Friday, June 01, 2007

Swatching a mini blanket

Today - I give in to reason and test a facing edge finish in preparation for steeking, and another pair of socks off the needles. I've also been shopping, to Clifton wool-n-things, home of economical naturally coloured wool for some new projects .

And this is where I am up to with the fair isle baby blanket, the pattern repeat in two colour ways, making 12 stitch 40 row total repeat. Knit the left side first then the right side of the chart. Again I've been playing in photoshop. This is the real knitted version below, some colours do seem a little brighter in the photo - some like the yellow brighter in the chart. The final version of the chart is knitted from the light blue garter row up, the bits below that were me playing with colourways.

Marina asked a really intelligent question, "... but why wouldn't you knit it in the round with a steek?". Well I wanted to, but this is super wash, superwash crepe, in a weight called 5ply in new zealand. Thats some where between fingering and sport. Being superwash the steek would need a facing or something. I did a steeked jersey for Poppy last year in this same yarn, and the arm hole steeks were thick, very thick.

I was worried about the bulk of a steek at the edges. I would need a knitted facing, plus the steek so three layers. Would that be be to thick and take to long to dry in a baby blanket. Any way with nothing to loose and faced with darning in so many yarn ends with every colour change I knited a facing over the edge of a swatch to see how it would go. It went well,
I picked up stitch for stitch across the ends, and 3 in 4 stitches along each side. At the corners I increased one either side of a central stitch every 2nd row, worked a purl row for the turn, and decreased one either side of a central stitch every 2nd row again. I tried a few methods of stitching the facing down, but kitchener was the best - and took the longest. No cast off, just sewing or weaving down the live stitches. At present the swatch is soaking in a little warm water, then I will towel dry and block. Then I just need to work out the gauge and calculate the number of stitches required for the blanket. Don't you love that 'just', this is just the begining, once I've done the steek and the maths, the real knitting begins.

Socks : So here in the south of the southern hemisphere, in our under insulated houses, with single glazing - it can be cold. We don't get much snow, but winter mornings usually bring a good frost. The best part is that by 10am, the same conditions that brought us ice, also bring wonderfully clear and sunny days.
But for those hours without strong sunlight it can be cold. Nacked feet need warm socks.

We have not had many or perhaps any frosts yet this year, but they will come, and when they do Toby is now ready - so here is Toby in his latest socks, a litte big, I knitted these nearly 1cm to long, knowing how boys feet grow.

Details : Regia stripe, knit on 2mm dpns, using a modified widdershins pattern, ribbed instep and leg, stst sole, slipped stitch heel. No idea what guage is, if I remember I will measure once washed. Started 26th April, finished sock one 13 May, and sock two on the 1st of June. 5 weeks for the pair, but were not my only project. I went to a lace weekend and knit the body of my Fana cardigan over the same time.

The new wool, well two skeins of white sport or DK yarn for a knitting workshop I'm off to next weekend. Following on from the lace workshop we are having a two session knit a mini Gansey workshop for which I need dk yarn. Not having any in my stash it was a good time to buy some, and I plan to dye the extra and knit some Fibre trends clogs. I also got an extra skein of the same batch of yarn for Chris's jersey - which seems to be even further down the 'to do' list. Total cost for the 3 200g skeins was $NZ25.5 or $US19, which must be good value in any currency. And I also went away with a small cone of singles yarn, to see how it knit up. A free trial as they usually sell it for weaving, and didn't know what it knits like, but won't be getting any more. I am thinking of buying what they have left as it might be as close to a shetland yarn as I am likely to get locally and the price is fabulous. Stash enhancement - just when the knitterverse is stash busting. But thats me - almost always out of step.


Suzanne said...

What about a knitted back to the blanket? It could be a solid, textured surface (blocks or diamonds of purl, or some other simple texture); thus making the blanket reversible and preserving the stranding from little fingers. Once you've knitted the facing of the cut steek, you could simply keep going straight across the back to the other side. Something like a knitted-on I-cord edging all around could be used to unite the front and back along the top and bottom and would provide a firm decorative edge on the sides. This is purely hypothetical, I have never tried such a thing.

Your colour scheme is very lovely. The blanket is sure to be treasured.

Suzanne said...

Or, include the back as part of the blanket from the start, thus eliminating steeks. When finished, simply attach front to back at top and bottom, with previously suggested I-cord bind-off. In my mind, I also see a 'frame' of this solid coloured texture on the front around the FI patterns. The only possible pitfall in that idea is that you would be starting with a band of solid texture all around (bottom of frame) and the FI introduced above it would likely draw in, possibly creating an unsightly pucker. Only one way to find out...