Peppermint Twist — April-July 2005

I thought the stripy knitting would never end, but suddenly it did! Knitting with cotton was gorgeous, and once I’ve recovered from quite how long it took I will absolutely do that again. It’s so neat and tidy and pretty, and the finished product drapes beautifully. In this project I also learnt the value of blocking individual pieces before they’re knitted together — a sample of which is illustrated below.

I owe my Easy Peasy Homemade Blocking Board to the craftiness of Skinny Rabbit, and I will be eternally grateful as all the book references to ‘a padded flat surface’ were singularly non-useful. My blocking board is a large piece of thick cardboard covered in dry cleaning plastic, with a flat sheet folded up (for thickness) and placed on top. Pin out your piece of knitting, put a damp tea towel over it (or, in my case having followed SR’s tips to the letter, a brand new bit of nappy material), and then steam away with a steam iron for a good ten minutes (holding it close to the damp material, but not actually touching). It is extremely easy and satisfyingly effective.

But enough blocking talk. Here is the final item. Isn’t it lovely and stripy? You also get a bonus cat picture. Typically, when I finished this I tumbled into the post-knitting comedown of wondering whether or not I actually liked it, but with the benefit of time I’m now really pleased with how well it turned out.

Details: Peppermint Twist from Stitch’n’Bitch, knitted in Rowan Cotton Glace on 3mm needles, size Small.

The quantities of yarn as described in the book are a little off-the-mark — I’ve ended up with one untouched skein of the main colour (and lots and lots of semi-finished skeins), whereas I needed to make a panic buy of some new colour C half-way through the project as the single skein I’d been told to buy was nearly running out (thankfully the second one practically matched the first one, so the unpracticed eye can’t tell).

I decided to do a row of knit stitches when knitting the collar, before starting the ribbing pattern that is described, because otherwise the colour beneath bleeds into the purls on the ribbing. The more I look at the photograph in the book, the more I think that there must must a knitted row here, but if there is it’s been left out of the instructions.

These niggles aside, it was a pretty straightforward pattern, but took me an age because of the tiny needles and the delicate cotton. Also, knitting with four colours in one piece is a little fiddly (if I ever try fair isle knitting I think I’m doomed). But the final product is quite lovely.

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