Finished: Princess Daisy Blanket

7 skeins of Scheepjes Colour Crafter, 700 grams, 2100 m, hook 4 mm.

I loved making it!
I think I want to make another. With wool. Again with blocks in different colours and different sizes.

Here it is once again, after a wash:

Colours in the first picture are most true.
size is 1 m x 1.40 m

Lillepoes has been on my lap on this blanket every evening this week, whether this blanket was finished or not. Now that it is she loves to snuggle in it.


puzzling with crocheted blanket blocks

These are all the blocks I have at the moment:

That’s slightly over half I need, I think. Now it’s time to plan a bit about how many blocks I need of which size.

I’m already planning colourwise. These are the darkish large squares:

I didn’t like them much in the total so I started making them with only the lightest flowers and lightest colour combination (top rows).

These are the light large squares, the main part of the blanket:

These all have lightest back ground colours. I see I need a couple more with the lightest flower petals. Sixteen I’d say.

I quickly found out that if I want this blanket to be cheerful on dark winter days that it’s best to stick to the lightest background and use the other colours as accent. There are already two balls of the lightest colour crocheted in these squares and I bought another two. I will buy a third ball (fifth really) for sewing together the blanket.

The lightest colour for the flower petals gives jolts of light. Exaggerated if I flank it with a darker colour such as dark grey or purple. But I can’t use that in the largest squares because it will be too large a square of darker colour. So it comes to the smaller sized squares to have the jolts and contrast:

In the smaller squares I’m putting my most purple yarn next to the greenest petals. Darkest petals to lightest background.

All these squares are on the floor now and I love looking at the colours and combinations. Thinking about contrast and planning ahead. They are enormous in the way, making the place look cluttered, so I can only play a few hours at a time.

Today I also started to think about size. Eventually the blocks will be combined in a random fashion and it is good to know upfront which combinations are possible. This is what I found out:

The side of one large one is equal to the sides of two smallest ones.

Two large ones and on smallest one equal three of the third size.

One large one and one smallest one is as wide as one of the third size and a smallest…. hey, this can’t be right:

Never mind. It’s a puzzle in progress.

There’s also this: not all blocks of the same size are the same size. Some are crocheted more tight than others. So every formula is approximately and will be adjusted in real life.

I think I’ll be starting soon with sewing it together, while still crocheting more blocks. Just to get a start on that so it won’t be a daunting new task. Putting it all together is a big job …. 30% of the time it takes to make the blocks is something I once heard.

Right, first I’ll crochet some more: lots of light petaled flowers, putting sixteen of those in largest squares in lightest colours and then a whole lot of smallest squares in all colour combinations.

Two days of full time Acrylic.

I have started a blanket. In 100% acrylic. In wonderful colours:

It wasn’t a plan. I have plenty of WIPs. Besides this is acrylic, I don’t do acrylic much, do I? I’m a wool fan first and foremost.

This is what happened: I went to Utrecht on Friday and had a lovely day in the city. I visited a brand new yarn shop started by fellow Raveler Lilirious. It’s called Sticks & Cups and it’s on the Telingstraat 12, Utrecht. (Behind Neude, next to Filmtheater ‘t Hoogt)

 pic by Carla Meijsen

I’ll tell you about the shop another time. For now just know that Lili is a lovely person with a lot of knowledge and enthousiasm. She educated me on acrylic and its uses and she has such gorgeous colours in the shop and I’m still drunk on my colour palette and acrylic is such good value for money so this happened:

 Cost as much as one skein of hand dyed sock yarn!

The yarn is Scheepjes Colour Crafter yarn, a 100% acrylic DK weight with 300 m on a 100 grams ball. I learned that this quality of Acrylic is soft, durable, doesn’t pill and you can throw it in the washer. Other brands can be squeaky or sweaty but this Premium Acrylic is not.

It’s perfect for a blanket that can be used vigorously by me and the cats.
That’s actually how I prefer most of the items in my life, being it house hold items or clothes. I want to USE them, stretch my toes in them, spill chocolate and jam on them, sit in/on them on the sidewalk. Basically I want to live in them.

It’s why most of my skirts are of canvas and/or IKEA curtain fabric. This is why I love Dutch traditional costume. It’s also why the world got so enamored with jeans, I think. Functional items that look good.

