Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dream Catcher Blanket

This is also posted over at The Terrible Knitters of Kent, which is a new knitting blog started by gals in my knitting group.

When my sister told me that she had gotten a positive pregnancy test my first thought was "Woohoo, I'm gonna be an aunt!!!" My second thought was "What am I going to knit?"

Once she found out the baby was a girl, I set out to find the perfect project for sweet Lily. I was determined to be realistic about the amount of time I had available for a project...I did have two girls under two to attend to. But then I saw the Dream Catcher blanket pattern by Susan Anderson on Ravelry and my ideals of simple were tossed aside for time consuming yet adorable.

Well if I couldn't achieve realistic, I figured that I could at least make the project affordable. So I ordered some Knit Picks Swish (worsted superwash merino wool) in darker jeweled tones. When the box arrived, I opened it full of anticipation...but then disappointment consumed me. The colors were darker and more muted than I expected. Too make matters worse, I had just seen a picture of the Pottery Barn Brooke bedding Jaime had chosen. Comparing such beautiful spring colors to the dreary tones in the box just depressed me. I decided right then to screw affordable; so I loaded Hayden up in the car and headed to the local yarn shop.

At the yarn store I found exactly the yarn called for in the pattern, Spud and Chloe Sweater (superwash wool/cotton blend) and fell in love. Seeking to match Jaime's bedding choice, I picked the watermelon, splash, grass, pollen and firefly colorways...two skeins as the one skein called for in the pattern seemed completely inadequate (which turned out to be correct as about 1.5 skeins of each color was required).

Infatuated with my yarn selection, I headed home where I discovered that my choices exactly matched what was called for in the pattern. Hmmmm...that isn't exactly creative. So I decided to spice my pattern up by coming up with an arrangement that incorporated all seven different squares in all of the different colors rather than just making each pattern in one color. Plus I decide to stretch myself with a crochet border. Oh yeah. I really know how to live life on the edge.

I found that the one advantage of the project is that squares are portable. I worked on them during a couple road trips we had for weddings. I worked on them during a break in the middle of a motorcycle trip. I even managed to get a little done in my vanpool as the van tends to be emptier during the summer time (other riders don't want my elbows in their sides). Don't get me wrong...25 squares do seem to take forever. And I wasn't very happy when, four squares in, I lost my outline of how all these squares were supposed to come together and had to figure it out again from scratch. I also wasn't too thrilled to have to re-do my first blackberry square (the most difficult but prettiest pattern) when I realized that casting on the 32 stitches called for made it too big because of all the increases involved (28 worked for me). But somehow by the end of August, I managed to achieve this:


After washing and blocking, the fun part began: seaming. Oh God, I thought it was never going to end. Each night after girls were in bed I'd sit down at the dining room table and stitched squares together. It was tedious and not at all conducive to any sort of fun activity like T.V. watching due to how the table and television are positioned.

The only thing I could find to break up the monotony was contemplating all of the border possibilities. I had bought this book of crocheted borders, and although it looks like something straight from 1985 it is really quite good and very comprehensive. Each border includes a schematic sketch, which I found incredibly helpful as I am primarily a knitter. Crochet stitches aren't complicated, but I find interpreting the patterns to be completely frustrating.

And finally the blanket was stitched together. And a weekend later the border was done. And by the day before the baby shower it was done blocking. Ahhh...sweet success.

Probably the best part of all was the smile on my sister's face when she opened her present. I can't wait for Lily to arrive (soon, I hope!) and try her new blanket out.


BigP's Heather said...

Beautiful!!! I wish I knew how to knit. I'm a crocheter...and not super great at that. I'm still working on my first thing I ever started on for myself. I keeps getting put aside for other projects. I love the look of knit.

nancy said...

Wow. That's a really beautiful blanket. I'm quite impressed by your craftiness! I wish I could knit/crochet. I would love to be able to make something like that for my own children.

Jaime said...

I do indeed love it!! I just packed it in the hospital bag for Lily last night! The fact that so much love went into making it makes it just that much better too :)

Kelly said...

Oh my gosh!! It's gorgeous!! I'm still working on scarves. I may have to come out to the west coast and take some lessons;)

Can you even imagine J + M?? Yikes!! Talk about trouble!

Onica said...

It's so cute! I too love those modular knit projects. But the seaming... oh the seaming. A lot of the time I end up cheating and just crochet them all together. :)

emicat said...

What a beautiful blanket! I LOVE the edging you used - so cute!

Amanda said...

It's absolutely beautiful!!!

Julie, Todd, Kate and Miles said...

that blanket is spectacular! nice work! i'm impressed how you managed to get it all done too! it really is lovely.

Jamie said...

Well, it might not have ended up being easy on time or as low cost as you might have intended but it is BEAUTIFUL. It will be treasured for many, many years by your new little niece.