Tag Archives: blanket

Pattern: Parkside Throw

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!

IMG_1902This 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). IMG_1895 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?IMG_1848_adjustedAs 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.

Get the free pattern here!

Parkside Throw Pattern

It’sdoneit’sdoneit’sdone!

I’m so freaking stoked about this!  THE BLANKET IS DONE!!

This is fantastic for 3 reasons:

  1. I’m only about a month late!
  2. I’m DONE and get to start new projects!
  3. It turned out so good!

I mean, look at this bad boy:IMG_1902Glamour shot!IMG_1895I 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). IMG_1859It 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!IMG_1890_adjusted

Phew! Now I think it’s time to make something little.

It just keeps going…

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.

Blanket

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):Blanket2

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?

Tradition! (Tradition!)

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).

Garter Squish by Stephen West

8289449722

But, it’s for my brother!  My only sibling!  On his wedding!  It’s gotta be nicer than a regular old garter square.

I could break out a fancy pattern.  Maybe something lacy and textured like this:

Sweet Pea Baby Blanket by Suzanne MiddlebrooksSweetPea1_medium2

While that’s really pretty, I don’t know… it might be a bit too twee, even if I use a nice masculine color. Plus, that looks incredibly time-consuming.

I could go somewhere in-between, a simple 2-row texture, heavy on the garter stitch.  This chevron pattern could work, but I’d have to play with the colors- my brother’s not really a “rainbow” person.

Garter Chevron Blanket by Catherine AndersonIMG_0824_medium2

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.

What are your traditional knitting projects?

Welcome! (Blanket)

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.

WB-flier-2side-final-updateLanguage-1

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.

WB-Sept25_10

(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).

Come Together Blanket by Kat ColeIMG_1009

Do you ever do any activist/charity crafting?  What projects have you participated in?

One down

One project done, and several to go!

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?

Attempt 1: Baby Blanket

Woo!  And we’re off!

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?

Sick Days and Sock Yarn

I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a rough couple days at my house.  I’ve come down with the plague, or as my doctor put it “just” a cold.  I’ve been a coughing, sniffling mess.  My house feels full of Kleenex and I’ve been drinking water like it’s going out of style.  It’s the worst!

I haven’t had the brain power to do any planning on my Ravellenic Games knitting, so I guess we’ll all be surprised with what I decide to do, come Friday morning.

I haven’t been able to muster the energy (or the brain power) for doing anything more than simple knitting-and only knitting.  No purling, no shaping, no counting.  I don’t want to leave the house to get more yarn (because I don’t want to spread this plague to anyone else), so into the stash I went.  And lucky for me, I found a ton of single skeins, half-skeins, and tiny balls of sock yarn.  I have a vague memory of going crazy a couple years back and getting 20 or so skeins of Knit Picks Stroll during one of their sales.  I’ve been slowly working through it, but there’s still quite a bit leftover, and not really enough of any one color to make a full pair of socks.

So I said, “Hey, let’s make a blanket with this!  But a baby blanket, because I’m not insane enough to try knitting a great big blanket with sock yarn.  And I should hold the yarn double and knit it with big needles so that it’ll go fast.”

And, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

I’ve cast on a bunch of stitches (I didn’t count, but it’s about a yard’s worth of stitches- I’m sick! Give me a break!) with some nice big US10s, and I’ve been knitting back and forth, watching crummy daytime TV for the last couple days.  And whenever I get bored of a color, or when a skein runs out, I switch that strand for a different color.  So far, I gotta say, I like how it looks!Plus, it’s crazy simple, and I’m cruising through really quickly.  It’s going to be a really nice, cozy blanket!

What do you like working on when you’re feeling under the weather?

Six More Weeks

When I was a kid, I was very convinced that the whole “Punxsutawney Phil” thing was very important.  That groundhog knew things.Now, of course, I realize it’s a little silly to get your weather forecast from a rodent, but there’s still a part of me that wants to rely on Phil’s prognostication.

And, since he saw his shadow this morning, that part of me wants to get ready for another 6 weeks of cold weather.

These cozy-looking mittens would be perfect for wearing during the extended winter.  Plus, they come in every size imaginable- perfect for the whole family!

The World’s Simplest Mittens by tincanknitsAnd these adorable hats look crazy cozy with their ear flaps and insulating garter stitch.  Plus, they have a tassel! Everyone loves tassels!

Garter Ear Flap Hat by Purl SohoAnd there’s nothing better on a cold winters’ night than snuggling up under a half-finished afghan with a cup of cocoa for an evening of crochet.

Neat Ripple by Lucky of Attic24Do you believe in Punxsutawney Phil’s predictive powers?  Or are you just using his premonitions as an excuse to start some new projects?

Why isn’t this working?

I have a question for you.

Why don’t projects progress if you ignore them?

Honestly!

It’s been a couple weeks since I picked up my crocheted blanket, and honest-to-goodness, it hasn’t grown at allIt’s very frustrating.

I keep it in a nice big project bag in my studio, protected and safe, yet it refuses to crochet itself.  What gives?

Why can’t it just hang out and grow on its own like a potted plant?  I’ve thought about breaking it out from time to time over the last couple weeks… shouldn’t that be enough?

Sigh.  I suppose if my “ignore it and I’m sure it’ll be finished eventually” strategy isn’t working, I’ll just have to go to plan B (“get it out and actually work on it while binge-watching Masterpiece”).  Too bad.  I had hoped that maybe I’d just invented a new, more efficient way of working on projects.

Do you have any projects that you’re trying the “leave it in the closet and maybe it’ll magically get finished” strategy with?