Hexagon blanket update

Well I’ve finished the main body. Just the edge to do.

I crocheted in the ends as I went but I still had the end of the ends to cut off. I didn’t do the cutting as I went in case I cut off an end I had forgotten to weave in and risked a break. I also chose to sew in the last end of each hexagon to make them extra secure.

It took me two days (about 3-4hours) and produced this little pile of yarn bits.

I was pleased to discover when I had cut off all the ends that the back of the blanket looked almost as good as the front. I had not expected this, so it was a bonus.

Front at the top Back at the bottom

It was hard to take a good picture of the main body of the blanket so this is the best I could do.

This will enlarge if you click

Originally I was going to do a simple border. One row of trebles followed by a shell edging. But I have decided that that is a much too flimsy edging so I am going to do several rows of trebles and see how it goes.

Hopefully I will have finished the edging in a weeks time and then I can do a full reveal.

All this blogging has made me decide that I must actually buy myself a camera of my own. In the past I have owned two film SLRs but for the past few years I have been borrowing a digital bridge camera from my son and while it takes fairly good pictures, it has it’s limitatons.

I have been going round and round in circle this last week not sure what to buy but I have finally decided that I will go for a light but good quality camera that I can take around with me easily. The SLR I might have chosen weighed about twice what my old one did with just the one lens.

I am going out this afternoon, and while it looks as if I will not come back with it, I may well have bought it!

The Mathematics of a Granny Circle (inc pattern)

I had made a few demo granny squares to work out the best way to do them and the best size hook. Now I decided I wanted to see how to do a granny circle.

But the big questions were: how to start? and how to work the increases?

I knew that the centres of a granny square and the centre of one of the hexagons for the hexagon blanket had involved twelve trebles, so that seemed a good place to start.

I decided that doing four standard grannies (= 3 trebles [US dc]  followed by a chain) might make the circle too square so I thought six double trebles with chains between might be better.

Now for the maths.

I decided that the circumference of each of my granny circles should be measured in chains as that was what the circumference would effectively consist of.

Well the circumference of a circle is 2πr (π = 3.1416… but since you can’t have fractions of a chain I decided to call it 3).

So circumference would equal 6 x radius.

Three chains are what normally substitute for a treble [US dc] so calling a chain ‘c’ and a treble ‘t’ we get 3c = t

So measuring the radius of the first row we get  6 x t = 18c. This accorded very well with my idea of six double trebles with chains since that would give exactly that number.

Now the second row.

When doing granny squares (or stripes, or circles) the trebles overlap so effectively each row only adds about two chain to the radius. So calling this distance t’,  t’ = 2c.

This would be 6 x (2t’) = 6 x (4c) = 24c.

Now lets start thinking of grannies (= 3 trebles [US dc)] followed by a chain) and lets call a granny ‘g’ so g = 4c.

So circumference of second row circle should be 24c = 6g.

That’s good as it would mean working one granny between each of the treble pairs.

Third row

Would work out as 6 x (3t’) = 6 x (6c) = 36c = 9g

Fourth row

Would work out as 6 x (4t’) = 6 x (8c) = 48c = 12g

Fifth row

Would work out as 6 x (5t’) = 6 x (10c) = 60c = 15g

So are we seeing a pattern here?

From row three the numbers must go –

9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39, 42, 45, 48, 51, 54, 57, 60………………

I did try working exactly that number of grannies in each row for a few rows but it gave a rather distorted circle so I thought again.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

We started with the idea that six is more circular that four, but twelve is even more circular. (Think of clocks and decorating cakes).

So – noting the rows that divide by twelve (bold) and those that only divide by 6 but not twelve (italic) we get:-

Rows 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Grannies 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30
Rows 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Grannies 33 36 39 42 45 48 51 54
Rows 19 20 …………
Grannies 57 60 …………

Deciding it was easier to scrunch grannies up than stretch them out, I therefore decide to work twelve grannies for rows three and four.

Working rows three and four

So I worked two grannies into each of the gaps on row two and then one granny into each of the gaps on row three.

Rows five onwards

Well I could have tried working eighteen grannies into row five but remembering that when I worked Lucy’s pattern for a flat circle made of trebles, increasing every 11th treble worked so you hardly noticed it wasn’t a perfect circle.

