WIP Update aka Life with Cats

My progress on the Lullaby Blanket is going along gangbusters. I am about ten inches short of finishing the crib-sized version. (Though I am considering adding a bit more to make it more of a throw. Which will depend upon how much of the mustard-coloured yarn I can eke out for another repeat without having to buy more.)

Anyway, I was partway through the second repeat of colours when my cat decided to jump onto my lap–and onto the blanket. He got his claws caught up in the edge and pulled one of the stitches. Which distorted everything.

photo of the Lullaby blanket with one stitch in white thread pulled out several inches with two  ply pulled even more
where Turtle pulled on a thread and split the ply

Normally I would just stretch it and pull the threads back into place, but he managed to pull two of the four ply of one strand. I used a crochet hook and tried to resettle the affected stitches but that section of the pulled two ply–well, it’s really difficult to get them all back into place now. I’ve pulled the excess thread through to the back but there’s still a inch loop hanging that I can’t get settled. I’m hoping that washing and blocking it will help it flatten. Or I may end up having to use my felting needles and try to felt the pulled threads into place on the back. Because I am unprepared to pull out ten inches of knitting (and three colours of stripes) to fix that one spot.

Then today the sun was streaming into our family room so I decided to take a photo of it laid out on the ottoman in the sun. The cat immediately seized the opportunity, jumped up onto the ottoman and laid out and has gone to sleep on it. Considering what happened last time I’m not about to try to move him again. So for the moment my WIP is receiving the seal of approval from a very content cat.

when your WIP is hijacked by the cat

WIP Update: Lullaby Blanket

Yesterday I wrote that I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue knitting the blanket or unravel it all. I decided to push on for one more segment to see what I thought and to my surprise during that new colourway something clicked and I fell in love with this project. It knits up fast and I’ve already added a third colour stripe. I’m loving the colour choices I’ve made, as well as the pattern. Enough that I would definitely use this pattern to make a throw sized blanket in the future.

photo of my Lullaby Blanket  work in progress -- four rows of purple with white contrasting colour, four rows of mustard stripes, and one row of forest green yarn

However if/when I make this again, I would make one change in the pattern because of a personal preference — I would add two stitches to the width, one stitch on either end. Why only two stitches? Because this pattern calls for a two stitch garter edge without slipping the first stitch which leaves the edges bumpy. I’m one of those people who want smooth edges so I prefer to slip the first stitch. But if I slip the first stitch with this pattern that cuts out the tiny garter edging and the edges would curl. Hence why I would add one stitch to slip on either end of each row. But that’s a personal preference and not a reflection on the designer’s choices.

photo of the edge of my Lullaby  Blanket
the edge of my Lullaby Blanket

I also surprised myself because I’m really like my colour choices. So far I’ve used a lovely deep purple (my DIL’s favourite colour), followed by a mustard yellow. I’m currently knitting with a “forest green” which is a muted green similar to the deep sage I used to knit the flax sweater last week. As horrible as you’d think those colours would go together, they do! Next up is an “autumn red” which is a lovely deep red without being too bright, followed by a royal blue. Maybe. I’m undecided about the blue at this point in time. Depending upon how long the blanket is by that stage I may just reverse the order of the colours. I’ll keep you updated.

Cast-On: Lullaby Blanket

Because I have another grandchild about to arrive within the next month, I decided to make a few more items to welcome them. After much deliberation I settled upon Tin Can Knit’s new Lullaby Blanket. Here’s the Rav link. It’s similar in design to a lot of other baby blankets with its wavy stripes, though they’re not quite as curved as the Chevron blanket.

My first task was to decide upon what yarn to use and what colourway. Confession here, I do not believe it is kind to the new parents to give them anything for a baby that has to be handwashed. Babies spit up, they throw up, they pee (and boys’ pee stream can really carry!) and worse they have major diaper blow outs. So everything that touches that baby will quickly end up soiled. Those babies’ parents are going to have too much on their plates to have to face hand washing your precious hand-made blanket. If someone had given me something like that, it would have been quickly given away or tucked somewhere it would never be used. Ever. Which is a waste too. So…I will always use yarns that can be tossed in a washing machine and dryer. Especially for any of my grandchildren as I don’t want to put any extra work on my son & DIL. What does all that mean for this blanket? Because we’re still in a major Covid lockdown and the stores are closed to in-store shopping, I delved into my stash. (I really don’t like buying yarn without being able to touch it first.) Plus having to buy online meant a delay for delivery and considering how slow deliveries are these days I didn’t want to waste any more time. So I grabbed some acrylic yarns–Caron’s Simply Soft and Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids for this particular design.

