Tuesday, 28 September 2010

This isn't a Christmas Gift....It's a Scarf.

First - thanks for all the kind comments on the Great Canadian British American Aran Afghan.  It is every bit as cosy as I wanted it to be and it almost has me wishing for the cold weather!  (Almost.)

Speaking of cold weather I'm really into scarves at the moment.  I keep coming across interesting patterns and the yarn in my stash seems destined for scarf-dom.

But 'no!' I tell myself.  I really should start on my Christmas knitting so that I don't repeat last year's 'wrapping up sweater pieces/yarn' experience.  Nobody seemed to mind - but I'd like to be a wee bit more prepared this year. 

I found a cardigan pattern that I think my mom will like.  I've picked a yarn and colour.  We are ready to go. 

But instead I cast on for Semele (I stumbled across the pattern in the Posh Yarn group on Ravelry). 

I used 150 gm (600 yards) of  Posh Yarn 4 ply Eva  - which is a gorgeous cashmere and silk blend. The colour seemed perfect for this pattern.

I modified the pattern by removing a row of leaves that the designer had along the straight edge - mostly because I wanted a narrower scarf.

It was a pleasurable project and seemed to work up pretty quickly.

I blocked it very lightly and it's a generous 6 ft by 1 ft (at the widest point).

I finished this one on the weekend and knew that now it was time to get serious about this Christmas stuff.  My younger sister has made a request for herself (and a suggestion for my older sister and her daughter) so time to grab the needles and get going.

But somehow (and really I don't know how)  I seem to have grabbed the wrong needles and yarn and cast on a pink cashmere scarf.  It is buttery soft and the pattern uses short rows to make the whole thing a bit ruffley...and everyone needs a ruflley scarf.  Don't they?

I'm deteremined though that when the pink scarf is finished it's on to Christmas  knitting. 

(We won't mention that about an hour ago I was starting to cast on for a blue one.  I caught myself and put the needles down and walked away.

But I can feel it drawing me in.)

Sunday, 12 September 2010

I'm Ready for Autumn!

The Great Canadian British American Aran Afghan (with a few squares from other sources) is finished!  Hurrah!

As Fleegle commented Aran blankets tend to be quite heavy  - and this is no exception - it is definitely one for cold nights.  21 skeins of Rowan Pure Wool Aran add up to a substantial afgahn! It's about 4.5 ft x 5.5 ft, perfect for wrapping up on the sofa.

After finishing up the 'squares' (as I commented previously they weren't square and they weren't the same size!) - I wet blocked them  - and hurrah - like magic suddenly I had 20 12 x 12 inch perfect-ish squares.

I used crochet to seam the blocks together into strips.  I then joined the strips together.

The original pattern has a cable border but I wanted to include the accent colours in mine so I opted for a simple garter stitch. 

The first obstacle with the border was finding a circular needle long enough to fit around the blanket.  A 120cm KnitPro needle was just a that bit too short - making the knitting a bit uncomfortable.  My second concern was running out of cream yarn.

Easily solved, I thought, that's what shops are for. 

I was wrong.

What should  have been a simple 1 to 1.5 hour shopping trip became a 6 hour epic journey as Transport for London, my local-ish yarn shop, and John Lewis conspired against me.  It ended well though with a visit to Loop in Islington where I got what I needed (and a bit more!)  I hadn't been to their new location and it's lovely. 

The endurance test passed I knit the garter stitch border, 4 rows of cream, 2 rows each of the colours and 10 rows of cream to finish.

I love the afghan and I loved making the afghan.  It is a really great project and I recommend it to anyone who wants to get into some cable work.  Beginners shouldn't be frightened away - there are some simpler blocks to give you some confidence and if you take each block one stitch at a time you will be fine.

16 of the squares are from the Great American Aran Afghan booklet - and four I sourced from other places.  I've compiled a list of the squares I used in the post below.

(Apologies for the picture above -- I tried to 'blur' out the messy bedside cabinets in Photoshop.  It would have been faster, easier and made a better picture if I'd just moved the books and odds and ends!)

The Squares I Used in the Great Canadian British American Afghan

The blanket was made up of the 20 squares below.  I've listed them in the order I used them in the blanket (ie the first 4 make up the first row left to right).

Great American Aran Afghan - Suzanne Atkinson
I omitted the sun -- because I forgot to put it in and decided not to go back and redo it!

Great American Aran Afgan - Ginette Belanger (some Canadian content!)

This motif in this square came from The Knitter magazine's first issue.  It's the centre of a pillow pattern.
Great American Aran Afghan - Jay Campbell - the only male designer in the book I think.

Another motif from The Knitter magazine's first issue pillow patterns. 

Great American Aran Afgan - Hanna Burns

Great American Aran Afghan - Dagmara Berztiss - a square from a German designer

Great American Aran Afghan - Barbara McIntire

Great American Aran Afghan - Janet Martin - I really like this fish square!

Great American Aran Afghan - Ann McCauley - I was pleased to see Ann's square in here.  She's a great designer I came across a couple of years ago - her books have timeless, classic patterns.

Great American Aran Afghan - Barbara Selesnick

I found this pattern on Ravelry - designed by Dorota Maria Kowalczyk as part of  her 'Snowflake Collection'.  I love the intricate cabling.

Great American Aran Afghan - Marian Tabler

Great American Aran Afghan - Susan Rainey - probably my favourite square!  What's an aran afghan without an aran sweater?

Great American Aran Afghan - Ada Fenick - I made a small change to the cables along the side continuing the cables instead of breaking them at the centre.

Great American Aran Afghan - Carol Adams (more Canadian content!) - I love that this square is reversible - it's the only one in the book that is.  Very cleverly designed.

Another square designed by Dorota Maria Kowalczyk as part of 'Snowflake Collection'.

Great American Aran Afghan -Georgia Vincent - a really pretty square and fun to knit.
Great American Aran Afghan - Dana Hart

Great American Aran Afghan - Julie H Levy - and the first square I made for the blanket!