The pattern for the flower blocks is free and is called Princess Daisy’s Flower Blanket by Sherry L. Farley:

The petals are a bit bobble-like, they’re really nice. Also the first row after the petals makes a perfect square. It’s a good pattern.

The last two days I spend crocheting and being in love with the colours. Last night I looked at blankets on Ravelry, to learn what tips people have about making them. Soon I learned that weaving in ends and sewing blocks together will take a lot of time, about 30% as much as the crocheting of the blocks takes. Many people sigh at that stage and even abandon their blankets for months and months.

So I spend last evening sewing in the ends of the blocks I have. A tedious job indeed. I’m now weaving in the end as I go. Whenever I cut a yarn I pull the square through the last loop, securing the end. With the next colour I then fixate that loose tail by crocheting around it as I make my stitches. Here I’m fixating the light yellowish yarn with the new grey stitched. The yellowish yarn ended at where I’m pointing:

Ahhh, I’m so enjoying these colours! For the back ground I’m combining different shades of grey, an idea I got from this great coloured project picture from AmyLu:

 pic by AmyLu

She used paid for pattern Sunshine Day Baby Afghan by Alicia Paulson, which also has fat bobble-y like petals and a row to make a round thing into a square but both very different from Princess Daisy’s Blanket.

Here’s what I have after two days of full time crocheting and fawning over the colours:

Not quite a blanket yet….

What have I started? What are the chances this will ever be finished? How long until this goes the way most of my WIPs go??
Should I care?
No. I should enjoy today and how much I love playing with the colours.

Biasknitting: seaming blocks together.

Here’s how my Blue Texel Shetland wrap looks like at the moment:

Three strips seamed together. The two outer strips are zig zags and knitted on the bias.

A biased knitted block has much more stretch than a regular knitted block. So what stitch to chose to seam blocks together and preserve that stretchy quality?

Normal used seaming stitches for knitted blocks are mattress stitch or whip stitch. Both are not really stretchy. You can get away with them for regular knitting because you usually use the seams as some sort of strengthening of a plane such as a blanket and/or reinforcing the shape of a design such as the side seams in a garment.

After much procrastination debate I settled on a handsewn zig zag stitch, made with sewing thread. Normally you stay away from sewing thread because it can fray and cut the knitting yarn. But I wanted invisible colours because with all the bulky and multicoloured knitting sewing with a distinct coloured yarn wouldn’t look neat.

There are various stretchy zig zag stitches in the land of hand sewing:

What’s also unusual is that I used a flat seam. I placed one block on top of the other and sewed them together. Instead of putting right side to right side and folding the fabric open later. It’s called a flat seam I think? I chose the block that had the nicest looking edge to go on top.
I did this so it wouldn’t be too bulky.

Here’s my bias block sewed onto a regular knitted block:

Now the wrap is finished and I can think about a border but it wasn’t an easy finish. I had a very false finish first:

I miscalculated how high the strip on the left should be. During knitting I measured it numerous times and held it to both the middle strip and the right strip so I really don’t understand how it happened.

Maybe I measured by putting the “spines” together, the vertical ridges. The zig zags may have thwarted me because they do not run level. At the left bottom the dark grey triangle is much higher than it’s partner next to it. All the stripes in the left piece of knitting run askew as a result of this.

This was made very clear to me when I put two stitchmarkers near the top to indicate how high the strip actually ought to be. They are pale purple circle markers. One in the spine on the right, in the dark grey stripe. The other is in the midgrey stripe, just under the white-with-the-black-streak.

These two stitchmarkers are at the same height. They are level, horizontally speaking. You’d hardly believe it, the marker on the left looks to be som much lower!

Here’s proof that the two stitch markers are at the same level, I folded the piece of knitting on one of its spines. The bottom is at the same line, the edges run perpendicular. And the stitchmarkers are at the same height:

Seeing this really hurt. Bias knitting that plays with skews really isn’t for the foggy brained.

I’d have to frog everything until I reached the first stitchmarker, whichever that would be. No! The LAST stitchmarker!
Because that one indicates where bindoff should already be happening while I knitted further on the rest until is got high enough to start binding off there too.
Am I explaining this in a way you can understand? If not I felt exactly like you do….

