Friday, 30 September 2016

The blanket is finished!

After several months in the making, I have completed the aran squares blanket.  I had planned to use 48 squares, but when I laid them out, I realised that just one more row of 6 squares would make it a single bed cover, and therefore it would be much more useful as a blanket.  So I knitted a further 6 squares, and its finished size is just over 6 feet by 4 feet.  All the squares are knitted corner to corner on size 5.00 needles, and apart from the bright green, all of the yarn had been donated to Loving Hands.  I expect that this blanket will go to Operation Orphan for their Keep a Child Warm project.

It has a simple crochet border which is made up of half trebles and double crochet.  It has been a brilliant stash buster, weighing in at just over 1.35 kilos.  Repeat after me, "I must not replace the yarn used up, I must not replace the yarn used up......."

Monday, 19 September 2016

Finished and not yet finished items

During the summer months I have been knitting squares to make an aran blanket.  My stash of aran yarn has grown over the last year and was filling one shelf of the guest room cupboard, as well as a bag inside the wardrobe in my bedroom.  Something had to be done, and that something would be a large blanket of 8 inch squares.  It has been a good summer project; eight inch squares can be taken on car and train journeys, and knitted outdoors without making you feel hot and sweaty as a larger item might.  I now have 40 squares completed from my target of 48:

I hope that he colours I chose will go together well in a random blanket.  I have used up the red and the pink completely, and will be making a few more brown and bright green squares as there is a lot of those colours still left in my stash.  The blanket will be 48 inches by 64 inches, which is quite a substantial size.  The squares also make quite an impressive tower when piled up!

As well as making progress with the blanket, I have also knitted another girl's cardigan with the grey rainbow yarn.  You may remember in a previous post that I couldn't decide whether this yarn would be suitable for a boy.  Well, this time I went for an obviously 'girly' pattern that was among the ones that my mum left.  I wonder, did she make this for me when I was little?  It was a double knit pattern but I knitted it on 4.5 needles with 2 strands of coned 4 ply.

The button bands are pulling slightly, which means that I didn't pick up enough stitches, but I don't think it will notice when it is being worn.  It is 24 inches across the chest, so should fit a 5-6 year old. There is still enough of this yarn left to make a baby jacket or a few hats - it is amazing how far it goes!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Continental knitting anyone?

On Saturday, I found myself in Hampstead, North London.  I hadn't been there for many years, but I lived there for 3 years in the early 1970s when I went to University.  Sadly, Westfield College, the arm of London University that I attended, has long since been merged with Queen Mary College, and all the wonderful buildings and spaces we lived and studied in have been converted into luxury flats.  It was jaw-dropping to see 2 bedroom flats in our old library building being advertised in estate agents' windows for £1.1 million!

But I wasn't there for nostalgia, I was attending a knitting workshop run to raise funds for Knit for Peace, in their headquarters in the quaintly named Radius Works, Back Lane, Hampstead.  The workshop was for continental knitting and fair isle, and was led by expert knitting tutor Juliet Bernard.  Wool to practise with was donated by Rowan Yarns, and Juliet, as well as giving her services for the day for free, also provided one of her own patterns for us to have a go at.

I've mentioned in a previous post that I struggle to purl in the continental style, and Juliet showed us several ways to do it so that we could select the one that worked best for us.  I practised on the rib of the hat, and, as the picture shows, I have a long way to go before I can call myself able to do it properly, but at least I now have a technique that I can manage with.

I enjoyed the day enormously, partly because I went with my niece, Amelia, so we were able to catch up as well as compare one another's progress.  The picture above shows how far I got with the fair isle hat, although I have to admit that I went horribly wrong with following the chart and had to frog a few rows before I got to that stage.  I will be carrying on with it, and will report progress in future posts.

It was good to be in Knit for Peace's HQ too, and to see where they sort the garments they are sent.

There was also a table full of all sizes and types of knitting needles and crochet hooks that had been donated, and were awaiting being sent out to different projects where people are being taught to knit and crochet to be able to support themselves and their families.

Altogether it was a lovely day spent knitting with like minded people, in the knowledge that, while enjoying learning new skills, we were also supporting a charity that helps others both here and abroad.