Tuesday, March 11, 2008

posting to procrastinate

In need of a baby gift, and a project that I could knit while reading, I designed a simple baby blanket. I had some Blue Skies Alpaca Blue Sky Cotton in a lovely blue and I thought that I'd knit up some stockinette squares and then attach them with a contrasting color. Nine squares, probably about 8 inches square each. With an i-cord border. Maybe in another color. And I'd add a seed-stitch star to the central square to make it a little more special. Simple, right?

Problem #1: Does this really look like a star?

I wasn't so sure it was appealing enough to be the one highlight in an otherwise plain blanket. So the solution, of course, was to make more squares with star patterns. And maybe some hearts too. Though potentially ugly individually, they had to be cute en masse, right? The problem with this plan is that I couldn't really knit the patterned sqaures while reading, so knitting five of them instead of one was a big time-suck.

Problem #2
: By the time I got to the end of my first skein of blue yarn, I'd only finished 4 squares. Obvious that I would not get the remaining 5 out of the other skein, I had to reassess. I decided that I could make the squares shorter by 4 rows without hurting the aesthetic of the baby blanket too much. Add to that the smidge of yarn that was leftover from the first skein and I should be able to squeek out nine squares, right? Wrong. I neglected to add to my calculations the fact that the seed-stitched squares would take up more yarn than the stockinette ones. So instead of picking up the orange stitches from the bound off edges of the blue squares, I tore out the bind-offs and started knitting in orange (as if the bind-offs were functioning as stitch holders). Salvaging the yarn from the bind-offs got me to the end of that ninth square, but you can see the final square and count how many times I added a new piece of yarn:

Problem #3: Blue yarn wasn't the only limiting factor. I decided a green i-Cord edging would be pretty and luckily I had some of the same yarn leftover from another project in a nice bright green. Unluckily, I had enough of the green to edge three and one-third sides, and no more. Here you can sort of see where I started the new skein of green, on the fourth side of the blanket:

So, after all the effort to resist buying an extra skein of blue, I had to buy an extra skein of green. (Yes, I did have plenty of orange left for the edging. So I considered tearing out the green and redoing it in orange. But, basically, being lazy won out over being frugal. This was the project where I'd cursed myself for not just buying an extra skein of blue, after all.)

I also learned a lot about steam blocking so that the squidgy shape you see in the prior picture now reasonably resembles a square. But this post is long enough already, so I'll save all those lessons for some other time.


Elizabeth said...

Simple??? Oookkkk.

However, despite the trials and tribulations, this turned out to be a lovely lovely blanket, and I wish blankets for adults could be made like this for adults.

Ok, that is a joking hint, but do you think knitting full size adult blankets would be super annoying? What about napping blankets? I think I nap with an old baby blanket of mine, actually....

HEB said...

I don't think it would be too bad to knit an adult-sized blanket, if it was made from squares. I mean, it would be a long term project, for sure, but not such a hassle. I'm not sure that I would do the seed stitch edging exactly the same, because it might get unwieldy, but it'd be easy enough to seam the squares.

On a slightly different note, I received the loveliest thank-you note from this blanket's recipient (the mom, not the baby) which reminded me how joyful it is to knit for people who appreciate it. (And that I have some long overdue thank-yous to send....)