Tag Archive | blankets

Starting an Ambitious New Project

I want to knit a blanket. For myself. Starting today. I’m not sure what sparked it, but this morning I had a strong craving to make a blanket. Not just any blanket, either, but a blanket I’ve been planning for a while. When I first learned to knit, I bought some Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton to make a tote bag, and I loved the yarn. It’s deliciously soft and so easy to knit with, and ever since then I’ve thought it would be a lovely blanket. I started stockpiling skeins of it, a little bit here and there, since it’s a bit expensive. I knew my blanket would be multicolored, so I bought random skeins in colors I liked. For a few months now I’ve had a good size stash: 14 skeins in 9 different colors, just waiting for me. I’m ready now.IMG_3242I left out two colors, red and a grayish purple, because they didn’t seem to coordinate with the others. The Mediterranean Blue is the main color; I have four skeins of it. And here’s my pattern, the Playful Stripes throw. The designer works at one of my LYS, and I always drooled over the one she had on display. So now I’ll make my own version. This will be a long-term WIP. I expect to be working on it throughout the fall/early winter, and that’s okay. It’ll be my TV knitting, or my “I need a break from fiddly little projects” knitting.

Sadly, it will not be my “watching tennis” knitting because I cannot currently watch tennis. I am distraught. We cancelled cable two years ago and have been fine without it, watching our shows on Hulu and Netflix, and I could watch tennis on the WatchESPN app on my Apple TV. Well, I don’t know when it changed, but when I tried to watch the US Open, the ESPN app no longer works without a TV provider. Sob. I’m not surprised; I was surprised it worked before. But I am sad. I have found no other way to watch my tennis without re-subscribing to cable. I never would have thought I’d be tempted to pay a monthly cable fee just for tennis and baseball, but I am. It’s tricky, though, because the US Open is almost over, and then the next Slam isn’t until January. Baseball season has what, a month left? Sure, it’s the best month, but still, it’s a month. Do we pay so we can watch our Royals from now through post-season, and so I can watch the last few days of the Open? Or do we suck it up and re-consider after the first of the year? I know what the logical answer is. I just don’t like it. What do you think, fellow tennis lovers? Do I give into evil ESPN, or be strong and resist?

Finally, Some Finished Objects

I promise, I have been knitting. I haven’t had time to write about it, but it’s still happening. I’ve finished several projects recently that I’m tickled with, so I’m going to whiz through and show them off. Plus, it’s dark and stormy today and I don’t want to go anywhere.

The first is a big project I finished about three weeks ago. A friend commissioned an afghan for her newly-decorated living room. She gave me the colors and free reign on design, since she’d liked all the other blankets I’ve made. I had a pattern called Greenway in Comfort Knitting and Crochet: Afghans that I’d been wanting to make, so this seemed like a perfect fit. I’ve discovered I prefer crochet for blankets over knitting: crochet goes so much faster for me, and since I am not a fan of projects that take a long time, I need blankets to go as quickly as possible. I loved the pattern: it was simple but looks complex. And for a blanket, it did go quickly. But still, by the end I was cursing a bit each time I measured and it was too short. I was aiming for a 48″ square blanket, though of course it never ends up that way for me. It finished at 48″x55″, so not too bad. I used Bernat Super Value for the white and black, and Red Heart with Love for the red and orange. I’m not crazy about Red Heart in general but I needed something affordable and washable, and I really like the squishiness of the Red Heart with Love. My friend seemed delighted with the end result.

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After that I got to switch gears completely, and I whipped up a wee baby hat. An old friend of mine is expecting a second baby, and I wanted a yarny gift for the baby shower. Again, I’d been wanting to make the Pointy Elf Hat from More Last Minute Knitted Gifts and this was the perfect excuse. She didn’t know the sex, so I picked out some super-soft washable acrylic, Bernat Satin Solids, in a gender-neutral camel. I held the yarn double to mimic a bulky weight. I discovered newborn hats fly off the needles; I can’t wait to make another.

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Then it was time for some selfish knitting. I bought the pattern for The Teddy Bear that Saved Me by the Mad Man Knitter recently and was desperate to try it. (I know, I’ve been mentioning him a lot. He’s awesome. Seriously.) I even went to the nearest LYS and bought a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca just for this bear. The pieces knit up quickly and soon I had all the bits of a bear ready to assemble. That brought me to my least favorite part of toymaking: assembling. I don’t mind the stuffing, but the embroidery and sewing together is so awkward for me. I did watch all his videos as I did it, and they helped, but the bear still came out a bit…wonky. His mouth is off-center and the eyes don’t exactly match. The ears are too big and make him look like a mouse (or an elephant. Whatever.) As I was finishing him up, he told me his name was Perry. Don’t know why, though my son said it was because his head was pear-shaped. He is cute, and I like him. But I want to practice a bit more before I start making them for gifts!

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I was craving simplicity after the bear, so I turned to hats. I made a simple slouchy beanie from my most favorite yarn ever: Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky. You can find the pattern here, but I did make some modifications.

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I love making hats. Love love love them. One wasn’t enough. I know it’s spring, I know it’s hot. I don’t care. My sister had said a while back that she needed a hat, and I know she likes forest green. I had one skein of dark green Cascade 128 Superwash in my stash. Then it was pattern-hunting time, so I got to browse Ravelry for a while until I found this Swirling Beanie. Love it! Want to make it again!

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So those are the results of my last month’s worth of yarn time. I’ve also been working on my two bigger WIPs, a shawl and a cardigan. Okay, not really the cardigan, but I’ve thought about it. And now I’m getting ready for a two-week vacation that includes 4 days on a train, so I’m planning out the projects I need to take with me. I’ve got seven in mind; I hope that’s enough!