Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Blue Cardigan

 On Sparkpeople we do various Challenges and I joined in the July Stash Buster Challenge, I wanted to knit a cardigan that was made in one piece as I dislike picking up lots of stitches for the front bands.
So I hunted around and found this pattern on Ravelry


Now for me this was a real challenge as I have never knitted a garment in one piece before and not used markers or short rows. Then there was the grafting of the sleeve seams to master as well so a challenge all round.
This was the end result

I am quite pleased with it, I need to get the buttons for it so closed it with a shawl pin for the moment to take a picture of it. It is not blocked yet but still does not look too bad.
It is knitted sideways so I had no idea what I was doing I just followed the instructions in the pattern an after a while I could see what I was doing.

I read the instructions in the pattern link of how to graft the stitches for the seam on the sleeves and it made no sense to me so off I went to YouTube and found this
Grafting Garter Stitch

That made sense and as I worked on the technique I soon found it was not as difficult as I had thought.

So now I have learnt to use markers something I had not done before and it has opened up a lot more patterns that I could try as well.
Knitting short rows is easy and again it means I will be able to do more patterns that call for short rows and not be put off by it.
Grafting garter stitch was the one thing I was dreading but again after seeing it done I was able to do it myself.

It is not the usual style of cardigan that I go for as I tend to go for longer ones and knitted in the traditional way that means a lot of sewing. This pattern was easy to use and the instructions nice and clear. As it is knitted entirely in Garter stitch it was a nice easy project to do whilst watching TV, no fiddly reversing rows for the right or left side or sleeves, that always get me in a muddle and I have to be extra careful or I make a mess of things.

Now that I have tried this pattern I will have a look at other cardigan patterns that are also knitted in one piece. I may end up with a couple of cardigans that will serve me well for early Spring and Autumn and even in the Winter months that I will have made myself.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fred the Frog

I have been busy knitting a cardigan but wanted a break and made this little chap.

I am on Loving Hands  forum and we knit things for various charities and this little character will be part of a family of frogs that will go to Siblings Together.

On Loving Hands they have seasonal challenges and this Summer we have various things going on one of which is the Critter Challenge and this time it is Frogs. Anything frog related so wash cloths, dish cloths, hats toys you name it if has a frog on it you can make it. All items go to various charities that can use them to either raise funds or give to people.

I have a Jean Greenhowe patter booklet that has the Frog family in it.  Jean Greenhowe's Knitted Animals

This is the Frog Family in the booklet I added a scarf that is sewn on at the back so it will not get lost. You use two strands of DK yarn held together and knitted on 4mm needles for the Mother and Father Frogs and single DK yarn on 3mm needles for  the frog children. That way you use the same pattern and amount of stitches to create two different sized frogs.

Why I chose Siblings Together.
Many years ago when I was 11 years old my Mother had Cancer and it was not looking good. If things had not gone well then myself and my brother would have ended up in care and back then the chances of us being together was slim. I knew this and worked hard to make sure everything was as easy as possible for my Father so I took over the running of the home and made sure my brother who was 5 years old at the time was clean as I insisted he bathed every night and had his hair washed as well. I was determined that we would stay at home no matter what as the thought of being separated from my brother was unbearable.
Thankfully my Mother survived and we did not go into care but it was a close run thing.
So I know how I felt at the thought of being separated from my brother and realise how how hard it would have been if we had been taken into care.
Children need time to be together with their siblings if they are separated due to circumstances beyond their control. So Siblings Together provide something that is needed and they like things such as these as quoted from a message on Loving Hands

The children love poncho's, hats, blankets, bags for carrying their small items at camp and whatever you could possibly think of, toys, definitely teddies, dolls all sorts, all the more special because they have been made especially for them !!.

So I will make the frogs and send them off I am sure some of the children will like them as they are different.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Red Shawl/Lapghan

Okay so there was a change of plan the Old Shale stole is on hold, in fact unravelled . I got a message that someone needed a shawl that would not bee too big and could if possible be used as a lapghan as well. Something light but warm, tall order but not impossible.
Their favourite is Red, so I stopped knitting the Old Shale Stole ( good job I had not got that far with it) and unravelled what I had done.
I chose to go with the Prayer Shawl pattern of K3 P3 using 7mm needles so it would be soft and drape nicely.
I went with 114 stitches this meant every row started with a K3, much easier to keep track of.
By using 144 stitches on 7mm Needles and using DK yarn it meant the width is just over 36 inches so I knitted until I had a square then bound off.
I added a Shawl pin so that it can be easily fastened and stays put  the pin is made of wood so a nice natural touch to the shawl.
This is the result 
Shoulder  Prayer Shawl

Close up of the Shawl Pin

The shawl can be opened out and used as a lapghan or folded into a triangle to be worn as a shawl. Nice and simple but effective.
As for my Old Shale stole that can be made at a later date, I may even make myself a Shoulder Prayer Shawl/Lapghan from the yarn I have left over I rather like the look of it.
Next project a Cardigan.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Old Shale Stole

I tried the Lacy Shawl pattern and simply could not get on with it. I can do the pattern but every so often I lost count and had to unravel after 4 times I decided to give up on it and tried a different pattern but did not like the large holes it created in the lace pattern.
Personally I don't like large hole lace patterns and I don't like the drop stitch ones either many do like them but I don't so I had a think and decided to go with Old Shale again.
This time I chose a plain DK yarn and it is working out really nicely.

