Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Needlework Tuesday - Knitting and Blocking

Needlework Tuesday is an occasional post detailing my needlework and/or crafting projects.

Last week I mentioned that I had received two Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month projects. One I completed "as is", the other I made something else with the yarn. 

Well, one of these projects was a shrug. While the wave stitch looked interesting, I've made at least one other shrug like this and I didn't really like the finished garment. It's basically a rectangle with a couple of side seams. Instead, I found this lovely shawl pattern, Hill Island Wrap, that I wanted to try on ravelry.com. Even though they suggested a cotton/wool blend yarn, I decided to use an acrylic/nylon blend from the kit. I knew it wasn't going to be as nice as pictured, but I figured I'd give it a shot.

The whole time I was knitting, I was thinking I'd wet block it. However, I didn't realize that wet blocking doesn't really work on acrylic yarn. So, I tried steam blocking, which was suggested by my friend Google. I didn't exactly follow the instructions, though. I pinned it all down first. Then I hovered my steam iron over the shawl until I emptied the water reservoir twice. I should have taken a "before" photo, but since I wasn't totally convinced it was going to work, I figured it wasn't worth the bother. I didn't realize how much blocking could change an item.  While I don't love the colour combination, it turned out so much better than I thought it would.

The best part is that I have enough yarn leftover to make something else. Perhaps another shawl. ;) 

The other project I mentioned last week was a knitted stuffed rabbit. I haven't finished sewing it together yet, so I'll leave that until next week.

The other thing I mentioned last week was a circular knitting needle set purchase. I was really tired of buying new needles every time (or almost every time) I started a new project. I bought The Interchangeable Circular Knitting Needles Takumi Combo Set from Clover. It was quite pricey, but I'm hoping it's going to be cheaper and worth it in the long run. It includes 12 pairs of bamboo needles: 3.25mm - 6.5mm, 8.0mm, 9.0mm, 10.0mm, as well as 5 cables: 16, 24, 29, 36, and 48 inches. Of course, they are all interchangeable. One of the best features is the zippered leatherette case that'll keep everything together in one spot. There's also a separate segmented plastic envelope for the cables. So far, so good. I've only used one pair of needles (5mm) and the 29" cable. The yarn (cotton/wool/acrylic blend) is sticking a bit to the needles, so it's a little rough on the fingertips, but otherwise I'm happy with the set.

Here's another look at it:

Last week, another project from the Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month showed up in the mail. It's a scarf/shawl. Here it is:

The  yarn I received is coloured differently than those in the photo. I like the ones I got, "Black Denim" and "Grey", but they don't have a big enough contrast to really tell them apart. I think you'll still see the colour changes, it'll just be really, really subtle. Here's small section:

The thing I dislike most about this project is the pattern. It's horribly written and confusing. It's knit in short rows, so you turn the work before getting to the end of the row. That part I understand. However, after turning the work, you're supposed to "PM on last worked st.". I know the abbreviations, but that doesn't help figuring out what the "last worked stitch" is. Luckily, Patons has a video on the their website explaining exactly how to make this shawl. (Perhaps they know the pattern is confusing). If that's not bad enough, the pattern clearly states that "Sl1" = slip next stitch knitwise, but in the video, the presenter clearly slips the stitch purlwise. She even states that the stitch is to be slipped purlwise.  This isn't such a big deal, but it's confusing as to which it should be.  I'm also having a bit of trouble with the stitch counts, but I'm going to chalk that up to me not keeping track closely enough. Overall, this project is a bit annoying.

Next week, I'm hoping to sew up the bunny rabbit and adjust his stuffing enough to take a photo or two. I'm also going to continue to knit my latest shawl from the Mary Maxim's Knit Club of the Month.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather over at Books and Quilts.    If you'd done any crafting this week that you'd like to share with others, please head over to Heather's blog and use the Mr. Linky to link up your post, so others can enjoy your creations.  

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