply, but the DK I am not too sure about at the moment.
Whilst on my Shetland journey I have also found a book that looks quite interesting and may give me an insight into the joys of Shetland knitting. It is suitably entitled “Shetland Wood Adventure Journal Volume 1”. Quite fitting I think for my latest adventures in knitting, and it has 6 patterns, recipes, walks and much more. £23.95 including postage. I am a sucker for a beautiful book on knitting and this one covers other topics that I love. Okay, so I have now ordered the book. I was writing this and thought, stuff it, I want the book. As I said, I cannot resist beautiful books. More on it when it arrives in the next week.
I look forward to showing some of the projects I will be embarking on, and if any of you have done any traditional Shetland knitting, please let me know, and as always, any handy tips and advice will always be welcome.
I am in two camps at the moment as to whether to block my work. As posted I am making the Great American Aran Afghan, and although the squares are not too far from each other, they do need a bit of work to get them matching. However, the other part of me thinks that it will be okay as once I have made all the squares and fixed them together and added the outer ridge it will all fall into shape.
I have been looking at blocking mats, and the price difference from one to another is madness, and if I get the “play mats” they are a third of the price, but are they thick enough.
So todays question is: do you block and if so what do you use. Do you use blocking mats, or do you have a cheat that does not cost the earth.
This is one thing I have never tried in the past as I have never needed to use that style, however, I saw a Star Wars Double Knit Scarf by Jessica Goddard on Ravelry that M really liked and I said that I would make one for him. For those who do not know, double knitting is where you knit with two strands at a time, one knit and one purl, so the knit is the front and the purl is the back
The one think I am not too sure of is what colours should I use. It has to contrast, but M will not go for garish colours, so do I just to black and white? The pictures by Yadis shows black and white yarn and I think it looks stunning and you can see the pattern with no problem. However, with Star Wars the colours are red and black (so I believe as I have never seen the films), but if black and red I feel it may not be as striking.
One of the other things that has been in my head is if using DK yarn do I still use 4mm, or drop down to 3.25 to keep it tight, or increase to say 5mm or 6mm as it needs room for the pattern to work. With all this in my mind I have decided that I will do a test run with one of the many yarns I have in my stash boxes (which are that big you could keep bodies in them and I have 6). I will post what I do on here and see what it looks like before doing the scarf for M. On saying that I want to use WI yarn as it is really nice to work with, so will have to wait until the planet resumes normal service in order to go and purchase it. I was looking at LoveCraft as there is so much yarn to pick from, but I like to feel the yarn if I have never used it, as we all know, as DK in one yarn can be different to a yarn made by another manufacturer. I love marino yarn, but working it out it would cost a small fortune to make. But the hunt will go on, well, as soon as possible that is.
Let me know if you have done any double knitting and any tips and advice would, as always, be gratefully received.
I bought the pattern for the Great American Aran Afghan a couple of years ago and decided since we are in lockdown I would make it. Not that I was able to do a great deal as I had to go back to work as the company decided to ignore the fact that they are no essential services. I could go on, but will not here.
So far I have managed to make two of the twenty squares, and I am quite happy with the result. Lots of cable work, which I love. However, and there always is, some of the patterns do not read right and need correction. The square I am doing at the moment states in the instructions start with row 17 on pattern B, then row 1 on the far side, but when you look at the chart layout it reads the other way round, so row 1 then 17 on that row. I decided to follow the first instructions, but got partway though and thought it looked odd, so started again. Hopefully this time it will work. I had a slight problem with the second square as it seemed too large, and I thought it was my tension, but when I did it again it was the same size, and when finished it worked in the end.
So far these are the two squares I have managed to do.
So, how are we all doing out there? I hope that you are all well, and keeping safe in this Stephen King novel we all seem to be part of. Or are we part of a Black Mirror episode?
On Monday night, we were told that we could not go out unless, for essential shopping, medicine and exercise once a day. The company I work for was part of the companies that are able to stay open (construction), but, the owner decided that we would finish on that Tuesday. We came in and finished off what we needed to do and got out products that were needed, I did the month-end accounts and then did out lockdown procedures. However, the next day there was talk about opening up again as construction was still continuing and the government had no intention to stop it. I was chatting to the owner who’s son wanted to open and carry on, but after me telling her of a girl who had just died due to the virus at the age of 21, she decided that it was not going to happen and we would remain closed until the government lifts restrictions. We have all kept in touch via WhatsApp and are checking up on each other. One of the lads who is a driver for us told me yesterday that he thinks his wife has the virus, but from what he said she does not have the symptoms. She is a hypochondriac which does not help, and he seems to believe everything he reads on Facebook. On the last day of work, he told me that over 500 people had died in the UK the night before and argued that it was right. I did point him to the official website tracking the infection and deaths and the conversation was quickly changed. Therefore I am not concerned for them just yet.
I have noticed that the streets are a lot quieter, but from what another workmate tells me when he had to go out that the local town was busting with people going about as though it is a national holiday. Some really do not get it.
I had to go to the shop to get some supplies and although the place had very few people in it, some were not observing the social distancing that is in place, which they are reminded of when entering as there are signs quite literally everywhere. I was rude to a woman who had as much etiquette as a truffle pig, as she was sidling up to people as she was shopping, touching everything including people. She gave me a look that said fuck off, to which I responded with “wanker”. It was all I could do rather than punch her in the face, which I could have done as I was wearing latex gloves. I also noted that the main culprits were old men, I say old, ones in their 60’s. I think if you do not follow the rules and become infected then you do not deserve to be treated in hospital in a live by the sword die by the sword attitude.
We have been out to walk the dogs and get our once a day exercise, but we have been doing this at dawn, no one about and social distancing achieved, but the dogs are not too happy as they are walked a few times a day when I am at home, but I am sure they will get used to it soon enough.
As well as finishing M’s scarf I have frogged 2 projects and am well on my way with another Stephen West blanket “Bit of Iceland”. I have made this before for us and one for M’s mum, but I decided to do another on in colours that would compliment the bedroom. I am enjoying it as it is a large project, and those who know me, know I love big projects.
Yesterday I decided to bake cinnamon swirls as I have 1kg of fresh yeast, although I have frozen most of it.
One final thing I got was the Vogue Knitting book. I kept seeing it, but thought the £35 price tag was a little excessive, however, I found it in my rewards catalogue, therefore cost me nothing. Not expecting it for a few weeks and it arrived on Friday so bonus lockdown reading.
I finished the scarf for M using the same yarn I had for my last project of Paris Toujours. M is made up with it and cannot wait to wear it when it’s a bit cooler. I decided to finish it off with one of my oak labels.
M asked me to make him a scarf in the same yarn that I used for my last project Paris Toujours. The yarn is nice to work with, so I agreed. He didn’t want anything fancy, and wanted something quite plain, like a moss stitch, but I decided that I would do a ribbed type, but without the aid of purl stitch. Let’s face it, purling gets to be a bit of a drag after a while. This pattern is simple but has interesting results. The pattern is just knit stitch and S1wyif. I used a twisted cast-on as it is good for scarfs, and it is a tougher edge. This is it so far.
Well, I finally finished knitting my Paris Toujour scarf.
I used Hayfield Spirit yarn which was really nice to work with, as is all their yarns. I should have finished it for the 15th February, but, due to M’s birthday (15th), work, baking cakes, and my birthday jaunt to Prague I ran out of time, but what the hell, it is done now so who cares lol. The KAL challenge was made by the guys at FiberHustle, the pattern was designed by Isabell Kraemer.