I decide to try just increasing (by working two grannies into a space) so the rows were multiple of twelve, and as it worked well on rows three and four, to anticipate the increases.So this is what I did and as it worked well, that is what I settled for.


So row five increased the number of grannies to 24 (see above).

And this number was kept till row eight (see above).

On row nine to increase the number of grannies to 36, I could no longer increase equally into each space but had to increase every other space (see above).

But the circle was so big now it seemed to work.

As you can see from our pattern above, I now increased every fourth row, working twelve increases evenly into the row.

When working a granny square I like to work the three chain (treble equivalent) into the middle of an increase as it is less obvious that way. But in this case I was working the increases into the first gap on the relevant rows because it made it easier to do the count. However if I did it again, I think I would try to go back to starting in the middle of an increase.

My granny circle had really started out as just a sampler but I liked it so much that I made it into a table centre.

Finishing off with a nice symmetrical scallop edging.

So my pattern is:-

[I am using UK terms.]

  • Start: Ch 4 and join with a sl st into the first ch or you could use the Magic Loop method.
  • Row1: Working into ring: 3ch {=1st tr}, 1tr, 1ch, then repeat (2tr, 1ch) 5 times and join to third chain of start of row with a sl st.
  • Row 2: Working into the gaps between treble groups: 3ch {=1st tr}, 2tr, 1ch, then repeat (3tr, 1ch) 5 times and join to third chain of start of row with a sl st.
  • Row 3: [This is an increase row]. Into first gap 3ch {=1st tr}, 2tr, 1ch, then (3tr, 1ch, 3tr 1ch) into each of next 5 gaps then 3tr, 1ch into first gap and join to third chain of start of row with a sl st.
  • Row 4: Work as Row 2 but there will be 12 gaps in total instead of 6.
  • Row 5:  Work increases as Row 3 but there will be 12 gaps in total this time.
  • Rows 6&7: Work as Row 2 but there will be 24 gaps in total this time. From now on the increases = (3tr, 1ch, 3tr 1ch) are spaced out with single groups of (3tr, 1ch) in between.
  • Row 8: Work a half increase = (3ch {=1st tr}, 2tr, 1ch) into the first gap then a single group = (3tr, 1ch) into the next gap and an increase = (3tr, 1ch, 3tr 1ch) in the following one. Continue, alternating single groups and increases till you get back to the first gap and work 3tr 1ch into this and join to third chain of start of row with a sl st.
  • Rows 9-11: Work as Row 2. There will be 36 gaps in total.
  • Row 12: Similar to Row 8 but with two single groups between each increase.

Continue, making 12 increases in every 4th row until the desired size is reached.

Edging

  • Row 1: Work 2ch {=1 dc} into first st then 1dc into each following stitch (not spaces). Join with sl st into second chain at start.
  • Row 2: On this row sl sts are worked over the gaps and shells over the 3tr groups. I used a smaller hook because of only missing one stitch rather than two between middle of shell and sl sts. Repeat (sl st, miss a st, 4tr into next st (a shell) , miss a st). Join to first sl st at end and break off yarn.

I like to use a 5mm hook for granny squares for a blanket as that makes them softer but for the granny circle I used a 4.5mm hook and a 3.5mm hook for the second row of the edging.

This was with DK acrylic yarn.

For those who find such things useful here is a chart I made for myself:-

This has been tough to proof read so if anyone notices a mistake, please let me know.

Projects, Projects, Projects!

I realise that I actually have four projects on the go at present.

Firstly and most importantly there is my hexagon blanket.


The main body is almost finished and I am trying to give it priority.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Then there is my ‘can I really knit a sock?’ project.

The assistant priest in our parish, having seen me first in my spiral scarf and then in my rainbow scarf, realised that I must be a knitter and asked if I would knit him a pair of socks. Not any socks, mind you. He plays the bagpipes and is part of a music group. They have to wear white knee socks, which turn over at the top.  Apparently you can’t buy socks like this and they have to improvise. But if I could knit him a custom made pair!……………………..

