You know what my favorite thing to do is? Knit. You know what I’ve not been feeling like doing? Knit.
It’s hot. Like, hot hot. As I type this, my backyard thermometer says it’s 90 degrees. This is Seattle, so we are not prepared for this. We don’t have air conditioning. And it’s supposed to get even hotter over the next few days.
We’re pretty much melting. Nobody’s sleeping. It’s rough.
We’re hiding in the shade in the morning, hoping for a breeze, and sneaking away to the basement in the afternoon when even the shade is too much to take.
I did manage to get a few minutes of knitting time to myself out on the back porch this morning before the sun got too hot, which was lovely. But I gotta say, there’s nothing that’s less-compatible with 90+ temperatures than a big, cozy, warm, wool blanket.
Needless to say, this isn’t getting done before the wedding. Oh well. Maybe it’ll be a first anniversary gift?
I know I’m only 1.5 skeins into a 12 skein project.
I know I will inevitably hate myself for starting this knit.
But, man, I love how this blanket is turning out. I love the feel of the eco wool yarn. I love the way the little lace “petals” grow and shrink as I knit them. I love how complicated the cable crosses are. (I actually use 2 cable needles for some of them. There’s probably an easier way to do them, but I can’t figure it out.) It’s a nice width, and I’m pretty sure my math will turn out to be right, and it’ll be the perfect size for a nice sofa throw.
In fact, I love this blanket so much, I’m going go grab my knitting and take advantage of the fact that both of the kids are sleeping (which I’m sure I’ve jinxed by typing that out).
If you’re a mathphobe, be warned. There’s gonna be a lot of math in this one.
Because I’ve got a pile of yarn and a plan. But not too much of a plan, because obviously that wouldn’t be fun.
So, I’m making a blanket- with a largeish gauge (I’m using US9s) in a lace pattern that I found… somewhere on the internet at some point in the past. I know that’s not great, and I would love to cite the original designer, but I literally have no information, except that it was a charted Japanese stitch pattern, probably from a stitch dictionary. Which one? I have no idea. (If you recognize it, please let me know and I’ll happily share the source.)
Anyway, I worked up a decent-sized swatch, I know I’m going to do this all-over lace pattern with a simple garter border, and I have a big pile of yarn. But how many repeats to cast on?
I could just guess, but that never ends well. Either I end up with a weirdly small blanket or I run out of yarn halfway through a king-size monstrosity. I’m aiming for a nice throw blanket this time. Big enough that the newlyweds can snuggle underneath it, but not so big that they will be celebrating their silver anniversary before it’s done.
I grabbed some tools. A pad and pen (I’m still old-school when it comes to math), a tape measure and my trusty kitchen scale.
First, I weighed the swatch: 30 grams. (I’ve got 12 skeins of 100 grams each, so 1200 grams of wool to work with.)
Then I measured the swatch. The whole blocked swatch was about 7.5x 9 inches, or 67 square inches.
So if 30g=67 square inches, I can do a little math to figure out that I can use my 1200g to work about 2680 square inches.
Then the next question is, If I have 2680 square inches to play with, how wide should the blanket be? In my head, the blanket is about 50 inches square… ish.
So I divided 2680 by 50, leaving me with 53.6. So, if I cast on 50″ across, I’ll have enough yarn for a 53″ long blanket.
Each repeat is about 3″ across, plus an inch and a half for each border, so dividing it out, that will give me 16.16. But, of course I can’t do part of a repeat, so I’ll round down to 16.
So to get my stitch count, I’ve got 6 stitches for the edges, plus 14 x 16 (14 stitches per repeat, 16 repeats), which gives me 230 stitches.
So now I’m off to cast on and cross my fingers that I did my math right!
I know you’re probably tired of hearing about this gosh dang blanket, but I am so stinking proud of how it turned out that you’re going to have to hear me out once more. But this time, I promise I’ll make it worth your time.
Because I wrote up the pattern, and here it is for free!
