Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Round and Round She Goes

I'm knitting another pinwheel blanket. I just love the way these things look. Babies-- ROUND. Baby Blankets-- MYSTERIOUSLY RECTANGULAR. There is not much difference between a Pi Shawl and a Pinwheel. They are both more based on guidelines than rules. Very good for knitters who like to improvise, who don't like to follow patterns or who can't read patterns.

Last year I made a pinwheel in Knit Picks Swish Bulky, about 650 grams of yarn total. There were stripes of increasing widths alternating in melon and cypress green. I had 12 evenly spaced increase stitches (yarn-overs) in the even rows. I bound it off with an applied i-cord. That bind off about killed me. It took several hours only to end with a kitchener stitch.* Pinwheel 2009 was a bit ripply when done, but blocked out as flat as central Nebraska. The yarn did shed a lot in the first wash. The only pictures of it are on someone else's facebook page, because I'm a tool. I may bogart one for flickr. I am curious how the blanket has endured baby's first year and have sent an email for more info.

I am making the Pinwheel 2010 of Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn, which is worsted weight, using about 22 ounces of yarn. I chose the Autumn Stripes colorway, because it goes with Baby T's crib set. It is hard to find a machine washable striping colorway in heavier yarn. I just cannot face the number of stitches a sock-weight blanket would require. No. Way. I started with 8 evenly spaced increases (also yarn-overs), right before some white stitch markers, in the even rows. On the non-increasing rows, I knitted the yarn-overs to twist them. (For me, this is through the front leg, for conventional knitters it would be through the backleg). This creates a nice ridge for the increases without as much of a hole as a yarn-over knitted in the usual way. Then after 24 increase rows, I added 4 more but on the odd rows, between every other pair of white markers, these marked with green. After 18 of those increase rows, I added 4 more between the unsplit pairs of white markers, these marked with blue markers. So now there are 8 increases in each row. I thought this would help flatten the blanket. Since it is acrylic, I don't want to have to steam block. (Bawk! Bawk!)I may modify the modifications next time. I would keep all the increases on the even rows so that I could sail through the odd rows. I would go from 8 increases to 12 increases sooner so that my move to 16 was a little more balanced. However, my big modification for next time is that I am going to make a super long i-cord and then pick up and knit in an inward spiral. I have an aversion to eternal bind-offs.

However, I have another entire skein of yarn to go on this blanket before I dive into another blanket. The baby is due in 6 weeks and I think if I keep on with a round a night, I shall be ok. Granted, a round on this thing is now almost an hour long process. I will NOT be doing another i-cord bind off. Probably a crochet bind off. I am deeply irritated by the fact that in 4 skeins thus far I have found FIVE KNOTS. That is some poor QA at the Hobby Lobby Factory.

*You know how many good tutorials there are for left handed kitchener? Not many. Most of the tutorials start out with my most hated phrase in ALL OF KNITTING. "Since Knitting is Two Handed, Left Handed Knitters Should Consider Learning to Knit Right Handed." One day, when I've had too much to drink, I will really go to town on my hatred of that mentality and all the teachers and designers who say that. Bitches. The lot of them!

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