Here I’m pointing to the row that the left stitchmarker indicates. I will have to frog till there and then start binding off around that left stitchmarker because that’s the maximum height the strip ought to get:

Boohoo! All that knitting has to be frogged.

For a while I contemplated another solution:

But I didn’t. Mainly because securing a cut piece of knitting is frustrating. And I’m sure I’d all kind of other problems, trying to secure it in a bias stretchy appropriate way.

I frogged dutifully and when I hit the first stitchmarker I started to count how many rows I had to frog until I hit the second marker. 15 rows. That’s how askew the zig zags run. I’m sure if I measure the difference in rows between the two triangles at the bottom it will come to 15.
As soon as I pick up these last stitches I’ll start binding off around that spine. First only at the left so that part’s done. Then I’ll start knitting right from the marker to the end of the row, continueing to increase and decrease at the “spines” according to the bias pattern  but each time I reach this side I’ll bind off one stitch on every row. (Both RS and WS, this will create a horizontal edge.)

I will have to continue knitting 15 more rows until the spine where the other stitch marker used to be is at the same height. Which will also be the height of the piece this strip will be seamed on.

That’s what I did and now I have a new edge and it’s as high as the knitted strip on the left that I attached to it. The top is level, even though it looks a bit wonky now due to how I’m holding it:

Now thinking about a border. iCord is beautiful but I’m afraid to run out of yarn. I could pick up stitches (ratio for biased knitting??) and do a rolling border. Probably make it roll the other side: have reverse stockinette stitch on this side.

Because indeed: the knitting curls quite a bit at the moment… Block first, border second?

I’ll sleep on it for a bit. In the mean time I’m already using this lovely knitting. As a wrap, as a lap blanket. It’s so soft and cosy and warm!

And I really like how the zig zags play with your eyes. If the border evens things out you can clearly see that the zig zags do not run level, that there are all kind of things happening here:

Bought at the Fair: a Real Shetland Throw

This old picture shows I had been working on my handspun Shetland/Blue Texel throw/shawl/blanket. But for a while now I’m not sure how to proceed. Connecting the parts which are bias knitted and attaching a border to bias knit planes makes me a bit unsure because bias knit has a different stretchiness then regular knit and I don’t know which stitch to use or which ratio for picking up stitches when attaching perpendicular knitting such as an icord.

It’s not a difficult puzzle to solve. Mostly it just involves some trial and error. I also had some advise this week (attach parts with a zig zag stitch instead of a mattress stitch.) But the fact that the puzzle is there in the first place made me deflect to easier knits, casting on new knits and spending time writing long blog posts and watching David Armand mime songs in funny ways.

Still I’d like some warm Shetland/Blue Texel to wrap around my knees at night. I’ve been wearing parts of the handknit but it’s not working very well.

Then, at the fair of Midwinterwol, there was a vendor selling 100% Shetland blankets at a great offer:

 Pounds for euro’s! In a nice light colourway. All undyed wool. Natural product. Sturdy yet warm. Nice bloke. Good story. Lovely occasion with great atmosphere.

That’s why I came home with a Shetland throw even though I have a handmade one that’s nearly finished.

The vendor is Real Shetland Company

With Shetland there’s a bit of a thing where we can argue if something is real Shetland because it’s made from the sheep breed Shetland or if it’s more real because it comes from the Shetland Islands with its distinguished traditions in knitwear and Shetland sheep. Or if it’s the most reallest if it comes from Shetland, is made from local Shetland wool and is also sold by local people.

Real Shetland Company takes a stand in this topic and writes on their site:
“We directly support over 800 Shetland Crofters (sheep farmers) on the Islands as well as supplying Jamieson and Smith (Shetland Wool Brokers) with a wide selection of our woven goods for them to sell in their shop in Lerwick, the capital and main port of the Shetland Islands.”

The Real Shetland Company buys their raw wool from Shetland sheep flocks on the Shetland Islands and processes it in a factory in Yorkshire (which is on the main UK island) in a plant that’s very environmentally friendly (but whose site is still embryonic in information).

Either way I came home with a good product. And it was recognized as such by the experts:
lazy cats in knitting
lazy cats in knittinglazy cats in knitting

Yep. I’d better finish my own Shetland blanket if I want something to wrap around me.

