Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mouse blanket, a most satisfying project

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I’ve been wanting this blanket for such a long time.  Plain and simple, and mostly the same color as the dog.  Thinking practical, you know.  Though if pressed, I would describe this color as Field Mouse.  I end up with a lot of things that are the color of mice, and I guess I have to admit that “mouse” may make up the basis for my personal palette.  At least that’s what the evidence would suggest. 

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It began with a bargain at the Fiber Festival last fall, when I found nine skeins of Merisoft Space Dyed (color SPD 321) at an unbelievable discount—because otherwise, there’s no way—and after I had staggered to the car with yarn piled up to my chin, I started dreaming of the blanket I could make, with a simple cable and big needles for drape.  I am a little bit lazy, so the fact that the yarn was in skeins and needed winding meant that I let it sit around for four months.  Honestly, I will choose a project almost completely based upon which yarn is already wound and ready to use.  I am not kidding.  I am trying to change. 

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I guess you know I like to be cozy. 

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I notice lately that everything I’m working on is kind of basic and plain and comforting, and that anything requiring a pattern or a hassle or the making of more than two decisions starts driving me bonkers and gets unraveled.  I spent four minutes planning this blanket, ended up asking the doctor to do the math for me (“I have nine skeins of 197 yards each.  I want to use all of it.  I don’t want a long skinny rectangle.  How many stitches should I cast on?”) to which problem I assume he applied some kind of complicated algorithm—how should I know?— while I looked at Pinterest on my phone.  Eventually, he said, “168”. 

So I wound all the yarn, ugh.  I hate doing that, and I don’t know why.  I have a nice winder and swift, so I don’t know what the big deal is.  Probably impatience.  Anyway, I cast on 168 (a multiple of 16 + 8) on a US 10 circular needle and worked K8, P8 across, ending with K8.  After eight rows, I worked a row of CF4 cables on the four stitches in the middle of the eight stitch knit columns.  Because cabling four stitches is easier than cabling eight.  Seriously, that’s the reason.  Well, and also I thought a CF8 would pull in more, affecting the drape.  I repeated the cable row every sixteen rows until the yarn was almost gone, ending on a row 8 again, then bound off.  I wet-blocked it on the rug overnight, and then, this morning, I wove in the two ends.  Two.  Friends, that is what you call a satisfying project.

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I’m going now to crawl underneath it to knit another extremely simple something and read Graham Nash’s new book.  I will get a crush on him.  I guarantee it. 

35 comments:

  1. Gorgeous! And we're heading into another cold snap, so you'll be psyched!

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  2. I wish that I understood the math, and I wish that I understood what you were talking about with the knitting terms. What I do understand though is that it looks like a very nice blanket and just the sort of thing for snuggling under! Hope that you love it. xx

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  3. While intricate knits are inspiring, the basic, comforting ones are usually the most used and loved around here :) That blanket is anything but basic though, I'd love to wrap up in it!

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  4. A most beautiful cozy blanket, and such a great color. I hear ya on the winding thing.

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  5. it's so so pretty kristen. a perfect soft color, i love it. enjoy your cozyness!

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  6. I love this I have no idea how to knit or even what the heck the stitches mean But the realness of this sucks you in. The beautiful picture of the blanket also helps thank you.

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  7. Wow ... It's amazing to me how quickly you knit ... Sometimes I think about your hands running so quickly through a project that you just start ... And it's done ... You are just amazing... Enjoy ever second of this winter with your cozy, beautiful blanket. ( I secretly have to say I have 3 blankets, 1 big huge cowl and a sweater to finish amongst many other projects I start ... Too many ideas and not so much time . Someday they will all be done and I will also enjoy their coziness.
    I like always am a fun of your work...and this blanket is one more opportunity to say how much I enjoy visiting you and seeing what you have been doing with your "cozy things". Have a great week !

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  8. It's absolutely beautiful - beautiful colour, beautiful pattern, beautifully done. And exactly my kind of knitting. Complicated patterns tend to enrage me when I knit, which tends to be late in the evening when I am tired and have no patience left. I love that you have someone to do the maths bit for you as well!

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  9. A perfect example of why I need to learn how to knit. It's beautiful, Kristen.

