In Response to Amina — Blanket Overload

Amina

Off topic: Are you going to do another mood blanket for 2015?

This is the first time I’m responding to a comment with a post, but I think Amina deserves to know what’s up in blanket land for me this year.  😀

It had crossed my mind to do another mood blanket after the first one turned out so well but requests and promises made caused a change in that plan.  To date, I have four blankets on tap for 2015!  Yes I said four!  Nuts … I know, but here’s why:

image courtesy: Lion Brand Studios

After staying wrapped up in my mood blanket for 4 days while we went through the “blizzard” in January, my little cousin requested his own throw/blanket.  We went through Ravelry patterns together and he picked this cabled blanket.  According to him, he wants it big enough because he’s taking it to college — college for him is 4 years from now.  Be still my beating heart.  ❤

The yarn is already in my possession, he picked some crazy lime green colour but it’s his blanket, all I am is the maker so I had to accept the colour choice I was given.  He was so very resolute in his colour choice.   😀    The bulky weight should make this project go fairly fast so I’m confident I can get it done (all things being well before the end of the year).  He says he expects it for Christmas since my mood blanket took the entire year.  What a sweet-heart. ❤

The second blanket is more of a decorative throw but I love the look of it and actually started to make it in December.  I didn’t have the yarn used in the video — Bernat Blanket Yarn — which is a velour type, super bulky weight yarn:

Bernat Blanket Yarn

so I used two strands of KnitPicks Brava bulky held together.  The look was okay but still not what I was going for so I ended up scrapping that project.  Then a friend went to Michael’s after Christmas sale where the Bernat yarn was 40% off.  She knew I was not buying yarn this year so she picked it up and called it my “Christmas” gift.  Still not sure if she meant Christmas 2014 or 2015.    😀     Either way, this blanket is back on the 2015 to do list.

image courtesy: Purl Soho

The third blanket on tap is a Double Seed Stitch blanket (baby version) for my friend’s son.  I was supposed to do this before he was born.  He’s going to be 2 in July.  :/   In my defense, I did start the Honeycomb pattern for him but it wasn’t working up the way I liked so I’m going to adopt this Purl Soho pattern, making it in stripes as opposed to one solid colour.

And finally, a blanket for me — a free Martin Storey KAL (knit a long) afghan from Rowan Yarns.  This version of it sold me completely so I’m also doing mine in one solid colour rather than multiple colours as the original pattern suggests.

image courtesy: http://www.dayanaknits.com

The project is done is squares, then joined and finished off with the cable binding.  The squares shouldn’t take too long but I read that the binding takes a bit of time.  I bought the yarn for this in December — Patons Decor in Eggplant.  Since I’m in no hurry with this one, I’m going to finish the others first then get cracking on this.

It might seem a lot — four blankets in a year but I’m finding that I like projects like these and I don’t mind the length of time they take.  So there you have it Amina … no mood blanket but plenty of others to go around in 2015! 😀

What about you all — any blanket plans for 2015?

On Being Honest …

I think all knitters go through what I’m going through right now though some get there way faster than me but hey … better late than never right?  LOL!   The thing is, it’s not that I didn’t know before what I’m about to share but I’m going to share anyway.   I’ve decided this year I was going to really take my knitting and craft learning seriously.  I want to craft better and that takes practice, research and honesty.   The first two things are self explanatory, you can’t get better at anything if you don’t practice and in order to keep up with trends, techniques and instruction, research (plus willingness to learn) plays a huge part.  But honesty … what’s that got to do with anything?  Let me explain …

I started a hat for a friend.  Her birthday is next Friday (2.27) and I promised her this hat since last winter.  I wanted to finish it by this weekend, make some bath scrub and put together a birthday basket of those in addition to some blueberry muffins I also promised her.  Knowing that I don’t have much time (why I wait until the last minute is another post),  I started the hat two nights ago.  I was on tap to finish everything but of course, like every good knitter, I decided to check my work.  It looked nice but on further investigation, almost all the cable crosses had gigantic holes close to them.  See Exhibit 1:

Know Your Fiber I

I know holes are normal with cable crossings but not this size — my pinky could fit through these!!!  But if I was honest before I started, I would have admitted that the yarn I picked was a mistake.  It had absolutely no stretch, no breathe-ability.  There was no bounce to the yarn so of course, there was no blooming or stretchability to help hide these holes.  It had to happen that way because the yarn is acrylic!  If I were honest, I would have admitted before I started that there was no way I could get what I wanted out of this “fiber” — quotation marks in order cause we all know acrylic is soft plastic.   And that’s what I mean about honesty.  If I was honest that my “fiber” choice wasn’t the best fit, I would not have now been looking for something that’s more appropriate.  A project that should have been done already has to be restarted.

Which brings me to my next revelation.  If you’ve read this blog long enough you’ll know that  I’ve always kept a place in my stash for acrylic yarn.  But as of last night, I’ve packed up most of it.  Between the allergic reaction in December and this current fiasco, I’m giving my acrylic a timeout or maybe even a big toss.   I still believe it works for some things, but increasingly, as my crafting improves, I find that I don’t want to work with it so much anymore.   There I said it.  I’m not a yarn snob, I don’t have to have every fancy schmancy yarn that’s out there on the market but I find that as my craft improves, I want to work with more natural fibers.  If I do work with acrylic, from now on, it’s going to be with blends — acrylic and wool or acrylic and some other natural fiber.  I have some blends in my stash and I’ve kept those from the chopping block.

I wasn’t sure what I’m going to do with all the acrylic I’ve amassed over the years, but tomorrow, there’s going to be a big toss out. I think the only non-blends I’ll keep are my Caron Soft, my Lionbrand Thick n Quick and my Knit Picks Brava.  Sounds like a lot, but it’s not.  It’s enough to keep me stocked after I give the rest away.   I’ll look on Ravelry for some charity that’s willing to take the giveaway lot but I’m done.  While super-wash wool has been getting a bad rep around yarn blog-sphere lately, that will be my go to choice for items (personal or gifts) where either the recipient might not want to hand-wash or it’s just not feasible.  As warm it might be, I will NEVER make a blanket in 100% wool or any fiber I have to hand wash.  Never.

In the meantime, I took a break from my acrylic saga and dyed these two beauties.   The fiber is 100% merino for both — the orange one done with acid dye and the light brown with natural dye extract from the Cutch tree.

Know Your Fiber III

I’d love to know what you all think about using super-wash.  While you talk to me in the comments, I’ll be trying to find a substitute yarn for my friend’s hat.  😀