Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hemlock Ring Blanket



Pattern: Hemlock Ring Blanket (this version of the pattern, revised by the Rainey Sisters from Jared Flood's design, has stitch counts and good, clear directions); original design at Brooklyntweed
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool, color 8049/lot 9490, 1 1/2 skeins (478 yds. per skein; I used about 750 yards)
Source: Knitche, Downers Grove, IL
Needles: size 10 1/2 double points for center, size 9 16" and 24" circulars, size 10.5 40" circular
Gauge in stockinette with size 9 circular after blocking: approx. 12-14 stitches and about 25-28 rows to 4 inches (measured in center leaf portion, which may skew measurement as area is circular and stitches tilt somewhat)
Size after blocking: 46 inches in diameter

This is a wonderful fall or winter project. It's cozy, warm, reassuring: just what we need in the midst of all this upheaval of pre-election hubbub, the stock market insanity (who but high-level economists can comprehend the strange workings of the American economic system? did you know that a stockbroker can sell stock that he does not yet own - so-called shadow selling?), the weather. And once you are past the center detail, you have the rhythm of one row of yarnovers against stockinette, then four rows of plain stockinette. Round and round, until you run out of yarn or tire of the process.

This is not a project to knit in public if you are looking to either impress others or attract them to the craft of knitting. Before blocking, it looks like a big lump of yarn. Many people asked me if it was a hat, and my yoga teacher, feeling humorous, suggested that it was a pair of Iyengar yoga shorts (a strange fashion of a shortish short with baggy short legs closed by elastic). But, of course, as it is lace, after blocking, it is simply gorgeous. There are many beautiful portraits of this blanket, starting with those of the designer at Brooklyntweed.
Below, a detail of the Feather and Fan circumference.And the edging.

I highly recommend the crocheted edging over the knitted directions. It goes a million times faster and makes a very nice frame for this chunky, textured blanket.

Next time: I will use the same size needles for the center and Feather and Fan sections. Still so much to learn about knitting! Because I switched from 10.5 needles to start the round center, then to size 9 needles, then back to size 10.5, the middle of the blanket is, well, poufy.It was fine when it was wet, blocking, stretched to the nth degree, and pinned flat. Once it dried, the center, which is a larger gauge than the leaf detail surrounding it, puffed up. I was wondering why I couldn't achieve a good shot of the blanket laid out flat. Today, I realized that it must be the difference in gauge.

Also, next time, I'll noodle along until I've used up the entire two skeins of yarn. Again, photography deceived me into imagining the final result being big enough to cover an adult, lying on the couch, reading a book. My completed blanket is more of a large lap blanket. And this will also prevent the lolly gagging of that end of the skein in my stash. I'm too lazy to figure out how much yarn, exactly, I used, so I now have the weight of an unknown amount of yarn adding to the basket of leftovers. Closure is important, particularly in knitting, where you can live with the fantasy that you have some control over the end result.

1 comment:

TK said...

It's so beautiful! Great work.