And if you can’t hog a Shetland throw, use that soft natural wool from Sweden as a pillow:lazy cats in knitting
Suggesting strongly that I knit on something else for a while. For instance my Shetland/Blue Texel blanket.


the WIPs at the moment & finished Hilja vest

These are the projects I’m actively working on.

Sleeping socks:

Gobbling up all kinds of sock yarn remnants. I’m nearly at the knee so soon they’ll be finished. Mindless knitting, lovely.
On needles 3 mm.

The handspun sweater vest:

pattern Hilja by Niina Hakkarainen. Used 490 m handspun  and less than 10 grams of sock yarn for the borders. Both yarns knitted on needles 3,75mm.

Just bound off. Needs its ends woven in. I know that as soon as I do so I’ll have a strong urge to sew another blouse to wear under it. But I’m still perfecting the sewing pattern for the blouse ànd am attending a course so I can’t decide what to do: muddle on on my own or wait for a couple of weeks until we have drafted a decent pattern in the course.
On my own, I really don’t have a clear idea of what I’m doing, when it comes to arm holes and collars.
On the other hand: I want to wear this sweater vest. In a couple of weeks deep winter will be here and it will be too cold.

Anyway, post phoning weaving in the ends and making decisions until tomorrow.

The Texel Shetland blanket/wrap:

Still working on the panel at the right. Also doing a bit of study how to attach the panels together.
And studying applied i-cords.

Arlene vest and Blue Contiguous are hiding in the closet. They might come out when the studying or sewing isn’t satisfactory.
Some Skew socks are lurking in WIP bags. If there are any more WIPs I have conveniently forgotten about them at this moment.

A lovely block!

knitted on 2 mm needles, with sock yarn weight held double.
The spotted yarn I dyed myself, long ago:

On dry yarn so the colours wouldn’t soak into the wool. I used vinegar water to make the dye, so the dye would set. Then I put it onto the yarn, first with an old tooth brush later with a spraying device.

It took a lot of effort because only the outer side of the skein would get sprayed. I had to open up the skein all the time and add more dye. This was very tiresome because back than my blood pressure was too low to be doing things like this.

It was then steamed for 45 minutes.

Earlier this year I knitted a pair of Skew socks from it. Flax Skews that I love very much. This colourway makes me smile!

The heart is made in 100% pure silk, handdyed by a local indie dyer Dutch Knitting Design, who’s also a personal friend.
I love silk yarn!

The design itself is Block Week 5, by Corien, from the Karma Knus Blanket. In 2013 I made the whole blanket for myself.
This sweet little block is for someone else. I put a lot of love into it and I’m confident she will know this every time she touches this block. 🙂

Shetland and Blue Texel WIP

Yay, we’re at the cabin!

The multi natural coloured Shetland + Blue Texel handspun cardi is becoming something else….

A wrap perhaps. Or a little blanket. Or a shrug.
All I know is I made a panel of the Shetland little zigzags and wanted to start knitting with that beautiful Blue Texel handspun from Moonwise. Having a garment with that zigzaggy panel on the back didn’t feel right anymore. Too foreign.
I saw something else in my mind, some kind of Blue Texel hug, interspersed with lines of Shetland.

I’m inspired by three things:
1. the non-stranded knitting of The Great Missowski by Julia Trice:

2. the optic pleasure of blanket Horizon by Grace Anna Farrow:

3. and the gorgeous wrap Hansel from Ribbels that looks so comfortable on her:

Ribbels is a big fan of Shetland yarns and knits the most beautiful pieces with it. Her project page is one of the pages on Ravelry that I like to visit and wander aimlessly and admire.

With these three projects dancing in front of my mental edit: mind’s eye I’m now knitting “freehand”. Without a pattern. Yes, I’ve bolted free and am just galloping the meadows of knit!
But not scaring the sheep obviously. Because that would be mean.
Not so much galloping either… more like skipping along. Humming happily. Stopping and waving whenever an animal raising its head in wonder.
Just going where the wool takes me.

For technical matters and to understand chevron knitting I’ve looked closely at a free chevron blanket pattern (Chevron Baby Blanket by Espace Tricot) and now I’m just winging it.
I’m playing with colours, playing with proportions. Playing with intarsia even, you can’t see clearly but the triangle in the middle now has an all brown part at the top while it’s neighbours just progress in grey. They are knit simultaneously:

Later on I’ll sew the “missowksi”-strip to the side of the chevron-bit and I plan to add another piece of chevrons to the other side. I might elongate the little zigzags if I think I need more acreage.