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  10. This looks so beautiful and cosy. Perfect!

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  11. That's lovely! I've been wondering lately if you can 'straight' knit on circular needles so as to accommodate a lot of stitches and from reading this I'm guessing you can, but what do you do when you get to the end of a row to turn the knitting - I imagine myself getting caught up in the whole thing and ending up with my head or an arm sticking out in the middle of the blanket!

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    1. Yes, you most definitely can knit back and forth on a circular needle--all you do when you get to the end is turn it around and start going back the other way. You'd totally see how it works when you got there. :)

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    2. Ah, thank you so much - you've inspired me, I'm going to give it a go, despite my fears of getting tangled up!

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  12. I'm a fan of the field mouse color.....and it's big, warm and squishy...all that matters! But it is also pretty!

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  13. You've made me smile with the concept of yarn yardage mathematics. Sometime I can easily do such calculating, and sometimes, the mood to do so escapes me, and I just cast on and see what happens.

    Your blanket is so lovely, just enough details, and just enough calm. The yarns suits your design so well!

    I try to keep several knit projects on the go simultaneously. One that requires concentration and one that lets my mind wander while moving along row by row.

    xo

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  14. Looks lovely and warm - and nothing wrong with "mouse" as a colour palette. When not on an actual mouse, those colours are very soothing. :)

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  15. Looks so snuggley & squishy, and the mouse color is soft & lovely. Thanks for the 'Wild Tales' info. I love Graham Nash! And how/why Joni Mitchell ended their relationship is a mystery -- silly woman ^v^.
    Blessings,
    G

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  16. Lovely! Cozy and warm. "Mouse" is one of my favorite colors and I have to push myself to add color to my repertoire!

    Laura from beautiful West Michigan

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  17. Oh it looks soo cozy!! Great job .-)
    Greetings, Nata

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  18. The blanket looks so cozy and warm. I love the color. My husband has an old gray sweater he calls "Gray Mouse" so I totally know where you're coming from. I would love to read that book. My father loves Graham Nash, in any incarnation. I knew all the words to "Bus Stop" by the time I was about eight.

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  19. That looks lovely and cosy!! Ok, now I'm going to ask what may be a stupid question... how come there were only two ends to weave in, when this used 9 skeins of yarn? What happened to the other ends? Is there a clever way of joining the balls to each other?! (Maybe I'm being a simpleton!)
    Maria x

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    1. Not a stupid question at all--I felt joined them. To do that, you simply fray the two ends--the end of the first ball and the beginning of the second--a little, lay them across one another, add a little spit, er, water, and roll the join together in your hands like you're making a clay snake until it's felted and secure. Then you just keep on knitting. If I were to unravel this blanket, it would be one continuous length, and a ball of yarn the size of a basketball. It only works with wool. :)

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  20. I love it...I am with you lately I don't seem to want to do any knitting that requires a lot of thought. Maybe it's because I am wanting spring.

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  21. This blanket it gorgeous!! So snuggly looking. I keep joking with my daughter that her best colour to wear is grey (maybe not "mouse" but snow cloud grey ... somewhat silvery). I just love grey and just finished a lovely cable hat for her in grey. I like the subtle cables you made in the blanket, just enough to add some interest, but not take away from the simplicity of the whole thing. Nice shot of the handknit socks peeking out from the blanket ;) Wendy x

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  22. It's beautiful, Kristen. Does it curl at the edges? :-)

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  23. I really like seeing your work and adore that the textures really come through in your photos! Your posts always make me feel warm and soft! Thanks for posting!

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  24. I love this. LOVE it. It is simply perfect.

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  25. This is so peaceful, comfy looking. Beautiful. But how is your Amazing seed stitch wrap going? It´s kind of itching me, i think i need to start my own amazing seed stitch wrap of amazing soft alpaca wool yarn.

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    1. I admit, that wrap has kind of fallen out of my favor at the moment. So. Much. Laceweight! Still, the finished result in my imagination is worth the slog. :)

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  26. Very nice, Kristen! Thanks for sharing.

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  27. Great post. Its very beautiful and nice color blanket. Thanks for your nice post.

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  28. it's lovely. how big is it?

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