Sunday, 31 May 2015

Go granny squares :)

It's all been about granny squares this week.  A three week break from any kind of crafting (well that did feel a bit odd - not quite right!) finally ended when I picked up a lovely book in the library last weekend.  A very wet/dreich afternoon in Stornoway saw me dashing in to our local library to see if they had any nice craft books and they did - excellent!  I picked up Crochet Squares by Susan Pinner -a lovely inspiring book full of great granny square project patterns.

It didn't take long before I was, well . . . . grannying away!

I love this granny square pattern.  I'm using some oddments from my stash of worsted weight yarn (a US weight somewhere between DK and aran) - I've acquired various colours in this weight from crocheting beanies, slippers, scarves, etc using American patterns.  A couple of balls of yarn leftover from Christmas crafting which didn't quite get done in time too!  

The author of the book seems to use two yarns held together (one merino DK and one acrylic DK) quite often but I found that using my worsted weight did the job.  I am using two yarns held together for the cream background as I came across some DK acrylic yarn in a VERY OLD stash of  yarn (recovered from the family home when we were clearing it out a number of years ago) and also some lovely bottle green yarn from this same stash - this should give my crochet blanket some  "genuine vintage granny" credentials - don't you think!

My plan is only to use what's in my stash - the beauty of it is that is contains all my favourite colours of course!  Mostly I'm using quite soft landscape colours - greens, browns, mustardy yellows, a little dash of beige, and to add a little 'pop' to my colour scheme I'm adding a cheerful sky blue in small amounts here and there.  The lovely soft pink and golden yellow are Vannas Choice I think - purchased to make crcochet slippers, but alas . . . . anyhow they haven't gone to waste now!

This is a fab book - I think it will be one to buy for my craft book collection when my birthday comes around later in the summer as I really don't want to have to return it to the library!

I'm using a 5.5 mm hook with my worsted weight yarn (and sometimes doubled up yarns) - each of my sqaures measures about 13.5 cm (about 5.25").  If I make 100 squares I would have a blanket approx 135 cm x 135 cm - that would be cool for a bed throw I'm thinking - I'm being VERY optimistic though but I'm going to see how it goes - it's a great background project anyway, yippee!

Here's where I am so far . . . .

I started this as I was waiting for some yarn to arrive for a special knitted project for myself.  This yarn has arrived but I've got so wrapped up in my blanket (ooops, pardon the pun!), it''s been sidestepped a bit - I'll leave it for another post :)

Do you think I'll ever finish my blanket - it would be great if I could.  I'm thinking it will be a lovely Summer project to pick up and drop whenever the notion takes me.

Speak soon
Alison x

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Tiglar complete!

Ta Dah!  My Tiglar sweater is complete and now gifted so I can put it on my blog :)  Mot sure that my photos do it justice but anyway this first one is one I took the day I finished it - a lovely sunny Spring day!  (not sure what's happened to our weather since then - it's almost back to Winter now, so good lopapeysa weather) . . .

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out - it was a perfect fit as I used an existing sweater as a template.  The only finishing to do once I'd completed the pattern was to graft the underarm stitches together using kitchener stitch (and darn in loose ends of course). This is a technique I'm well used to during my sock knitting so it stood me in good stead - I still follow written instructions for it though!  It gives a lovely neat finish and it worked well - no lumpy, bulky underarm seams. 

Love that this style of sweater is done entirely in the round and in one piece - I'd definitely make another one :)

If you're thinking of making a lopapeysa, I'd definitely recommend giving it a go - they're great fun and quite straightforward (you might need good arm and shoulder muscles though - they become quite heavy by the time you reach the neck shaping!)

See you soon!
Alison x

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Good progress and a little backtracking . . .

As per usual I got so involved with my lopapeysa/icelandic sweater project that I did not manage to chart my progress as I went, but here's the next part of the 'story' . . .

I finished the main part of the sweater (using an exisiting sweater as a template for sizing - that's the grey one underneath BTW) . . .

So that was the body ready, now for the sleeves . . .

I made two, of course, hehe!  Nothing too challenging so far - just getting used to stranded colour knitting on much larger needles than I'm used to!  Basic increasing every 12th row - nothing tricky, just keep counting!

OK, so now we have a body and two sleeves ready for joining together, that's the fun part Yay! . . .

You now join the everything together on your main circular needle (the one the body is knitted on) - you leave a few stitches from each sleeve on a holder to be sewn up later.  Your sweater is now getting quite cumbersome to carry - it's quite a heavyweight! . . .

The instructions to join the parts together were fairly straightforward - well I managed it anyway - I definitely broke sweat at this point though, pheeeeew!.

It's now time to follow the colour chart for the yoke - this was the part I was looking forward to!  The knitting up of the main parts can get a little boring but this yarn knits up fast :)  I was a little worried about my knitting tension of the colour work - some online advice suggested going up a bigger size of needle but I decided to keep my knitting tension loose instead - this was a little tricky but turned out well . . .

So strange doing colour work on these big needles - it was a challenge to keep everything nice and even.  I decided to strand in some of the longer floats at the back after much ummming and ahhhhing.  This website was reassuring  re floats though so I didn't fret toooooo much - when in Iceland and all that (yes, I know I'm not but you know what I mean - I was trying to be authentic!)

Anyway it's all gone swimmingly - I'll reveal the finished sweater next week after the recipient receives it.  If it's too small  . . . . well I could wear it myself!

See you next week with the finished sweater - hurray!!  BTW I'm making this one here by Vedis Jonsdottir :) Great pattern :)
Alison x