With COVID-19 numbers dropping nationwide, the order came from On High: “Back to the office with you!” Happily for my continuing sanity and overall family wellbeing, I won’t be. The previously agreed timetable will remain in force for a few more weeks. We may renegotiate the last few days.
YoungB started a new job today. It’s city based and one where the end-of-trip facilities are so good that they feature in the orientation video. That means he’ll be back on his treadley once the first week is over. He’s looking forward to that with great enthusiasm.
In preparation for the forthcoming silly season, YoungB has also been participating in another lot of Latin-American dance classes. Whether from work or from the class, he reckons he’ll be home again before it’s too depressing outside. The evenings are lighter and the mornings are certainly light enough to see where you’re walking. Not warm, mind you! But less dangerous simply because of the improved visibility.
And I have – finally – finished and delivered the little knitted baby beanie I’ve been slugging away at since what feels like forever. It was one of those things where I’d knit a bit, then I’d knit a bit more, and although it should have been growing, it really didn’t seem to be making much progress at all. YoungB kindly reminded me that the longer I took to make it, the better chance there was that it would no longer fit the intended recipient. Fair point!
As you can see from the photo, the beanie is a simple mistake-rib design. The colour is probably brighter IRL, but difficult to photograph well. Bendigo Woollen MillsBaby Meadow 4-ply, 100% Fine Australian Merino Wool in shade Golden Sands. I used 3.25mm (UK 10 / US 3) and 2.75mm (UK 12 / US 2) Aero knitting needles that I have had for many years.
I’m now having a bit of a rest. I hope you are, too 🙂
I wanted this to be a post with all the details for what is a toasty warm addition to the family now that temperatures have definitely dropped. However, life happens; and the latest happening has derailed things significantly. So, you know, if I give you a general idea, that might have to do. Complete, accurate details would require me to weigh the remaining yarn, then calculate how much of some colours made it into the blanket. I can tell you now, that’s not happening.
For colours and temperature range represented by each, see broad discussion here and below table for details.
Any changes to the original plan were mostly “Let’s not do that” things, dictated by unexpected health setbacks that necessitated a frank and fearless consideration of what could be left out so that YoungB would get his blanket at all (much like this post, actually). There is no “essence of QR code” square, for example. Although I’d planned a double border so that I could incorporate his name and the year, that didn’t happen either. It would have been too time-consuming. I may embroider the year on one of the neutral squares. Then again, I may not.
It was my design, but influenced by the need for solid squares and something that would quickly be square from a circular centre, so that the CJAYG method wouldn’t give me headaches (see discussion). I had assistance with colour choices from both Dr B and YoungB. I’m not sure we got it right in a couple of cases, but, hey, we’re the ones telling the story 🙂
Temperature range ˚C
Yarn colour (BWM Classic 8 ply) (bought)
610 – Indian blue: 25g (1 ball)
3.0 – 7.9
600 – periwinkle: 200g (1 ball)
8.0 – 12.9
777 – powder blue: 200g (3 balls)
13.0 – 17.9
745 – pale eucalypt: 300g (3 balls)
18.0 – 22.9
695 – guava: 200g (2 balls)
23.0 – 27.9
612 – viridian: 350g (3 balls)
28.0 – 32.9
769 – marigold: 200g (1 ball)
33.0 – 37.9
767 – burnt orange: 50g (1 ball)
38.0 – 42.9
608 – holly: 25g (1 ball)
779 – bright magenta: 50g (1 ball)
Year- and month-end (and CJAYG)
694 – maize: 1000g (6 balls)
Planned to include
602 – almond: 0g (1 ball)
Worked in linen/moss stitch, alternating directions for the 17 rounds of changing colours.
All viridian rounds of linen/moss stitch worked in same direction.
