My current work in progress:

Stornoway, designed by Alice Starmore from her book Fishermen’s Sweaters, knit in Frangipani 5-ply guernsey wool in the Aran colorway, on a 3.0mm needle.

Archives for January 2013

Second Square

I now have two squares of my Cornerstone Blanket completed. Here is Square the Second:

For contrast, here it is next to Square the First.

As you can see, Square the Second has a smaller center portion.

Each square measures 21″ on each side, unblocked, so there is a fair amount of knitting in each one. I joined Squares One and Two using a three-needle bind-off as directed in the pattern. So here is the top row of my blanket:

In the comments GeniaKnitz asked “Does Silk Garden soften up after a few washings? I find it kind of scratchy.” Good question. It has been so long since I knit with Silk Garden that I don’t remember! But I’m betting that it will not soften up too much, given the composition of the yarn — 45% mohair, 45% silk, and 10% wool. I would not recommend using this yarn for a garment that would be worn next to the skin. But for a blanket, I think it is fine.

The question prompted me to look up the yarn on Ravelry and read through some of the user comments. As I write this post, there are 101 comments about Noro Silk Garden on Ravelry. Some people love it, some people hate it. Some people both love and hate it. Some of the things that some people love about it are the same things that some people hate about it.

I think that if you are looking for a yarn that is consistent (in both thickness and color), this is not the yarn for you. It’ll drive you bonkers. But if you have a project where neither of those things matter too much, give it a try. It is a really amazing yarn and if you make the decision not to fight it and just let it do what it wants to do, you’ll have a lot of fun knitting with it. This blanket pattern is a great one for this yarn. This pattern is great, period. There is a lot of soothing, relatively mindless garter stitch, but there is also a fair amount of variety in what you are doing so it is not boring. And the results are so pretty.

I have encountered a number of knots in one skein of the neutral colorway used for the border, but it is not really an issue because the color changes in this colorway are pretty subtle. Noro yarns are notorious for having knots in them that break up a color sequence. This is one of the things that makes them such a challenge to use. You are happily knitting along and all of a sudden you come across a knot, and a completely different place of the color sequence is tied in. Very frustrating! But for a mitered square blanket this is not so important.

So this is a long way of saying that I am very happy with this yarn for this project!

You’ll be happy to know, I’m sure, that Lucy is on the job, checking my work.

New Beginning

The start of a new year is a good time to start a new knitting project, I think. 🙂

Last month I blogged about Kay Gardiner’s Cornerstone Blanket pattern. You can get the pattern when you donate to Citymeals On Wheels — the details are on the pattern page linked to above. I donated, got the pattern, and ordered Noro Silk Garden in colorways 269 and 373.

I started my blanket this past Wednesday evening. The blanket is done in squares — six of them — that are then put together via a three-needle bind-off and finished with an i-cord edging all the way around. No sewing. The squares are each worked in two colorways. The center is done in mitered squares, and then you pick up and knit with the second color around the center square and work outward to make a border. The squares have different-sized centers so the thickness of the borders vary from square to square.

Here is the center of the first square in progress:

Here is the first square with the border in progress:

And a close-up of a corner, where increases are worked on every other round.

Here is the first square completed. The stitches are held, live, on 4 lengths of waste yarn.

Here is where I am on the second square:

The second square has a much smaller center than the first, so the border will be much deeper.

The whole blanket is done in garter stitch. The center piece is worked back and forth in mitered squares, so you are knitting each row. The contrasting border is worked in the round, so to achieve garter stitch you are knitting one round, then purling one round.

You could make this blanket using pretty much any yarn at any weight. Knit at a finger gauge, it would make a really pretty crib blanket for a baby. You could make all the squares identical if you like, or you could use a different colorway for the center of each square, or a different colorway for each quarter of each center. There are so many variations you could work.

I am using Noro Silk Garden, which is what the original was made from. I haven’t knit with Silk Garden in ages and I had forgotten how pretty it is. This blanket is a simple geometric design and it really showcases the beauty of the yarn. It’s proving to be a very fun knit — part of the time you are working mitered squares, and part of the time you are knitting the border in the round, so you have some variety. And then once all six squares are done and put together, you will work an i-cord all around the outer edge. There will be no need to pick up stitches to attach the edging to the blanket because you left live stitches on all edges of all squares. Very clever design!

I have an afternoon of great knitting-in-front-of-the-television ahead of me.

Lucy already has started her afternoon plan:

Happy New Year

It’s hard to believe that 2012 is already a thing of the past.

On December 30 I finished my sportweight aran jacket:

I’m currently working on a stealth project but will resume public knitting soon.

Lucy is napping, having partied a bit too much last night.

Happy New Year!