Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Making a blanket

It started with the yarn. I got ten skeins of Baby Bee Sweet Delight on a trip to Hobby Lobby. The colors were called chocolate, teddy, sweet mocha, little princess, baby camo, sage, meema's blue, and blue baby camo. I knew I wanted to make a blanket, a striped blanket. The next part was finding a pattern. I looked all over ravelry and couldn't find one I liked completely. I found two that inspired me. The first being the Weevera Blanket by Katie Benedict. I liked the idea of different textures with each stripe, but I wanted more connection between the different stripes, and it didn't work with the variegated colors I got. The second was Rainbow Lattice Baby Blanket by Rachel Murray. I love this blanket and I especially loved the lattice pattern, but it didn't quite fit what I wanted. I didn't want to have to do any stockinette and the lattice pattern wouldn't look good in the variegated colors.

I ended up deciding to combine ideas from both. Instead of a different texture with each stripe I decided to stripe the stitch patterns as well as the colors. For chocolate and brown I decided on seed stitch. The variegated colors would be a simple slip stich pattern that they would look good in, and the lattice pattern for the solid colors.

Slip stitch pattern
slip stitch pattern

Lattice pattern
lattice pattern

Next was figuring out the order the colors would go in. I'd start with chocolate, next would come sweet mocha making the transition from brown into the solid pink stripe and then the stripe of teddy which would lead into the green section, chocolate again, then the blue section ending with teddy. First I though about doing one stripe with each skein of yarn, a total of ten stripes. I didn't like the thought of having two different browns at either end. Their needed to be symmetry. So I'd have to repeat all the colors a second time, in the same order but the brown between the sections would be different. Just repeating the pattern again would have a pink section on one end and a blue section of the other. Again, their needed to be symmetry. The decision was made to go backwards through the colors so I'd have the blue sections in the middle and the pink sections on either end with the green in between. Their'd be a stripe of teddy to mark the middle, and their'd only be three stripes of teddy but that wasn't a problem. A total of 19 stripes.

The next step was figuring out what size I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be about 44" across so I figured out my gauge and with some simple arithmetic, taking into account the necessary multiples of stitches for all the stitch patterns to work out, I calculated how many stitches to cast on. I knitted the first stripe of chocolate ending after I used up about half the skein. It ended up being 32 rows which was about 3.5" in seed stitch. From this I figured the blanket would be about 66" long. A good size. Each stripe would be 32 rows, which worked out great since the stitch patterns had row repeats that fit nicely into 32.

Thus I started on a wonderful knitting adventure in May of 2011.

The first three stripes went quickly, the excitement of starting the project fueling me on. The green section was slowed down by trips and the heat of the summer. Things continued to move slowly with the fair taking up my time in august and just wanting to work on something different.

Disaster struck in October. I was over half way through the first of the solid blue stripes when I discovered I'd messed up the pattern at the beginning of the stripe and I had to take the whole thing out. The blanket went into time out for a bit after that. But I finally took a picture of my progress.

first picture

Eventually I was able to pick it back up and finish both blue sections by the time January started. Mid January I took a trip to the east coast to visit my sister. I took the blanket with me, along with the yarns for the green section. I managed to get the green stripes done and started into the last of the teddy colored stripes. The rest of the blanket went quickly after that the excitement of almost being done making it the only thing I wanted to work on.

I was at Yarnies, my favorite knitting group, when I knitted the last row before the bind off. I was slightly tempted to bind off there even though everyone had left but figured it could wait until I got home. No need to rush the momentous occasion. I bound off the blanket a couple hours later.

February 9, 2012. Bound off the blanket about nine months after I casted on.

It was unbelievable. But things weren't finished. Ends needed to be woven in and the blanket really needed to be blocked.

Blanket before blocking
before blocking

The seed stitch stripes were all puckered, the sides curled in, and the corners weren't square. Space for blocking it required moving furniture around in the living room and then laying down a sheet to keep the blanket clean. I used all of my blocking wires except the two for doing curves. My mom helped me pin it out and showed me how the square the corners so it would look all nice and purty.

Blanket pinned out
pinned out

I steam blocked it, since it's acrylic. I couldn't believe it when I pulled out the blocking wires. It was done. I now had a blanket that I knitted with my own two hands. Not only that, but it was my own design, the first one I ever endeavored to do.

February 10, 2012. Blanket finished. Final size 55"X67". The cat approves.

Tomorrow I take it back to Yarnies to show it off to my knitting friends. Then it's time to start writing up the pattern. It will be free so that others may take the journey to make a similar blanket for themselves.

final product

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I should write a blog

Bloggy bloggy bloggy blog.

So, I'm almost done with the blanket I've been working on since last May!  Excitement!  It'll be nice to have such a big project done, so I can start another one.  Get project done so you can start a new one.  It never ends.  This is a good thing.  Really want to pull out my straight fours and start another elephant.

So my mom got a new dog.  She's a really pretty german shepherd and husky mix.  Her name is Cable and she's scared of me.  Which is somewhat weird since she met me first.  But then, Morgan was afraid of me when we first got him, too.  Starting to make some progress with her.  She'll now come up to me when I offer her food.  Still won't let me pet her unless mom's there and holding on to her.

I don't think there's much else for me to talk about.  Oh wait.  I started reading a book last night that's a steampunk novel about superheroes.  Haven't read that much of it yet but it definitely seems like it's going to be a really fun read.

Back to working on the blanket.  Only ten more rows to go.