Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gingham Blanket, finished

 

100_0389a

How easily a blanket like this gets started. How cavalier I am about these things. A moment of inspiration--oh, gee, here’s a good idea, I think I’ll make a blanket--a few minutes in the yarn shop, and then…seventy gazillion-million identical stitches later, here it is.

100_0388a

Actually, I figured how how many stitches there really are in this blanket.  Two hundred-forty thousand, two hundred and forty.  It is 104” x 88”. Whew.

100_0380a

I began it on a whim last fall, and it has been my continuous companion ever since, keeping my hands busy while my mind was occupied with other things; while I rode in the car, looking out the window, watching the world go by.  When I just wanted to be knitting something, without having time or patience to peer at a pattern, I worked on it.  When I couldn’t settle on a different project, I worked on it.  When I found a good book I couldn’t put down, I worked on it.  This blanket was there for me.

100_0398a

It was a lesson in patience.  I loved it, and also hated it.  It bored me, but comforted me.  It was meditative and also mind-numbing.  Quieting, stultifying.  It began, after awhile, after the first five or six identical rows of squares, to feel like anti-knitting, like I was knitting in a vacuum, like I was moving my hands and the needles were clicking, but the yarn was not making anything.  It felt like swimming backwards.  Push on, push on.  A marathon of knitting.  It was knitting, boiled down, a concentrate.  The simplest form—garter stitch scarf, no counting, no thought required, no focus necessary, but requiring focus of a different kind, something not like counting, but deeper.  I had to focus on it with my heart. 

100_0377a

Making this blanket made me dig deep.  Now, on the other side, the last end woven in, I really like that.  It feels like I went on a long journey, and am home now. 

100_0385a

If you’re ready for your own knitting vision quest, here are my notes: 

1. To get this gingham effect, you need cream, taupe, and a marled yarn that is a mix of the cream and the taupe.  Happily, Patons Classic Merino comes in these three colors.  I started with eight balls of taupe, eight balls of cream, and sixteen balls of marled taupe/cream, and I ended up with a few extra balls of cream and marled, but had to buy two more balls of taupe. 

2.  You will make long strips—essentially, garter stitch scarves—of blocks of alternating color, and then sew them together.

3.  With taupe yarn and US 6 needles, cast on 30, and work 28 garter ridges, or 56 rows.  Change to the marled yarn and work another 56 rows.  Change back to taupe, work 56 rows.  Continue in this manner until you’ve made 13 squares, ending with taupe.  Break yarn and set it aside.  Make five more just like it. 

4.  With the marled yarn, cast on 30 and work as above.  After 56 rows, change to cream…and so on.  Make five of these. 

5.  You have six long scarves of taupe and marled yarn squares, and five long scarves of marled yarn and cream squares.  Sew them together, alternating strips from each pile.  This takes a lot longer than you think it will.  Get all zen about it.  I whipstiched them together, which results in a nice flat finish, and no obvious “wrong” side to the finished piece.  Because a square of marled yarn is on either one side or the other of the seam, use that yarn to sew the seams—it’s almost invisible. 

6.  When all the strips have been sewn together, add a simple border, as follows:  join cream yarn to the edge, chain one.  Sc two more times in the same space, then skip 2 “spaces” and 3 sc in the next “space”.  Take care to observe a pattern in where you stick in the hook, and if the border appears to pull in, leave more spaces between sc clusters; if it appears to ruffle, leave fewer spaces.  Work one row all the way around, and join with a sl stitch to the first ch 1.  Weave in all your ends. 

100_0393a

Because this project was all about the process, I used a beautiful pair of antique knitting needles and kept the strip-in-progress in a lovely little basket with a handle.  I took it with me everywhere.  It was an agony of bliss.  That’s all I can say. 

74 comments:

  1. Wow Kristen worth the effort! Thanks for sharing your process.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my gosh. This is so beautiful. I gotta have one for myself :))

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am so jealous!!! I adore garter stitch and love love love your blanket Kristen, all the more so because I could never stick with it and complete it. I admire your tenacity and perseverance - it was so worth it.
    best wishes
    Karen
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Kristen, another beautiful blanket and such restful colours. I love it! I knitted a blanket two years ago but did stocking stitch and it's stretched and is now rectangular instead of square. I'm not impressed. Next time I'll do garter stitch. Lots of love xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Emma, thanks very much! I'm not so sure this one won't stretch, too--garter stitch is veeeerrrry stretchy. I'll keep you posted. :)

      Delete
  5. Ah, Kristen. You are now officially my guru. This beautiful. No further words. It will be followed by heaps of copies!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gorgeous blanket! I've only just learnt to crochet - knitting seems a bit beyond me I think :)
    Victoria xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. OH WOW!!!!!!!
    That looks absolutely gorgeous!
    Love Henny x

    ReplyDelete
  8. Elegant, extraordinary...and what a lovely story you've told of your journey with this companion!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It is stunning - what an amazing effect. I bet its lovely and warm too. Well done for keeping going with it. I like to have a project that is meditative. I made four ponchos last year as my first crochet endeavours and because of the going round and round I found it a great stress reliever. Lily. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  10. It was worth the wait and effort:)

    ReplyDelete
  11. It is fabulous! Well worth the time you put into it. Love the edge you put on it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow! It is gorgeous! As is the flowery purse in your previous post. Your work is stunning. Best wishes, Tammy

    ReplyDelete
  13. It looks really really wonderful, thank you for all the technical bumph as well. I think that a blanket like that is a must on my things to do in my 40th year.

