Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Get Well Soon blanket - How?

I recently finished making a blanket. Today, I'll tell you all about how I made the blanket. If you don't knit, or do but don't care, come back tomorrow for more about why I made this blanket and what I did with it! 

I started with Lion Homespun yarn in Barley. I had five skeins when I began, and I was sure that would be enough. Not at all! I ended up with 7 skeins in total, though I have quite a bit left of the last one. I did not buy all of these skeins at the same time or in the same place, but luckily, its variegated anyways so no one can tell! 
The pattern I came up with is based on an old shawl pattern I've used a few times before. I made a few little swatches to give me an idea of what it might look like when done and then finally declared the pattern ready to go.

This blanket is knit on the diagonal. What that means is that you start knitting in a corner. When I began what turned out to be a rather enormous blanket, I had just 4 little stitches on my needle! But, then I did what I would be doing for all of my following rows: knit 3, yarn over, knit across. This meant that, in the first row, I knit three, wrapped my yarn around the needle to add a stitch, and then knit the final remaining stitch. The first row was done and then I moved along to my next row! If you have any experience knitting at all, you'll quickly realize that this pattern is SIMPLE! It's so simple, it's practically mindless.

If you keep repeating this pattern over and over and over and over - which I think I did about 150 times - you'll have a nice big triangle!

 What on earth is going on here? This is actually me measuring the triangle, which is why my fabric tape measure is in the foreground. I can tell from knitting it that its big and heavy, but I needed to know whether its big enough and heavy enough.

Yep, this is a multi-step process. Why does it look so awkward? Because I'm actually trying to measure the side dimension of the blanket. When knitting on the diagonal as I'm doing here, the blanket will be square. So, I have to make sure that my sides have reached the right dimension so that I knot the finished product won't be a square that's too small.

Once the triangle has finally reached the right size, it's time to start decreasing. This part definitely isn't mindless. Watch out! Instead, knit across until 6 stitches remain on the needle. Then, k2tog, yarn over, k2tog, k2. This is some knitting jargon that creates a decrease with the same lacy pattern on the edge that was part of the increase. So what's happening is that one stitch is being removed in each row, but because we have to add a stitch for the lacy look, that one has to be removed as well. It sounds kind of complicated and silly, but the result looks effortless!

Finishing the blanket is a little complicated, but hopefully these instructions will make it clear. Knit like a fiend until you have 9 stitches left on your needle.
Row 1:  K3, k2tog, k2tog, k2
Row 2: k3, k2tog, k2tog
Row 3: k3, k2tog
Row 4: cast off 4

Here's the finished product all folded up and ready to go!

And here's the blanket, laid out on my full-sized bed. I think its just about the right size, since it pretty much covers the surface.

52" square, sounds right to me! The goal had been just 50, so I'm happy. Plus, it's a really stretchy knit pattern, so it drapes more readily than you might be used to in a blanket.

One little problem in this pattern is "the curl." Here's another shot of it:

Okay, so what's with this? I don't actually really know. What I can tell you is that I think its inevitable because I saw some curling with the little swatch samples I made. I was worried it would become a more significant problem when I made the blanket larger, but it worked out to be just the opposite! None of you would have noticed if I hadn't shown these pictures. But, let me assure you, it impacts just one corner and, as far as I'm concerned, it hardly matters!

So, there you have it. This is just about the simplest blanket pattern you could ever imagine. Tomorrow, I'll tell you the story of how this pattern and blanket came into being and what happened to the finished product!

1 comment:

  1. The blanket is beautiful! I've taken up knitting but so far the only thing I've made are scarves - lots and lots of scarves! Tried a pair of mittens but they were a debacle so it's back to scarves for me! I've found that knitting in public - waiting at the doctor's office, on a plane, etc. - is a great ice breaker. Everyone always asks, "What is it?" And my answer - of course - it's a scarf! Have a great weekend, Jan