Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WIP Wednesday: The (Knitting) Circle of Life Edition

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I spent the first three months of this year finishing a thesis (still no result yet...). A surprising side-effect of this academic frenzy was that I was temporarily turned into a monogamous knitter, working on only one project at a time. It was strange! But I liked it, and since my submission I've kept it up. I knitted my Dreams of Granada blanket in five monogamous weeks and it felt good. So, while the blanket sits in the naughty corner while I decide what to do with it, I grabbed one of the many unfinished projects sitting around my house and worked on that project and that project alone.

The project I picked was a baby blanket made out of some very old Caressa rescued from another blanket. It has been living under my desk for six/eight/ten/? months. I would pick it up and knit a row or two every now and then and then stuff it back under there. The design is my own, very loosely based on a hap blanket but square. 

Unsurprisingly, when you work on one project and one project only, it grows really quickly! The blanket is now three rows away from being finished.

Also unsurprisingly, a leopard can't change its spots completely and, with three rows to go, I got a hankering to work on something new. I was procrastinating on Instagram yesterday and saw Pamela Wynne's gorgeous crappy mitred square blanket. It looks great and I have a bunch of tiny balls of sock yarn left over from all of the socks I've knitted and before I even realised what I had done, a new blanket was born.

I am loosely basing the blanket on Shelly Kang's sock yarn blanket, with some minor adjustments. My squares are made by casting on 45 stitches, which results in squares of about 8cm. She recommends using the first square as a gauge swatch but I used mine as a way to trial what I liked and what I didn't.

The stitches on each side of the square are slipped to make it easier to pick up, as you do with the heel flap of a sock. When I pick up stitches on sock heels, I like to pick up the rear side of the slipped stitch. This leaves a ridge, which I think looks nice (as you can see on the left side of the blanket). However, I didn't really like the look on this blanket, so I then tried picking up the front loop (the right side). Much better! I also messed around with the decreases. Shelly uses a centred decrease and knits across the entire non-reverse row. However, I noticed that in Pamela's blanket, the decrease was clear, which I liked. I tried both in this square and definitely preferred the sharp decrease.

I'm pretty happy with how the blanket looks so far. I briefly thought about unravelling the swatch square because it shows my process, but then I decided that I liked having a knitted record of how I develop a project. Plus, at 8cm a square, this blanket is going to need a lot of tiny squares and I didn't want to waste a single one! 

The sock yarn blanket is going to be a long-term rather than monogamous project but I'm really looking forward to working on it. Probably for the next six years or so...


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