I’m just about the worst blogger ever, sporadic to the max. I’m vowing to try harder this time, but I’m sure I say that every time.
I haven’t been quite as neglectful of my knitting, but to be truthful apart from the last couple of months any knitting activity has pretty scant of late. I don’t really know what I’ve been doing with my time!
I have managed a few FO’s, the most significant of which… the Wedding Afghan!
Tree of Life Afghan by Nicky Epstein
Yarn: Texere Yarns Pure New Wool Aran
I absolutely adored knitting this. The first row of trees and flowers was a little bit trying. I was working off the free pattern where the instructions are written out rather than charted so it took a while to get the hang of it, but once you’ve done each bit once, the rest goes a lot easier. A lot if it becomes quite intuitive so you don’t have to spend forever counting stitches in your head. The flowers seemed like a bit of a pain at first, I looked around for a different flower pattern for a while but didn’t see anything else I like so stuck with it, and I’m glad I did. Would be interesting to see about lightly felting the little leaf loops to the background to give them a little more solidarity and less liable to snag, might see about that next time but I expect it’d be a mammoth task as there are so many of them!
The wool was lovely. It was undyed and had the teeniest yellow hue to it. Blocking really transformed it, it washed out the yellow to a lovely creamy colour and really fluffed the yarn up to a lovely squishy warm blanket. The actual blocking process was a bit of a nightmare though, the thing was so huge so I blocked it in the bath. You forget how much water wool soaks up and how heavy it becomes, I must have gone through about 3 sopping towels to press as much water as I could out, and it still took days to dry!
Mods: I was really not a fan of the sculpted tulip border in the pattern, and like seaming even less so decided on a simple mitred garter stitch border. After casting off and blocking the main body I picked up two thirds of the side stitches and (I think) all of the top and bottom stitches. I marked out the centre stitch for each corner and increased either side of it every other row, and just knit plain garter stitch with a smaller needle (think I went down one size) until I was sick of it! I think it worked out as about 2-3 inches. I would have liked to have made the border just a smidge larger, but the damn thing just didn’t seem to be growing at all so I got fed up. I cast off using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn cast off. I really love how it turned out, and I especially like the cast off technique, it’s certainly one I’ll be trying again.
I did toy with the idea of lining the underside of the blanket, but in the end decided against it. Might try it for the next one. I didn’t get the final dimensions of it, but it comfortably covered the surface of my double bed. I did sew a little lavender pillow from some cream linen to keep the moths at bay from the wool though.
folded up and waiting it’s new owners
I do feel a strange little sense of loss now that’s it’s finished and given away though. It’s arguably the biggest project I’ve ever undertaken, and as soon as I cast off that last stitch, and blocked and dried it, I was at a bit of a loss about what to do next. Luckily it’s new owners, Rowan and Jonny, absolutely adore it, and I can’t think of a more fitting couple for such a gift. I’ve been so excited for months to give it to them, and am so glad they like it. I hope they get as much pleasure out of owning it as I had making it and I hope it stays with them for many happy years. I also managed to finish up another little February baby sweater for their new little bundle, made from the same downy soft acrylic as the one I made for little Molly. I used cute little Peter rabbit buttons this time though, I love them!
Pattern: Baby Sweater on Two Needles (February) by Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly 4 Ply
I actually remembered to put the button holes in this time, so they were a bit too close together. I did three buttonholes, but with the narrow spacing 3 buttons looked too much, so I just put 2 on and kind of ignored the third hole! I do need to try a different increase stitch for the yoke though, I’m finding kfb a little too messy so will try something else next time. Again, I put the loose arm stitches on waste yarn and knit them in the round so I didn’t have to seam. I’ve got a lot of this yarn leftover, and it’s lovely and squishy, and possibly more importantly, machine washable, but I think I’ll use a different yarn next time, maybe something a little firmer and less fuzzy.
the whole package