Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Something New

Even though I've been knitting continuously 26 years, I do still find new things to try. This year, I decided to give mosaic knitting a go. I think I saw some ideas in a yarn newsletter (Knit Picks, Yarnspiration, etc) and started Googling. I found a website with a lot of patterns and I opted to do the pattern they use in this post, called "Doodle". I wasn't sure if either of the two light coloured yarns I had would be enough, so I alternated them. I had twice as much of the green, so that was an obvious choice. I started this at my mom's during March Break, and I had brought the two light colours because I was finishing the previous blanket, and the green was one of the yarns she received from her friend to give to me.

I swatched. Ripped, knit.... did some math, and cast on. I continued to have difficulties following the pattern, and I wasn't consistent with my right edge stitches and how I carried the yarn. The three yarns were making a neat edge, being carried up the side, but I knew I would have to do something around the edge.
I made frequent errors that I wouldn't see for a few rows down the pattern. So frustrating, as it's not the easiest thing to rip out and get back on the needles. Here, you can see the most frequent error I made, on the second motif down from the top, all across that row.

I discovered my math was way off! Really, really off. Like, how did I do that?! Like, about 12" too narrow. What?!

Here's where it gets into the True Tracy Way. I carefully, painstakingly ripped out the cast on row. I had done it in white, and the first two rows were garter stitch in white, to set up the pattern. It was a challenge at first, but eventually I figured out which loops I needed. I left those loops, and the last row I had finished on, on lengths of yarn (knotted, to form a sort of stitch holder). Then I carefully picked up stitches along one edge, and used white to knit two rows. It was an obvious change of direction, so the crisp white line became a design element. Picking up in garter stitch is pretty easy, one stitch per ridge, but because of my inconsistencies along the edge, some spots were a challenge. Then, I knit the same pattern outwards along one edge, about 5", ending where it looked decent and logical in the pattern. I left the stitches on another length of yarn. Then I did the same for the other edge.

Now, imagine the blanket . The two side wings do not have the white "line" from the set up row at the bottom or the last row at the top of the middle. I went from where the right edge "wing" met the cast on, and picked up along the new right edge of the piece I just knit, knit across the last row, and down the left edge of it, ending at the last row of the body piece. Then I turned, and knit back to the start (with the white). That created a white ridge line on that side. I repeated this on the other "wing". Now, I had a white ridge row going all the way around the blanket.

I continued on in garter stitch ridges, in the green. I was getting low on it, and I was kind of hoping to use it up. Not quite. I made sure to do a double increase on the four corners. I didn't need a wide border since the length was already almost perfect.
From a distance, it's intense. 

See the white line going up between the body and the side panels? 

See the join between the two different directions, near the top? This was the right edge, where the colours are carried up

And this is the other edge.

The yarns were not the softest or had nice drape. Then  I machine washed and dry it and it was a different blanket. They two light colours were Red Heart "Comfort"--the giant balls you buy at Wal-Mart. Never judge a yarn by how it's in the skein, or even knit up--until you wash it! 

I will probably do more mosaic patterns. This took me two months, with only one small affair with another project in the meantime (the crochet Amish puzzle ball). In the few few repeats of the motif, I thought, I'm never going to memorize this pattern. However, it's a very intuitive pattern (except for the centre row which adds the little nubs on either side of the box) and it does become easy to read the knitting. It's also fairly good for not having to look at each stitch.  Choose a short stitch repeat for your first project! Six stitches is easier to memorize than 10 or 15! 

This is probably the heaviest blanket I've done. Garter stitch is heavy and mosaic stitch is thick. When I do the scrap yarn, c2c garter stitch, they take 400gr-500gr; this one took 765gr. 

Yarn In:  3344gr
Yarn Out:  765gr + 5286gr = 6051gr
Balance:  2707gr more OUT than in!
Costs: $42.35/162 days = $0.26/day

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