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A completed blanket! It took me so long. So much longer than you’d think. But a lot of that time was about learning – I had to learn the seed stitch, a sweet bordering stitch for a project like this, and how to change colours (truth: I made that up, I still have no idea if I did it right), and how to count rows when you pick up your work after a break. I also paused in the middle cos I had a baby knitting project to work on – more on that once I’ve got a photo of the baby in question wearing the project in question. Both are pretty special.
The blanket was a gift for Miss M, my lovely wife, who now lives in a whole other country (though it’s only an hour’s flight away). I wanted to make her and her gentleman friend Mr G a present for their house. When I texted Miss M to ask her what colours they had in their living room, she probably knew what was up. But then I cleverly took months to knit her this gift, and she’d forgotten all about it. Result!
The wool came from the pound shop – for real. The brand name is Knitting Essentials, and at first I bought a couple of skeins just for practising with. However, once I got going with it, it seemed as good as any other acrylic yarn, so I went ahead and bought enough to make a whole blanket. I drew up a schematic so I’d know how much I needed, look…
To tell the truth, some of those notes don’t make total sense to me any more, either… But it let me get started, and once I got going I didn’t need to look at a pattern any more. I knitted the blanket in two halves, so that it would fit on my needles, and then stitched it together at the end.
The pattern comes from Chris Knits in Niagara, though I have modified it in a few ways. I used a lighter weight of wool (though I did double the strands, using two at a time for extra cosiness), and therefore I had to use smaller needles. As noted, I split the project, but it’s designed to be knit all in one on a circular needle. I’ve never tried a circular needle, I suppose I’d better put it on my to-do list. I reduced the number of squares from five to four. Most importantly, I added different colours to the project, instead of using just one.
I came up with a wee trick to join the colours together. It took me a while to get the hang of, but seemed to work out well. As I was working from the border outwards, I knitted or purled both colours – four strands in total – so that they were firmly knotted together. On the next row, working back towards the border, I knitted the colours separately. You would think that this would leave gaps in the knitting, but once I made sure to knit them together on the way out *every time*, it actually looked great.
When I didn’t knit together on every outward-bound row, or got confused, it looked a little less great:
Hrm. Lost it a bit in the middle.
There are no shortage of tutorial videos and walkthroughs online, I think my curious and adventurous spirit just got the better of me. You know when you have flat pack furniture and you try to assemble it without looking at the instructions? Same thing.
I had a similar issue with the border – the first few squares have a somewhat inconsistent quality to them.
The side on the left of that second picture is actually the very bottom row, the way I was knitting (oh boy, so many direction words in that sentence). So that’s why it’s so neat – changing colour between rows is fine, it’s changing mid-row that potentially makes the mess.
You can also see the seed stitch in those photos. I really like it, it gives tons of texture and definition to the edges of the blanket. Texture is something the knit and purl squares are great for, too – switching from knit to purl in the middle of a row creates a ridge (or a valley, depending what side you’re looking at), which makes the finished blanket a little more interesting. More edgy. Literally, more edgy.
Once I had finished, I had a lot of ends to weave in – the start and end of every colour block, plus any time a colour ran out. What with there being no ‘right side’ or ‘wrong side’ to the finished piece, the ends had to be as close to invisible as possible. They also had to be secure, which is something I’m still wary of. I admit to tying little knots in these ones, after I’d weaved them in by overlapping many stitches, and going in opposite directions a few times. I was also sure to leave long tails to be woven in, so that even if they do work their way out of a knot and a handful of stitches, there is still some leeway before any actual ‘if you tug this your blanket will disintegrate’ action.
The finished blanket was 144 stitches wide, and 204 stitches tall. With double strands of wool and 6mm needles, this worked out to around 33 inches x 43 inches. It looked a lot squarer while I was knitting it… I might have been able to block and stretch it out some, but in the end I decided to leave well enough alone.
It’s a bit squiggly round the edges, and a bit small for two people to share, but I’m still fond of it. Miss M and Mr G can either coorie up close, or fight over it. I guess it depends how they feel at the time.