Still not much time for knitting around here, but I did get to finish off my doodle lace scarf (pix when I get a chance to block it), and do up a quick baby blanket.The blanket is still in process, but I’ll be posting more details of the finished pattern here if people are interested. I’m also still chugging away on the Kyoto for Elder Daughter. I’m about a third of the way through the sleeves. All that remains is to finish off the sleeves, piece the thing together and knit the collar strip.
On the new blanket – I am still enthralled by my Duchrow trilogy, so I went trolling through the pages of those books looking for candidate strip and coordinated edging patterns to do up in a large gauge yarn. Large for me, that is. I found something interesting in Knitting Patterns of Christine Duchrow, Volume 1 on page 30 – a large zig zag. The zag is shown as one big Z shaped insertion, framed by two columns of diamond lozenges, pierced with eyelets. As printed, the one repeat edge to edge is 63 stitches. I decided to toy with it a bit, using one column of diamond lozenges as a centerpiece, framed by symmetrical repeats of the zig-zags. At my gauge of 5.5 spi the framed zig-zag made a nice size for a small basket/car seat type utility blanket. To finish off the piece, I scaled down the edging featured in Duchrow, eliminating the extra column of lozenges, opting for one fewer side to side zig-zag elements. For those of you who are still wary of charts, doing something like this with a knitting pattern written out in prose is a relatively difficult exercise. Editing down a charted edging is easy. Slap two sticky notes on the thing, one masking out unneeded vertical columns, and one to keep one’s place row by row, and (provided you’ve not cut off the inception spot where the entire thing is narrowed or increased – you’re good to go. (Let me know if you want more details on this.)
The picture shows the edging, plus one half of the blanket, from the edging to the line of lozenges that form the center. The big zig is mirrored on the other side of that center spine. It’s bundled up snood style because I’ve picked up stitches all the way around the perimeter, using two circs; and am now knitting the edging onto the body. I’d estimate this piece so far (center plus one side of the edging) has taken me about six actual hours of knitting time, spread over two weeks, which for a lacy blanket is pretty quick, even given my dismal work schedule.
As to what I’ve knit this piece from – I’m not entirely happy with it. I’m working at consuming some of the yarn that I have here in the house. A dear friend of the family recently gave me a huge bag of mixed acrylics that she had accumulated from yard sales and flea markets. It included a number of skeins of 1993-vintage Lion Jamie Pompadour. It’s marked at 20 stitches and 28 rows = 4 inches or 10cm. I’m getting DK standard gauge of 5.5 stitches per inch in stockinette on US #7 needles. While it does knit up quickly, I’m not that pleased with the feel. It’s a Sayelle acrylic with a shiny rayon binder strand. The feel is rather spongy and a bit plastic like as opposed to woolly. The drape is relatively stiff given the yarn’s density and weight. Still, yardage per skein is high, it’s not itchy, it is machine washable, the color is pleasant if you like baby pastels, and having been stored well over the years none of the yarn is discolored, snagged, stained or smelly. I’ll probably use all of my inherited skeins for baby blankets for people I know might not have the time or inclination to hand-wash. For the record, the center of the blanket took a few yards more than three full skeins of Jamie- I’d estimate it as having eaten about 525 yards. The edging along one long side has taken a little over 3/4 of another skein. Final consumption figures will be forthcoming when I’m closer to the end.