Sunday, February 07, 2010

Shawls & other fun with yarn!

I kinda have a passion for shawls. I love the way they look and how it feels to wear them. I have a wonderful gray fleece one that is so incredibly soft that it is an absolute favorite of mine. I miss the absolutely lovely bright pink wool one that I had. It was the first shawl I owned and it was so amazingly warm because it was wool. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in the same fire that destroyed Rose and Nathan's home almost two years ago.

I've made a triangular crochet shawl of approximately the same shade of pink. While lovely and warm, it isn't quite big enough for what I wanted. It's a really nice wrap, however, and excellent if a little something is needed for a warm late spring/early summer afternoon to shield you from the breeze. It's just a very large half granny-square made with a US size F hook and about two balls of bright pink hand spun yarn that I was given as a gift a little while before I found out I was pregnant with my second child.

I'm considering knitting a shawl for myself and I found a pattern that is simple enough that I think I'm going to do it. I love the versatility of the end result of this pattern. I really like the idea that I can use it for more then one outfit and for a proverbial laundry list of different looks. It'll be interesting to see if I have enough of that absolutely stunning deep burgundy yarn that my mother-in-law gave me.

My first objective before I start on this project, however, is to use up my yarn stash. I believe I may just start that scarf for Beloved for Yule this year. It may work to use up that yarn stash better then making clothes for Cuddle-Bear's baby doll toy. I finished the blanket I was knitting for my friend Kevin's new baby. It is made with an incredibly simple pattern and two yarns together.

The yarns are a commercially made sport weight acrylic and a hand spun woolen yarn of approximately the same weight and incredibly soft texture. The pattern to knit this yarn can be done on any kind of needles. I used US size 10 knitting needles. You cast on 3 stitches and then knit one, increase, knit one, increase, and knit. In the next row, you purl in all of your stitches. The following row, knit one, increase, and then knit thru all but the last stitch. Increase and then knit your final stitch in the row. Purl all of the next row and then repeat the knit process of the row before. You continue this until your blanket is of the length you want it from the needle down to the point at where you started. Then, purl a row, knit a row and purl a row. Next you knit together the first two stitches of your row before knitting all but the last two stitches of the row. Knit together those last two stitches. Purl the next row and then in the following row knit as you did for the row before. Decrease until you have two stitches left on your needle. Cast off and you're finished with your baby blanket.

I had the audacity not to cast off but whip out my US size H crochet hook. I proceeded to chain five and then do a half double crochet into the first decrease I encountered on the edge. I chained two and did another half double into the next decrease. I continued this way until I reached where the three stitches didn't decrease or increase. Here, I chained two from the last half double crochet I worked and then did a double crochet into the knit row in the middle of that section. I chained two and then did a half double crochet into the first increase I encountered. I proceeded as I did for the previous side.

When I reached the point of the first increase for the whole blanket, I worked around that corner as I did for the corner previous. I proceeded around the remaining edges of the blanket in this fashion until I came back to where I started my crochet edging. From the final half double crochet I worked, I chained one and slip stitched into my chain of 3. I then chained three more, did a half double crochet into the slip stitch, and chained one. I worked my way around the edging doing two half double crochet stitches into where I had my openings from my earlier row with a single chain between each cluster. At the corners, I worked three chains to turn. When I got to my starting point for the row, I slip stitched into the chain and then tied off.

All that is left to finish this blanket is to wash and block it. I will need to write down washing instructions for this thing, but it's going to be a good blanket for this baby. It is nice and warm and knit in a stockinette stitch it has a good texture. One side is nice and smooth while the other is pleasantly nubby. Knit in the two yarns, it is also going to be nice and warm. I'll post a picture of this up when it blocking process is dry.

In other news, I finished spinning up my singles of the fluffy white Corridale wool that my mother-in-law gave me last spring. Now I need to ply it and then I'll be ready to work it up into something nice. I still have to finish spinning up the indigo dyed roving that she gave me then. I'm debating what I should make with that when it is done. I'll figure something good out, though.

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