Monday, 31 July 2017

July Catch Up

July has been a busy month for me, finishing projects, starting new ones (more about these at a later date), then dividing time between Yorkshire and Scotland. Where did July go? Anyway, before more time slips by and August begins, thought I'd write a quick update.  

A few weekends ago I attended a very enjoyable Blogstars meet up in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire. We catch up every six months or so to find out about the latest Stylecraft yarn releases, also to share "important" knitting and crochet chit chat. Meeting up on the day were, (see above group photo from left to right), Heather, Sarah, Phil, Lucia, Helen, Sandra, Kathryn, Emma, me, and seated Catherine. Also in attendance via Skype link from around the world were Angela, Zelna, Polly, Ann and MichelleTwo more Blogstars who were unable to make it on the day are Lucy, and Jane.

Stylecraft are launching a number of new yarn shades this Autumn / Winter. One yarn which I'm able to tell you about now is a particular favourite of mine, Batik DK. There are four new shades in the range, Silver, Mint, Rose and Lupin.

Inspired by Sandra's lovely and very organised collection of Special DK yarn samples which she brought with her on the meet up day... 

...I thought it was time to put my growing collection of Batik DK into some sort of order, using these cardboard embroidery bobbins...

The initial release of Batik DK included 16 shades...

... now total of 20 including the new shades...

I've enjoyed working with this yarn previously on a crochet project using a small selection of colours. There's more about this project in an earlier post here.

I have an idea for a knitting project using some of the new shades.  In the coming weeks and months I'll be able to tell you about that  and about even more shade additions. Plus there'll be news of other interesting and exciting developments from my day out in Yorkshire.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Harlequin Blanket

Finished off another blanket project. Seen here on a sunny morning on the croft in NW Scotland.

Knitted in soft pastel shades of blue, pink, lilac, primrose with a neutral shade to break up the colours. When the blanket hangs from one corner the repeating contrasting squares resemble diamond shapes, reminding me of harlequin fabric prints, hence the name. A two tone crochet border was also worked around the edge. 

It's the second blanket I've made in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. Can't seem to fault this yarn, it is very easy to work with, washes really well and feels soft.

Instructions how to make this blanket below. Downloadable PDF available soon.

Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino 50g
x2 204 Baby Blue
x1 608 Pale Lilac
x1 018 Citrus
x1 600 Light Pink
x2 001 Primrose
x5 065 Clotted Cream

You will also need
Pair of straight 4mm knitting needles
3.5mm crochet hook 
A tapestry needle for sewing the seams and weaving in ends

Finished Size
80cm x 92cm (32ins x 36ins)

21 st x 38 rows over 10cm

For each square cast on 25 stitches ind knit each row until work measures approx. 11cm (4.5 ins) and looks square shaped. Cast off. Make a note of how many rows have been knit and then make all the squares the same size. This will help keep a uniform shape and make sewing together easier. 

This blanket is 7 squares wide x 8 squares long (total 56). The following combination of colours, x6 Light Blue, x6 Primrose x6 Citrus, x5 Pale Pink, x5 Pale Lilac, x28 Clotted Cream

Making up
Lay out the squares following the diagram as shown. They look randomly spaced, but follow the sequence blue, yellow, green, pink, purple starting from the bottom right hand corner and then working from right to left. Orientate so that each square joins a cast on/cast off edge.

Use the neutral coloured yarn to sew all the seams in mattress stitch. Join the squares making vertical columns and then join the columns together. Weave in all the loose ends after seaming, working in along the back of each seam. Work a single crochet chain all the way around the edge in Baby Blue. Work single crochet in Primrose into each blue single chain stitch. Weave in loose ends.

Diagram showing squares sequence

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Wild Flowers and Landscape Summer 2017

From time to time I wander from the knitting pathway. This crochet project is one such example and has been a long time in the making. It's been in and out of the cupboard on numerous occasions. Started in July 2013 (see here), where did all the time go? 

First thing to mention is the hexagon motif, it's from Polka Dot Cottage Lakeside Forest Blanket by Lisa Clarke. I was originally  following this pattern but changed course after I'd made several hexagons, having a much reduced colour palette than the one suggested in the pattern. I moved on to making up my own colour arrangements and joining sequence.

Those with an eye for detail may notice this blanket isn't quite symmetrical.  The alternate rows along the horizontal lines number 9 and 10. There is a missing row of 9 hexagons along the top edge (or 10 along the bottom edge depending how you look at it). I was short of the creamy white colour which features in each of the hexagons. After a few online searches I couldn't find a supply of the cream, maybe discontinued? One of the pitfalls of taking so long to complete a project!

Here's some of information about the yarn etc:

Debbie Bliss Bluefaced Leicester DK 50g
stone#505 (cream)
pale blue#513

crochet hook 4mm

total number hexagons 76

blanket measures approximately 124cm x 80cm (49ins x 32ins)

I can't claim to have been inspired by the summer flowers and  landscape here on the west coast of Scotland when starting this blanket in 2013. But the colours in summer 2017 do seem to be reflected in the yarn, distant grey mountains, golden Buttercups, mauve Orchids, white Cotton Grass, green Sedges, blue Forget Me Nots (and rarely seen blue sky).

         Orchids    Buttercups     
Forget Me Nots      Cotton Grass

Here I am on the home straight joining and weaving in all those loose ends...

There have been plenty of rainy days to work on this blanket. Glad to now see it finished and photographed on a sunny morning here on 1st July. Four years almost to the day since I started the project in July 2013.