Friday, January 18, 2008

Hemlock ring

The month of December was devoted to one knitting project:
The Hemlock Ring Blanket, based on the Hemlock Ring Doily but knit in bulky yarn rather than laceweight. A clever idea from Brooklyntweed, with much better photos on his site.

This was a slightly obsessive project, with slightly depressing results. The center doily knit up quickly, in one blissful baby-being-supervised-by-someone-else hour. After that it was a feather and fan pattern: 4 rows of kntting followed by a row of some lace pattern. Excellent, brainless. I used Berrocco Peruvia, a scratchy but beautiful yarn. I'd planned to stick closer to the original and use a more neutral color, but the purples, reds, blues in this stuff caught my eye and I couldn't be happy with anything else. At most of 3 skeins, about 550 yards, the final diameter was just over 3 feet. I was hoping to be closer to 4 feet to make it a proper lap blanket, but when I ran out of yarn I just didn't have the gumption to go buy and knit a fourth skein. At that point there were over 400 stitches on the needle, and the pattern had lost some of its charm.

It's been a slow realization, but I'm learning that my finishing skills need some tweaking. This was brought home when I visited my mother (and delivered the finished blanket) and saw various craft projects I've given her over the past many years scattered throughout her house. Knitting is only part of the craft; sewing seams, blocking, etc., can really make or break the final project. Here lies much of my disappointment with the Hemlock Ring blanket. Try though I might, pinning out scalloped edges does not make a smooth line. While it was an improvement over the wet octopus post-washing:
It didn't lay flat and lovely when draped over her couch. Think deflated octopus. Think unruly doily. I'm not going to show you a photo. Go look at the original again. It's well blocked and beautiful. As for me? Back to diaper covers. No blocking required.


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