Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Blanket capers

A long time ago, I stumbled across a crazy baby blanket pattern called OpArt on Knitty. The pattern was fairly hypnotic, and I wanted to make one but really didn't have an excuse to. Fast forward to mid 2012, and when one of my best friends found out that he and his wife were having a baby boy, I knew exactly what I wanted to make as a present for him!

I'm really bad at following the yarn suggestions for patterns. A lot of the time the yarns that the authors have chosen are beautiful and drape in the most lovely way for the finished piece, but are very difficult to find in Australia. I'm also very wary of wool. I've made a lot of scarves that have been a lot more itchy than I would have liked, and baby garments seem like the worst possible time to use scratchy yarns. On the other hand, I'd made a dress out of cotton before and loved it, so I decided to go with that. I took my friend down to Morris and Sons and he picked a light blue and a dark blue in 8 ply Morris Avalon Pima Cotton. I had a 16 hour flight from Sydney to San Francisco scheduled around the same time, so I also bought some bamboo needles - my main set of needles are metal, and I'd been told taking them on a plane can be risky.

The blanket wasn't complicated, but it was time consuming. The bamboo turned out to be a lot nicer to knit with than my normal metallic needles - they're a lot less slippery. I had one big stuff up with the blanket where I lost a stitch marker without noticing and so didn't do a corner increase for about 10 rows. It was pretty late in the pattern, so 10 rows was a lot of knitting that I couldn't bring myself to undo. I ended up undoing about 10 stitches per row, cutting straight down the middle of the resulting runs, and re-knitting the 10 stitches with the increase in the right place to make a patch. It worked out okay but I ended up with a lot of loose ends which I had to sew in. I've always hated sewing, and I worry that the ends I sew in won't be secure - if anyone can point me in the direction of a good tutorial on it I'd be grateful.

The blanket ended up being quite small, but it felt amazing. The cotton was so soft and lovely, and my friend (and hopefully his son!) loved it.

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