Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Lily Pad = Floralized - Mystery Kit-Along by Cheri McEwen

This is the first blanket I have knitted in the round.  It is a pattern by Cheri McEwen on Ravelry called Floralized.  She has released it as a free pattern for The Summer 2014 Mystery Knit-along with 5 clues.  I seem to have become addicted to these.

This has been quite an adventurous knit for me.  The pattern is very versatile and can be knitted in any gauge wool and can be knitted in the round or as a triangle or three quarter shawl. There is provision for beads to be added as an optional extra; however, as I am knitting a blanket I didn't think this would be appropriate for me. I chose to make it into a complete square in James C Brett - Rustic Aran Tweed. This is a mixed yarn and very light ans soft.  I am actually enjoying knitting with this much more then the Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, which I found rather hard on the hands to knit.

The pattern itself is lace knit with eight repeats per quarter section that are divided by a spine stitch and additional fill stitches maintain the pattern throughout.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

MKAL - Last Post

This project is now complete with all ends sewn in.  I am very pleased with the end result.  I am now thinking of making the Martin Storey  Dot Stripe Cushion  to go with it, with my remaining yarn.  I may need to get another ball of wool to complete it but I think they will go well together.

Monday, 21 July 2014

MKAL - 12 - Assembly

Had the most terrible day when starting to sew the centre squares.  I found I had assembled my centre squares up-side-down!  I have had to unassemble them and had to reassemble them the right way up. Fortunately I had only joined 4 strips of four squares up to that point otherwise I think I would have felt suicidal!

The trim is not very exciting to knit but, on the up side, I have turned the corners the using Dayana's short row  method.  This hasn't been without its own little quirks as the first two corners required a C6B and the last two needed a C4B.  I'm not going to worry about it as I am sure no one will notice once it is all made up. The blanket is so big that most little mistakes will not notice at all and just become one of the design features..
24 squares of middle section assembled with mattress stitch
Finished the trim and sewn it onto the edge, grafting the two ends together with difficulty as the wool was too dark to see the stitches clearly.
24 edge squares with cable trim attached

Middle section and edge with trim arranged to show how finished blanket will appear

Detail of corner turned with short rows with cable inserted

I have started to sew the centre panel into the blanket and it is really surprisingly heavy.  This would be better done in the winter as the weather is really too hot in July for a pure wool blanket covering the knees!!!  

Sunday, 22 June 2014

MKAL 11 - Assembly

I have assembled all the edge pieces according to the plan and now need to knit and assemble the trim onto these pieces.

I made a provisional crochet cast on, in a contrast colour, to enable me to graft the ends of the trim invisibly and started to knit the trim directly onto the blanket but I think that it looks a bit messy.

I then thought of crocheting around the edge of the blanket and knitting the edge onto this.  I may end up by knitting it separately and mattress stitching it on to the blanket.

My intention is to sew the middle pieces together in strips so that it will mean that once the trim is in place the centre can be stitched in easily and quickly.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

MKAL 10 - Layout

The official layout hasn't been posted yet , nor has the method for piecing the squares together but in the meantime I thought I would try out my layout, live on the carpet.  The last six squares in Raspberry are missing as they are in the process of being blocked, but I thought I would lay out the pieces in the order I had planned, anyway, omitting the last squares that are still drying.

Unfortunately I took the photo of the layout upside-down in comparison with the plan. I noticed a mistake in the first column whilst laying them out (the right hand column in this photo). There were two Doughnuts in the last row (top row here) and simply by exchanging a Doughnut for a Lace Kisses, in the same column, I was able to preserve order!  

The "knight's move" pattern is still preserved and there are no two patterns the same in horizontal or vertical rows.  The diagonal will always have a different colour but may be the same pattern. Each colour will be a knight's move away from the same colour.  (The gaps are the positions of the remaining squares). I think it will look good once it is made up.

My plan is still to join the edge pieces first so that I can knit on the border without having to hold the whole weight of the blanket on my knees in June and July!!!!  It would have been a lovely cosy knit in December but not in mid-summer.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

MKAL - 9 Clue 8

Clue 8 is called Ripple Cable.   This is in, in my opinion the nicest of the squares. Martin Storey has combined the stitches used in previous clues in this design, which incorporates both  lace and cable stitches.

