Thursday, February 4, 2010

Scrap Busting, Stash Busting

This will be a long post, I will try not to be long winded, but there is a lot I would like to share as we go along. You may wish to print this blog for future resource. I will discuss choosing the yarns, arranging the order, and then give you some helpful information that you should think about when making the blanket. I will end this blog by sharing my needle size, stitch information etc... I want to add one more thing here just in case you need any help at all. You can ask any questions about this project at all I will be happy to answer any question!! You can post them as comments below the blog or email me.

Choosing the Yarn

I did mention in the last blog that I choose a couple of colors that I like together. I then start pulling skeins of all the different shades of those colors that I own(including partial skeins). After that I start grabbing some skeins of neutral colors that I think will look nice with the main colors I have chosen. I try to smoosh all the yarn together in a big pile end up to keep the labels from distracting your eyes from seeing the what all the colors look like together. When you do this you will usually see some yarns that just don't seem to belong, go ahead and remove those now.

An Alternative
You can also do this with different shades, or just different textures of one color. For example, an afghan in all whites in different textured yarns is extremely striking.

Every Yarn in it's Place
There are a couple methods in which you can place your yarns. First I will mention the daring way. You can put all of your yarn in a bag, close your eyes, pull out a skein, and use it next. This is personally a little to daring for me, so now I will share my method of organization.

My Method of Madness
I work from the edges in. The way I do this is by scanning my yarn. I try to locate two yarns of the same color, they can be the same type of yarn as each other, or very similar shades but different yarns. I place these yarns far apart from one another. I scan my yarn again looking for a color that looks good next to the yarn I just put down. I try to find another yarn of the similar color of the new yarn and place these just inside of the two you have already put down. Now repeat the last step, placing the two new yarns on the inside of the last two you placed. If there is a yarn that you find very striking and want it to be in the center, place it there now. You can continue by working in towards the center, or if you have chosen your center, back out towards the edges. Once you are finished, working across the skeins from the end you want to start on, take a sharpie and write numbers on you labels, 1-? I also like to get several large ziplocks and number them. I usually have 5-7 skeins in each ziplock. This way you can travel easier with this project taking only the next few skeins that you will be using. The purpose of placing them this way is to give the afghan a feeling of balance. So your eye travels rather than being sucked in to one area of the afghan.

Things to Consider When Placing your yarn
*If you don't have two different yarns of the same color, feel free to split a skein in half by rolling it into two balls.
*Use all weights of yarn if they are lighter than worsted you can double them, or run them with another yarn of your choice. I commonly triple fine mohair, or double light weight cottons. I use a U.S.10.5 size needle on all of mine, but if *you have heavier yarns feel free to use an U.S.11.
*You can use up partial skeins very easily in this project.
*Don't be afraid to add textured yarns like eyelash, boucle, or flagged yarns they add a great deal of depth!

Blanket Info
*I use a U.S. 10.5
*My basic amount of stitches are 175 throughout
*When changing colors, if the public side is facing you knit 1 row. If the private side is facing you purl 1 row
*When changing stitches, if you need to increase or decrease before starting the stitch, do this on the first row of a color change (that row should always be knitted or purled across)
*You can consider this blanket a sampler of stitches, I typically change stitches each time I change yarn. Suggestions for stitches can be found below, and in the following blog updates. :)
*If you want to try a stitch but are afraid of putting in on your blanket without trying it do a small swatch of it in the yarn you are planning to use.
*I am using a few books to find stitches for some of my blanket (you do not need them) but if you like any stitch that I am doing at least you will find the name of the book for each stitch I do just in case you want to purchase it for yourself, though most are classic and can be found free on the internet.
Resources are as follows: A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker
Vogue Knitting Stitchionary
Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 2

Getting Started Yea!!!!

Finally :) Okay so now the meat and potatoes. You can make this afghan with just Garter,and stockinette.. but this is a perfect project for learning stitches or just playing that being said do what you are comfortable with. First lets take out yarn number one, is it smooth, slightly textured, or textured? Certain textures on yarn will show off some stitches better than others. For example Smooth works great with more textured stitches like cables, bobbles and cords. Slightly textured can look nice in simple patterns like garter, stockinette, seed, linen, and ribs, while I wouldn't bother doing anything other than garter, or stockinette with textures like eyelash. I will be recording my progress here on blogs as I go. I will state the kind of texture my yarn is, the stitch I used, the source of the stitch if I got it from a book, and the amount of stitches my blanket currently has. If any of you have a hard time with knowing how many to increase or decrease for a stitch let me know and I will be happy to help you till you get the hang of it. I will go through the math as we need to change stitches the those of you that haven't done this type of thing before.

Note: The following patterns are just what I decided to use. Please feel free to use which ever patterns you like. I happen to be starting with a pattern from a book, but around half of the time I am not using patterns from any book they are simple. I will list yarns that I still have the labels for.  My next post will be of the next few yarns.

Casting On
Yarn #1
Slightly Textured Cartridge-Belt Rib from A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns By Barbara Walker
I chose this pattern because it does not contract like a rib, and starts the blanket out with some great texture. I casted on 223, and used up all of the the first yarn which was 2 1/2".

Yarn #2
Textured 2 Rows of Reverse Stockinette
I purposely make textured sections really thin, so they dont overwhelmed my stitch work in the rest of the blanket. Just food for thought for when you use a textured yarn.

Yarn #3
Smooth Texture,
I had 1 row reverse stockinette, 4 rows stockinette, 1 row reverse stockinette.

Yarn #4 Trendsetter Filosophy
Smooth ribbon Linen stitch 1"