Finally Done – Great American Afghan

This took nearly three years to complete – started in early 2015, and with the blocks finished and assembled in August of 2015.  However, it took two winters and into November of this year to finish the knitted band around the edge.  To be fair, I only worked on the band intermittently and only in the winter – when the rest of the afghan could be warming my lap in the process.  The unending nature of the band around an afghan this size (that’s a queen sized bed it covers) meant that I had to take frequent breaks to avoid going out of my mind with boredom.

It is a generously-sized and very warm afghan.  After two years of quasi-use, I’m a little disappointed that it is showing wear in the form of fluffing and mild pilling, which suggests that it might not take to many washings (and afghans should be washable).

This was going to be a gift (but for whom, I never determined), but after using it for a few years – and having it show signs of use – I will likely keep it.  Unfortunately, the colors are not appealing to me.  Mind you, they are terrific colors, and I’m pleased at the way the afghan turned out but (as you can see by the bedspread), I prefer a different color palette.

New techniques (Finished Projects Installment) – Mitered corners!  I chose a band from one of the squares of the Great American Afghan book (one of the squares that I did not use for the precise reason of the band that I – at the time – did not want to tackle).  The straight sections of the band were attractive and easy, and the instructions for the mitered corners were OK – they only gave directions on knitting the corner, without direction on where to start the mitered corner.  I’m still not sure about that one.

Advertisements

Adventures in Double-Knitting – Vernetzt

Another Shawl-in-a-Ball project – this time, I’m moving away from the brioche style knitting and taking another run at double-knitting.  I’ve only knit a few double-knit projects, so am not very experienced (and that’s why it’s classified as “new techniques”).  This scarf looks like a fun way to use the Restful Rainbow color.  The long color repeats will set off the pattern nicely.

The project is Vernetzt, or “Networked,” available as a free download on Musterbunker (Pattern Bunker), a German knitting blog.  The author has several very nicely-rendered double-knitting projects.  Patterns in both German and English.

It took me a bit to refresh my memory on double-knitting.  If you have never tried this technique, I recommend you use simpler and more clearly-stated patterns to get started.  This pattern is not at all difficult, once you get the hang of it – just requires some experience with double-knitting, and the written directions assume a certain level of experience (casting on, knit-purl rhythm of double-knitting, etc.)

Modifications – rather than 4 repeats of the base pattern, I used 3 – the scarf as modeled is wider than I prefer.  I used my go-to black yarn Knit Picks Stroll Sock Yarn for the black contrast.

As usual for new styles of projects, I knit-and-ripped and knit-and-ripped until I was satisfied with the direction the project was going.  The machine-wound yarn ball and band did not survive that treatment, so I re-rolled the yarn into a ball.   You can’t see the colors except for the color you are knitting.  Fun for those who like surprises.

Green the Whole Year ‘Round

This yarn was pulled from my stash – one of the “on vacation” purchases.   I think I purchased it when in Palm Springs several years ago – we took an outing to a nearby historic (and touristy) district and found “The Wool Lady” store tucked in a corner.  I picked up a few hand-spun and hand-dyed hanks and never found the right project – until now.

The yarn is Teeswater/Wensleydale by Feathergrass Fiber.  Unfortunately, I could not find information about either the store or the fiber producer, so either may or may not still be in business.

The pattern is Green the Whole Year ‘Round by Anna Yamamoto, available as a free Ravelry download.  The yarn I used was a bit fuzzy, so tthe pattern in my finished project is not as distinct as the author’s pattern suggests, but I think it turned out nicely.

The pattern was fun but challenging – the author rates it as “advanced”  The pattern is both charted and written out, and the author provides clear directions, but one needs to be very comfortable with some of the more advanced stitches and the pattern requires attention.

Changes:  I did not include the “nubs” – I don’t particularly like that feature in most patterns, and I don’t miss it in the finished product.  The pattern also calls for short rows for shaping – I used my favorite German Short Row technique, instead.

Also note:  I think the term is “severe blocking” and is required to make sure that the shawl is shaped properly.

 

I was concerned about the yardage, but I had plenty, and wish I would have carried the pattern on for a bit more length.  But, that sometimes happens with hand-made and dyed yarn, and having yarn leftover is better than not having enough.

Note in the pictures that the yarn has more pink tones at the bottom (right side in the picture) of the shawl, and more evenly purple at the top – that is the difference in the two skeins used to make the shawl, and a cautionary tale in purchasing yarn by unknown fiber artists – even though clearly the same dye lot, purchase at the same time, and looked the same on the hanks, the dye process on the two hanks resulted in a clearly different product for each hank.  Fortunately, the shawl pattern lent itself to this and the color change looks like it an intended feature.  Had this been a sweater or some other more fitted project, it would have been a noticeable flaw in the construction.

 

Toronto Yarn Stores – Romni Wools

Continuing my exploration of local yarn stores while on vacation in Toronto, on our last day we stopped at Romni Wools.

While Yarns Untangled (also in Toronto) was a terrific example of a local yarn store, Romni Wools is on the other end of the spectrum – an enormous yarn store with a selection that could keep you occupied for days!  Its website confirms, “Romni is your one-stop shop for almost all natural fibre arts.”

Two stories of floor-to-ceiling fiber (or “fibre” as they spell it in Canada).  I don’t know how they keep track of inventory – that’s probably a job, all on its own.

They also had the largest collection of books and magazines that I have ever seen in one place.   You could spend days just perusing the magazines.

The basement is full of “sale and discontinued” items – including a lot of large-spool yarn, which might be leftovers from factory production lines.  Did not look like commercial yarn, and was not labeled like commercial yarn typically is.

It is a tourist destination, all on its own.  I only purchased a few items, but if I lived in Toronto, this would be a frequent stop.