Archive | September, 2012

Be out of Texas before sundown

16 Sep

Hopefully anyway.  It is very slow going but I have only 14 rows to go on the second set of charts.  I have finished

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • South Carolina
  • Alabama (its bigger than  you think)
  • Mississippi (skinnier than it ought to be)
  • Louisiana
  • Alaska

I’m 4 rows from the end of Texas and the same from starting Nevada.

But oh, it’s a boring knit.  Once you have mastered the yarn twirl on a colour change and there is a lot of practice it is just a slog along the chart, knit one way purl the other.  Endlessly.  I just hope this tedium in the making of it does not spoil my enjoyment of the  finished blanket.

Progress pictures.

I was thinking I didn’t like the colours but upon reflection and as the blanket grows I think I do.

And for those of you desperate to know how the back is looking here it is:

I have been keeping it all in a box and trying to knit out of it to minimise the unraveling of the wool but these balls have a life of their own and and whether I use the outside or inside thread soon end up a twisted heap rather than a neat ball.  So I’ve put them in socks to keep them more compact at least.  I was working with 12 balls of wool in 6 colours so needed some order.  Socks are the way to go until I can get hold of some of the plastic bottle covers off licenses give you when buying good wine.  I’m drinking swill these days and in the shops I frequent you are lucky to be offered a bag to carry it home in (or to the park) never mind a plastic cover.

Chart update.


Gee it’s great, knitting the 50th state, Hawaii, USA*

8 Sep

* As Elvis never quite said.  I wish I had chosen a more jaunty colour than grey for Hawaii but it is what it is.  It is slow going and I have to stop at the end of each row to mark it off on the chart so I know where I am.  I have added a small ribbon to the Florida end to make it even more clear and have marked the chart with arrows for RW/WS so I know which way I am knitting mid row when I stop to ponder life’s complexities.

I have been using bobbins for the inside passage of Alaska and Hawaii and on my second ball of sea wool have added another bobbin for the Bering Sea.  I am getting to the point where I will need to add another bobbin for the Gulf of Mexico and use the main ball for the Atlantic.  I have been using the same colour for Texas and Florida on 2 separate balls so the delay at the end of each row is also to untangle all the balls of wool.  So far the  front looks a little lumpy but I am pleased with the back, not too shabby.

It was slow going yesterday I spent a lot of time wondering about making my own stitch markers.  The hardware shop does not have any suitable sized rings so I will try a jewelry makers for jump rings that can have charms or beads added.  I have ordered some modeling clay from Amazon to make charms for one set I have in mind.

I want to get the first set of charts finished today, 16 rows is doable and will mean easier knitting as I leave the messy islands and start knitting whole states, less switching colours and no need to carry yarn behind the knitting.  It will also give me an idea of the likely finished size.  I am regretting not listening to the wool ladies about choice of yarn and thinking I will back this one with some quilting material for a more substantial blanket.  But we’ll see, have to knit it first.

One for Texas

6 Sep

I bought my needle, Addi 5mm with 100cm cord.  Very swish and seems to make my knitting faster.  I rushed to the pub to start knitting, managed 4 rows and was very pleased.  When I got home and looked at my pattern I had it wrong, it was stocking when it should have been garter, so I had to pull it all out.  The wool (Rowan Creative Focus) is a bugger to unravel because it has lots of little fibres that tangle.  But I did it and started again.  In the morning I counted my stitches 3 times and got different counts each time.  It’s hard to count on that wire.  So I started again and added markers, as advised in the pattern.  I just used loops of white wool not having any markers, but they have worked well so far.  272 stitches clearly marked out, border, charts 1,2,3 and 4 and more border.

I’m a slow knitter and even with these super fast needles it is slow going.  I have knitted 14 rows so far and that is probably in about 4 hours of knitting, while watching telly and drinking tea.  I wanted to get to landfall on the first day, Texas line 14 of the chart, one stitch, and managed it by bedtime and very satisfied I was too.

Brownsville in wool

This morning I came down to examine it and found I had messed up.  Texas should be on the other side of my marker.  How did this happen?  It is fixable, I’ll fudge it rather than fix it but it is annoying.  As I started knitting I realised it is going to be very hard to correct mistakes unless I see them immediately and back track. This mistake is in the middle of a row and would require unpicking the row and adjusting.  I am not good enough to do this well so I will just adjust the Texas coastline a smidge.  Brownsville is going places people!

The mistake does explain how one knitter managed to knit her blanket backwards, reading the chart on the WS will cause that.  It is an early mistake and I’m glad I made it, I can watch out for it now.  So I press on and will start on Florida, Hawaii and Alaska today.

The State I’m in

2 Sep

So the wool is purchased, John Lewis at Stratford has a good selection and I got three balls of each colour, plus five blue for the sea and one pink for the states I like the best.  We’ll gloss over the price because I could have bought some v fancy blankets for the price of the wool to knit this one.

I have run my colours through this map maker which allows you to test colour combinations and it looks ok.  Obviously the colour options are not as sophisticated as those offered by Rowan but it is good enough to give an idea of how the blanket will look.  It took forever to get the data right because I don’t know the more obscure state abbreviations from my elbow and the in-house expert doesn’t know his MO from his MT on a map.

The real colours are dark green, light green, ivory and a light grey but this gives an idea of the distribution

I knitted my swatch and it came up right for 4.5mm needles; nice wool to knit with too.  So now I just need to purchase a circular needle in 4.5mm, looking at this shop which is open today but don’t imagine I’ll get dressed in time to go shopping.  After all, tomorrow’s another day .