Monday, 2 March 2009

it's been a long, lacy summer

Last October, I joined Bells' informal KAL: Long Lacy Summer.

Although I didn't produce many articles, I did spend most of my summer knitting lace in some form or other.

First there was the Myrtle Leaf Shawl from "Victorian Lace Today". I cast on in October and for the sixth and final time on 3rd January. I finished knitting on 17th January and blocked it on the 20th January. It was then I discovered the Big Bad Hole. I won't bore you, dear readers, with the details, you've already been through it once; but for new readers you can read about the beginning attempts here and here, the story of the dental floss here, the final cast on here, and my tribute poem/song to almost being finished here. The shawl was finished in enough time for DD's wedding; however the weather was so hot that even at midnight she was not cold enough to wear it outside! [And just in case you're new here and missed all the excitement: Yes, The Wedding went well, thanks].

After all the fun and games with Myrtle, I met my next Knitting Knemesis in the form of socks. Well, sock yarn to be more precise. This particular yarn has a habit of pooling in strange ways despite the short colour repeats. But finally, I found a solution: Waving Lace Socks from Favorite Socks.

I knitted the first of the socks while away on R&R after The Wedding. When WM and I returned from our week away, I intended to knit the second sock [no SSS here!] but I received an invitation to our niece/god-daughter's baby shower so I had a new project to knit.

I bought bamboo/wool [80/20] yarn and cast on without doing a swatch. I frogged the first attempt. I was using a pattern called Tumbling Blocks from Knitting Pattern Central's directory of baby blankets. The pattern was designed for thicker yarn on bigger needles. I had to guess [based on the gauge stated in the pattern and on the yarn label] how many stitches I needed. The pattern was for a smaller blanket than I wanted so I had to add 'a little extra' to compensate. My first 'guestimate' [intelligent guess] was 209 stitches. I knitted just 5cm/2inches before I finished the first ball; since I had only ten balls that obviously wasn't going to work. More thinking needed. If I had taken time to do a swatch and block it I would have known exactly what I was dealing with but enthusiasm and a deadline had me pushing ahead!

I did some more calculations based on the smallest size I thought reasonable for a baby blanket and this time cast-on 145 stitches. This seemed to give a blanket about 75cm/30inches wide before blocking so I forged ahead. Bamboo, being a cellulose fibre like cotton, would surely stretch when blocked and give me a slightly bigger size. Once I had knitted enough to gave me the chance to measure it on my needles, it looked like the blanket would be 90cm/36inches before blocking - perfect!

And so it was, dear readers, that I cast off the blanket on Friday night and blocked it before I went to bed; the baby shower was on Saturday afternoon. It blocked to 100cm/40 inches wide and 124cm/50inches long which is a little longer than I would have liked but a good size for a baby's blanket. Plenty to tuck in all around the crib! However, it wasn't dry by Saturday afternoon and I forgot to allow time to sew the ends in [I was in a hurry to block it and decided to leave the ends till after it was blocked] - I went to the Baby Shower with an IOU! :-(

So I present, for you're viewing pleasure, the modified Tumbling Block Baby Blanket. The photos were taken today, two days after the Baby Shower, so perhaps it's just as well I was disorganised! Unfortunately, the gorgeous sheen of the bamboo doesn't show up well in the photographs. The original pattern had a border of blocks and a stocking stitch centre panel but WM thought an allover lace pattern preferable and I have to say I agree with him. Thanks to Ranee Mueller for making the Tilting Blocks pattern available through Knitting Pattern Central [check it out if you haven't been there - literally hundreds of free patterns for adults and children].

And there's still lace on my needles, the second Waving Lace Sock was cast on last night and I'm off to knit it now!


  1. You're a lace champion. Honestly. I think you did amazing stuff.

  2. I love the blanket. I think I'll copy that!

  3. Absolutely beautiful work as always.

    You are an inspiration. Mind you my shawl is still sitting in the scardy chicken box.

  4. Oh Lynne the blanket looks just gorgeous - very lucky baby and baby parents to have such a lovely blanket. I've got some of that yarn too, I thought it would be great for baby knits.

  5. Hi Lynne
    The Blanket is beautiful - I love the tumbling block pattern in all its forms and the single colour is stunning.


  6. You have outdone yourself! It is an heirloom. The sock will be a cinch after this!

  7. It's gorgeous! I love the way it blocked out -- that's one lucky baby :)

  8. The blanket is gorgeous, the modifications are a winner, what a lucky baby

  9. Oh my gosh, that baby blanket is glorious. What an heirloom.


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