Wednesday 22 June 2011

New WIPs

It might seem like I have abandoned this blog of late, for which I am sorry.  I have been crafting, but I've not been taking photos as I have been hard at work on a new blog. I have been a bit ranty of late, so I decided to tuck it away in a nice quiet corner of the internet. I decided that in order to keep Stitched Together a nice crafty place, with a minimum of whinging, I better set up a new place in which spout forth on the difficulties of living with a chronic health condition. 

My new blog is called Scars Inside (a reference to my adhesions) and is taking up more of my time than I expected.  I have been working on one post for the last couple of days.  In order to rant properly you need facts, and these facts are hard to dig up.  I feel like I've gone back to college! So this is why it has been quiet on this blog of late.  If you would like to visit me there, I would love to see you, as I feel I am currently shouting into the abyss.  I think I have set it up to tweet on my ST1TCHEDTOG account when I post on the new blog, but we shall see.

Now - back to my crafting, after all that is why you are here!  As I have finished my lovely shawl, which I will leave that for the reveal on Friday, I wanted to start a new project.  I have some lovely Summer yarn that I bought at a reasonable price, and don't have a pattern that I like for it (there's a surprise!).  I have decided that I will make my own pattern so I have swatched my yarn thoroughly.  I knit a large swatch, in the round, as that is how I plan on knitting my pattern, and I have washed and blocked it.

I don't want to repeat the mistakes of the Recovery Sweater, which turned out huge, because I didn't block my swatch.  I blocked this swatch quite hard, as I want the fabric to be loose and flowing, though of course I could have used bigger needles.

I love this yarn, Adriafil Sol Lavente, which is a DK weight yarn and is composed of 47% silk, 45% cotton and 8% linen.  I have worked out the basic shape of this top and now I have the gauge I can start doing my maths (which could take some time).  This is definitely going to be my "thinking" project.

To balance my thinking project I always have at least one easy pattern to take to knit clubs and to knit while chatting to friends.  Until recently this has been my lovely spiral blanket, but it is now too big and hot to sit under, so it has been stowed away until the cooler weather starts again (probably about 10 days knowing British Weather!). 

I decided to look at my queue and I found a pattern I bought a while ago, which I had the yarn for.  The pattern is the Mitred Crosses Blanket for Japan, by Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon fame.  The proceeds from the sale of this pattern are going to Mercy Corps, to help the Japanese relief effort.

When I bought the pattern a couple of months ago, I knew I wasn't going to make it straight away.  I did, however, want to source the yarn.  Instead of the very lovely, but oh so expensive, Noro Silk Garden, that the pattern specifies, I wanted to use different and cheaper yarn.

I decided that this was going to be a blanket for throwing on the lawn to laze around on, or to take camping to huddle under at night.  I wanted my blanket to be robust and, more importantly, machine washable. I found the perfect alternative, to the suggested yarn, in Tivoli Ocean, which also knits as an aran weight.

As you can see, it also has the same long colour variations that Noro yarns have.  It is composed of 30% wool and 70% dralon.  It is soft and is very loosely plied, which gives it a very slight halo.  To contrast with the Ocean, I wanted a plain yarn for the background.  I wanted the variations to be the star of the blanket.  The background yarn I found was Stylecraft Special Aran, which I got for the amazingly cheap price, of £1.25 for 100g, at Country Crafts.  I had never felt or seen this yarn in person.  But at this incredible price, I thought it was worth a punt.

And do you know what, I really like it.  It is cheap and machine washable, with a lovely springy stitch definition.  It feels soft and I know I will buy more in the future if I need something cheap and robust.  It would be perfect for children and babies.  I found this yarn because the DK version has been used and recommended by Lucy from Attic 24 for her Granny Stripe Blanket, and in fact Country Crafts do an Attic24 selection pack.

Once I had the yarn, this potential project sat around for a bit waiting for me to get around to the pattern.  Then when I was getting hot and bothered by my spiral blanket I decided it was time to go modular!

I have managed 3 blocks so far.

I think this blanket could just work out very nicely indeed.  Look at that stitch definition.

It's so plump and squidgey.  I love that these blocks are knit on smaller than normal needles.  It gives the blocks heft and density.  They are supposed to be blocked to around an inch bigger in both directions, but I don't know if I'll do this, as I like how they look and feel now.

The colour variations are working nicely as I only used one of the Ocean skeins to make these three blocks and it looks like more were used to get the variation of colours.

The pattern only uses 10 blocks, but I would like a big square blanket, so I might try and track down some more yarn.  I'm enjoying the knitting so much, my little pile will grow really quickly during Wimbledon fortnight!

There may be little else to show you next week, except a bigger pile.  To check out other works in progress, click on the button below and see some very talented bloggers as they share their processes.


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