This blanket was so fun to work on (sure it took forever, but It wasn’t the bad kind of forever)! It’s a simple 2-row repeat (and one of those rows is just knitting), so it’s perfect tv knitting. It’s a great way to really indulge in your favorite worsted/dk yarn (though I highly recommend trying the madelinetosh Farm Twist– it was an absolute delight). The simple pattern of the blanket lends itself to all manner of interesting stripe combinations. I like the simple asymmetric scheme I’ve got here, but you could do even stripes all the way up, random stripes with scrap yarn, or maybe a big old rainbow! How fun would that be?As written, the Parkside Throw is a generously-sized throw blanket, big enough for two to snuggle up with on the couch (or big enough for a single blanket-hog), but the pattern could easily be modified. Add more pattern repeats for a larger bed-sized blanket, or reduce the number for a baby blanket or lap warmer.
And, if you start now, it’ll be big enough to snuggle up under by the time the weather starts to cool down.
I’m so freaking stoked about this! THE BLANKET IS DONE!!
This is fantastic for 3 reasons:
I’m only about a month late!
I’m DONE and get to start new projects!
It turned out so good!
I mean, look at this bad boy:Glamour shot!I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. It’s warm and squishy and the colors are freaking gorgeous (and really hard to capture. The black has undertones of green and navy and ash gray, and the yellow is golden with touches of copper. So gorgeous). It was actually a really simple pattern (which I have plans of writing up for y’all), just a lot of knitting. I love that kind of pattern- simple enough for anyone to work up, but with a real impact when it’s done. Honestly, the hardest part was finding a space big enough (and away from the baby and the dog) to block the dang thing!
Phew! Now I think it’s time to make something little.
I’m eyebrow deep in my brother’s wedding blanket. And it has been a journey.
I mean, not literally- it’s gotten really big, so it’s pretty stationary. But, emotionally, it’s been a real journey.
(I’d love to share pictures with you, but since it’s a gift, you’ll have to make do with this totally-unrepresentative schematic of my progress. Don’t worry, Charlie, your wedding blanket is not a gigantic rainbow.)
Join me, if you will, on an epic journey through this gigantic project.
Step 1 (red): Yay! This blanket is going to be great! I love the color(s) I picked! The yarn is so soft! The stitch pattern is so squishy! I can’t wait to get going!
Step 2 (purple): Second guessing sets in. Hm. I don’t know about this pattern. Is it too fiddly? Too boring? Did I miscalculate the gauge? Is it going to be too wide? Too narrow? Do I even know how to knit? Should I rip out the whole thing and try something else?
Step 3 (dark blue): Smooth sailing. You know what? This blanket is great. I really like how it’s turning out, it’s going well and coming together faster than I expected. I’m already a few skeins in and it’s turning out great!
Step 4 (light blue): The Slog. It looks good, but dang it’s boring. I don’t want to keep working on it, and you can’t make me. One or two rows a day is plenty to get this thing done by June, right??
Step 5 (green): Second guessing part 2. Ah crap. This is why you follow a pattern- you don’t want to be halfway through a blanket before you realize that you’re about to run out of the special hand-dyed yarn that you picked for this blanket. Gotta scramble to figure out a new plan. (Preferably one that doesn’t involve ripping out a month’s worth of work.)
Step 6 (yellow): I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so close I can taste it- if only I didn’t have to do dumb things like eat, sleep, or take care of a toddler, it’d be done already. It’s going to be amazing when it’s finished!
Step 7 (orange): Isn’t it done yet? If I keep measuring it, one of these days it’ll magically be long enough, right? Gotta get it done! Push push push!
I’m currently here, grinding away slowly, but not making as much progress as I’d hoped (and pretty sure that I’m going to run out of yarn before I had intended to, but still pretty much in denial):
Y’all, it’s going to be great, but the last couple weeks of knitting have been rough. Just gotta push through, and then never make anything with more than a single skein of yarn again.
What do you do to get yourself through a slog-y project?
I’ve got Fiddler on the Roof stuck in my head and fingers itching to start my next project. We knitters are nothing if not creatures of tradition (or, if you’re being uncharitable, habit). Everyone has a story of their mother/grandmother/cool next-door neighbor who taught them to knit. And everyone has a traditional project that they keep making over and over again. (Mrs. Weasley’s famous Christmas sweaters spring to mind.)
For Christmas, I make socks (sometimes).
For new babies, I make sweaters.
For weddings, I make blankets.
I started this tradition back in college, when my friends started getting married. I’ve done fancy blankets and simple blankets. I’ve crocheted and knitted. I’ve made them with cotton and acrylic and wool (depending on the weather in the recipient’s hometown and just how broke of a college student I was at the time).
