my finished Bridgewater blanket
I liked the Bridgewater I made for my Mum earlier in the year so much that I wanted to make a version for myself. It’s a fairly time-consuming project and I would have gone a bit mad if I had to work on exactly the same thing twice so I used 4 ply and 4mm needles to make it more of a blanket. I used Drops Alpaca and with the 4mm needles it gives an open fabric and a lovely soft blanket which I think looks very pretty. Drops Alpaca is almost certainly my current favourite wool.
The last time I made this project I made the rather fatal error of using dark wool which made the lace sections almost impossible to see in anything but bright daylight. I learnt my lesson this time around and used a nice light grey. I really like the colour and think it compliments the pattern very nicely.
It's hard to take a picture which shows how huge it is but this gives you an idea. Please excuse the messy book shelf!
As I was using much bigger needles I knew that it would turn out large but I didn’t realise quite how big it would get. As it’s knitted in the round for the final section before casting off I didn’t find out how huge it would be until I was casting off. I think that’s a good thing though as it makes it all the more snuggly.
The next time I’m making a lace project I really should invest in proper blocking pins. I tend to use ‘blocking’ as a rather extravagant term for washing and then stretching out on the spare bed on a towel. I know I’d get a much better finish and cleaner edges if I blocked properly. Perhaps I should make proper blocking my New Years resolution (maybe along with actually making a tension square…..).
I’m really pleased that it’s come out like a proper blanket and I’m really looking forward to snuggling up under it to watch TV or read a book. I am going to have to be very careful to keep the rabbits away from it though as it is exactly the kind of thing they like to chew!
I’ve been making a bigger version of my Bridgewater by Jared Flood with 4ply wool and 4mm needles. It’s going to be a nice cozy Bridgewater blanket. However for some reason when I was buying the wool I totally forgot that as it is bigger than the original version it was also going to need more wool…. I also realised that with it being Christmas eve today my lovely plan for lots of Christmas Knitting was going to be scuppered if I didn’t get some more wool today.
My Bridgewater blanket so far
I’m making the blanket out of Drop Alpaca (fast becoming my favourite wool as it is really cheap, great to knit with and feels lovely to wear). A few weeks ago a friend at my knitting group gave me the rather splendid news that there is a stockist for Drops in London. It’s called Nest and it is in Crouch End. Today seemed like a great day to go and have a look around and hopefully sort out my wool based emergency!
I was really pleased with what I found at the shop. I really liked the following:
- The shop is about 20 minutes cycle from my house which was good as it shut at 3:00 today and I didn’t leave my house until half 2!
- There are bike racks right outside making it super easy to lock up my bike.
- The staff were really friendly and kept the shop open for a couple more minutes so I could buy my wool.
- They take cards (I never have any cash on me)
- Somehow they had the exact dye lot I needed (while this isn’t something they will have done on purpose it still made me like them more).
- They sell Drops! Alpaca at £2.90 a ball! You can’t get much better than that!
- They’ve got lots of lovely stock and a big open shop.
- It was really easy to find.
- There’s a yoga studio right over the road which I’ve never heard of before and am now looking forward to checking out.
All in all I was very impressed and I’m looking forward to having a proper explore around the shop when I have a little more time.
I started work on a Bridgewater for my Mum’s 60th birthday a few months ago. I love the pattern and along with the Malabrigo lace that I dug out of my stash it feels suitably special for a big birthday.
The pattern is worked in 3 parts. The first is a big garter square. It’s nicely done; you start at the corner and increase either side to the middle and then decrease either side to the end. I wasn’t looking forward to knitting a massive garter stitch square in feather weight wool on 2.75mm needles…… However after much procrastination when I actually got started it wasn’t so bad at all. I am a fan of knitting that gives my brain a break and as the fabric is very fine it fitted nicely into my handbag to carry around and get on with whenever I had a spare minute. I thought it would take forever but actually I finished it in a couple of weeks.
This is the first time I’ve knitted with Malabrigo lace as it’s pricey and I wouldn’t spend that much on myself. As it was for a special occasion I used a ball I was given for a present which had been waiting patiently in my stash for a suitably important occasion. That way I only had to top up the extra wool I needed. The wool is lovely to knit with and the fabric feels beautiful. It’s so soft and light and now I want to make something for myself out of it!
The second part of the pattern is a lace section. The directions for picking up stitches along the outside of the garter stitch square were easy to follow and the lace itself was fairly simple and easy to remember. Trying to work on a lace pattern in dark green lace weight wool proved something of a challenge; as soon as it got even vaguely dark it was impossible to see. For the first couple of rows I was only able to work on it in daylight. I had a little break from knitting this after I finishing the garter square so by the time I started on the lace time was ticking away a little. It was very frustrating not to be able to just get on with it. Once I’d got the pattern going and I could see how it was taking shape I decided to risk it and sort of guess what I was doing when it got dark and I couldn’t see. Luckily that turned out fine and I didn’t make any major mistakes. I really like the way the lace has turned out, it’s very pretty and didn’t take too long at all. The only problem with it is the colour. The dark green makes it very difficult to see the pattern when it’s darker and so hides a lot of my hard work! I’ll have to make sure that I hand it over to my mum in broad daylight……
The third section is lace edging. I had another break from the project in between finishing the lace section and starting this as it looked a little intimidating. It required a provisional cast on. I have been avoiding provisional cast ons for some time and have been known to cast on in the normal way and unpick it just to avoid having to learn how to do it properly (that was a massive pain in the arse- I wouldn’t recommend it). However, as this is a present, I had to do it properly so I finally learnt. The tutorial on Knitty was very helpful. It was a bit fiddley at first but once I’d got the hang of it I didn’t mind it too much.
The edging itself is fairly time consuming. It’s a 13 sitch lace panel which is worked back and forth. For every 26 stitches you pick up one stitch from the main body of the shawl and effectively cast it off. Given that there are 786 stitches around the shawl this is the worlds slowest cast off! On the plus side it looks very pretty but panic is now setting in that I won’t finish before the 8th October deadline. I suspect that I shall be dragging this project around with me where ever I go between then and now! Wish me luck!