    I have some really lovely Shetland wool from a local organic farm that I would quite like to use.

    Once again, well done it looks wonderful.

    Colette

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh my goodness - It is beautiful!!!! I've waited to see this blanket, and it was worth the wait.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Kristen - It is absolutely gorgeous! How wonderful that you'll have this beautiful blanket now forever to enjoy. I really like the gingham pattern :) I'm just starting a knitted square blanket using cotton yarn but the colors will be randomly placed so I'll have to knit each square seperately - I don't plan on making mine as large as yours. These blankets, or variations of them, are popping up all over blogland & pinterest :)
    Smiles, DianeM

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's a beautiful blanket. You did well to stick at it.

    I think it would work well if you used 4ply too, doubled, in only two colours - then mixed one strand of each colour to form the third colour...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that would work, too--in fact, I think Martha's original design worked that way, combining to make a chunkier blanket. Here's her pattern:

      http://www.marthastewart.com/854876/gingham-knit-blanket-how

      Delete
  17. I love how you describe making it, your words are as beautiful as your blanket. Another of your talents and another reason I enjoy your blog so much. I love this blanket, it looks so good and I think the border is perfect for it. It's a really elegant and gorgeous blanket.
    Sara

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh, how proud you should be of this blanket - it is a truly beautiful heirloom. I did chuckle at your description of it being a la-la-la song though. And anti-knitting? Yep, with you there. Funny.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Truly beautiful. I remember when you started it and now here it is, all done. This is one your great grandchildren will look at and marvel that once upon a time people made things by hand and made them beautifully. It's an inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Really beautiful, well done. It was worth every stitch.
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
  21. That looks absolutely gorgeous. I love that bag and pillow:) It added some color:)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Siiiii!!!!! ☺ el trabajo valió la pena esa manta es increíblemente hermosa sus colores tan bien hermanados y se ve mullida que bueno ahora a disfrutarla besitos Sandra.

    ReplyDelete
  23. That is an amazing blanket. You should be busting with pride.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I like it! So cosy and warm...!!!
    Thank you for sharing the pictures, your thoughts and the pattern!!!
    xxx Alessandra

    ReplyDelete
  25. Que linda que ficou sua manta Kristen.
    A combinação de cores é maravilhosa.
    Parabéns.
    Um abraço.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Yeesh, Kristin! And here I was thinking that my baby afgan was an exercise in zen patience...

    (Oh, and it looks sublime!)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Love it, love it, love it - and am inspired to make it and go on the journey too! With winter coming and the hockey season starting it might be a good friend to bring along; and knitting needles and pod casts are a good mix. Thanks again Kristin for your wonderful words and inspirations. You are amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Kristen, this is a bea-U-tiful blanket, and I have enjoyed looking at all the photos and reading your post, and I know that I will never make this blanket, so thank you for making it and sharing the journey!! : -)

    ReplyDelete
  29. It's beautiful and looks so warm and cozy. You did a great job. Kind of makes me want to start one of my own . . . kind of.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Oh my word, that is a beautiful blanket! I love it. The colours are gorgeous.
    Well done for sticking with it!

    ReplyDelete
  31. That blanket is lovely! That gingham effect is really good. It was worth all that hard work definitely! I now have plans to make one like it!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh, I am in love with your throw! It is so beautiful. Thank you so much for the wonderful pattern. I know it was a lot of work, but it is a work of art and so worth the effort. Have a nice week! Twyla

    ReplyDelete
  33. Absolutely stunning! You did such a great job! Thanks for posting your directions, too!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have only one word that seems adequate enough......"WOW"

    ReplyDelete
  35. It turned out beautiful. You are amazing!! I am really glad I have found your blog I love all that you do. Thanks so much for sharing the pattern too. When you had to go and get more of the one color were you able to get the same dye lot?

    ReplyDelete
  36. I am so in love with these colors and would like to make this using the same yarn. Can you tell me where you purchased it and the name of the colors? You said cream, taupe. Is that what the label calls the colors?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amy,

      The colors are actually called "Natural Mix", "Natural Marl" and "Aran". (I'm glad you asked; I should've thought to mention that. You can order it online--here's a link:
      http://www.patonsyarns.com/product.php?P=2&LGC=classicwool

      Good luck! :)

      Delete
    2. Hi Amy,
      You can also watch for sales at Joann's. Not too long ago they had this yarn on sale 1/2 off plus I had a 20% off coupon for total purchase, a great deal!

      Delete
  37. This is so beautiful. The colours are gorgeous.
    Claire

    ReplyDelete
  38. Kristen its gorgeous!
    So much hard work and patience must have gone into it and it looks fantastic - it will look good in any setting too. Well done for keeping going with it.
    I love the crochet scalloped edging too - perfect!(and the only bit I would be able to make being a non-knitter!)
    Wonderful!