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a wedding- now that I’m in my thirties, my friends are more or less done getting married and starting to have kids (which means I’m knitting baby sweaters instead, which is a heck of a lot easier).
But, I’ve got to get my blanket-knitting muscles going once again because my brother is getting married this summer! It’s very exciting!
Now I’ve just got to pick the right pattern.
My first instinct is to try something super-simple, and bang out a blanket as quickly as possible (after all, my knitting time is severely limited these days).
I’ll keep looking. I’m sure I’ll find something that’s casual enough for my brother and soon-to-be-sister-in-law (that’s a lot of hyphens!) to use every day, but nice enough (and maybe heirloom enough) for a wedding gift.
You guys know I like a big project, I like a nice group project, and I like using my knitting for positive change.
So, honestly, it was only a matter of time before I wrote about the Welcome Blanket project.
The Welcome Blanket project is a lovely pro-immigrant activist statement/group art project/just a dang nice thing to do.
Basically, people across America knit or crochet or quilt smallish lap blankets (they ask for 40″x40″), and send them in to be collected at an art gallery somewhere in the US. (So far they’ve been in Chicago and Atlanta, and they’re getting ready to do an installation just outside of Boston.) Once the donated blankets have been on display for a bit, they are then distributed to newly-immigrated families, along with notes of welcome and encouragement.
(These blankets were displayed in Chicago last fall.)
It’s a beautiful, loving gesture to families that are doing something incredibly difficult in a country that isn’t always the most welcoming to new people.
If you’re interested in taking part, unfortunately the most recent round of blanket collection (at the Fuller Craft Museum) has just finished, but don’t fear! The Welcome Blanket folks are going to keep going, and I’m sure a new collection will be just around the corner. I know I’ve got a couple ideas for blankets that I want to make (in all my free time).
If you’re running short on ideas, but want to participate, there’s an official “Welcome Blanket” pattern that you’re more than welcome to use (but feel free to get creative).
I’ll be honest, I thought I’d be through more projects by now (since we’re about halfway through the Olympics), but I guess my powers of estimation (and powers of sitting comfortably on the couch) are less than perfect these days.
Anyway, I finished the baby blanket, and it turned out great!It’s just about a yard square, insanely soft and squishy. It used up a bunch of my old sock yarn stash, which is great, but I still have plenty of yarn left (maybe even enough to make another blanket?).I wove in my ends and trimmed all the tails on Saturday, and then got right onto the next project. My hand-spun party scarf!
It’s been sitting on a shelf for probably three or four years at this point, so I forgot what size needles I had been using (apparently I had stolen the needles out of the project at some point over the years). I ended up ripping out the whole thing, which sent my allergies going (so much dust!). But, after finding the Kleenex, I got down to business. I cast on 30 sts, and just went to town knitting. So far I’ve got a little over two feet of knitting done, and I’m loving how it’s turning out. It’s kind of fun making completely brainless projects for once- so much garter stitch!!Now I just have to keep going and not run out of steam!
How are your Ravellenic Games projects coming along?
I’ve been cranking through my first project that I’m trying to finish during the Olympics, and I think I’m making good headway. At this rate, I should be done in the next couple days (maybe earlier… if I actually manage to kick this cold’s butt and stay up past 8:00 for once).
I’m about halfway through my stash of leftover bits of Knit Picks Stroll, which is pretty satisfying. I hate throwing away the little leftover bits of yarn at the end of a project, so this is a pretty perfect project for me. I’m not even waiting for the end of a row before I switch yarn colors, so I’m not wasting even a little bit. I’m holding the yarn double, and using great big needles (US10s), so the fabric is coming out super squishy and cozy. It’s going to be a heck of a comfy blanket when it’s finished. (I kind of wish I had made it adult-sized, I like it so much. Though, that would have taken more yarn than I think even I have in my stash.)And, it’s turning out massive! Or at least bigger than I had planned on. I guess I didn’t do a great job of measuring my gauge swatch when I cast on the other day. It’s a little under a yard wide (but I could easily block it up to that size if I wanted). I had planned on making it rectangular, but now I’m thinking I might just leave it square. If I do that, I’ve only got 8 or 9 inches to go!
Are you making headway on your Ravellenic knitting?