Final viridian round of htr worked in opposite direction.
marigold – 1 tidying round of (UK) dc marigold – 2 pattern rounds periwinkle – 1 pattern round guava – 4 pattern rounds pale eucalypt – 2 pattern rounds powder blue – 1 pattern round magenta – 3 pattern rounds burnt orange – 2 pattern rounds Indian blue – 1 pattern round viridian – 5 pattern rounds viridian – finishing round of (UK) htr
Cost of yarn purchased (24 x 200g balls @ $13.50)
Cost of yarn used
Not calculated, but probably around $250.00
Hours of work
1 Jan 2021 – 8 balls = $108.00 1 each of: maize, pale eucalypt, almond, powder blue, Indian blue, viridian, burnt orange, bright magenta 9 Feb 2021 – 4 balls = $54.00 1 each of periwinkle, guava, marigold, holly 29 May 2021 – 2 balls = $27.00 2 balls of maize 13 Oct 2021 – 10 balls = $135.00 3 of maize 2 each of viridian, pale eucalypt, powder blue 1 of guava Entirely unused at completion: 200g almond, 200g pale eucalypt and leftovers, 200g powder blue and leftovers; about 200g of viridian; and quite a lot of the holly, which wasn’t used in the border.
Temperatures represented by colour range; and yarn usage
I chose hook sizes to ensure that the completed blanket was “not too holey”. I’d usually use a 4.00mm hook for 8-ply yarn. I used a 3.50mm hook for the centre and middle rows, to provide that requested firm, not-too-holey fabric. I used a 4.00mm hook for the joining round, which gave overall better drape on the entire blanket, and made it easier for me to do the joins, but – again – met the “not too holey” requirement.
I went back to the 3.50mm hook for the linen stitch border, again so that the fabric would be firm, and to prevent rippling; or at least keep that to a minimum. Working rounds in alternating directions also helped to minimise rippling. I worked most of the viridian rounds in the same direction, as that was easier for keeping joins tidy. It was also easier to see what I was doing.
The parts that were fairly dull and boring were all those damn winter squares. Just like the weather! Although generally there are remarkably few special design features, I know a few crept in through those cooler colours. I was tired and not always counting as well as I should have been. I rescued most, and even I would be hard put to find the few that remain.
I got great value out of the mantra that CJAYG and tidying ends as you go allow: when it’s done, it’s finished. There are no ends to sew in, other than the one you’ve just snipped for the border.
As noted above, there were several unexpected derailments because of equally unexpected ill health. All in all, it’s a fine testament to a great deal of dedication and devotion, and an astonishing degree of crafting monogamy. I made one other crocheted project – a small wind spinner – and didn’t bother to have any knitting on the go At. All. Yes, I’m surprised, too.
In sum: did it turn out as well as I’d hoped? Yes, and perhaps better than I’d imagined. Would I make another such thing? Probably not! Would I used the yarn again? Of course. Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 8-ply remains one of my favourite yarns, particularly valuable for being machine washable.
I now have a long list of beanies for babies and toddlers, and perhaps a little blanket or two and some adult beanies, and a few acrylic squares that I’ll donate for someone else to turn into a charity blanket at a nearby hospital, not to mention an unexpected adult beanie to replace one that sidled from one head to another as a loan and then, well, stayed on the new head! That seems to happen quite frequently with beanies.
I hope your crafting is keeping you warm and cosy if you’re in a chilly part of the world. 🙂
Today has been World Wide Knit in Public Day. Coincidentally this year, today has also been World Gin Day. Two of my favourite things, all rolled into one. Who could ask for more? And who could resist the opportunity to celebrate?
Accordingly, YoungB and I took ourselves off to the local to sample some of their specialist gins, while I sat and knitted on the baby beanie. It’s not a brilliant photo, but it’s me knitting in public on a day allocated to that very pursuit. And that is a slightly sour sloe gin cocktail (gin from Dasher and Fisher, a Tasmanian distillery hitherto unknown to both of us).
