Friday, 27 May 2016

Blanket from coned yarn

Recently,  I collected a lot of yarn from a family in Bristol.  They had very kindly donated the yarn stash belonging to a recently deceased family member to Loving Hands.  I brought the yarn home, sorted it through and shared it out with other Loving Hands members and groups.  For reasons of postage costs, I kept most of the coned yarn to use up myself.

The problem with coned yarn is that it is normally very fine - it is, after all, designed for use with knitting machines, not for hand knitting.  A lot of cones are very large too - some of these weighed around the one kilo mark.  In my experience, the best way to use it when working by hand is to put several strands together.  So I set out to crochet a blanket using four strands of yarn at a time with a size 6.00 hook.

I chose 2 different combinations of yarn, and made each granny square 12 inches by 12 inches.  24 squares were joined together using slip stitches to make a blanket 6 feet by 4 feet:

To edge the blanket I did one round of dc in the paler combination, then one round of crab stitch (AKA reverse dc) in the darker combination.

The blanket weighs 1.4kg and is very warm (that's said with feeling, having had it on my lap most of the day while I crocheted the border and darned in all the ends!).

And despite using 1.4kg of yarn, there is still an awful lot left on 3 of the 5 cones I used!  At least 2 were almost completely used up.  Now I need some ideas for projects to use up more of the cones.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Back to the Fifties (or earlier?)

After my mum died, I found her knitting patterns in a neat pile.  Many of them were from the eighties, when she had recently retired and had time on her hands, so did a lot of knitting.  I found the pattern for her favourite jumper, which she knitted for herself at least four times.  I found the patterns for jumpers she had made for me, including an aran jumper that I remembered so well.

I also found some patterns for boy's jumpers which date back to the 1950s or beyond. My brother was born in 1946, and there are lots of childhood photos of him in hand-knits.  I was very taken with this pattern:

I love the happy looking boy with his goalie's jersey and leather football!  The black and white photos and the price make it likely that this was printed in the 40s or early 50s (the price of 3d is just over one penny in today's money).  I remember a school photo of my brother around the age suggested by the pattern wearing a button-necked jumper with a collar, so I chose "Tich" (although my brother was 6 feet 5 inches, so I don't suppose he was ever a 'tich'):

So this is my latest boy's jumper on the needles:

The pattern is designed for Bairns-wear Heather Mixture which of course no longer exists.  I googled it to no avail, but as it was knit on size 9 needles (that's 3.75 in metric) I chose a thinnish Hayfield DK from my stash which is 80% acrylic and 20% wool.  I went with 4.00 needles, and, as expected, it is coming up slightly larger than the pattern suggests.  But it is a very satisfying knit, garter stitch with purl ribs.  Let's hope I finish it quicker than I finished the previous boy's jumper!