Monday 6 October 2008

FO: Hemlock Ring Memory Blanket

I know I posted photos of the Hemlock Ring Blanket blocking a few days ago, and lots of people said lots of lovely things, but there were questions about how what the specifics were with regard to modifications. 

Now that it's off the floor and ready for use, I thought it was only right to do a proper write up.

It all came together so well. I had never thought really of doing this pattern - not sure why. I think I thought it was too hard to bother with, though I admired it. Where I got that notion from, I don't know, since I've done harder stuff and I'm not afraid of blanket weight lace. 

A few weeks ago, at lunch one day with Quilting Mick and Bec, all that changed. Bec said she was working on a version of her own and it was so fast and so easy. A lightbulb flicked on for me, and I knew it was the blanket I had to make.

As I've said previously, during my brief pregnancy, I was planning blankets but hadn't yet cast on. I wanted to wait until we were more certain things were safe. Sadly, we weren't safe at all and in the blink of an eye, all my baby knitting plans came to an abrupt halt. The blanket was a big plan and to have that taken away was devastating, in amongst everything else.

And so on the recommendation of someone who had been through this same painful situation, I started a memory blanket, something tangible to remember our lost little one by.

Pattern: It's BrooklynTweed's pattern, but thanks to Jejune, I used instead the corrected pattern by The Rainey Sisters.

Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills Rustic in 12ply. Colour: Sandstone. 600g (3 balls). Just. I very nearly ran out.

Needles: Knitpicks Options 7mm (10 3/4). This is a big deal for me. I'm a fine gauge girl at heart. Chunky needles and chunky yarn is outside my comfort zone, but I settled in very happily.

Time: Started Wednesday 24 September. Finished Wednesday 1 October. Pretty much everyone gets through this quickly. I attribute my speed to being on holidays, away from home, and needing in my sadness something all consuming to focus on.

Modifications: None, strictly speaking. But I did do a magic loop cast on instead of Emily Ocker's cast on as recommended. I also knit one repeat beyond the 63rd row (as indicated on the chart by a gold line), taking it finally to 536 stitches. It's made it a really nice size. Not too large, not too small.  

I also chose to do the crochet cast off, instead of the knitted cast off which many seemed to suggest on Ravelry was a time and yarn suck of extreme proportions. I cast off, did one round of Single Crochet and then one round of the loops, each of which is 7 chains, with 3 single crochet between. That's a double crochet, if you're American. Single for everyone else.

The middle is my favourite part. It wasn't hard and it wasn't until I'd finished that bit that I realised what I'd been doing. I'd worried the flower was difficult but I stopped, looked and realised I'd done it. Easy peasy.

Also, the feather and fan part is good TV knitting. I'm not usually keen on feather and fan but this sucked me in. 

One evening while on holiday, Sean did about half a row of this blanket. It seemed like a nice way to include him in the significance of it. I gave it to him on one of the plain rounds and away he went. He was worried you'd be able to see which bit was his, but you can't. I was so proud! 

Come next winter, this will be so lovely and warm. In the meantime, I like it decorating the back of a chair, where I can see it, and remember.