Well I have never knitted socks. All these double pointed needles and picking up stitches for the heel had made me feel that I would never knit socks. But I told him I would think about it.

I discovered that socks could be knitted using circular needles, so not so many ends for stitches to fall off, and I even found a pattern  that used wraps to shape the heel, so no picking up stitches. It was getting better.

I decided that I would have to practice before I was finally sure I could do this. I only had DK yarn and circular needles suitable for DK yarn so I decided that would have to do. (At least I had some boring colours I didn’t need at present). I adjusted the number of stitches to suit the yarn and wow! I actually made a sock that fitted my foot. Yes. I can do this!

I couldn’t entirely eliminate the ladders you get, when using a long circular to knit a small circumference but then I discovered really small circular needles and decided to buy one.


Yes they really are that small.

I practised using straight needles and the small circular just to knit the heel part in some odd 4ply wool I had. Yeh! This works too.

Yes and I have even bought myself some gorgeous sock yarn to knit some socks for myself when I have made the knee socks. I am saving a reveal of this for a separate post.

At present, when my hands want a rest from crochet, I am working out how much I might have to increase to fit the sock round the calf. When I have finished the blanket then I start the socks proper.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

I have also been making a bag

similar to Lucy’s. I had so loved the thought of having it to use for holding my yarn, next to me on the settee.

She uses aran yarn and I only had DK so I have increased the number of rows for base and sides. It was useful for using up scraps of DK yarn and it was also good for when I needed some crochet I didn’t need to concentrate too hard on, (well not once I got to the sides). It is quite well advanced really.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Lastly

I have a project that is really on the back burner and that is to make a Buff®. I saw it advertised in one of these little booklets for online companies you get and thought I could use the pattern I had used for my Scarf/Hat Tube Thingy  as all it is a stretchy tube. I have only done about the first four inches but it won’t take long when I decide to give it time.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
And of course I also manage to fit in the odd project on the side that can be completed quickly like the Cup Cape I made from the pattern at the Wool Hogs blog.

I made it to fit an old white mug I had, as most of my mugs have pictures on that you want to see. But now I have transferred it to my Bodum glass mug that I use for my breakfast green tea. It looks good on there too and fits just as well.

Well, I was really busy last week

I haven’t had any time for blogging this week because I have had my granddaughter staying with me.

We have been very busy and apart from everyday things we have:-

Continued with knitting practice.

I am teaching her to knit but it isn’t as easy as it might be because she lives a long way away and so we only have time together every few months. But she is very keen and beginning to grow in confidence.

We also made some origami figures:-

We each made half of the Ninja Star but my granddaughter decided I had to do the final folding.  In the end we made two of different sizes but both times I found working out how to fold in the two pieces to get the final result totally baffling, till I somehow managed to get it right!

We baked some of the sultana oat cookies I posted about:-

We made double quantities of mixture, rolled them and made the balls quite small and placed them well apart on baking trays.

Then we pressed them with a fork

cooked them

and left them to cool on a rack.

All together we ended up with forty five cookies – scrumptious :-).

Then we made a cake for Sunday tea.

Earlier in the week we had also made some rabbit and ‘bush’ shaped jellies out of fruit juice and gelatine using these moulds.

– Much better than the packet sort of jelly!

We went shopping and played in the play park by the new Sainsbury’s.

We visited the cousins – twice!

And played computer games.

But then we had to say goodbye till next time.

Catching up – Rainbow scarf & beret

About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to knit a scarf for my eldest as part of her birthday present and it had to be a rainbow scarf because she loves rainbows too.

But I didn’t want it to just be a striped scarf with rainbow colours; I wanted it to be a scarf where putting it on would be like wrapping a rainbow round your neck.

I knew how to do horizontal stripes but I couldn’t see how to do vertical ones.

I struggled with the problem for a bit and then I thought of using circular needles. I had used a 40cm one for my knitted tube but of course you could use circular needles to knit flat as well.  Then I could knit lengthways horizontal stripes!

So I bought some Knit Picks interchangeable circular needles and cables.

4mm (UK8) and 3.25mm (UK10) needles and cables to make them into 40cm and 100cm circulars.

The 4mm needles with the longer cable was just fine for the scarf.