The only mod I've made is to add a couple of rows of garter top and bottom.  I also did the right slanting sl1 k1 psso as k2tog tbl, as I did last time in clue ?

I have now completed all 6 squares: 3 in Raspberry, as as shown here, and 3 in Rosy, which is actually lilac!!

All still unblocked.  This square has knitted up the same as clue 7 and both of these clues give a much denser fabric than the others have, and they have been a lot larger!  This may all blend together once they are well dispersed, I live in hope.

I have started to block Dots & Dashes and Doughnuts. I washed them and pinned them and they required a lot of stretching to achieve 20cm sq.  Precisely what I didn't want to do.  And lo and behold they have shrunk back considerably.  I hope that this will not result in a very uneven blanket. 

I know this is a gripe but I don't think there were enough (if any) test knitters to knit this prior to issuing the pattern.  The "squares" nave not been square, have not knitted to size and, although people do knit to different tensions, they are usually consistent, this knit seems to have been a problem for a lot of people who have added their two penny worth to the forums, so, I don't think I am alone in this thought.

There has now been a great deal of discussion regarding  Clue 9, Cable Trim.  A proportion of people posting on the Ravelry, Rowan Forum have not liked it at all and a few people have changed the trim to suit their own taste. I think it is the photo that doesn't do the trim justice so I think I will knit this as per pattern
but may make up the blanket or at least the edges so that I can knit it directly onto the edge.  Haven't quite formulated how yet, but am thinking about it.  There will be a month to finish it off so there should be plenty of time before the end of the KAL.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

MKAL - 8, Clue 7

Clue 7 has been named French Plait by Rowan. It is a variant of stag-horn which, seems generally to be knitted over 16 stitches; 8 to the right and 8 to the left symmetrically, giving the cable some breathing room. This clue is not exactly like this; it is only knitted over 9 stitches, four right and four left separated by a constant reverse single stocking stitch vertical  giveing a double twist appearance rather than a stag-horn.

The photograph issued with the pattern, in the English version, doesn't exactly match the written pattern and I think that the garter border top and bottom appears a bit narrow.  I think I am going to adapt this pattern to suit my own aesthetic; I have knitted this according to the written pattern (see above) and feel it could look better.  I'll publish what I decide on in my next post.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Rowan MKAL - 7 Clues 5 and 6 and making mini cables without a cable needle

Finished the 5th clue and have started the 6th clue.  I've been rather busy with one of the other passions in my life - my allotment. or more precisely our annual plant sale, which has been taking up the majority of my time lately.

I haven't yet blocked clue 5 but here they are.  This was a very simple and straightforward knit called Dots & Dashes.  This was the first bobble and there was a huge amount of discussion on how to create the bobble.  including people who preferred to crochet them.  I mainly stuck to the pattern but added a k1tbl of the last stitch to give the bobble a bit more definition.

The 6th clue was the first "cable" clue.  as the cable only involved twisting one stitch over the other either left or right to create a "doughnut", this has created some controversy but has not been quite as controversial as clue 5.  Some prefer to make "kisses" and some want to make noughts and crosses.  OK they are all technically cables but very little ones and these can be created by twisting stitches.  I do this is a more classical way than has been described by fellow knitters and I will attempt to describe this here.

Making the mini cables without a cable needle.

I learnt this so many years ago I can no longer remember where or when.  But everyone else seems to do very peculiar things and even reverse stitches by taking them off the needle.  I do not like this as there is a huge danger of dropping stitches

For a left sloping twist

Place point of rh needle from back of work between first and second stitch on lh needle.

Pick up front leg of second stitch on lh needle and knit it, (see next 3 photos)

then knit through front leg of first stitch.

Slip both stitches onto rh needle.

For a right sloping twist

Knit the front leg of second stitch on lh needle from the front of the work

then knit the first stitch on lh needle through front leg,

 slip both stitches off the lh needle onto rh needle.

 This is exactly the same as the cable stitch with no twists in the actual stitches themselves.
 Sounds difficult but it isn't really.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Mystery KAL - 6

I have now completed all six squares for the 4th clue.  This was the second lace pattern.  I added two rows of stocking stitch at the beginning and the end.  I think this also gives a better balance to the design as it is more centred.  I have also sewn in all the ends of this and the previous clues as I think it will give a neater appearance in the end if they are well finished rather than sewing up the squares with the hanging ends.  The contrast colour could look nice but I may use one of the body colours as it will not be such a stark contrast.

