Off The Needles: my latest knitting project

Like many knitting and crochet devotees, I am exceptionally good at starting new projects. But I am less accomplished in the finishing-off department. That is why it is always cause for celebration when I do actually manage to cast-off, block and start using a completed piece.

This is my latest creation, the Dimitri Shawl by Steve Rousseau Designs:

 

Here it is spread out along our king-size bed so that you can see its full extent:

 

I have used one ball of Scheepjes Whirl in Green Tea Tipple plus the majority of a ball of Whirlette in Frosted.  The pattern called for 1400m of yarn and the Whirl is only 1000m. The Whirlettes are designed to complement the Whirls, as this project shows. I used the Whirlette in the middle, allowing the gradient colours of the Whirl to speak for themselves on the edges.  It worked out just right, as you can see from this picture of the left-over yarn:

 

It is a very large project, but I like wraps and shawls which give you a big hug. This is definitely in that category! The yarn is beautifully soft and the whole thing is light and airy. It will be lovely to wear later on in the year as temperatures cool.

And it was an absolute delight to knit. The pattern is my favourite combination of easy knitting, with just enough stitch variation to keep it interesting. I love the geometric end result.

I blocked it pretty tightly to maximise the stitch definition. This meant blocking in two halves as you can see:

 

 

You can also see from this picture the benefits and impact of blocking:

 

It is in no way ideal to block in two goes, but needs must and the end result has come out fine. I will, however, get a few more blocking mat squares so that I can make some more of Steve’s designs. I have my eye on one of his blankets….!

Another adjustment I will make with my next pattern will be to go down a needle size. In this case, I used 3.5mm needles, which were fine and have contributed to the airy nature of the shawl. For a blanket, though, I would want the final fabric to be a bit tighter and denser, so will go with 3mm needles, especially as I tend to knit on the loose side.

Meanwhile, I have resumed work on my Hourglass throw. Knitting with 5.5mm needles feels like working with tree trunks!  As you can see from this picture, there does not look to be that much of a difference between the two sets, but it feels really strange:

 

Overall I can highly recommend the Dimitri pattern, and the Whirl yarn. It’s a cliché to say that the journey is as important as the destination, but it fits perfectly here. I really enjoyed the knitting, and am really pleased with the outcome. Result! 🙂

On and off the needles…

It is a while since I last wrote about anything woolly, so I thought I would do a bit of a round up of my recent knitting adventures.

I am generally quite a slow knitter, so it was a pleasure to buck this trend by rattling off some smaller pieces for my sister. She has alopecia universalis and was in need of some more hats to add to her growing collection. It gave me the opportunity to dive into my yarn stash and make use of various bits and pieces to produce these two beauties:

The red hat is The Yarniad’s Nola Cloche pattern. I have had this beautiful red marl yarn for years – so long in fact that I have lost the yarn collar with all the details, but I know it was from the Woolen Rabbit. It was great finally to be able to use it to make this fun period piece.

The green hat is Interweave’s Lucy Hat pattern, made with Stylecraft Special DK. I chose these colours to go with this Leventry scarf which I made last year and thought Rachel could use:

 

I was also able to make these fingerless mittens with some left-over WYS yarn from the Leventry project. Rachel wanted some mittens with a longer wrist section. This Purl Soho pattern was perfect, as well as being wonderfully simple!

 

 

But that’s not all! I very much enjoyed making this lace shawl, using Rowan Fine Silk for my lovely Mum:

 

 

It took me most of last year, with plenty of knitting progress made while we were on holiday in September. But it was exceptionally pleasing to work on – complicated enough to hold plenty of interest, while also being rhythmic and fairly easy to remember. This meant that I did not have to undergo too much in the way of mental gymnastics while working on it – always a bonus!

And finally, here’s a picture of a small collar being blocked. This was another ball of yarn from the bottom of my stash, also from the Woolen Rabbit. I had always been hesitant about knitting it up because it seemed too nice to use!! Anyway, I needed some knitting to take away with my on our Paris trip last autumn. So I grabbed this yarn and a copy of VeryBusyMonkey’s Geology Shawl. I have to say this was one of my favourite knits ever – and I have done a LOT of knitting over the years! The pattern is extremely well constructed and explained. There are a number of interesting stitch patterns, which emerge gradually as you work through the pattern (click on the image for a closer look). I am delighted with the result.

 

So what now, you may ask.

I have become increasingly frustrated with this stash of Rowan Calmer yarn, which I bought years ago for a crochet project that I changed my mind about.

I have since tried to use it for various different patterns, always feeling rather dissatisfied with the results. I decided to give it one last go before passing it on. And although it is early days, I have a good feeling about this pattern. It is a Brooklyn Tweed throw called hourglass.

As you can see, I am only just past the ribbed edge, but I am already very pleased with the feel of the yarn, the stitch definition, and a sense that this might turn out to be something rather beautiful after all. We shall see…

And I have also repurposed some cotton yarn I bought last year for a little cardigan which I could not get to work out as I wished. After several froggings, I decided to find a different pattern, so this is the start of my work on the Monterey Tee pattern. Again, I am liking this so far – we’ll see how things go. (By the way, the burgundy yarn is my provisional cast on waste yarn, but it looks pretty groovy!)

So there you have it. I must confess to being quite chuffed with all of this and look forward to sharing another update with you in due course. Meanwhile, here’s a final picture of my Mum, this time nice and cosy in a jumper I knitted possibly about 30 years ago!!

Thanks go to her and my sister for being such charming models and greatly enhancing this post! 🙂