Monday, 26 March 2012

Rainbow ZigZag Blanket - FO

It's finished.

After a marathon session of edging, culminating in a row of crab stitch, which I've never really done before except for a few stitches to see how it's worked, DD2's Rainbow ZigZag blanket is finished off.  The ends are all sewn in and it's on her bed.

For the edging, I did a round of trebles in cream, working two stitches per ripple row.  I saw on another blog (possibly Crochet With Raymond) how the edge stitches had been worked in two-stitch clusters and though they looked neat, so did the same.  After that, I went with three rounds of coloured trebles with a round of cream dcs separating each colour.  I finished off with a round of cream dcs and then a round of cream crab stitch.

This is the blanket folded into eight, on the sofa, which gives an idea of the size.

Here it is on DD2's bed (complete with her own, special wall 'art' - I'll redecorate once she's stopped drawing on her walls).  Her bed's a junior size and the blanket's tucked down at the foot board, so I think it should still be a good size for a full size single bed.  That's something that we need to buy, but as she threw a bit of a hissy fit when I tried to move this bed to a different position in her room and a bigger bed won't fit in that space, it's something I'm putting off for as long as possible.  It's an autism thing - change is Not Good quite a lot of the time.

And finally, a close-up of the ripple pattern.  I think the colours have come out ok in this shot - I really need to think about getting a better camera as it does struggle a bit sometimes with multi-coloured things.

This means that on the needles/hook I have the Claudia laceweight crochet scarf that I've, erm, more or less forgotten about, if I'm honest.  Now that hubby's going to have to go into his office in London four or even five days a week, I'll be able to get on with my St Brigid sweater (it required concentration, which I can't do when hubby's working at home).  I also have some vanilla socks on the go (the yellow stripey ones) which are good for TV knitting.  I started the cuff on the first one this morning at knitting group (they're toe-up, so nearly half way there).

So, what's next?

Actually, it's going to be this:

I wound the yarn when I got back from knitting group this morning (and Jess has learned the hard way to keep her nose away from my swift - oops!  She was warned to keep away, I promise).  The pattern is Rock Island by Jared Flood (Ravelry link) and the yarn's Angel 2ply/laceweight by the Natural Dye Studio.  According to the label, the colour's 'spice' and isn't quite as orange as the photo suggests.  The pattern gives a finished dimension of 68" wingspan and 31" depth on 4mm needles, so I might go down to 3.75mm.  Not sure if wood or metal tips would be the best option for this - metal might be a bit slippy and having read some of the comments about this pattern on Ravelry, it requires concentration, so having stitches that don't stay put on the needles might be a bit risky.  The shawl starts at the bottom, with the border knitted sideways (something lik 72 repeats) and then lots and lots of stitches are picked up along one edge of the border and the spider webby pattern is started.  At least with a bottom up shawl the long, long rows of knitting are done first, so you don't get that 'am I ever going to finish this?' feeling!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Rainbow's Edge

I sat down on Tuesday and got on with sewing in all those ends, which was a bit of an undertaking (and means I'm behind with the housework, but that's nothing new).

Tuesday evening I damned and blasted (or something similar) as I set about working a row of different length stitches to straighten the ripply ends of the blanket.  In the end, because I thought double-trebles looked a bit floppy, I made the decision that if it wasn't perfectly straight, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

I started on the edge as well.  Two trebles per row.  As there are 150 colour stripes, plus one cream row at the end, that works out at 151 rows, so 302 trebles - down each side.  Add that to the 210 stitches that make up each row and that's -- lots and lots of stitches to be made for each round of the edging.  1032 (I think) stitches around the first edging row, increasing by eight stitches each subsequent round.  It's mind-numbing and I'm having to make myself keep going.

It looks nice though :)

The coloured rounds of the edge are trebles and are separated by rows in double crochet in the cream colour.  I thought that would continue with the colour rows being taller than the cream ones.  I think I'm going to do one more colour round after the yellow one (maybe the limey green as it's such a cheery colour), then a final round of cream dcs and then I'll see how a round of crab stitch in cream looks (I can always rip it out if I don't like it).

