Two hats and a dishcloth

I have been feeling a little out of sorts lately, not sure which project to start next, so when I heard that the Apostleship of the Sea wanted hats (among other things) as Christmas presents for seamen, I decided to make one.

I found a pattern suggested by the Apostleship of the Sea in a different area which said that aran weight was best. Now I have quite a bit of yarn left over from making thisbed jacket because I adapted a pattern with three quarter length sleeves and a fitted body and so had to guess the amount of yarn to buy and I over-estimated.

The yarn is a lovely soft 100% merino wool so should be great for keeping seamen’s heads warm on chilly days.

I had enough to make two hats and here they are. I don’t feel the sewing up of the seam is perfect but it won’t show too much if worn round the back.

Another thing that I have made recently is a new dishcloth, as I reported I would be doing when I showed you this yarn. yarn

This time I made it bigger than last time, using 40 trebles across. dishcloth I used the same two rows of three border from my book as before although I chose it independently! Dishcloth foldedBecause it is bigger than before it does take longer to dry but I like it in use.

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What was I doing on Saturday?

I met up with my eldest and family and had a couple of meals and had fun in an Escape Room. After we escaped!

Although this is not my photograph and therefore I do not own the copyright I am sure the Escape Plan guy won’t mind as this can be considered  an advert. He was keen on us passing on the word.

The Escape Room is located in SE London in Iliffe Yard.

We had great fun. We had been there previously for a Second World War prisoner themed escape and this one if anything was even more fun.

If you are interested in learning more here is a link – https://escapeplanltd.com/ Highly recommended.

I also took with me the socks I had made for my granddaughter (which I have shown you previously). socksand the hat I made for my daughter. hatMy camera really didn’t like this yarn. The colour is much more of a vibrant peacock blue. Imagine the above but brighter and a little darker. The above has been edited by me for colour but nothing I could do would get it the correct shade.

Here is another photograph of the hat standing up. hat in the roundIt is alpaca and merino wool, wonderfully soft.

The pattern for the hat came from Debbie Bliss and here is a closer look at the stitches. knitting stitchesThe hat was very popular and my daughter put it on immediately!

A Foray into Planned Pooling!

A long time ago I made a cowl for someone who wanted one the same as the one I was wearing at the time. I couldn’t get exactly the same yarn but I bought something similar and proceeded to knit it.  (The yarn was a multi-colour, random sort of yarn.)

However it came out with stripes in some places. stripey partI quite liked the stripes but didn’t seem able to reproduce them further up, though you can see a narrow band that gets a bit stripey.Cowl almost finishedso I contented myself with the fact that this part wouldn’t not show when it was worn, but it puzzled me.

Recently on a Ravelry Forum, there was a thread about planned pooling and I mentioned this item and asked whether it was a change in tension or a change in the way the yarn was dyed that caused the difference. The person who responded said she thought it was a matter of my changing my tension. It is an unusual stitch and so although my tension was good enough it may have varied.

Now I had half a ball of the yarn left in my “stash”,

I therefore decided to try knitting the yarn so as to create stripes and see what happened.

The colours seemed to repeat about every 120 stitches. At first I cast on with the yarn but then decided that I probably used a slightly different amount of yarn casting on, so cast on in white then knitted until the colour change. It was obvious that the colours would need to be knitted in the round to get the repeats to line up.

And I produced this. Yarn knitted upI read about the fact that to get things perfect you might have to adjust your tension, and I did this a bit in the early stages but soon realised that the sections of the different colours would move out of sync and then back again if I kept my tension even. Showing colour slippageAs you can see here the colours were quite a bit off but then regrouped when I came round again.

The yarn has obviously been dyed to make a variety in the length of the different colours but not enough to lose all regularity.

I also decided that I had been right when I though that the colours might have repeated at half the width. one side of knitted circle

As you can see when you compare the one side to the other half.
other half of knitted cirle I can now see that there is even an amount of left right symmetry so it might have been possible to knit the yarn flat as well.

So the question is shall I try to make something that uses this effect?

At this width it could maybe be a cowl but I have lots of scarves and cowl type things so I wondered about undoing it and halving the number of stitches to make it into a project bag.

I also thought of seeing what would happen if I chose to crochet the yarn.

So you may be hearing more about this in future.

If I want to do the sort of precision planned pooling I have seen though, I would have to choose a different yarn.

For interest my original cowl came out like this.

My cowl when originally made
The new and the old

But the matching fingerless gloves (that turn into mittens), I made for Friday food shopping when it was raining, do have the colours bunching a bit.matching fingerless/mitten glovesThe idea was to be able to keep my gloves on in the greengrocers, while having my fingers covered when out in the cold and wet.

Socks and a Blanket

This is all I have for you this morning, I am afraid.

