Agujas

The Art of Knitting

A Sweet Surprise

an unexpected package arrived in the mail
from across the ocean

Jaffa Cakes 1

it contained all sorts of sweet surprises
light little cookies with a coating of chocolate on one side
and a burst of orange inside
called jaffa cakes

Jaffa Cakes 2

and chocolate bars
lots of them

Chocolate Bars

then the best surprise of all
a hand made knitted book marker
that also has a pocket for a pen
(i happen to be one of those people that reads books
with a pen in hand)

Knit Pen Holder / Book Marker
the gift was from idiosyncratic eye
who received one of the “made in China” care packages
she had already written a wonderful thank you post
so the last thing I expected was a care package in return
it certainly is nice to give and receive

January FO: Molly Knit Hat

After all those hours on garter stitch, my hands were itching to knit something with more variety. I found this lovely textured knit hat pattern called Molly … for free!

Molly Knit Hat Front

I dug into my stash and found this lovely Tosh DK in the gauge called for in the pattern. I loved the interplay of the lights and darks in the hand-dyed yarn. I rolled the three skeins into center pull balls but ended up only needing one for the hat.

Tosh DK Center Pull Balls

Here it is in progress. It was the perfect little project after the large blanket.

Molly Knit Hat in progress

Remember those Made in China project bags from the giveaway? Well, I kept one for me! It was just the right size for the yarn, notions and needles. The pattern stayed within easy reach tucked into the outer pocket.

My China Knitting Bag

I love the texture created by the color variations of the yarn combined with the pattern. The cabling is easy and I really like how it tapers down as you decrease.

Molly Knit Hat Back

There may be enough yarn left for a cowl or small scarf. I may reuse the cabling and textured pattern in the hat and whip up a matching scarf …

A Blanket for My Son

My husband and I have two teenage boys – one his, one mine. Our boys are the same age and share similar experiences – riding on our shoulders as toddlers, daycare, doctor visits, cub scouts, basketball, middle school, deepening voices, freshman year, etc. While they share some interests, they are very different. One is gregarious, the other introspective; one talkative, the other thoughtful.

One day during a visit, my son asked if I would knit him a blanket. My heart melted. Of course I would. Consulting with my husband, I searched for the perfect pattern. It had to have simple lines and muted colors. After pouring through pattern books and the web, we selected the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket. It had a rich history, a rustic feel and the palette of primary colors was just right. We could envision this blanket becoming an heirloom piece seeing our son through college, wrapped in front of a fireplace, and one day tucked around tiny feet.

Hudson Bay - Folded 1

The History

Point blankets were used for trading with native tribes in Canada and the United States, mostly during the 18th and 19th centuries. The value of the blankets was measured by how many beaver pelts one could exchange for them. The color palette is the result of using dyes that were easily accessible. The colors also had significance to the native american tribes: green meant “new life,” red stood for “battle or hunt,” yellow referred to “harvest,” and blue stood for “water.”

A few years ago, the Hudson’s Bay Company commissioned a group of Canadian designers to create coats using the well-known motif. You can view their unique designs here.

dec09HBCcoats7_lg

[Source]

There are a number of sites on the web about the Hudson’s Bay Company Point Blankets. The Point Blanket Site offers a comprehensive overview and has an excellent bibliography. The Hudson’s Bay Company website also provides a history of the blankets.

The Yarn

Hudson Bay - Yarn

I chose 100% Superwash Wool for warmth and ease of cleaning. I found the elemental colors in Cascade Yarns. They did not have enough white so I found a comparable yarn from Ella Rae. I will note that the Ella Rae had an unusual number of knots. Often, I had to unravel a row to cut off the faulty piece and tie on a new string.

  • Ella Rae Classic Superwash - 14 balls white (100 grams, 219 yards)
  • Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash - 2 balls each in navy, yellow, red and green (100 grams, 220 yards)

To accommodate a growing teen, I wanted the blanket to fit a double bed. Based on the yarn’s gauge and using a US 7 circular needle, I cast on 238 stitches.

Hudson Bay - In Progress 1

The Blanket in Progress

Hudson Bay - In Progress 2

Hudson Bay - In Progress 3

Hudson Bay - In Progress 4

The Finished Blanket

Hudson Bay - Full

It took a year to knit this blanket. The repetitive garter stitch produces a lovely texture but can be monotonous. Then there were the months abroad when the blanket lay dormant. Upon returning, I was determined to finish it by the holidays. The dimensions turned out at 72″ x 68″ and fit nicely over a full size bed. Based on the standard sizes marketed by the Hudson’s Bay Company, it merited 3½ indigo markings to denote size and approximate weight.

Hudson Bay - Points

Points Graphic

[Source]

Hudson Bay - Folded 2

Hudson Bay - Colors

The Stats

538 rows
128,044 stitches
4,826 yards of yarn (~ 2.7 miles)
lots of love

The Leftovers

I wonder if we will see bird’s nests dressed up like mini point blankets this Spring?

Hudson Bay - Loose Ends

Hudson Bay - Leftovers

To my son with love.

My Knitting Library

This was an early holiday gift from friends. They know me so well! I had paged through the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook at the bookstore and became engrossed with the back story of all those wonderful fibers. Now I can read it anytime!

Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook

Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook -Sample

Just in time for the holiday break, there is this collection of stories about knitting. If it wasn’t so warm out (you know, Texas) I would kindle a fire in the fireplace and start reading now.

Knitting Yarns

This made me think of other knitting books I’ve collected. There aren’t that many but each one has a purpose – spinning, dyeing, intricate color work, knitting art, and gift ideas.

Knitting Books

I also realized I had a few quilting books from prior attempts. Quilting with Japanese Fabrics has photos and instructions for stunning silk quilts. I picked up Hidden in Plain View during a trip to Gettysburg. I found it fascinating how quilt patterns were used as signs on the Underground Railroad.

Quilting and Sewing Books

What’s in your knitting library? Any favorites you recommend?

We have two winners!!

The response to the “Made in China” giveaway was so amazing that one winner just didn’t seem to be enough. In looking through my China stash, I had enough goodies for two care packages so we have two winners!

Double Giveaway

If you will recall, any of the following actions entered you into the drawing:

  • Follow Agujas blog
  • Reblog this post or blog about this giveaway with a link back to Agujas
  • Follow Agujas on Twitter
  • Like Agujas on Facebook
  • Follow Agujas on Tumblr
  • Like this post
  • Comment on this post

The original drawing included “passive” entries or followers of Agujas on any venue who did not necessarily comment or retweet or reblog, etc.; but also included multiple entries for those who did. Using a handy random number generator from the web, the first care package goes to:

hipoptimist

Hipoptimist has been following Agujas for almost a year and half! Thank you and I hope you enjoy your goodies.

For the second drawing, entries only included those who actively promoted the “Made in China” giveaway either by liking the post, commenting, retweeting, reblogging, liking on Facebook, etc. As in the first drawing, multiple actions earned multiple entries and you were included in both drawings. Using the same random number generator, the second care package goes to:

idiosyncratic eye

Idiosyncratic eye had multiple entries and one of those did the trick! Thank you for being part of the Agujas family.

Please contact me at veronica (@) agujasblog (dot) com and provide me with your preferred mailing address. If you are outside of the United States, I will probably use an overnight carrier and may need your phone number as well. (Don’t worry, I will not share it and will promptly delete the information once you confirm receipt).

This has been so much fun!