Sunday, January 29, 2012

Two steps forward, one step back

I finished the first L-shaped section of my garter stitch blanket, and weighed it to get an idea of how much yarn I had used. It weighs 15.9 oz., according to my handy digital kitchen scale. Just a smidge under a pound. And this piece represents about 1/8 of the blanket. This is going to be an 8-pound blanket!

I was scanning the pattern to put it on my ipad (a new trick I learned this past week -- knitting patterns on my ipad do not get crinkled or lost like paper patterns do!) and my eyes caught a note at the bottom of the page. This pattern was originally written in 1962 (older than me!), and the note at the bottom of the page (in The Opinionated Knitter, where the pattern is reprinted in its original form) says that the yarn used in the pattern used to have 30 more yards per 4 oz skein than it does now. It currently has 85 yards per skein, so as used in the original pattern, it would have been 115 yards, which means the Sheepsdown is actually very close in size to the Brunswick Aspen that I am using, that there isn't enough of to make the blanket with the yarn doubled.  I found a size 15 circular needle and cast on 24 stitches to see what gauge I would get. It wasn't quite 2 stitches per inch, so I started calculating how many stitches I would need to cast on to get a 12" wide strip. Then I measured the bed, to see how big a blanket I would need to cover the mattress. I cast on 32 stitches, which would make about a 15" wide strip, but would have made a 5' x 7.5' blanket. Too long. My husband says, "well, you need enough to tuck under the mattress." No, we are not tucking a hand-knit blanket under the mattress.

The proportions of this blanket do not match any mattress, so I decided just to go back to the original 24 stitch cast-on and follow the pattern. If I want the blanket to be wider (more square), I can add a strip along one or both of the long edges. By this time, after much knitting and ripping, reading, calculating, and dithering, I realized that the gauge I'm getting with this yarn on size 15 needles is probably very close to the original pattern's gauge, based on the width of the piece so far, and the dimensions of the finished blanket in the pattern. So I'll have enough yarn to make the blanket, maybe even 2 of them! That is, if I can find the other 11 skeins. I looked yesterday, and I have 13 of what I'm fairly certain was 24 skeins.  But I still like the two-tone idea. So ... we'll see.

Here's the new start, using a single strand of the yarn on size 15 needles, laid on top of the piece knit with doubled yarn on size 17 needles. Not much narrower, but it is not as thick. Still, I think it will make a nice, warm blanket.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's been awhile

Oh, goodness. It's been a very long while since I've been here.

I finished my Diamond Fantasy Shawl. It's beautiful, and I haven't worn it yet. Hmm... need to find something to put together with it. It is unblocked in this photo (sorry).

Also completed all 3 Camp Loopy projects last summer, and earned the completion prize, a skein of Wollmeise Sockenwolle 80/20 Twin, in Blaue Tinte (blue).

The first Camp Loopy project was a 2-color project to wear around your neck or shoulders, and mine was Clockwork by Stephen West, in the 2 colors I mentioned in my previous post. I gave it to my sister for Christmas, as she's a purple girl.

The second was something to wear on your hands or feet, that had to include cables.  I chose Cookie A's BFF Socks in madelinetosh tosh sock, in Ink. They're perfect with blue jeans.

The third and final project could be anything, as long as it used at least 800 yards of yarn and was completed by September 15th. This one was a big challenge, as we couldn't start until August 15th, and my district went back to school just a couple of days later.  My project was Amy Herzog's February Fitted Pullover in Dream in Color Classy, in "Don't Be Blue". I really like the way this sweater fits, and am looking forward to knitting more of Amy Herzog's designs.

My daughter received a GAP-tastic cowl for Christmas, which I made with Malabrigo Yarn Chunky, 3 skeins of Continental Blue. I used just about every last inch of the yarn. And I don't have a picture.

My most recently (re-)started project is the Elizabeth Zimmerman Garter Stitch Blanket. I discovered a partially-completed block "A" (the L-shaped pieces toward the center) in KnitPicks Cadena. It had been hibernating so long that I couldn't even remember the plan. I did recall that I was going to use the 24 skeins of Brunswick Aspen I had acquired many years ago at a going-out-of-business yarn store sale. And that I had decided to supplement that with another yarn so that I could make a big blanket. But I took a look at the beautiful version created by Jared Flood (brooklyntweed), and read through his blog post on it. I realized that I have just over 2500 yards of the Brunswick Aspen, and that I should be able to knit with it doubled and approximate the 2-stitches-per-inch gauge from the original pattern. So I ripped out what I had started, and began again with doubled yarn and bigger needles, and I am nearly finished with the first "A" block. The math teacher in me is constantly calculating, however, and I have a mystery. I have about 1250 yards of doubled yarn, and the original pattern was made with 850 yards of yarn. I am getting approximately the same gauge, but I have no doubt that I will run out of yarn long before I finish knitting this. So my current debate is whether to turn my "A" block into a "B" block, and hope I can make both of them with the yarn I have, and get the closest possible color match in another yarn to finish the blanket, or a contrast color, or just a lighter shade of a similar color. Or continue with the "A" block, and make a "B" block with the remainder of the yarn I have, then use new yarn for another "A" & "B". Hmm... yes, I think I like this last idea. Then I'll put them together with each "A" block inside the other color "B" block.

And a little Christmas special: the kids & their cousins raided Grandma's closet so they could have an "Ugly Christmas sweater" group photo. Much merriment ensued. The next-to-last one on the right is possibly handmade (crocheted) but she can only move her arms out about 6" from her sides in it -- a strange garment.