Next time you hear from me, it'll be with FO photos and (hopefully) a happy younger child who can have her blanket on her bed.

Monday, 19 March 2012

The End is in Sight

Actually, there are many ends in sight......

The rippling of DD2's Rainbow ZigZag blanket is DONE (all 151 rows; 210 stitches per row) although I'm going to straighten up the ends and crochet on a border.  Folded in half lengthways and rolled up, that's what the yarn ends look like.

All those ends require weaving in........

...... so if you don't see me on Phoenix, Ravelry or Facebook for a few days, you'll know why.  If you still haven't seen me by the weekend, send in a St Bernard; some form of reviving tipple may be required!

Thursday, 15 March 2012


It's done!

Over the past week, I've done lots of mattress stitching, sewing in of ends and careful picking up and knitting of a button band.  I also did careful picking up and knitting of a buttonhole band, worked out Mr Flood's instructions for a one-row buttonhole, did about two-thirds of the buttonholes feeling rather pleased with myself and then realised that even though I could do the buttonholes ok, I'd done my maths wrong, so had to unpick them and do them again.

The result?

Sorry the picture's a bit pants - I think I had my camera on a lamp-light setting at this point (oops).

Here's the sleeve, with the cuff turned back (the sleeves are supposed to be knuckle length and the ribbings just over 4" in length).

 I bought some buttons off eBay, crossing fingers that they'd be the right size (the description said they were 3/4" in diameter and the pattern said I'd need that size of button).  I think they look fine - I didn't want anything fancy because of the sweater's stitch pattern.

I also decided to sew in some ribbon where I'd picked up the stitches for the collar and the bands.  I couldn't get grey, so bought some plain black and some black with white polka-dots and it was the spotty ribbon that I went with.

There were a couple of reasons for adding the ribbon.  First off, it covers up the picked-up area and I think it makes it look a bit more finished.  Secondly, it helps to give a bit of stability, especially in a garment such as this which has taken approx 700g of yarn and could sag with wear.

I didn't wet block it, but steamed it and then stretched it out on my bed to dry off completely.  After all, am I likely to wet block it each time I wash it?  Let's face it, the answer to that is "no"!

Am I pleased with it?


Some details:

I used 3.75mm and 4.5mm needles rather than the 4mm and 5mm specified in the pattern.  I usually find with Jared Flood patterns that I have to go down a needle size (I think JF's a tight knitter).

I changed the raglan slightly by doing them as stocking stitch rather than k1, p1, dec (reversing for the other side).  I also sewed it up using a full stitch as a seam allowance rather than the 1/2 stitch as the pattern was written.

Yarn is Patons Diploma Gold Aran in a steel grey colour (which I bought three years ago in a sale, if my memory's correct).

I weighed the sweater after I'd finished the knitting, with the ends not sewn in and it was 718g, so used 1182m (thank you to Ravelry's yarn calculation gizmo thingy).

I'm now back to rippling DD2's blanket and knitting my yellow stripey socks.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

A diversion

Yesterday afternoon, I was diverted from picking up the band stitches on my Tinder.  I finished the collar at Friday knitting group in the morning, but I'd also taken a bag of leftovers from my Granny Stripe Blanket and started A Little Something New.

A little bag.  Do you want to know what it's for?

All right then!
A Kindle!!!  On Tuesday, hubby was doing Stuff on his laptop and then came up to me, gave me his credit card and said "you'll need to take this to Tesco with you after 4pm on Thursday, or Friday morning".  I was a tad perplexed until he said that he'd ordered me a Kindle.  It was a bit of an Oh Gosh moment.  I've had a Sony Reader for a couple of  years and I love it, but Readers and Kindles don't use the same software and not all e-books can be converted to other formats because of Digital Rights Media stuff.  So, I can use my Sony to borrow e-books from the library (I'm a member of Essex, Suffolk and Cambs library services now), but can't do that for a Kindle and, similarly, can't download many books from Amazon to read on my Sony.  Amazon have apparently come to some kind of agreement with libraries in the US, but there doesn't seem to be anything in the pipeline re Amazon and UK libraries (which I'm sure you'll agree is rather irritating - don't Amazon make enough money already?).

