The memory blanket – finished!

Oh Glorious day, I finished knitting my monster blanket!
I was so excited about having completed this knitted project that I snapped a souvenir picture of the last stitch I casted off. (I am a little ashamed of such childish reaction, but sometimes also foolish things in life need to be cherished and enjoyed)

I have to admit that while I was knitting the second half of it, I started to worry about not meeting the deadline for this project. As I previously wrote, this blanket was commissioned as a birthday present, for 21st April (If you are interested in the background story of this project you can read my posts in the WIPs section first post and this was my update).

Once I had knitted the second half of the blanket I was able to check how the end result would look like.

I was quite satisfied on the colour scheme, it was exactly how I had designed it in my mind.
Before sewing it together and starting embroidering the names on it I performed a quality check. We all know that on such big projects errors might be overlooked, namely because of the amount of stitches you need to work on each row.
I found that one the border instead of knitting in garter stitch, on one *insert any curse of your choice here* row I had worked it in stockinette stitch.
It was too late to do anything, but at the same time I didn’t want to leave such an abomination in my pride and joy, so I opted for a cosmetic remedy instead.
You can see how I used the thread to mock up garter stitch bumps on top of the stockinette stitch.

Happy with it I decided it was time to start embroidering the names with duplicate stitch. Luckly in my youth I had been fascinated by embroidering and cross stitch, so I had an embroidery loop at hand. I still had the two parts of the blanket separated, but the fabric was heavy nonetheless. The loop helped me immensely.

Names written I started to sew together the two halves. I don’t know which kind of black magic causes this, but everytime I put together two pieces of knitted fabric I always end up with asymmetrical end bits.
Every time I reached the black garter stitch band, I had to undo few stitches because they never matched. I guess it depends on how skilled and experienced you are, but I was determined to sew them even, neat and pretty. You can guess it, it took me a whole morning to do it.

I proceeded to block it and it is currently drying out as flat as I can …. well almost flat… oh come on … it is way too big for my airer it is not my fault!!

I turned it already a few times because it needs to be shipped to Italy asap (tomorrow morning at the latest), I am even considering turning on the heating to help it dry! (BTW, today we had a gorgeous sunny day in England.. this alone should be a reason to celebrate).

Anyway, without digressing too much, this is the end result, what do you think? center
I simply love it, even if it took me approximately 80 hours to do it and it caused my several headaches and anxiety attacks.

And now? Don’t worry, another project is already on the way!

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How I maintain my mental sanity while knitting HUGE projects.

Hello everyone,
I decided it was time for a little update about one of my WIPs.

I am knitting a double size blanket, it will be made of 16 squares in a black frame. In each of these squares I will embroider the name of a member of the family in Duplicate Stitch.

Sounds easy enough, but I seriously underestimated the amount of work (and time) this project was going to take.
I am 2 and a half weeks in (or maybe 3 weeks) and I managed to knit half of the blanket.

You can see how beautiful it turned out (I hope I am not the only one to like it).

Half Blanket

Now I am tackling the second half.

If you consider that each squares is made of 62 sts on 76 rows, you can easily understand how long it takes me to knit each row (139 sts included the borders).

I meticulously write down all the rows I knit just because I find counting the knitted rows extremly boring, and it usually leads me to have a different result each time.

I also admit I use the numbers to entertain myself while I knit.

As you can see from the picture I don’t have to pay to much attention to what I am doing. It is a simple stockinette and garter stitch pattern, and really the only precaution I need to take is remembering to twist the yarn in the back when I join two different colours.

In order to prevent myself from falling asleep while knitting (it wouldn’t been the first time) I try to find anything to keep my brain occupied.
I started to write the number of rows using different fonts, in neat coloumns, trying to fit a specific amount of pairs on each line of the paper… and so on.
I felt a strange sense of accomplishment everytime I reached out for my notepad to write the figures down.

The excitement, however, was short lived everytime I stopped and thought about the TOTAL amount of rows I still had to knit.

So I decided to trick myself into thinking about how many rows I needed to knit for each colour block, divide it by two and set that row as a goal to reach. You see, when you get to the half of what you need to do (38 rows in my case), it magically seems less daunting. After I pass row 38 I can see the “light” again, I can now count the rows I have LEFT till I am done with each block.

Working with different colours on each couple of squares helps me a lot too. I try to get excited everytime I start knitting a new colour combination, I anticipate what they will look like and this drags me through the following 14 rows of the black border.

And so on, I repeated almost the same identical process for all those 374 rows which combined gave me my first half of the blanket.

Of course I now feel accomplishment of having completed my first half… and I need to convey this sense of elation into willpower to put myself to work on the remaining half.

I can start counting again, I have only 338 rows to go now…

New Blanket

This week has marked the beginning of a new project.

I really cherish this particular one for two reasons:

1) it will be done to be gifted to a friend’s mom as a birthday present

2) it is an elaboration of one of my original designs.

For Christmas I came up with the idea to create a memory blanket for my sister-in-law. She has always been a cat rescuer / lover / guardian (I love this term, thanks Jackson Galaxy!). During many years she had sixteen cats… so you can imagine that adding them all to the blanket took some time and effort.
Anyway as stubborn as I am I decided to go on and do it! This is the end result

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Recently another friend of mine saw the blanket on my Facebook page and asked me to create a similar one for her mother’s birthday. I was exstatic and I embarked in this new adveture.

I tried to make good use of my previous knowledge and instead of improvising the final layout I decided to carry out a precise measuring of each element. I wanted to make my friend and her mum proud!

After knitting my swatches with the sample of stitches I wanted in the blanket, I used what I think is one of the best invention to Math dummies like me: the knitting calculator!
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Happy as a bunny I then casted on my 180 sts and set to work.

BUT

After working something like 15 rows (for the edge) I realized that since what I was working was just HALF of the width for the final blanket something was definitely not right.

Yes I think you saw this one coming … instead of knitting a single bed blanket I would ended up having something as big as a double bed sized throw.
I think I forgot to mention this work will need to be finished and sent to Italy before half April… there was no way I would have made it in time with that size.

So, disappointed to have also failed the use of the knitting calculator, I decided to frog it and change my plan.

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Recalculating the spaces between the letters and those of the borders I obtained a more sensible gauge.
This is a preview of what I have achieved so far… needless to say I am in love with the colours and this is just half of it! I am using King Cole Pricewise DK.

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So finger crossed, BRING IT ON!