Sunday, February 20, 2005
Sarah's Baby Blanket continues at a slow-but-steady rate. There are hundreds of knitting bloggers on the 'net, and I must be among the slowest one out there? There are some very prolific knitters in the internet blogdom, and alas, I am not one. I knit a little every night, making lumbering progress like the proverbial turtle towards the ocean. With the baby blanket, my progress is slowed down by the start-and-stop nature of this blanket. Picking up stitches to knit the patchwork squares takes some time.
The latest edition of Interweave Knits has an example of a blanket similar to the one I'm trying to make. The Bear Claw Blanket in the mag is also made with garter stitch squares. The sample photographed in the magazine epitomizes what I'd like my baby blanket to look like. It has crisp corners, and the squares look like they join together seamlessly. My blanket has little puckers in the corners where the squares meet, and the sample of the magazine looks entirely pucker-free.
Bear Claw Blanket by Veronik Avery. Notice how smoothly and seamlessly the blocks of color flow together. Very lovely.
Reading through the instructions for the Bear Claw Blanket, I think I see a few reasons why this is so. For one thing, the magazine's version is knitted with a finer yarn and smaller needles. I'm about at the point where I give up on worsted-weight yarn all together. While the thicker yarn is easy to find and fast to knit, the results are too often clunky and disappointing.
The Bear Claw instructions say to pick up stitches with a small needle, and then to switch to a larger needle for knitting the square. I've tried this out on my own blanket, and it does make the transition between two squares appear more smooth. It is still a mystery to me how the knitter of the blanket in the magazine achieved the crisp, pucker-free corners where the squares meet. My problem is that with the thick yarn I am using there is not a good place to pick up a stitch at the corners. Either I leave too large of a gap, which creates the pucker, or I have to pick up a stitch too far in from the edge, which makes the edges of the new square look uneven. I've decided to err on the side of the pucker throughout my blanket, so I guess this is a kind of consistency.
All together, my blanket is not as perfect as I'd like it to be. Sign. I suppose I can caulk this up as a learning experience. It's just...since this is a gift, I'd like it to be a little closer to my ideal.
Interweave Knits remains my favorite knitting mag. There are lots out there, and over time I've bought them all. Lately, though, I've limited magazine subscription to Interweave. While I don't think any of the patterns in the magazine have inspired to actually knit them up, this issue is a great read. The article about recycled knittting was my favorite. It features the idea of using plastic shopping bags and thriftstore sweaters for yarn. I have some old sweaters from my high school days lining the bottom of my cedar chest. I never wear the old things--they are just too thick and baggy. Imagine the oversized-sweater-and-black-leggings look of the '80s. I've thought of turning the old sweaters into throw pillows, so the old things can see the light of day.
Of course, this project might require me to pull out my sewing machine, and my sewing machine and I have not been on speaking terms for several years. Is it time to try again with this relationship?