Still doing less knitting and crochet than normal but have managed to do the small amount of knitting and crochet to finish the socks for my granddaughter and complete the main body of my Symmetrical Granny Ripple blanket.

I am going to add the pattern for the blanket to Ravelry when I have finished it but am not sure what to call it. My original Granny Ripple blanket is called “Soft Granny Ripple” though that name was not chosen by me but the lady who persuaded me to let her put it on Ravelry.

So here are the sock for my granddaughter. Short ones, as requested. socksThe yarn is Regia (One of my favourite makes of sock yarn). Nothing much on the ball band. Colour 0525 which I have found on-line called Papillion. I think I must have picked it up in Hobbycraft as my other sock yarns seemed a bit dingy for a teenager.

And here is the body of my “sea and sand” colour blanket body of blanketbased on the four times fourteen rows that form almost half of the blanket I made for my daughter. Completed sea and sand blanket

Stylecraft Special DK in the following fourteen colours:-

White, silver, parchment, camel, mocha, turquoise, sherbet, aspen, teal, royal, bluebell, denim, aster, cloud blue.

selection of yarnsAs with my other sea and sand blanket, I am not going to fill in the ripples, but have not finally decided on the edging.

Published Angel pattern

Pattern on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/three-small-angels

Even though the opinions given were that the angel didn’t need arms, I couldn’t resist trying out what arms would look like.

First I just made a more colourful one. Then I decided I would try adding arms. And rather liked it.

So I decided to create a pattern with both angels I showed you plus the coloured one with arms as an option.

I took the first two angels to Crafty Coffee on Friday – well at least I can still drink coffee! – and I wanted to see if they liked the pattern. They did – Yay! so I gave them a free two angel one to use as they wish for their project and have published the full set as “Three Small Angels” on Ravelry. 

I was making a version of the third one in different colours but with my arm out of action. I have decided I can always add that as a photograph at a later date.

Unexpectedly! an Angel pattern

I am still working on this pattern and will add it to the shop when I have finished a few variations. Watch this space!

I had thought I would probably have finished the extra knitting and got the pattern ready for next week but unfortunately I now have my left arm in a cast and sling with a cracked bone in my elbow, so even writing posts may be tricky for a while. In ten days the temporary cast will be removed and then I will either be okay or have a long term cast for up to six weeks. So no knitting or crochet for a while. How will I survive, what will I do?

A little bit about how this patterns came about,

A lot of the people who come to ‘Crafty Coffee’ on a Friday are from a local Anglican church and it has been decided to give away 100 or maybe even 200! knitted angels around Christmas time. Two free patterns had been chosen as possible ones to make but the people who were likely to have to make quite a few of the angels were not entirely happy with either of them. So I offered to make one for them.

Now by the time I left to go and do my shopping they were a little happier with the chosen patterns but I found I couldn’t resist having a go at making one.

My first attempt in the afternoon was this. First attempt

But then in the evening I refined it to create this. Final angel

The angel is a little fancier than the ones they were looking at but it is quite a simple pattern in that it is knitted flat and the lace part only has one repeated row and the rest is rib or stocking stitch.

The lace could be omitted to create this simpler angel. I also modified the head slightly for this angel which is how I have written the final pattern.Plain angel

I am not sure whether I should include optional arms for the final pattern. What do you think?

 

A Sock addiction

Well I’m not really sure that I have a sock addiction 🙂 but I haven’t made any socks for a long time and from time to time I get a craving to make some more.

I normally force myself to resist this temptation because I have enough already but recently I discovered that both my daughter and granddaughter have the same size feet as myself and would both love me to knit them a pair of socks.

So!

I have a stash of sock wool because of some that has been passed on to me for free, Yay! so I offered my daughter a choice of yarn. Two balls of sock yarn

and she said that she preferred the one on the left.

Here are the pair I made her. A pair of socksIt’s hard to get socks to look good when lying flat which is why when I knit them for myself I also photograph them being worn!

I have actually bought some more sock wool to make a pair for my granddaughter New sock yarnand when I know how long she would like her socks to be, compared to her mother’s (her mother wanted fairly short ones!), I will start a pair for her.

I could have used the wool to the right in the picture at the top but I thought maybe it wasn’t quite her sort of colours.

I do like Regia sock yarn!

Fair isle tutorial

One person who read  a recent post asked if I could add a video tutorial.

Now I don’t do video tutorials and in fact, for myself, I normally prefer pictures and diagrams that I can peruse at my leisure, so I am going to share a few photographs that I hope explains exactly what I was suggesting.

The post in question was on knitting fair isle and how I had now mastered a way of ensuring that the yarns didn’t get tangled and could even be twisted every other stitch if wanted. I give a description of this in an Addendum to the post but maybe a picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, so here is an explanation with photographs.

