Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The great Scarf-ghan unveiling....

In January 2014 my needles and I started on a journey of discovery. In March 2015 after thousands of stitches, miles of seaming, many adventures and delicious knitting experiences along the way, we called a halt. The great scarf / strip afghan experiment is finished and officially in use. Anyone got cable! is a finished object and a much loved family member. There are arguments about who gets to snuggle under in on the couch on in the recliner. It's actually rarely me (and I did knit it for myself...)
The lovely ladies in the Unofficial Women's Weekly Group on Ravelry are owed a giant hug for providing the motivation to create this beauty. We were encouraging each other to complete the various knitted afghans we were making. Many of us were doing variations on the classic, knit a square - make an afghan. However the sheer horror of the concept of all that sewing was a giant hurdle many were baulking at. So I thought, why not make strips instead of squares. Essentially I knit all my favourite cable and cable and lace scarves that caught my eye recently and sewed them up into a lap blanket for me. The genesis of the idea, the inspiration and the early stages of construction are described in more detail in this blog post (Anyone got cable! - A scarf-ghan).
This was a great strategy. There was a constant variety of patterns and yarn in little do-able chunks at a time. I didn't get bored in the middle of the process. Each scarf got a chance to tell its own story along the way. See also a series of scarves = afghan for the details of each scarf strip - e.g. patterns used. As a bonus most of them are free patterns.
On Good Friday we convinced the afghan to come and play in the Sunflowers and have its final beauty shots taken. The town I live in has two giant public art installations designed to brighten up some depressed and unused industrial areas of town. These photos were taken in a field that is a giant spiral maze of sunflowers. (You can read more about the project here - #getsunflowered).

I admit, I did wimp out of this without strictly finishing it completely. I haven't added a separate knitted edging. I toyed with both a sideways knitted garter stitch and an i-cord border (and had a go at both) but felt it didn't really need it enough to make me feel justified knitting it.
Here's the boy demonstrated how you can wrap yourself head to toe in the awesome snugness. He make the blanket look like a butterfly chrysalis.

I'd like to thank my children for frolicking in the sunflowers with me. I'm off to plan the next afghan adventure now. I don't think I quite have it out of my system. I might just snuggle here under my blanket while I knit the next one.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Butterfly Kisses for the Doctor

It comes as no great surprise to those who know me that I'm a Dr Who fan. My favorite doctor is the tenth Doctor - David Tennant. I could write an essay on why he's the coolest, sexiest, most interesting Doctor with the best story arcs but this is a knitting blog after all. I'll just post a photo of the most awesome Doctor for you to contemplate (There is a point to this, I promise you).
After last year and all the shawl stuff I still hadn't quite got it all out of the system. I may have wanted to make yet another lace shawl and after much deliberation and hours of time spent squirreling through the Ravelry pattern database, I decided that Nymphadelia was the next lace shawl for the needles. Blue tweed and brown variegated sock yarn together should be cool. (This has the added benefit of using up the stash as is my goal for 2015).
I was right. It is cool!
I was a little dubious about these two yarns together in the ball - variegated yarns often knit up so much differently to how they present as a ball and so I was hopeful it would work like I pictured it in my head. Why this colour combination? I love blue and brown together. It quite frequently features in my wardrobe. This particular blue and brown colour combination is my tribute to the 10th Doctor.  These colours evoke his costume: blue and brown pinstripe suits, a long brown overcoat and converse sneakers (See photo above).
I may have temporarily yarn bombed another statue. It was just the right shade of blue. How could I resist?
And that is part of the inspiration for the name too. The shawl pattern (a free one from Knitty magazine) is called Nymphalidea (the Latin name for one of the largest butterfly families). The colours are 10th doctor inspired. Hence Butterfly Kisses for The Doctor.
I cast on as Day 1 project for Feburary COM over in Village Hopelessly Overcommitted (VHOC). Must say I love the simplicity of the lace and purl ridges and the effect of the variegated yarn. Easy to remember pattern and it’s flying along. I managed 18 repeats of the Wedge D and welt combination in the first day.
The next day I got to 21 repeats and then 24 repeats on Day 3. Day 4 was a day of long train journeys. Prime knitting time. So I finished all 27 repeats. (And I ended up with the correct stitch count as given in pattern! Bonus). The shawl was now in need of aggressive blocking to show off in its full glory! Lace is so messy just off the needles before blocking works its magic.
Pattern: Nymphalidea by Melinda Vermeer - a free pattern from Knitty Deep Fall, 2013
Needles: 4mm
Yarn: Bendigo Woolen Mills 5 ply Colonial in Berry twist - donated stash from my Aunty and Moda Vera Noir sock yarn in Coffee Mix. (I have enough yarn left over to make another one...)