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 the hook: oodles of delicious colour

I wrote last week about my recent knitting adventures. I thought I would follow up this week with a reflection on my current crochet endeavours.

I am much less experienced with crochet than I am with knitting. This is not necessarily due to lack of time – I produced this blanket when just a young girl. Neither my Mum (proud owner of said blanket) nor I can quite remember exactly when, but we think I was 10/11ish. Since then, I have done minimal crochet, compared with all my knitting, and it has all been pretty basic. Nothing wrong with that, but I feel the time has now come to expand my crochet horizons.

 

 

I have been thinking a lot recently about the joy of colour. It is amazing how different something can look simply by virtue of a change in colour scheme. I love the way in which the ‘spirit’ of a crafted piece emerges as you gradually work on it. You can hold various yarns in your hands and imagine what they might look like when woven together. But there are always surprises when you actually get started.

So here is my latest crochet project:

 

It is ‘Joana’s Mandala’ by Lilla Björn Crochet. Below is the colourway on the pattern – see what I mean about the colour difference? As you can see, I am about half way through.

 

 

And I could not resist a couple of other yarny treats, which arrived today. I received this gorgeous pack of yarn to make up Janie Crow’s Mystical Lanterns blanket. I adore those colours!

 

I also threw in to the order these other crochet blanket patterns, which look glorious.

 

I can’t wait to get stuck in with all of this. But I am being good and making sure I finish that mandala first. Promise….! 😉