I’ll also confess I am horrible at choosing colours that blend. But for this, I was also limited by what yarns I had on hand, which were mainly jewel colours. Which suits me fine and I don’t subscribe to the idea that baby items need to be in soft pastels. So I’m using a purple, mustard, sage green, royal blue and a claret red. (not necessarily in that order) with a white contrasting stripe. I debated between using a grey or tan yarn as the contrasting stripe but figured a grey just might make it look as it was dirty even when it was clean, and tan just didn’t work for me. I also decided to do three stripes in each colour at a time, rather than do a single strip of each colour and then repeat the colours in order.

Once I decided upon colours, I had to decide what size to make. After getting a sneak peek at the new baby’s room yesterday, and seeing the other stroller-sized blankets I’d made for the twins laid out in the crib awaiting the new arrival, I decided to make a crib sized blanket this time.

The pattern is simple and very easy to memorize, which makes me like it more. There are no holes for little fingers or toes to get caught in, which is a big plus for a baby design.

Someone else on Rav noted they’d made it then frogged it because they didn’t like how the reverse side looked. I’d never thought of that before so I have included a photo of the back of what I’ve done to give you an idea.

the reverse side of my Lullaby Blanket

Even with the purl dashlines, I don’t mind how it looks on the reverse side (one day I’ll learn that method of avoiding those, but it’ll do for this,) What does concern me is the appearance on the edge of the blanket where the contrasting colour travels up the side. The designer recommends carrying the threads up the side rather than cutting it and weaving it in each row. As someone who doesn’t like burying threads, I went with her recommendation. However, since I’m using jewel colours–and initially a lovely deep purple–the white contrasting thread really stands out and it’s jarring. Which bothers me. I have no issues carrying the main colour up the side, but that contrasting colour being carried up the side doesn’t work for me. I feel like I’d need to crochet an edge over it to cover it, or maybe add a satin blanket edging, but that would have to be done either on both sides or all around. As my youngest son loved blankets with their “silkies” as he called them, I do like the satin edge idea, though I’m not sure how well sewing one onto knitted fabric would work.)

Anyway, I am currently considering unravelling back to the first strip of contrasting colour and snipping the thread at the end. Though it will mean I’ll have a lot of burying of threads at the end. And to be honest, if I have to frog back to the first contrasting colour stripe, I’m not sure I wouldn’t just frog the whole thing because I’m really not in love with my efforts so far. I think it’s my choice of colours that is throwing me off. I think if you had a really nice speckled yarn like the designer used in her photos it would look lovely. But I don’t have speckled yarns and I don’t have enough washable thinner yarns to create my own marled look by holding two threads together. So now I’m faced with a decision as to whether to continue or scrap the whole thing.

Cast-off: Flax Sweater

Exactly one week after I cast on this sweater, I finished it! Technically I could have finished it even quicker but I started the ribbing on the final sleeve and realized it was 10 pm and thought, “maybe I should put it down before I bind off because I have screwed up too many designs at this time of night.” So this morning I picked it back up, made sure I hadn’t made any mistakes, especially re length by measuring it against its other sleeve and finished it. Okay, so it’s a toddler size and in worsted weight which means it works up quicker than an adult-sized garment.

photo of a dark sage green flax sweater pinned to foam boards

It’s a really easy pattern to make — top down, with raglan sleeves that have a garter-style pattern for the outside part of the sleeve which creates an interesting texture. I normally work with a circular needle using the magic loop method, especially for the sleeves. But for some reason the magic loop method on the sleeves irritated me no end. Enough that I ordered some DPNs specifically for this project. Which created another delay of a day as I searched where I could find them and how long delivery would be or if one of my LYS had some on hand for curbside pickup–we’re on strict lockdown still. Surprisingly it was difficult to find DPNs in US 5/8 mm size. Most of the places I checked were either out of stock or didn’t even offer that size as an option. Luckily my nearest LYS had some Chiagoo bamboo DPNs available. They’re only 6 inches where I’d normally prefer a 7 or 8 inch length but they worked well enough for this project.

And because I had swatched beforehand and tried out some duplicate stitching on the swatch, it left me a tad short on yarn and I had to start a second skein halfway down the final sleeve. (Yes, I could have unwound the swatch but I’d like to keep it so I can refer to it later, both for gauge and for my duplicate stitch lessons. And looking at it now, I probably would have still had to break out a second skein anyway.

Now I have to make a second one (because twins!) but it’s nice to know it’ll only take around a week to finish.

Pattern: Flax Sweater Rav link

Designer: Tin Can Knits

Yarn: Caron’s Simply Soft

Colourway: Dark Sage

Needles used: US 8 / 5 mm for body and sleeves, US 6 / 4 mm for ribbing

Size made: 2T