Suzie Blackman
Tuesday, 7 December 2010

I am a bad knitter when it comes to following patterns, too simple, too difficult, badly written, any errata and I lose interest entirely and do my own thing. I’m working on a couple of projects right now that I’m making up as I go along.

Firstly, a drop-shoulder sweater in one of my favourite yarns, the now discontinued Noro Cash Iroha.

Double moss sweater in Noro Cash Iroha, shade 113

I embarked on the project with no prior planning other than a swatch for the ribbing and a measurement around my hip where I wanted the sweater to fall.  The main pattern is knit on 7 mm needles with yarn held double. The ribbing is held single on 3.5 mm needles and all the hems are turned (turned rib hems are my new favourite, so cosy!). There are full details of construction on the project page.

I wouldn’t normally freestyle a bottom-up sweater, but this is a very simple garment with no shaping. The main body is chunky enough that even double moss knits up quickly, and I didn’t mind having to rip and re-knit it after the first attempt looked too small. Previous experience tells me that Cash Iroha grows in the wash, and I’ve taken that into account.

It came as no surprise to me that the eleven balls of bargain yarn in my stash weren’t enough. The four I had to order from USA to finish it off cost almost as much again but I don’t mind, I’m just grateful I was able to find enough.

I can’t wait for the remaining yarn to arrive, even with one sleeve this is such a cosy sweater. It will be perfect for my trip to Norway. Oh, have I mentioned I’m going to Norway in January? I’m so excited! They have beautiful knitwear in Norway, especially the traditional stranded star and ‘lice’ patterns. And plenty of wool too.

I digress…

My second freestyle project is a mitred square sock yarn cot blanket.

Sock yarn blanket in Colinette Jitterbug and other merino sock yarns

It’s inspired by a similar blanket pattern on Ravelry, but I have deviated somewhat. I’m mainly using Colinette Jitterbug, a Jitterbug Creative Pack is helping the project along nicely. The in freestyling this is to get the right balance of colours throughout the blanket. I have a lot of strong pinks and turquoises that I need to tone down with muted shades. I don’t want big patches of one colour, I want a gradual fade effect but also want it to look random.

Each of my squares measures about 9 cm / 3.5 inches and uses about 20 meters of yarn.

To start the first square, I cast on 49 sts.

First and all following ws rows: Knit

Next and all following rs rows: Knit to 1 st before centre st, work a 3 into 1 centred decrease (slip 2tog, k1, psso), knit to end

Repeat until final decrease row has been worked and 1 st remains, feed yarn through remaining st.

To start subsequent squares, with rs facing, pick up from square below (or cast on, if you’re on the bottom row) 24 sts, pick up 1 st from square diagonally below and left, pick up 24 sts from square to the left. I found it easiest and neatest to pick up stitches between the garter bumps.

My blanket is intended to fit a cot, I’ve made it 6 squares wide, and probably 8 or 10 squares long.

It’s absolutely addictive knitting, since taking the photo I’ve finished another 8 squares and it’s really starting to come together. There is nothing more motivating for me than seeing beautiful colour combinations emerge.

Once this is done I can see myself investing in a couple more creative packs and attempting a larger version. I’m also thinking about other applications for mitred squares, they’d look stunning in something like Noro Silk Garden with long colour graduations. Bags, cushions, scarves maybe?

The author

Suzie Blackman

The dyer, designer, photographer, creative technologist and maker-of-things behind It's a Stitch Up. She lives in East London in a home filled with colour, fluff and house plants.

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