Archive for the “blanket” Category

My test swatch came out of the laundry looking just as nice as when it went in, so I applied the cable border to the whole blanket, wove in the ends, and did a small celebratory dance before arranging it on the couch for a photoshoot. It's squishy and warm and I couldn't be happier with it! I used 8.5 of the eleven balls of yarn that I bought, and I'm planning to return the last two to the store rather than make any coordinating accessories.

A red and teal blanket with a cabled edge is artfully arranged on a black leather couch.

On Wednesday I met up with friends for knit night at the bookstore, and someone was just *giving away* yarn and books. With some arm-twisting, she convinced me to take some. I came home with a German stitch dictionary, two balls of Supersocke, and one skein of Silkie Socks that Rock. Now, to decide what to make with them...

Two balls of self-striping pink and black sock yarn.

A skein of "Silkie Socks that Rock" yarn in the "Walking on the Wild Tide" colorway - handpainted, variegated tan, blue, green, brown and shocking pink.

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Picking a colour scheme for an open-concept house is difficult, and even more difficult when one tries to take into account the furniture, rugs, and artwork from previous houses. But things are starting to come together. We've painted underneath the chair rail in the dining room a deep teal, and the living room has always had quite a bit of burgundy. So when we went looking for yarn for our new couch blanket, it was good luck that we found this "Barcelona" yarn by Loops and Threads that shades from burgundy to teal and back again. I looked up the yarn on Ravelry and found this project, which instantly became the inspiration for my own blanket.

A large ball of red and teal "Barcelona" yarn. The brand is Loops and Threads.

I did a test swatch, figured out my gauge, did some math so that my squares would come out to actually be a square twelve inches, and started knitting. The machine makes it go amazingly fast, and before long I had nine squares finished. You can see some of that matching burgundy in the rug - yes, the machine currently *is* set up in the middle of my living room, because why not.

I began to get worried that I wouldn't have enough yarn; each ball was producing four squares, and I was pretty sure that I'd need thirty squares plus a border. I ordered more yarn, making use of the always-available 40% off coupons at the artsy-crafts store, figuring that I could always return any unused yarn once the blanket is done.

Nine blanket squares hanging from a bulky knitting machine.

At five by five squares Michael and I tried it on for size (in other words, snuggled up under it on the couch) but decided that it really did need to be six by five, so I put a final row on. I worked many of the ends in as I went along, and the rest will get worked into the border or woven in later. Here it is, still borderless, spread out on a full-size futon for scale:

A 6x5 blanket in striped squares of red and teal is displayed on a fullsize futon.

The edges of each square, being stockinette, are obnoxiously curly. I wanted to find a border that would look good with the blanket and also minimize that curl as much as possible. So I knit a test piece with two squares and tried at least half a dozen different edges and borders on it, feeling more and more like Goldilocks with each one: "This one is too wavy. This one is too short. This one is too curled up on the wrong side of the work."

I tried a crochet border, which did work to flatten the edges, but decided not to go with it for the picky reason of wanting to do the whole project on the machine. I tried a pie crust border, a worm edging, a spiraling edge, and finally a half-cable border that totally does the trick.

The corner of a blanket square swatch showing a cabled edging.

This test piece will go into the wash with the rest of my laundry to give me an idea of how the whole blanket will feel after being washed. It's supposedly a machine-washable and -dryable acrylic, so I'm pretty confident that it will come out just fine, but better to find out on my test swatch than on the real thing.

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Although summer did its best to hang on long past its usual farewell, autumn is finally beginning to take hold. We had our first frost warning of the season this week. I gave in and turned the heat on (just at night, though) and put the electric blanket back on the bed... then I remembered that I'd been crocheting an afghan, and brought it out of hibernation. Here are the first four squares I made... three years ago. Ooops.

First Four Squares

I've been working in strips that are 12 squares long, and I have three of those completed already. The finished blanket will have 14 to 16 strips in total, depending on how long it gets once I put it all together. The slowest part of the process is making the chain for each new square, so I thought I'd try making a strip or two of six double-sized squares. The last few rows are satisfyingly quick, with so few stitches to work.

20161023_crochet-square

Some of my friends are gently encouraging me to sign up for National Novel Writing Month, but I think I might dedicate November to this blanket instead. There's little chance of actually finishing in only 30 days (not with 140 squares left to go, no way!) but if I focus, I could make some significant progress. Maybe I could even have it done before next summer...?

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Back in June, I started crocheting a replacement couch-blanket for the cats. I began with one ball of Loops & Threads Impeccable in the "Tropical Storm" colourway and added eight more skeins in July when I found a 40% off coupon, but I knew I still didn't have enough to finish the blanket.

On Friday I was right near the artsy-crafts store, so I stopped in - just to look, of course. And that's when I saw it: an entire bin of "Tropical Storm" on clearance. But wait. There was another bin of the same colourway at the regular price. I found an employee and asked which was right, and after much consideration she said that while the colourway I wanted wasn't the one on clearance, it was obviously their stocking error and she would honour the lower price.

I bought eleven more balls of the stuff.

First Four Squares

I'm working in strips of twelve squares, and I'm going to make at least sixteen strips. Each square is approximately 4", so I'll have a 48" x 64" blanket - that should be a good size for two people and two cats to snoogle under!

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After much deliberation, I picked out the yarn I'm going to use for the new cat-blanket. It's Loops & Threads Impeccable, a soft acrylic that doesn't seem like it will be too awful to use, in the "Tropical Storm" colourway. Then I picked a pattern, Bernat's Mitered Squares Baby Blanket. Of course, I'm going to make it bigger than a baby blanket! It needs to be big enough for two people to snoogle under on cold winter nights, plus one cat. I'd measure the current blanket, but Kipling is snoozing on it at the moment.

I bought just one ball to test out the yarn and pattern, and after working up the first few squares, decided that I really, really like it. The stitches are worked in the back loop to create the ridged effect, and each square is begun directly from the square before it without having to break the yarn - always a bonus!

First Four Squares

I found a 40% off an entire purchase coupon and bought eight more balls of the yarn with it, everything the store had in stock. That may or may not be enough for the whole blanket, but I figure I can just keep buying more until it's big enough. While Loops & Threads does have dye lots, I'm really not worried about it for this project.

Hopefully I can get this thing finished by the time it's cold enough to need it!

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