Wednesday, May 16, 2012

That's a lot of garter stitch

This project had been on the needles for a while but I finally finished it and gave it to Tadpole as a mother's day gift (hobbit style) last weekend. A quick check of my ravelry notes revealed that I cast on for this blanket in October of last year. I know I worked on this one for a while but I didn't realize quite how long!

It's a little tough to see in these photos (since I opted to unpin the blanket and get it off the island before breakfast and completely forgot to snap a blocking shot) but this is a square hap blanket.

Yarn: 3 skeins of Knitting Notions Classic Merino Lace in ironstone and 1 skein of Knitting Notions Classic Merino Lace in thyme. I used just about every yard of the yarn. I was so close on the darker blue/green, in fact, that I had to frog the bind-off halfway through the second side when I realized that I didn't have enough yardage left to complete the edging. In other words, the light piping along the edge was not planned.
Needles: a 32" circular needle for the entire thing, including the i-cord bind-off.
Time to knit: seven months, off and on.
Pattern: . . . does "winging it" count?

Like many of you, I love looking through the BrooklynTweed patterns and I particularly liked the hap blanket design that Jared wrote up over a year ago. Gudrun and Ysolda have published similar patterns.  I found an outline of the basic design in one of my knitting books and decided that I'd try to whip up a working pattern myself (at the very least, the exercise would keep my from caving and buying some Shelter for the project).

Here's the bare bones version (assuming four skeins of yarn, two for the center square and two for the border): Cast on one stitch and, working in garter stitch, *k1f&b, knit to the end of the row, repeating from * until you run out of yarn in the first skein. Join the second skein and *k2tog, knit to the end of the row, repeating from * until you have one stitch left (and presumably are almost out of yarn). Bind off that last stitch. Then pick up and knit along the edges of the garter stitch square you just made, using a ratio of 3 stitches for every 2 garter ridges (in other words: k1f&b in the first garter ridge and k1 in the second, and repeat all the way around).

Now is the one tricky part: figure out what lace pattern you want to use for the border. I used Old Shale, but anything will work. Then calculate the number of stitches you will need for the lace pattern and corner stitches (per side, to make things easy). Subtract from that figure the number of stitches you have on any particular side to determine how many stitches you will need to increase in order to work the lace. Then work a few rows in garter stitch or some other filler pattern and work the necessary increases into those rows. And if you realize (like I did) that you didn't drink enough coffee to count or add correctly when you did that initial calculation, you can always fudge things at the corners on the first few lace rows and it all works out.

Work the lace pattern until you are nearly out of yarn (don't forget to save enough to cast off!) and then bind off using a 2-stitch i-cord.

I made this blanket so that tadpole would have something light to use at night now that spring is here and the nights are getting warmer. That's all well and good in theory, but how did it work out in practice?

Let's compare the new blanket with her current favorite: the Bear Claw:

Getting all dreamy-eyed - she loves this blanket.

Seriously, she really loves this blanket.

What? What's this new thing?

No, really, give me back my Bear Claw!

Here, you take it.

It only took one day and now the new blanket is a big hit. So much so that we can't leave it out during play time since all she wants to do is snuggle with it. Score one for mom on the knitting front.


Gale NoName said...

She's really growing up fast. Pretty girl, pretty blanket.

Jacey said...

She is so big, Rue! And so adorable. The hap blanket is lovely! You always amaze me with your skills of breaking down patterns.

I hope you guys are doing well! Miss you!

Stephanie said...

So glad she likes it! She obviously has very good taste. ;-) (sjn821)

Kathy said...

Thanks for all the pictures of your big girl! I love knitting notions yarn, and ironstone is one of my favorites. My long languishing lace cardigan is made with ironstone as well.

elizabeth said...

Aw! Definitely a score!!! You're making me want to knit something large and garterish.

Rachel said...

That blanket is beautiful...the two shades of green are perfect! And so fun to see the sequence of pictures! I'm glad that Rowan was willing to accept the new blanket! I hope you are well Rue...and hoping things are calming down on the work front. Like Jacey, I miss you!

Brendaknits said...

How quickly they forget!