Chill

The weather has turned cold so what better way to keep warm than to knit a blanket? I had already made two attempts this year at a blanket that would use up my scraps of yarn but had given up until I found this pattern by the knitty professors. (I suspect this pattern would make a wonderful scarf knitted in one or two colourways if less than five strands are used or else a finer yarn such as 4-ply/sock wool.)

I'm not sure what attracted me to this pattern: perhaps the fact that it's knitted on larger needles and therefore knits up faster. Or maybe that I could use virtually every scrap in my wool basket to make something useful (I did find one yarn that didn't knit in well so I removed it). Then again, I love scrap quilts and the memories they evoke and suspected that a scrap blanket would have the same effect. (This is the yarn I used to knit socks for so-and-so; this was from all those jumpers that I knitted in the round; this was the yarn The Most Adorable Granddaughter#1 wanted me to buy but it turned out to be no good for the project I had in mind; this yarn was once in a jumper I wore; etc, etc, etc.)

Naturally I had to do things differently when it came to making my own blanket (when have I ever followed a pattern/instructions/recipe exactly?). For starters, I decided to only use 3 strands of 8-ply/double knit/worsted weight yarn (or equivalent - when I had a thicker wool I would use one strand of the thicker ply and one of 8-ply). This is really enough to make a blanket that's cosy and warm yet quick to knit. I'm using 9.00mm needles after buying three different sizes (8.00mm, 9.00mm and 10.00mm - they were under three dollars per pair and I'm sure I can find a use for the other needles in some future project) as these seemed to give me the best tension (not that tension/gauge is critical in this pattern but you don't want it to be too loose that the blanket won't hold its shape or too tight that the finished item will pill badly).

I'm also knitting mine in four squares and will stitch them together when I'm done. There was just no way I was going to be able to hold enough stitches for an entire blanket on my set of needles. Not to mention the toil on my wrists from having to handle such a weight while also trying to knit. There were a few other changes too (you can see that I'm going to have ends to stitch in - this is because I didn't feel that knotting and cutting the yarn was enough to keep it from unravelling).

Other than that, I'm just choosing scraps from my basket and mixing them together, along with a few balls that I bought when I realised I was not going to have enough to knit an entire blanket. (And I thought I had lots of leftover yarn!). I considered unravelling some knitted jumpers/jerseys/sweaters that once belonged to my sons but then decided against it. One, unravelling a jumper especially when someone like myself has sewn it up so that the seams will NEVER come undone is a tedious process and not always successful; two, The Most Adorable Granddaughters are growing so quickly and it won't be long before some of those items of clothing fit them - and they'll need them in my cold house (in fact, one of them is wearing just such an item today); and three, well I can't think of a third excuse unless it's to support the economy and buy more wool - but only if it's on sale.

My pattern looks something like this:

Using 9.00mm needles and three strands of yarn, cast on 2 stitches.

Row 1: Knit 2.

Row 2: Knit front and back of first stitch, knit 1.

Row 3: Knit front and back of first stitch, knit to end of row.

Continue working Row 3 until 100 stitches or the edge measures half the width of the finished blanket size.

Row 4: Knit 2 together, knit to end of row.

Continue working Row 4 until 2 stitches.

Next Row: Knit 2.

Next Row: Knit 2 together, cast off.

I'll report back when I have a completed blanket to show off. Meanwhile, I need to go and do some knitting housework.

I seem to have a lot of blue scraps ...


Close-up ...


More colours emerging now (and the square almost completed less than one week after starting) ...



As with any fabric on the bias, I discovered that the square had started to stretch out of shape by the time I neared the end (I checked by folding the ssquare into quarters - the corner I was working on was definitely 'out' compared to the other three corners). To counter this I made an adjustment to the pattern. I probably could have waited until I blocked it and pulled it into shape that way, but I decided to help things along a little. Once I was down to only 13 stitches remaining on the needles, I decreased at the beginning AND end of every row by knitting 2 together until only 3 stitches remained and then I worked knit 2 together, knit one, turn, knit 2 together, cast off. It made a difference and I think will work better - for me at least - when it comes time to sew the squares together.

The first completed sqaure (folded into quarters) ...



Another square begun ...



My knitting bag ...



The joy of this bag is that it's portable - of course - but also, I can't see the wool that's hidden inside. When one strand of yarn runs out, I simply reach into the bag and pull out whatever ball I touch first. It might turn out to be a colour I would never mix with the colours I'm already knitting with, but this is part of the fun. Sometimes the most unlikely combinations really zing!

Pattern for bag here. I just made mine bigger after piecing strips of fabric together (see, I said I can never follow instructions exactly - perhaps there should be a support group for others like me?). This is a versatile pattern for bags of any size. I have three larger ones that I use for knitting or sewing projects and a few smaller ones that at this stage are just for decoration. The smaller ones make great gifts when filled with a lovely handcream or handmade soap.

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