I love deep red so went with that and it seems to show up the pattern really well I have a large 500g ball so hopefully that will be large enough to create a stole long enough for me.

Yes that is the same yarn and the same needle with the Old Shale pattern both pictures taken on the same day in the same place, weird how the camera distorts colours.

My pattern is this

CO 114 sts on 4mm needles  ( this is 18+6)

Row 1  Knit across the row

Row 2  K3 Purl across to last 3 stitches K3

Row 3   K3, * K2 tog  3 times, (YO, K1) 6 times, K2 tog 3times Repeat from * end with K3

Row 4 Knit across row

Repeat these 4 rows until you have the length you want BO on Row 1

Some people call it Feather and Fan but I found that there is a difference, Old Shale uses an  18 stitch  repeat  whilst Feather and Fan is a 14 stitch repeat.

This site shows the difference between the two patterns.
Feather and Fan versus Old Shale

I love the Old Shale pattern so went with this, it is easy to do and looks lovely no fringe is needed and the overall look is just what I want.

I have made blankets with this pattern and even scarves and they all look different as I have used different yarns and colours. So as the pattern is so versatile I am using it again and make no apologises for doing so.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Block Frenzy

I have been knitting blocks each evening to have a break from knitting larger projects.

This is block 55 Polpero nice and easy to do but it curls a bit not that this matters as it will be sewn to other blocks eventually.

Christmas Stripes Block 57 would lend itself nicely to all sorts of colour combinations. I love the Double Decrease now that I have mastered it and like the way it creates a line down the middle.

This is Block 84 Beaded Leaf. As my beads are rather large I altered the amount of beads so they sit neatly on the leaf.

This is Block 40 Deepdale it looks quite effective in the pale Lilac yarn I chose.

Block 197 Harris. I started this on 4mm needles and soon found it was smaller than the other squares so started again using 5mm needles and adjusted the amount the of rows to suit. In the picture it looks rather oblong but it is the same size as the other squares. I went with red and pink and the pattern shows up well with this combination.

This is block 189 Oblique Stripe. I enjoy knitting this type of square as it sits flat and is real TV knitting just a simple increase and decrease.

So 6 more blocks to put away until I am ready to start sewing or crocheting them together, not sure yet which method I will use but will sort that out later. I will need a lot more blocks before I start sorting them out to make a blanket. My Brother may get this one for Christmas so not sure about how big to make it yet, it may end up as a large afghan or to go across the bottom of the bed. I will add a border as well to finish it off there are some lovely patterns in the book for borders so I may use one of them.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Squares again

Now that I have completed my shawl I want to get back to knitting some more squares, they are small and quick to complete. So here are two I made using the book 200 Knitted Blocks for blankets, throws and afghans by Jan Eaton.

51 Arrowheads

Lovely pattern and texture I chose purple as it is nice and bright and shows up the pattern nicely.

Now this is 50 Crystal Sparkles the only problem is I do not have any sparkling beads that are large enough to thread onto the yarn. So I used what I had these are red wooden beads so I have named this square Berries.
I want to make more squares from the book with beads but will use the ones that I already have and add these squares to the middle of the blanket. That way I can use the wooden beads in red and black as these thread onto the  yarn easily and will create added interest to the finished item. It will create a themed pattern using red and black beads with bright yarn so they stand out.

This was the first time I had added beads to my knitting and was surprised how easy it is so I have learned something new by making these lovely squares.

The blanket will be sampler blanket that way I won't get fed up knitting the same squares.  I will have to repeat some of them but can make them in different colours that way they will look a little different. One of my favourites are the ones with leaves in the corner so I may make more of them, time will tell as I work the blanket.It will take some time to complete it but will be worth the effort and make a bright blanket for the bed.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Firseside Shawl

I cannot believe that I have finished my shawl already it was so easy to knit up and grew really fast.
The pattern uses garter stitch throughout and as long as you can yarn over and knit through the back loops a great pattern for  beginners.
Fireside Shawl

As this is a Vintage pattern I was worried about the yarn I would need to use but after asking the knitting experts in a yarn shop I went with the yarn to suit the needle size.
Needle size worked out to be 6mm
Yarn suitable for size of needle was Aran

I wanted the shawl to be a little wider than in the pattern so used 7.5mm needles so I could still use the recommended amount of stitches.
This is the result

Shawl shown lengthwise
The bands are 20 rows garter stitch and 12 rows lace pattern
As I will be using the shawl in the garden a lot I took a picture of it in the garden hanging it over the Rosemary to show the pattern as it will be worn.

I like tassels on my shawls and went with 9 on each end.

I bought myself a shawl pin that I thought would look nice with this shawl.

This is the brand of yarn I used and is really nice to work with.
The colour is a sort of Oatmeal nice and light and will go with anything.
The yarn is a blend of 75% Acrylic and 25% New wool and is soft and works up well.

The length in the pattern states 72 inches, my shawl is 66inches and is long enough for me. I used up all the yarn and had just enough for the tassels. I could not go out and buy more yarn as this was given to me and was put away until I could find a pattern I thought would look nice using it.

Now I will try the next Vintage pattern I want to make
This one will be a deep red in DK yarn again I have 400g to work with so will see how it knits up and how long I can get it with this amount of yarn. As it is a more complex but still fairly easy pattern if that is not a contradiction, I will be knitting some square's as well to give myself a break every so often.