I cast on 360 stitches which I calculate would make a scarf about 6ft (180cm) long.

I wanted the scarf to be reversible – so both sides were similar – and as I was intending to use DK yarn I wanted it to have a bit of thickness.

I wrote myself a pattern – or rather I drew up two charts which both meant the same thing as I am a very visual person.

The scarf worked out well, so I decided that I ought to make a beret also.  I adapted the pattern I had used for the earlier beret so it matched the scarf and this time knitted it on the shorter circular cable using the 3.25mm needles for the rib. I used the longer cable with the magic loop knitting method  to complete the central part.

In the end I made a scarf and beret for myself and my daughter. Only making the difference of the order of the colours in the beret for my daughter so as to make the red more dominant as that is her favourite colour.

My granddaughter also liked the scarf and beret and asked if I could make her one; so I ended up making a third scarf (only 300 sts) and beret for her.

So here we all are:-

What’s that there?
Synchronised scarfing
Just the three of us

Catching up – Knitting a scarf/hat tube thingy

The new and the old

About twenty years ago I bought a very useful bit of headgear. It was a knitted tube with a rolled end that acted as both scarf and hat and was especially useful in the rain, I felt, as there was less to get wet than with an ordinary hat and scarf.

But twenty years is a long time and things wear out. So regretfully, a little while ago, I decided that it would have to be retired.

They no longer seemed to make them for sale – but it was knitted! So I could make a new one, couldn’t I?

The stitch was very interesting looking a bit like rib on the one side but a strange sort of mesh on the other.

Never one to refuse a challenge, I set out to solve the puzzle.

Luckily, I suppose, I had met a new type of stitch in a pattern for bootees that I had adapted to use in a jumper for my grandson and I realised that this might hold the clue to the puzzle.

The stitch involved knitting into the stitch on the row below.

Knitting into the stitch below

(The above picture comes from another similar project I have on the go.)

By a little trial and error, I discovered that I could indeed reproduce the same effect if I knitted into the stitch on the row below every other stitch on one row and then purled into the stitch below every other stitch on the next row.

Purling into the stitch below is not as easy as knitting into it but then I thought of using circular needles.  I had never used circular needles before but this seemed to have a  double benefit in this case. No seam (the original had been seamless) and all knit stitches to get the same effect.

I normally knit with one needle under my arm; so I wasn’t sure how I would get on. However I bought some 4.5mm (UK 7) 40 cm Pony circular needles and found that everything went very smoothly.

I bought some variegated Paton’s yarn similar to that I used for my spiral scarf and beret but this time in much brighter colours – predominately  red with orange, yellow, blue and purple.

What I have never understood to this day is why the original appears to be made with an even number of stitches but I had to use an odd number to get the pattern to work out right.

It’s a very easy pattern.

You will need more than 100g of acrylic DK yarn. I bought two and so had enough for some gloves as well.

Cast on 61 stitches (or slightly more or less depending on how big you want it) on 4.5mm (UK 7) circular needles.

Make sure there is no twist then start to knit into the first cast on stitch.  (I sometimes do what I have heard suggested which is to cast on an extra stitch and then knit that together with the first one to give a firm join.)

Knit round to the start for the first row.

From now on Repeat (knit1, knit into stitch on row below) until tube is about 30ins (75cm) long.

With the rib looking side on the inside, roll up the last 10in (25cm) outwards to make a soft roll to frame the face and catch into place where the roll joins the tube with shirring elastic. Stitch nice and loosely so it doesn’t interfere with the tube stretching.

Elastic joining roll to tube

And there you have it.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

I also knitted myself a pair of fingerless gloves come mittens to wear for shopping when the weather was wet and cold.

Catching up – Spiral scarf (and beret to match)

A couple of years ago I decided that I wanted a spiral scarf but I couldn’t see what I wanted in the shops, so I decided to knit one,

I found a pattern on the internet here but I decided that I wanted my scarf to be more ‘interesting’ and reversible.

I therefore adapted the pattern: used garter stitch rather than stocking stitch and introduced a pattern of holes.

I bought some Paton’s variegated yarn to add even more interest.

