Keep Calm & Carry-On Knitting
- by Neil Stafford
Let me run this idea by you, it isn’t Rocket Science, and maybe it's a proposal Jacinda may be interested in.
Here goes...Instead of meeting up with unwell family friends, frequenting fast food outlets, or even going to the gym (especially having had just having had a Covid Swab) we all just stay home and knit! Maybe there could be a Financial Government Knitting Grant, applicable for all those who prove they can knit, purl, cast on and cast off. I could be the Government's Minister of Knitting and be responsible for sending out soothing knitting updates and inspirational advice. Let's face it...I have plenty of time on my hands this week!
I expect Jacinda's a little busy at the moment, so I'm going to bypass protocol and red tape, I am the new self-appointed Minister of Knitting. I'm taking my job extremely seriously, and settle right down to work.
Snapshot of my office at The Beehive
Enough frivolity, let's move on to more serious matters. Many of you are asking if I’ve managed to secure enough stock for the busy knitting season ahead. As we're all aware Covid has disrupted the production and distribution of goods around the world. Rest assured, there's no shortage of wool in my shop. The vast majority of our new season’s yarns are now piled high on the shop shelves, and my store room is pretty crowded. There's absolutely no chance of me being 'a ball short of a sweater' this winter.
Many disconcerting knitters have become addicted to our Alpaca Yarns. Working with superb quality alpaca really is taking knitting up to the very highest level of luxury. I am pleased to say I have highly greedy stock levels of our Brushed Alpaca Air. Many of you will be familiar with my complementary brushed alpaca blanket pattern. I have just completed my tenth blanket and the latest version is photographed below. As an aside, my 21-year-old cat has her own pink version.
Our Chaska Alpaca Air is available in the most glorious range of colours: soft chalky shades, cheerful brights and classic neutrals. Have a read over this complementary blanket pattern, at the end of this newletter, feast your eyes on our range of colours, and maybe purchase a few balls of loveliness!
There is a designated section on our website for all our Chaska Alpaca Yarns, showing the aforementioned 'Brushed Air', the MUHU Baby Alpaca 8 ply, our Takama organic and dye free Cotton/Alpaca, and a for those of you who knit socks, there’s a superb Alpaca Sock yarn.
Our 8 ply Chaska MUHU is the softest yarn available for babies knitting, and we all know there's a bit of a baby boom at the moment...Covid does have a small upside! We have new colours available, including the softest of shell pinks, a gentle praline and a robin's egg green. If you wish to knit a bassinette blanket for a special baby, take a look at our Exclusive Pattern.
Our Chaska Alpaca yarns and shades are just a fraction of what is new instore, however I am not going to ramble on too much, us Government Ministers have a habit of that! I may send out a news brief later in the week, as long as my Ministerial Knitting Commitments don't take up too much time.
Happy Lockdown knitting,
Fran and Olivia.
Many of you will have, fondled and cuddled our Brushed Alpaca Blanket that we’ve have had on display for many years. Over time, I have ‘shop lifted’ our sample for my own personal use and knitted a replacement blanket in a different colour for the shop. From memory this will be my tenth Brushed Alpaca blanket.
My latest creation has a lovely textural moss stitch border and even more voluptuous fringing. It was rather warm knitting it over the summer, but I know as soon as the cooler weather arrives, this blanket will go missing from the shop and find itself much appreciated in my home!
10 balls of Chaska ‘Air’ Baby Brushed Alpaca
6 mm knitting needles. The number of stitches will fit on a full-length pair of straight needles, or if you prefer, use circular needles.
Crochet hook to attach the tassels.
Size: approximately 105 cm x 105 cm, excluding tassels
Abbreviations: k - knit, p - purl, st(s) - stitch(s), rs - right side, ws - wrong side, rep-repeat.
Cast on 155 sts stitches loosely.
Row 1: k1, p1 rep across the row.
Row 2: p1, k1. rep across the row.
These two rows form moss stitch. Repeat last 2 rows 5 times more (12 rows in total, you will end after a ws row)
Row 1: (rs) k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, knit to the last 10 sts, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1.
Row 2: (ws) p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, purl to the last 10 sts, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1.
Repeat these 2 rows until your work is almost a square, but less the 6cm or so of your bottom border. Finish after a wrong side row
Row 1: k1, p1 across the row.
Row 2: p1 , k1 .across the row.
These two rows form moss stitch. Rep the last 2 rows 5 times more (12 rows in total, you will end after a ws row)
Cast off loosely. Sew in ends.
You will have approximately 1.5 balls left over; these are for the tassels. I always make voluptuous tassels; I find that trying to economise on the amount of yarn used in the fringed border looks a little frugal and rather ‘make do and mend’ We want ‘full on’ luxury! I aim and use up all my remaining yarn.
Cut a piece of stiff card to 12 cm. Wrap the yarn around the card and cut along one length. Tassels are attached with the use of the crochet hook, in groups of 2 strands along the top and bottom border. I cram the tassels close together; it takes ages to do but is well worth the effort. At this stage a cup of tea and a few biscuits may be required!
Now you are almost finished. I trim any straggling lengths of yarn, as I want a lovely even row of tassels.