Tuesday 17 June 2014

Yes, I do knit, why do you ask?

It’s hard to believe this started life as a knitting blog. I dare not even check when I last mentioned knitting on these pages, let alone talked about something I made myself.

But there are a couple of “advantages” in being too ill to do much. The greatest advantage, of course, is quiet time. And quiet time, for me, means reading and knitting.

My last post talked about my reading so I’m here to talk about knitting!

Yes, you know, sticks (albeit very short sticks joined by a plastic cable) and yarn.

On Christmas Eve, in response to the horrific bushfires (not far from here) that destroyed 200 homes and damaged at least another 200, I began another knitted blanket. I quite often have a knitted blanket on the go – there are many charities that will take them, especially at this time of year. The blankets most often called for around here are 70” x 40” so I chose to design my own. It is inspired by the Moderne Baby Blanket (Ravelry link) from Mason-Dixon Knitting (Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner) which I had just finished a few weeks before. I particularly like the two rows of white yarn I have used to do the first part of each section.

2014 Nouveau Blanket

The knitting is finished but I have lots of ends to sew in. There’s also a safety pin hanging from the large brown section to the right where I dropped a stitch more than 40 rows back and didn't notice. I will use a crochet hook to deal with that! when I crochet a border around the whole thing. I tried to use yarn from my stash to complete this blanket, hence the different shades of brown and green. Speaking of green, the colour here is way off: the green across the top is bottle green; the other green is a deep forest green! I tried to adjust the colour but this is the best I could get.

In retrospect, I don’t think I would cast off each section then pick up the stitches on the next round – I think I’d leave the stitches live on some waste yarn (or a spare “cable”). For some reason, my blanket won’t lie flat – I think it’s a combination of tension problems (caused by casting off then picking up the stitches) and using different brands of DK weight acrylic yarn – they all knit up to a different gauge even though they’re supposed to be the same ‘weight’. Fortunately, bodies are not flat so blankets with a bit of ”curvature” aren’t too much of a drama and I may be able to block it (if it bothers me too much – all that mucking around with the steam iron to block acrylic is not my favourite activity!)

I have also knitted a very basic beanie – it’s DK weight (tencel/acrylic) yarn knitted on 4mm needles using 120 stitches – it will fit somebody with a very big head (you can see that it is way too big for me)! What was I thinking when I cast on? The tencel blend (now discontinued Moda Vera “Jaclyn”) is such a soft yarn; I’m sure the new owner will find it warm and comfortable! The colour should be cream not the soft grey shown here; what is it with taking photos outside on a sunny Sydney winter’s day?

2014 Basic Beanie 

Although I gave some yarn away before we moved, the amount of yarn that moved with us had shocked me and goaded me into some knitting action’', even before I got sick. While I was away at my mother’s, I worked on and almost completed the first of two scarves; the second I finished last night. Both are knitted in a (now discontinued) DK weight, 50% tencel/acrylic blend (Moda Vera “Cynthia”), in a simple, slipped-stitch pattern on a garter-stitch base making them quick to knit, and ideal for conversation, listening to audio books or watching television in low-light levels.

I knew three 50g balls of black yarn wasn't enough to knit a scarf but I wasn’t sure how far one ball would go so I started with a provisional cast on and knitted one ball. This resulted in 152 rows, so I then planned 30-row stripes from the remaining two balls plus the two balls of ‘forest’ green I also had in stash. The result is a scarf of a good length and the combination could be worn by either a man or a woman. Come to think of it, I’m sure I saw it around a certain man’s neck on Saturday when he realised he was coming down with something (which the doctor confirmed yesterday was likely to be bronchitis!).

2014 Simple Scarf I a  2014 Simple Scarf I c 2014 Simple Scarf 2

The black and green scarf was knitted on 41 stitches using nearly 250g of yarn and came out at 7.5” x 75”. I had only 200g of grey yarn but still wanted a scarf of a reasonable length so made it slightly narrower – 37 stitches. The resulting scarf is 6” x 70”.

Unfortunately, that is almost the end of my stash of Moda Vera “Cynthia”; I have just six balls of ‘brown’ and one ball of a “natural mix” left; plus some leftover from the green and black scarf. I say unfortunately because it was a lovely soft yarn, both on my hands while knitting and in the final product. I still have several balls of Moda Vera Jaclyn (same DK weight, 50% tencel/acrylic blend) but I’m not overly fond of the boring cream colour. I think I’ll wait until summer and see how it takes dye; it’s not like I have no yarn to work with in the meantime! Meanwhile, the boring cream will be used as a background for a stranded colour-work hat using the leftover green, black and a small amount of the brown.

In case you’re wondering why I have to wait for summer (apart from the fact that downstairs is not completely unpacked and sorted yet), my “dyeing studio” is in a room under the house – it’s freezing down there in winter, it’s like a cool room without the need for electricity! No wonder the previous owner used some of the area down there as a cellar!

In sewing news, I’ve had a huge hiccough in my progress with the Country Houses quilt which was (but, sadly is no longer) on track to be finished by the end of the month. There’ll be a post about it soon; but right now I’m off to cast on for that stranded colour-work hat!

What are you working on at the moment?


  1. I love the blanket. I know what you mean about trying to photograph shades of green. I had the same problem a few months ago...very strange.

  2. I really like the white between the colors-nice idea. The scarves are classically beautiful! Feel better soon!

  3. Lovely blanket in lovely colors. It has a quilty look to it. I really like the little hat pattern too:) Glad you are getting some knitting done.

  4. It's nice to keep your fingers and your brain engaged when you don't fell well. It at least keeps my mind off how bad I feel. The blanket looks really cool. Enjoy your knitting time and hope you get to feeling 100% soon.

  5. Hi Lynne, I hope that bronchitis is on its way at last. Dad used to get it really badly and have weeks off work when I was young. It certainly takes its toll. I don't usually have a problem with green in photos. Red is my nemesis but lately I have had problems with a vibrant blue. Three hats on blog today all from same ball of yarn. Not that you'd guess. Stay warm and rest up. You were perhaps overtired from moving and bronchitis saw its opportunity and moved in.

  6. Love the blanket; especially those thin white bands...they look so effective :-) hope you are on the mend now!


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