I was in the hardware store and when I saw the yarn I knew I had to buy some, as it was so much ‘my’ colours. (I don’t tend to wear green or yellow very much) and I thought a scarf made from it would go very well with my three new jumpers.  See below: (colour on a computer screen is a funny thing. The pale jumper is actually a rather nice turquoise.)

The pattern is really straightforward as it is only 18 rows knitted over and over again.

The rows get shorter as you go through the eighteen and there is only one row that might be a bit tricky.

About eight repeats make a full circle

The Beret

A friend had a pattern for a beret in an old book and I copied down the number of stitches and increases and decreases then set out to adapt it to match the scarf.

I have been very happy with my scarf and wear it indoors in the winter for extra warmth and outside with the beret in the Spring.

Beginning a granny hexagon blanket

Just a glimpse of my blanket

I found the pattern for this on the Attic24 blog and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to make one.

I absolutely love hexagons. They are by far the most interesting and beautiful of the space filling regular polygons. (The others being triangle and squares). And bees make their honeycombs with them – I love honey.

I decided that I would keep the golden centres Lucy had, as that made them look almost like flowers and I love flowers too.

I decided that the blanket, made a suitable size, could wrap me when watching TV in the winter and be a supplement to a sheet on my bed in the hotter part of summer.

So I started to plan in two ways.   click here if you are interested in the planning – includes a shopping bag project

I decided to use Paton’s Fab and chose the following colours:-

  • Canary 2305 for the centres

And for the main colours

  • Candy 2316
  • Strawberry 2340
  • Cherry 2322
  • Mint 2300
  • Lime 2317
  • Forest 2319
  • Glacier 2301
  • Turquoise 2315
  • Blue 2321
  • Lilac 2314p
  • Purple 2313
Main blanket colours

And I was planning to use Fern 2341 and Airforce 2312 for the edging though now I have seen the colour of Airforce, in the flesh, as it were, I am not so sure. It is more grey than blue and I had been looking for a different blue to those I had already used. I will have to decide.

As you will realise, if you looked at the planning section, I am happy to work systematically.

So I started by making ten little gold centres

And then, taking a ball of one of the main colours, made ten little circles.
Working with each ball in turn gave me a boxful.

Then choosing one ball and the ten circles without that colour gave:-

After using each ball, I got this – 110 circles

And this allowed me to chose the circles to use for each row of the blanket (according to the plan. – It was all based on diagonals.)

I then settled down to make the first ten rows of the blanket according to my printed plan.

(This is one of the few pictures that will actually show bigger if you click it.)

Then Repeat………………………..

I am on the repeating at the moment.

I expect the full blanket will be finished in a couple of months and then I will do another post.

Just a note if you are tempted to try to make a blanket following this plan. I had calculated that I ought to have just enough yarn on the basis that I can crochet ten trebles out of 1m of yarn. Well I had just a tiny piece left of the gold when I had crocheted the last gold centre so it looks to be an even more close run thing than I anticipated.  Robin or Stylecraft would give  you more metres per ball than Paton’s.

Let’s Talk Yarns

My local hardware store stocks Robin DK acrylic yarn (100gm) All the colours are not always on the shelves but I think they must stock all of the available solid colours.

This is my current stash of Robin Yarns

(I do have a few bits of creams and browns, black and white but these don’t really count!)

I started by using it to make a knitted Crib but later I wanted to make a spiral scarf and decide to chose one of the lovely variegated yarns they stocked. These I discovered were Paton’s Fab (also 100g).

I decided that I liked the feel of the Paton’s Fab as it was softer and smoother than the Robin and maybe a little thicker. So when it came to my biggest project to date – that of making a crochet blanket – I decided to use Paton’s Fab. I couldn’t find any locally but at last I found an online stockist who appeared to sell all the colours. I found all the colours I wanted for my blanket and was very happy with it (except that some balls seemed to have thinner or thicker yarn than others – a slight variation in thickness seems to be something you get with these budget yarns).

These are the main colours for the blanket

So you might think that I will be using Paton’s Fab from now on for all the projects I might make with acrylic yarn – Wrong! Much to my great regret Paton’s Fab does not come in Orange! How can a rainbow junkie like me be content with a yarn with no orange. For the blanket I decided to let the gold centres of the hexagons represent the yellow/orange part of the spectrum but this won’t work for lots of other projects.