I don’t describe what to do for purl stitches because it is essentially the same principle and when learning fair isle it is better to use circular knitting where all the stitches will be knit. However a piece of flat knitting is easier to photograph.

Knitting Fair Isle

The first thing is to separate the two yarns one on either side. The one on the right being the ‘upper’ (normally background) yarn and the one on the left being the ‘lower’ yarn.

As in this photograph.I am referring to the person’s own right and left.

Arranging the yarns like this naturally makes the one on the right hand side higher than the other and helps in remembering which is which.

This method will work whether you are twisting frequently or only every few stitches. However it always involves two adjacent stitches of the same colour.

When twisting frequently and knitting an odd number of stitches in the same colour,  I will always knit the first one normally and then twist the yarn for the next two. (Repeating the twisting for more pairs as necessary.)

Firstly I will deal with twisting the yarn for stitches using the ‘upper’ right-hand side yarn.

I think you can see in the photograph how the green (right-hand) yarn naturally sits above the pink (left-hand) yarn.

For the first of the two stitches, I pull a loop of the upper yarn forwards under the lower yarn and use that to wind round the needle. (See arrow)First stitch with upper yarnFor the next stitch, I pull the yarn back and use that to knit the stitch. (See arrow)Second stitch with upper yarnI think you can see that this will bring the green yarn back to the top.

The yarn should now be untwisted in any way and back to where you started.

Now knitting with the ‘lower’ left-hand side yarn.

This time I pull a loop backwards under the ‘upper’ yarn and knit with this. (See arrow) First stitch with lower yarnLooking at the photograph below I think you can see how the pink yarn is now naturally above the green.

So I pull the yarn forward and use the length that is below to make the stitch. (See arrow)Second stitch with lower yarnAs before, the yarn should now be untwisted in any way and back to where you started.

Everyone has their own way of holding yarn but I find it is possible to hold both in the right hand and use the first finger and thumb to twist from one to the other. Though a certain amount of letting go is also needed.

I hope that all this is helpful and adds to what I said before.

(As a footnote. When working purl stitches I did tend to find that I needed to treat the right hand yarn as the lower and the left hand yarn as the upper.)

More Fair Isle experiments

Because yes, the cowl and hat were in their own way experiments in knitting fair isle.

Now, looking back, I don’t think that my parents were very good teachers, though I learnt a lot by watching them. However my mother knitted too fast for me to learn much by watching and so fair isle knitting was a matter of picking up that you used two colours for a row and twisted them together every so often so you didn’t have long hanging strands but also twisted them back the other way so the yarns didn’t get tangled plus seeing the back of my mother’s fair isle.

As in this photograph. 0548-mothers-fairisle-reverseWhen I tried, even years later when I was an adult and was desperate to learn, what tended to happen was that the stitches were very uneven and the foreground colour tended to pull. As well, I could never sort out a method of twisting the yarn that I could remember, so at the end of the row the yarns were wound round each other many times.

0548-my-fairisle-reverseFor the cowl and hat I let myself have strands across the back for one to three stitches and so there wasn’t the same pulling.

Deciding to put the balls of yarn, one on the right and one on the left helped to remember which was which and I soon started to think of the one on the right as the ‘top’ yarn and the one on the left as the ‘lower’ yarn.

Having later read about fair isle on line I found that this was a distinction that was made.

And thus I learnt to twist the top yarn ‘under’ the other and then on the following stitch to pull it over again and so lose the twist. Doing the opposite for the lower yarn.

Now it was time to see if I could knit fair isle like my mother

In THIS POST I talk about how I was using the English way of knitting for the right hand yarn and the continental for the left, although picking up the yarn continental fashion hurt my wrist.

But now I decided to hold both yarns in my right hand, holding the yarn with three fingers while the forefinger separated the two yarns and the thumb helped with the twisting.

I started with a circular needle as then every row would be knit. 0556-circular-knitting-right-sideI used the checkerboard pattern my mother had used for the knitting bag and some of the patterns from my plan for the hat, including the one I didn’t use. The reverse looks like this. 0556-circular-knitting-reverseI was pleased that it looked as if I had finally cracked it! So I decided to undo my sample and knit up some more fair isle with straight needles. 0556-flat-knitting-right-sideand the reverse. 0556-flat-knitting-reverseIt took me a while to feel comfortable with the purl rows. In the end I decided that treating the right hand yarn as if it was the lower yarn for the purl side and vice versa seemed the most natural.

All I need now is a reason to knit something which requires fair isle knitting! Plain colours next time though so that the patterns show more clearly.

Addendum

For anyone who like me finds the instruction of twisting yarn for fair isle that merely says twist clockwise and then twist in the opposite direction is not helpful enough here is what I do.

