Sunday, March 17, 2013

Keeping Hubby Happy & Warm

We've made it through our first winter in our new house and the one thing we've learned:  our new house is COLD.  My husband complains almost constantly and keeps raising the thermostat (neither of which really helps).  So when I was between knitting projects in February, it dawned on me that I should knit hubby a lap blanket/afghan to keep him warm and happy :)

So I struck a deal with him:  I would knit him a blanket if he let me choose the design and colors.  I knew I wanted a pattern that was simple and modern.  I came across this Walt Painted blanket pattern by Danielle Romanetti that I really liked and went about expanding the baby pattern to be husband-sized.  However, after doing some test knitting, I realized the purl front & back that she uses in her pattern was going to be a nightmare when I enlarged the pattern.  So instead, I used the basic pattern from Zig Zag Pram Blanket by Debbie Orr and made some changes to include garter stitch chevrons.  Since these are free patterns, I feel okay explaining how I incorporated both into my blanket.

First, since I knew my husband wasn't going to treat this blanket with any particular care, I decided to use inexpensive acrylic yarn from my local craft store.  I'm only about halfway through knitting my blanket, but I plan for the finished size to be about 42" wide by 60" to 64" long.  Since I'm still working on it, the yarn amounts below are estimates:

My materials 

3 skeins ( maybe more) of Caron Simply Soft in Gray Heather (main color - MC)
2 skeins of Caron Simply Soft in Country Blue
2 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver in Tea Leaf (green)
1 skein (maybe 2) of Caron Eco Ways in an off-white

So, first was to adjust the chevron garter stitch from the Walt Painted Baby Blanket.  Here's what I came up with:

Garter St Chevron
R1 (RS) :  K5, * kf&b, k5, sl1 knitwise, k2tog, psso, k5, kf&b, repeat from * to * until last 5 sts, k5.
R2 (WS):  Knit

Stocking St Chevron (worked only in main color)

R1 (RS):  K5, * kf&b, k5, sl1 knitwise, k2tog, psso, k5, kf&b, repeat from * to * until last 5 sts, k5.
R2 (WS):  K5, purl to last 5 sts, k5.

For my blanket:

With MC, cast on 220 sts with #7 needle (this creates a 5 st border on my blanket).

Worked 5 repeats of Garter St Chevron (10 rows total).  Then worked 6 repeats of St St Chevron (12 rows total).

*Changed to Country Blue and knitted Garter St Chevron for a total of 20 rows.  Then I changed back to the gray (MC) and knitted in St St Chevron for 6 rows.*

I repeated from * to* two more times for a total of three blue stripes.  Then I did the same pattern repeats to create:

3 green stripes
3 off-white stripes
3 more green stripes
3 blue stripes
(total of 15 colored stripes in all)

After finishing my last blue stripe, I'm going to switch back to gray (MC) and work 12 rows (6 repeats) in the St St Chevron and finish with 9 rows of the Garter St Chevron (end on right side).  I'll bind off loosely on the WS to finish my blanket.

As I said, I'm not done yet, but I like how it's coming out.  A hearty thanks to the two designers for coming up with such great patterns!  I'll post more photos when it's finished :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ode to Spring (and a new knitting pattern)

I've been talking about Spring for a while now and I know it's not here yet.  But we are about to change our clocks, and it is getting lighter every day.  So I've been celebrating Spring with some new projects, hoping this will encourage the sunshine and warm weather.

First up is my latest knitting pattern - the Loopy Loop Necklace.  (You can click on this link to get the pattern on Hubpages)  This pattern is inspired by some of the bold statement jewelry I've seen in stores for Spring.  The design uses a basic i-cord to make the pendant (a video tutorial is posted with the pattern).  Then I added some bright colors with a simple wrap embroidery stitch.  I love how it came out!

And to welcome Spring when it finally arrives, I've made a new wreath for our door.   This Scrap Fabric Wreath is easy to make using strips of fabric, a wire wreath form, and the decorations of your choice.  The best part is that you can make a wreath for any holiday or season just with the fabric you choose.  I wanted a Spring decoration, so I chose sunny yellow and bright pink, but you could make a wreath that is more rustic by using plaids and denim, or that celebrates your school by using the school colors.  The options are endless :)

I hope these projects help you prepare for Spring's arrival!!