So for the moment I must keep a stash of Robin DK available for all those little projects I might want to turn my hand to at a moment’s notice.

NOTE: The link above for Paton’s Fab show orange – ‘Jaffa’ – as available but in the shops that number gives you ‘mauve’!!

I haven’t yet used Stylecraft Special DK yarn

But it has lots of colours (including orange!) and I have just bought a ball to see how it compares with Robin and Paton’s Fab. It feels more like Paton’s Fab – though maybe a little thinner as you get abou 7% more more for 100gm, though both tension charts show 22 sts per 10cm.

I have found this very helpful online stockist who not only sells the Stylecraft Special DK yarn in most, if not all, of the available colours but also sells a colour chart for £1 + postage that has long pieces of the actual yarn on it that you can feel, so it is very useful and I am glad I bought it as it is so hard to be sure of yarn colours when you only see them online.

You may have realised that I prefer these budget yarns. I don’t feel for most things that I can justify the expense of premium yarns however lovely they might be.

One problem after another…………….

Something on crochet next time.

But for now a little culinary aside –

When I was a child my mother had a recipe for Cherry Oat Biscuits and when I had children of my own I took a copy of the recipe.

The first thing I decided was that the cherries (glace cherries) were not the best part of the recipe as when cooked they became hard and tooth threatening so I replace them with soft juicy sultanas which stayed soft and juicy when cooked in this way.

Everything was fine for years and they were one of my children’s favourite cookies: thin and crispy.  The mixture spread so much on the baking trays that however far apart you put the slightly flattened walnut sized balls they always ran into each other.

But years go by, life gets busier, children grow up, and one day I had not made the cookies for years but decided I fancied making some.

But how disappointing – they wouldn’t spread like they used to, several months/years and tries later I decided it must be the soft, improved and excellent for cakes, margarine and decided I would have to make them from butter. Yes, that was the problem!

Then I got a cooker with a fan oven – Great! No need to pre heat – but again they stopped spreading properly. So I added a note to my recipe –

“Only put in oven when it is hot enough”

– This solved the problem.

Then just the other day, when I asked my daughter whether there were any baking goodies I could make to bring her when I next came, she said that she would like some oat cookies.

I keep two sorts of oats: ordinary Quaker oats for cooking and Old Fashioned Scotts Oats for my homemade breakfast muesli.

As I weighed out the Quaker Oats I looked at them and thought – “aren’t they more smashed up looking than oats used to be?” but I went ahead and made the cookies. They spread quite a bit but I had a feeling that they were still a bit thicker than I remembered. Yes and the mixture had not been as ‘fatty’ when I had been rolling them.  They tasted good and crispy but I wasn’t satisfied.

So I set to and made a second batch with the Scotts Old Fashioned Oats – And lo and behold they came out right this time. So I added another note on the recipe card –“Scotts Old Fashioned make thinner biscuits”.

Here are the two cookies: Quaker Oats on the left Scotts on the right – all other ingredients the same.

Should you want to make some – here is the recipe.

It makes about 16 cookies.

In a large bowl mix:

  • 3oz (85g)  plain flour
  • ½ level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2oz (55g) sultanas
  • 3oz (85g) caster sugar
  • 3oz (85g) whole rolled oats

In a small saucepan melt:

  • 4oz (110g) butter
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1 tablespoon milk.

Add the melted ingredients to the bowl, mix well and leave to cool.

When cool, roll into walnut sized balls and place well apart on a baking tray.

[There is no need to grease the baking tray and when I say well apart, I really mean it. – I tend to put eight on my baking trays but they do end up touching when they are cooked. Four would probably not touch at all!]

Flatten the balls with a fork.

Preheat the oven to 300 deg F=150 deg C or 140 deg for a Fan Oven.

They take about 15-20 mins in a conventional oven, less in a fan oven but check sooner.

They are ready when the middles are brown rather than cream.

Leave on the baking tray for a couple of minutes before removing with a fish slice or similar; they are fairly fragile.  Leave to cool on a rack.