I even lined my little bag this morning:

The whole thing took four or five hours to make and I used a couple of buttons that are the same shape from my button tin.  One button is orange and the other is yellow and I used blue yarn to sew them on.

I could have bought a cover for my Kindle, but I didn't want one that opens up like a book as for me that defeats the object of an e-reader somewhat.


Yarn is Stylecraft Special DK
Hook size used was 4mm
Fabric was some cotton I had in my stash.
The cover weighs 43g in total, so with all the ends that were sewn in and cut off, it probably used 50g of yarn.

It was very simple to make.  I chained the width I needed and then did UK double crochets (single crochet in US crochetology) along the chain and then back down the other side.  After that, I just went round and round with DCs, two rounds per colour.  Once it was long enough, I did straight rows and skipped a couple of stitches, doing two chains instead, to make the button holes.  Finally, I did one row of DCs around the edge of the buttonhole flap to neaten it up.  For the lining, I cut two rectangles the size I'd measured I needed, seamed around the two long sides and one short side to make a pocket, pressed down the opening for neatness and then slip stitched it in place around the top.  If I was better at sewing, I could have lined it right up to the edge of the flap, but my sewing skills aren't that good.

It's very bright and cheerfull and I doubt very much it's something hubby would have chosen for me!

The irony of all this?  The book I'm currently reading is a physical/'tree' book that I got from the library because it wasn't available in e-form from either of the three library services I belong to (it's "The Hopeless Life of Charlie Summers" by Paul Torday, who also wrote "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" which was very good).

Back to picking up button and buttonhole bands for Tinder now and once that's finished, I'm going to concentrate on DD2's Rainbow ZigZag blanket.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Tinder update

This morning, my Tinder sweater looked like this:
One back, a left front, a right front and two sleeves (and lots of ends).

This evening after what seems to have been a nearly-endless amount of mattress stitching, it looks like this:

There are still lots of ends.

The seaming didn't go exactly as written in the pattern either (but I don't want to go into that now except to say that I think I shocked even the dog with my language at times).

Next up is picking up stitches for the collar and the bands and then sewing in the ends, sewing on the buttons and then a wash and block.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Spinny Stuff

Remember I told you about the merino yarn I was spinning up from Colinette in this post?  How I wasn't sure about it?

I finished spinning the three bobbins last week (it was a 150g braid of merino so I divided it into three) and plied it over the last couple of days.  Here it is plied, but still on the bobbins.

It didn't look very promising on the bobbins and when hubby commented on it, I admitted that I really wasn't very sure about it, but after all the hours spent spinning it up, I was reluctant to just bin it.

After winding each bobbin onto my niddy noddy and twisting the skeins, it now looks like this:

It doesn't look too bad in the skein, so now I'm going to soak it in the sink while I walk the dog.  There's a total of 155g of fibre and it's made 455m of yarn, so that means it's, erm, just under 3m per gramme, which makes it a sport-weight/light DK.  I might knit it into socks - that way, even if the yarn isn't very pretty knitted up, the yarn will have been used, but won't be seen that much!

In other news, I've finished the first sleeve of my Tinder sweater, but haven't started the second one yet because I've been spinning.

I also came home the other day to find that hubby had answered the door to the postman and there was an Amazon package waiting for me, which was exciting as I knew exactly what it was - The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt, which has been re-published (second-hand copies of the original version were selling for Lots of Money).  It's a knitter's bible and has information on techniques, stitches, fitting, shaping; well, everything knitterly to be honest.  It wasn't a cheap book, but I think it's well worth the money.  There's a Kindle version available which is approx half the price of the printed book, but I thought the physical book would be a better option and I'm glad I made that choice as I think it's too big a book to work well as an e-book (for Kindle anyway; it might be ok on an iPad, but I haven't got one of those).

I shall love you and leave you now to go and dunk the yarn, then walk the dog before school's out and I get bogged down by Motherly Duties :)