    Gill xx

    ReplyDelete
  39. I really admire your stick-to-it-ness. I would have put it in the closet to muffle the sound of it screaming at me to be done with it. It looks beautifully cozy, and your going to love it even more when winter comes back around. The edging is just right, no need for a big flourish at the end, it is a statement blanket. Love your description of the anti-knitting. I could feel your pain/numbness :)
    Lynne

    ReplyDelete
  40. A Vision Quest in yarn.....
    Stunningly beautiful in its zen like stillness!
    A triumph and one not for the faint of heart!!!!
    I bow to the determination this took to finish - crochet is an art of instant
    gratification and one I learned only upon my mother's passing in order to finish what was to be her final piece and one she was 3 days and 7 stitches from finishing... previously and for the better part of my 60 yrs I was a knitter.... as are most of the women in my family so I understand the commitment this was.....
    Brava!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Wow Kristen, stunning blanket!

    Your patience is amazing.
    Fleur xx

    ReplyDelete
  42. I recently found your blog and your work is so lovely! I especially love this blanket. I want to knit one, but will probably make it half the size of yours!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Ohhhhhh Myyyyyyy Gooodnessssss!

    Just found this. Love this. Gonna Tackle This :)

    Thank you for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Wow, this is beautiful! I've wanted to knit a gingham pattern for a long time but couldn't work out how to do it. Thanks sooooooooo much for the notes. It's now on my FPL (future projects list) and I plan to do one in traditional red and white (if I can find the wool)!!! lol x

    ReplyDelete
  45. How great this looks. Inspiring!
    Inneken

    ReplyDelete
  46. Divino y tierno, da una ternura ese tejido!! Felicitaciones da ganas de ponerse ya, a tejer.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I "stumbled" across your blog and saw the blanket. Beautiful in its simplicity and colouring! Yet another project on my list!

    ReplyDelete
  48. This blanket is beautiful! And thank you so much for sharing the pattern!
    G

    ReplyDelete
  49. I am in love with your blanket. The effect is really gorgeous. Thank you so much for the pattern. Have a nice week! Marina

    ReplyDelete
  50. I am in serious catch up mode and have been away from my computer for almost two weeks - aaargh! So it is with absolute delight that I pop over to your beautiful blog and see this amazing blanket!!! It's truly fantastic hon - I love it!!! That is one heck of a big project - you are one very patient woman! Right - I see you have other posts I've missed, I'm off to check them out right now ....

    Have a fab week hon,
    Leah
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  51. I am in love, and as a result have spent the past hour teaching myself to knit so that I can have my very own.

    It's beautiful..!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Wow, this is amazing.
    So much crazy work.
    I can totally feel what you are describing that you felt while knitting this beauty... :)
    Really, it's amazing.
    Fantastic job!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Truly a beautiful blanket! Love knit -as-you-go projects. Buy the yarn as you need it if you're on a budget (or a yarn diet-HA!)

    ReplyDelete
  54. This is a breathtakingly beautiful blanket! The colorless "colors", so peaceful and calming. I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Oh, I am so in love with this. Trying to find suitable UK yarns (as that's where I am) but struggling to find the combination of light, darker and marl of the two.

    May have to buy the Patons from the US...if I can find somewhere that delivers internationally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might consider three shades in a fingering weight and then working with the yarn held double--two strands together of cream, two strands together of taupe, and then one of each for the marl? That would give you the same effect. :)

      Delete
  56. Just come across this, it is a beautiful blanket, it looks lovely and drapey.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Very honest! I appreciate that. For that reason I think I will embark on such a journey. I knit,not well, and have wanted to find a simple blanket to make. I've found it! Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Congratulations -- that truly was a process. I've just learned to knit (starting project 2 at the moment) but I dearly want to make a large blanket or afghan. I believe I have just found the project -- and I truly appreciate your honesty about how long and tedious this could be. But I truly appreciate you giving such great instruction -- heck even I think I can do this.
    It turned out so beautiful. What a lovely heirloom you have to created. Gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I just bought the yarn needed for this lovely blanket. I am anxious to begin this project, can you please explain the abbreviations for the border?
    Thank you,

    Maria

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "sc" just means single crochet. "ch" means chain. :)

      Delete
  60. My daughter saw this blanket while we were searching for a pattern. She fell in love with this one. Thank you for the inspiration! I would LOVE to see your antique knitting needles so we can oooh and aaaah over them. Truly your needlecrafting is utterly drool worthy! I have to go wipe the slobber off my face now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  61. I fell in love the minute I saw this beautiful blanket. Today is the day I will start making it. I plan on attaching a fabric backing to it, so it won't be as stretchy. I am curious tho, how long it did take to knit. From when you started it till you finished it. I plan on taking it with me every where. To my sons basketball practices, while I sit and watch him practice. While I watch TV. I love knitting in bed. I think knitting is one of those mindless things I enjoy doing. Thank you for this beautiful blanket. That I get to copy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd say it took me about eight or nine months altogether? I worked on many other projects at the same time, but this blanket filled in all the little cracks. I hope you enjoy making yours! :)

      Delete