I think they all look nice once blocked and flat.  I have managed to block all the squares to more or less 20cm x 20cm, but some with more difficulty than others.  Clue 4 would have been quite a stretch to 20 cm if I hadn't added the extra 4 rows to each square.   The designer probably wanted a lacier appearance but I'm not sure that this would look good against the heavier squares.  I much prefer the fourth pattern to clue 3, which I found rather heavy looking with the thick garter stitch bands. At the moment I am a little worried about clue 3 as it does seem different to the others in size and thickness. Clue 3  gave the largest finished squares before blocking. 

 I tend to favour a more uniform appearance and ultimate thickness.  I am concerned that the squares will distort once sewn together and a flat blanket would not be possible if there has been over vigorous blocking of some squares against others. Hoping that they will all look good once sewn up into the final blanket.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Rowan Mystery Afghan Knit along - 5

Clue 3 came out on Tuesday this week and was a simple lace pattern consisting of chevrons and garter stitch bands.  I am knitting these in Raspberry and Candy. For me these are easy as I love lace knitting.  I decided to block all of the squares once I have knitted all six. I think these squares look fine and will be better once blocked.

I managed to knit a fourth square from a single ball of wool; the pattern suggests that you could only knit 3. The tension is a bit all over the place with everyone so I think this is part of the mystery.  It is interesting reading all the posts on the Ravelry thread and I put my location on the KAL map this week. I wanted to know if there were others in my area doing this too.  I wonder how many people are knitting this all over the world as they are not all on Ravelry (currently in excess of 640).

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Rowan Mystery Afghan Knit-along- 4

I have completed knitting the first clue - 6 squares in two colours,  C and D on my chart. (C is Magenta and D is Candy). 

These are two of the squares from clue 1 in Candy, not very true to the actual colour.  They look a bit lurid here but  candy is nowhere near as bright as this!  I found these foam mats at Aldi.  I actually bought them to go on the floor of my studio but in the meantime have used them to do bocking.  I have drawn 20 cm squares in waterproof marker pen on them so that I can pin up to four at one time.

 I have also completed the first 3 squares of the second clue in colour A (Raspberry), the next three squares will be in B (deceptively named Rosy, which is actually an old lilac shade).  This is a Nordic Star; unusually, the charted pattern dictates that the design emerges from the wrong side row.  I have never come across this before.  

The square for this clue has a garter stitch border all round in contrast with the clue 1 square, which only has a garter stitch border top and bottom.  I can see myself re-knitting clue 1 all over again to match the second clue!  

There have been quite a few problems with gauge but clue 2 seemed to knit up almost exactly to the right size on 4 mm needles.  I can barely understand this as the first square, even when knitted on 4 mm pins, seemed still to be short ( even though there are the same number of rows in both).  There has been a huge amount of discussion about this on the Ravelry thread, which you can see if you sign up to Ravelry and visit the Rowan Forum for this knit-along.

So far this hasn't been too difficult but I think each new clue will grow in complexity and  throw in a few little twists to keep things interesting.  

Monday, 21 April 2014

Rowan Mystery Afghan Knit-along - 3

This is the potential layout for the Afghan in 4 colours and 8 patterns with a contrasting border.
The colours were taken from my photos of the actual wool so are a fair approximation of what the final layout may look like

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Rowan Mystery Afghan Knit-along 2

Started yesterday when the first pattern was posted.  I've completed the first three squares in the first colour. This is the first one that I completed
It was only roughly blocked so it is not quite square yet.  It is knitting roughly to size, but others are having quite a few problems with this, so I think I am quite lucky that my tension seems to be working quite well.   I am finding it is just over 20cm square and slightly wider than it is long, but this can be sorted when it is properly blocked.  So far, so good.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Rowan Mystery Afghan KAL

The colour inspiration for the Rowan Mystery Afghan Knitalong came from a chocolate fish my friend gave me for Christmas.   I ordered the yarn two days ago and it arrived today from Loveknitting.com; it was beautifully packaged in net bags.

The first pattern for the kal will be issued on 21 April.  Have to be patient until then!

First pattern will be published on 17th April!