Aran weight, knit on needle 5 mm. (Normal knitters would probably use 7 mm)
I want to use this in the city so please don’t let the cabin’s clumsiness and friendly awkwardness seep into this knit. It’s got to stay fresh, sharp and stylish.

Finished: woven blanket

I finished it at the Fair, in the very last minutes before closing time on Friday night. I took it off the loom today.
It’s 2 meters long and 60 cm wide.

I wove it on my rigid heddle loom, a Glimakra.
I put some Lang Yarn Alpace treads through the reets. Because I was going to weave with thick yarn I skipped slots at a regular interval.
You thread the thread through the slots with a little crochet hook, double threads:

Once all the slots are filled you wind up the back thingamajig.
When it’s all wind up and you have a bunch of loops at the front you cut the loops and thread half of them through their appropriate slot.
Then you tie them to the front thingamajig and you can start weaving:

I changed colours every so often. The thick yarn could not go on the weaving stick for many meters anyway. I had 5 colourways that I changed. Often I would weave in just two rows of a contrasting colour.
It was great fun and all in all went pretty fast.

The handspun organic sheep (which I call “ecoschaap” in the tags and on Ravelry) is soft and lovely. It’s from organic farm De Laan van Wisch that really cares for their animals.

The Alpaca did get caught on something and stretched. The blanket is a bit out of shape because of that.
The weaving police will never know!

Taking about weaving police: a woven cloth is not officially finished until it’s washed. But I have a special purpose for this blanket and it doesn’t need to be washed for that. I’ll show you in time. Also: this wool doesn’t full so I see no purpose in trying to finish this blanket properly.

Besides: I take crossing my finish lines in instalments and celebrate every accomplishments I can. I call it finished!

changing Mixed Weave Rug

Last year I knitted Mixed Weave Rug and I use it often. It is long and narrow and heavy and warm. I’ve been sitting under it all winter and Lillepoes loves sitting on top of it (and me).

But it’s too long and too narrow to be practical. I cannot tuck it under comfortably and cats do not fit under it when I’m already under it.
So I changed it. While I was in the city the last couple of weeks. Where I didn’t have appropriately sized needles. So while I was there I parked Contiguous Blue Cardi and used its needle to alter the rug. Now it fits comfortably around me (and a cat).

It’s much shorter now. In fact I ripped it back a bit too far so after I adjusted the width I re-added a bit of length too, until I ran out of yarn. I’m pleased, with this shape I will get even more use out of it.

Since the addition was knitted on smaller needles than the original, the addition is a bit stiff. I’ve brought it with me to the cabin and hope to block the living daylights out of it while I’m here. Then back to the city house it’ll go. With hopefully more drape.

Now that I have experienced how much use and joy a heavy woolen blanket gives me I’m more serious then ever to knit one for the couch in the cabin too. You’ve seen me dyeing and spinning the yarn for it last year, based on the blanket from my grandmother.  It’s organic sheep from the local organic farm, De Laan van Wisch. It is so soft!

It lacked some white and green but now that I have wool left over from Sprig sweater and found some white handspun I’m ready to knit a nice blanket for the cabin also.

Where it not that I’m on a tranquil colour run the past few months. I lean more towards white and greys and soft greens. Birch not Bright!

We’ll see. I still have the other soft ecowool on the wheel and it gives big hanks of superbulky yarns. Surely that would give an awesome and tranquil coloured rug. And I can probably use two extra blankets anyway.

Oh! I unexpectedly finished spinning it yesterday!

I want to weave with it so there’s no need to soak the yarn. It’s really finished the moment I take it from the wheel!

  1. 210 meters of 50/50 brown/white, 330 grams;
  2. 165 meters of white, 250 grams;
  3. 78 meters of brown, 100 grams;
  4. 68 meters of white-with-a-bit-of-brown, 110 grams;
  5. 65 meters of brown-with-a-bit-of-white, 150 grams.

Such a rich texture. And soft yarn! I’ll catch this fluff in a warp that’s sturdy (but soft). I have to think of an approach, colourwise…. a design.