When I am using the left hand ‘lower’ yarn and wanting to make a twist, I pull a loop of the yarn back towards me under the other (right hand – top yarn) and use this yarn to wind round the needle, thus moving it above the other. For the next stitch I pull the main part of the yarn and knit with that. Restoring the status quo.

When knitting with the right hand ‘top’ yarn I pull a loop forward under the other yarn and knit with that, then pull the main yarn up and over and knit as normal. This removes any twist.

This way you undo the twist as soon as you make it and so never have to remember what you did last time.

If you want to twist frequently like my mother used to do this is the way I think of it.

If all you are doing is knitting one stitch of a colour in a sequence, you knit as normal. If you are knitting two stitches you knit the one after the other as described above. For three or more stitches: if it is an even number you simply work every two stitches as above. For odd numbers work the first stitch as normal that the rest of the stitches as for an even number.

 

Just add a Hat!

After I made the cowl, I decided to offer it to my daughter as I still have all the hats and scarves that have featured on this blog and much as I love the cowl, I wasn’t sure if I really needed it.

However, I also had about half the yarn left and thought that it would be fun to make a hat to match the cowl. My daughter said that she would like a hat as well so I only hope her head is the same size as mine! 0553-hat

Now when I say match, I wasn’t going to use the same fair isle patterns as the cowl except for the rib. Google is always good for ideas and I copied out some of my favourites.

Traditional fair isle patterns normally have vertical or horizontal symmetry or both but some of the designs on the cowl only have rotational symmetry so I wanted to incorporate some of those. 0548-chart-for-cowlI am very fond of the Greek Key pattern so I included that early on for the hat.

Although I worked on the design on my computer, I copied it out onto squared paper to use a guide.0553-new-pattern

In the event I decided not to use both of the blue zig-zag on green parts of the design and replaced the second with a smaller purple on green section. (I didn’t use the last red and green part at all.)

Now what have I learned in the process of making this hat? Well a couple of things!

Firstly

If you are planning on making a hat it is much easier if you start with a pattern.

I started with the idea that the cowl although it slipped over the head easily was quite snug so the same number of stitches would be a good place to start. I did use a smaller 3.75 (UK 10) circular needle for the rib but it was not until I had got fairly far on and was wondering if now was the time to start decreasing that I thought a pattern might help to make sure I got it right.

So I spent hours trawling through fair isle hat patterns on Ravelry only to find a whole variety of needle sizes and tensions even for DK yarn and a wide range of stitch counts and increasing and decreasing. None of them that fitted in with what I was doing!

I found a decreasing look that I liked in the photographs which involved: skip two stitches, knit one, pass both slipped stitches over.

However I did not like the look so much when I had knitted it so it had to come out. I had also chosen six decreases a round and since it seemed best to have one of these decreases mid back where the row changed, I didn’t like the slight point at the front.

Now life was so busy last week that I didn’t feel up to taking a photograph so you will have to imagine.

So I undid back to before the decreasing (more on this in a moment) and tried again.

This time I chose seven decreases a round – easy as 19 x 7 is only one more than 132.

But then came the moment of truth. The hat was going to be too big! 😦 I was a bit unhappy that I had to remove the purple and green bit that I had thought of as leaves and a sort of parallel to the leaf pattern in the cowl but it had to be done! So using the same method I had used before I decided I would have to reduce the length by a couple of inches.

Here is a quick photograph I took with my phone at Crafty Coffee on Friday when I was just beginning to pull out those two inches. 0553-ready-to-undoSince the method I used is something that worked well. I thought I would mention it for anyone who finds it helpful.

This is the second thing I learned

Risk free way of undoing several rows without doing it stitch by stitch.

I heard (reading US blogs I think) of people putting in ‘life lines’ when they were knitting in case they needed to undo part of it later. I wasn’t sure what they were but it gave me an idea.

I took a needle and a piece of thin string and carefully went under the front part of every stitch on the row I wanted to go back to. (I chose a row where I was only using one colour.) I counted the stitches to make sure I had the right number then took a circular needle and threaded it through the same stitches and counted again. I then felt confident enough to remove the original circular needle. Finally I removed the string. In the photograph you can see how it looked just before I removed the string. I then undid the rows and sure enough when that was done all the stitches were neatly on the needle ready for me to start knitting again.

I added in a couple of rows in blue and then decreased after a red row. Originally I had thought I would just use two or more of the colours as stripes for the top but then I realised that I needed to continue the fair isle patterns to make the top as thick (and warm!) as the rest. 0553-top-of-hat

This time I decreased by a combination of K2tog through back loops and a normal K2tog.

And here are the hat and cowl together. 0553-hat-and-cowl

I still have about a quarter of the wool left but I don’t think it would be enough for mittens!