I was carefully working on the baby beanie, counting as carefully as I could. It looked okay until I turned it over. Then I saw that, wouldn’t you know it, the mistake rib had more than its proper quota of mistakes. They were well distributed right across the row. It took me a while to repair and I admit to swearing quite profusely over how sticky some of the stitches were. That’s mostly because I’m using small needles. Otherwise, the BWM 4 ply baby yarn is delightful and a treat to use.
I took it to work today, thinking I might do a row or two at lunchtime, but that didn’t happen. Nor did I do any on the homeward bus trip, which was surprisingly crowded. Perhaps it’s a good thing, because I might have made more unintentional mistakes while trying to dodge elbows.
I hope your yarny mistakes are retrievable mishaps and not irretrievable disasters 🙂
Dear Mum, here we are again, around the time of what would have been your birthday; and it’s one that uses significantly more fingers than I have. Being June and officially winter, you won’t be surprised to hear that we’re enduring appropriately wintry weather. Yesterday, I dragged out my beanie, my fingerless mitts, and my rowing scarf – of sleeted upon at Ballarat fame – and I was still cold.
YoungB was wearing the grey beanie I made him, and a pair of gloves that I gave him; although I didn’t make them. He still uses his badly repaired (but functional) fingerless mitts for computer work. He said he’d raided his little box of “things to keep you warm”, and a surprising number of them were from me. He doesn’t do quite so many early mornings nowadays, but it’s still a good idea to have a beanie you can grab whenever you need it. It cheers me to see that “no questions asked, this is the best choice on a cold day” attitude. I’m sure you’d understand.
When I was working on the border of the temperature blanket, he said how much he liked the purple colour. I would happily make something for him using that yarn, but there are quite a few other things on my present list, and only so many hours in the day. A purple object might have to wait.
I’ve started knitting a beanie for the latest baby in the family, your first great grandson. He’s a big little boy, and YoungB reminded me to be sure I’m making a bigger size than I think I should be. I am. I’m using Bendigo Woollen Mills Baby Meadow, a 4 ply 100% Australian fine merino wool, and it is beautifully soft. The pattern is a 1×1 rib for the first part, then 2×2 in what I learnt as broken rib, but modern stitch dictionaries tell me is mistake rib. Broken rib is different. Well, there you go. Neither is difficult, although you’d undoubtedly agree that both require attention to establish. It’s easy to get it wrong, and then a nightmare to retrieve.
I’m trying to avoid obvious “special design features”, meaning that I’ve already had to do a bit of tinking. Perhaps it’s that usual old complaint: I rarely get a chance to simply sit and knit, my eyes are getting older and my visual acuity lessening, and I will insist on knitting late at night. This colour is at least easy to see.
On the subject of getting old, and things not working as well as they once did, I’m distressed to find that knitting makes my fingers quite sore. A few years ago, I changed to soft-handled crochet hooks. Mine aren’t the really expensive brand, but they are kind to my fingers. Knitting needles by their nature are less “soft-touch” although it may be worth my while to have another try with bamboo needles. I didn’t like them the last time I tried; but if they help, then I’m prepared to learn to like them 😉
I’m presently using Aero metal knitting needles that I’ve had for adunnamany years. They do the job and, because I’ve looked after them, they’re (mostly) still straight and don’t have any rough sections to snag the stitches; all definite pluses. However, they sometimes make my index fingers stiff and sore, particularly needles at the tinier end of sizing. When I’m ribbing with UK size 12 / 2.75mm needles, I often find myself stretching and flexing my fingers, the way you used to. Perhaps it’s a good thing that I can’t sit and knit for hours. You see? There’s an upside to everything.
As the cold, wet weather is continuing with some dedication, tonight will be a good one to stoke up the fire and keep knitting, however many fingers it takes, and however many times I need to stretch them. There’s a baby who needs a beanie so that he’s warm, too; and I don’t need any fingers to calculate his age 🙂
I’d almost decided to call it a night, then I shook out my work and had a good look at it. There were perhaps 20 centimetres remaining on the last side of the last round of the border. Yeah, that didn’t equal calling it quits and going to bed! So I sat up for as long as it took to work those remaining (UK) htr’s, snipped my yarn, wove in the last end and, just like that, it was all over. What an anticlimax.
