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.