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! 🙂

Spring happiness in spite of all the snow

I very much appreciated all the generous comments and likes in response to my last post about my current knitting and crochet projects, so much so that I feel emboldened to share one further bundle of joy.

The weather here in Edinburgh, as for many other places, has continued to be very cold and grey and yes the snow even came back this weekend. How delighted I was, then, to be working with all these beautiful spring colours on the development of a new crochet motif.

 

I recently came across this picture on Flickr and knew instantly that the antidote to the current weathery blues would be to create my own version.

Apple blossom blanket

 

I hunted around a bit for some suitable yarn and happened upon this suggested yarn pack from The HomeMakery. I added to it an additional green, pink and cream from the same yarn range to give me the 8 shades pictured above. All that remained was to decide upon a pattern.

I love the hexagons in the original photo but I wanted my throw to be a bit more blossomy. I also wanted to create a sense of flowers and petals without the design being too lacy. For a throw I wanted a relatively dense fabric for plenty of snuggly warmth.

As you can see from this next picture, I had a lot of fun working up various samples. Sitting with all these lovely colours in front of me while also looking out at the blizzards made my spirits soar!

I gradually homed in on a motif which gave me all the elements I was looking for. One interesting conundrum was the extent to which I could avoid make the inner lines too straight. This next photo shows you the, albeit subtle, difference between the straight-edged dark pink row (on the right) and the slightly more wavy dark pink edge on the left. There is not much in it, I accept, but I felt that the softer lines in the motif on the left were preferable.

 

I also wanted to develop a means of joining the motifs as I went along in a way which avoided too much openwork in the motifs’ outer stitch rounds. In these next photos, you can see that I managed to achieve this aim. It also gives you an idea of how the finished throw will look.

 

Obviously, there is a still a long way to go. But with these delicious spring colours to work with, it will be no hardship at all.

There are signs of spring outside – I was really pleased to see these daffodils among some residual snow patches while I was out walking earlier today. And I am even more delighted to have plenty of spring blossoms inside too! 🙂