It should really be a very big ta-dah moment: I have finished the 2021 temperature blanket and presented it to YoungB as a special delivery from the laundry fairy!! He pretended to stagger under its weight. In case I never see it again in daylight, I took a few photos. They’re not brilliant, but they will do to accompany a detailed post; which I am still drafting.
So what am I going to do now??? Well, apart from some of the by now fairly pressing household chores (consider above non-coincidental reference to laundry fairy), I have a baby beanie and some toddler beanies to knit or crochet. I have a couple of pram rugs to knit or crochet. There are a couple of adult beanies on the list, and those I will probably knit. There are new-to-me crochet techniques and patterns I’m itching to try for some knitworthy (or crochetworthy) recipient.
That should keep me busy till this time next year, don’t you reckon?
Last night, I sat up late, working on the blanket, because I couldn’t sleep. It’s not sensible when you know you have an early start, as today I did; but it’s sometimes unavoidable. Might as well be doing something useful. Right? As a result, I have commenced the final colour of the border, which is viridian. I am – as you might be able to see – part-way through the second round.
I’d originally half-planned to work the entire border in viridian, to pick up on the colour of YoungB’s futon sofa. Obviously, that’s another plan that changed, but no matter. We’ve plenty of colour choices, and now that I’ve completed the bits that used several different colours, I think I can truly claim the blanket is very close to finished; very close indeed.
We have a surprisingly busy weekend ahead, so I doubt if I’m going to finish all the viridian rounds in the available spare time, but I will certainly keep plugging away at it when I can.
Whether or not you have a busy weekend, I hope you, too, are able to keep plugging away at your almost-there-but-not-quite projects.
I had a day of WFH that included two long, must-attend online meetings, which didn’t require my input. In that case, what do you do but grab your in-progress blanket and keep yourself warm while working? Right? I did. The days here are getting colder, so a toasty blanket is definitely a winner. Somewhat surprisingly, we haven’t yet turned on our space heater but we’re not going to be able to hold out for much longer.
It’s interesting to note how tired we all are. We remain, astoundingly, COVID-free, although wider family members have been less fortunate in that respect. There are days when I think that the ongoing uncertainty and the tedium of daily RATs is all too much. YoungB is exhausted and despondent and we’ve only just begun winter. He is looking forward to having the blanket, so I must away and do some more rounds while he is out at salsa classes. They provide some light relief and physical exercise that is undoubtedly good for him.
I hope you’re also able to find some light relief, whatever form it takes.
That would be me on the border of the blanket. When the rounds get this long, you sometimes can’t easily see the progress. You’ve worked steadily for what is a significant chunk of time and you still haven’t finished the next colour!
The preparation for the remodelled GPO, however, is a bit the same. It has reached a point where there’s a lot of work – mostly pumping concrete, as far as we can tell when we line up at the window of our 13th floor lookout – but there’s little enough to see for the effort. The concrete is all going into the ground in long pillars of extremely-heavy-duty REO.
I’ll get there, and I’m sure they will, too. It’s not in any way a race, but I reckon I’ll finish first 🙂
Borders on large objects make the object even larger. It’s the nature of borders! YoungB would have been happy to take delivery of the temperature rug with a reasonably narrow border (about where it is in the above photo). The weather is cooling, and he’d appreciate the extra warmth provided by its undoubted weightiness. I haven’t weighed it yet or calculated rough weight from yarn used.
However, because the blanket is large, I think the border should be wider – something like as wide as the side of a square, simply for visual balance – and have kept working on it. I had hoped I might finish it on the long weekend just gone, but didn’t. All the same, YoungB shouldn’t have to wait much longer before he can use it.
I hope your long weekend went according to plan, no matter how you spent it.