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.

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Monthly Montage – August

I shared both crochet and knitting this month. All about my three latest patterns on Ravelry: partly planned and partly because of the hiatus in actual crafting caused by my damaged elbow. So there was a crochet Celtic Hot Pad, Three Small knitted Angels and an updated version of my crocheted Real Snowflakes. August montageI also shared quite a few photographs. Three for the Photo Challenge: Lane, Thrift and Fold. I missed out on Point as I was just beginning to cope with living life with only one hand! Lastly, I shared some photographs of Chichester, especially the cathedral, that I took on a visit last Autumn.

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?

 

Monthly Montage – May

This last month, photographically, I had four photos for the Monthly Challenge: Bird, Cycle, Stationary and Lost. I also created a lot of ‘flower portraits’ of flowers in my garden. Monthly montage - MayApart from that I put together a tutorial on knitting fair isle and, to stick to knitting for a moment, I showed you some socks I have knitted for my daughter. Crochetwise  I wrote a  post about my search for the perfect Celtic Cross bookmark and another showing how my Celtic plaitwork bookmarks compared to earlier bookmarks in use.

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.)

Monthly Montage – March

I showed you a lot of photographs this month. Including two Monthly Montages which I had forgotten!

There were two ‘Garden Updates’ showing how the Spring flowers were coming on apace, especially the primroses and daffodils.

I also managed to fit in a couple of entries to the ‘Photo Challenge’. Historical and Spiral.Monthly montage - MarchOn the knitting and crochet side: I continued to expand my fair isle skills and practised knitting with frequent twists, like my mother used to do, in both circular and flat knitting.

I finally put together a wall hanging using the seahorses I had made from Wild Daffodil’s pattern and experiment myself with patterns for Celtic plaitwork bookmarks. The purple edged one seemed to be the favourite style.

Monthly Montage February

Lately I have had so many other posts to share that this is a bit delayed but finally here is my February Montage.

In February, I began by showing a large number of photographs of bees I had taken in the Autumn. Then I showed you a floor cloth I had crocheted, even though it was mundane and my crochet orchids. Monthly Montage FebruaryLater I shared a pattern, including a chart, showing how to make the orchids.

Lastly I showed you the hat I had made to match the cowl and told you about some of the tribulations I had had along the way.

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.