Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hemlock Knit Along

I’ve been so excited to listen to all the New Years podcasts. One that particularly caught my ear was Ready, Set, Knit, the podcast from Webs owner, Kathy Elkins. She and Pixie, the knitting instructor that conducts all her Knit Alongs, are planning to knit the Hemlock Ring Blanket. Their encouragement has inspired me to look at the different finished Hemlocks on Ravelry. To my surprise there is over 500 finished blankets on Ravelry. Apparently, this pattern is very popular.

At first glance, I didn’t like it because of the feather & fan stitch. I tried to knit a fan scarf once and had to keep ripping it out because I forgot a yarn over or something else. It was so frustrating. I have since learned how to create a yarn over from a previous row, which should make things easier if I find a mistake after the fact.

Looking at all the variety of yarns and the fact that it could be a lap blanket, inspired me to try to make one for my Godmother who has Alzheimer’s in San Diego. This would be a perfect use of my large stash of Acrylic. Acrylic is washable, and would make it easier to launder. I’m not sure it would need constant reblocking. I’m hoping that if I choose a not so stretchy Acrylic, it might at least lay flatter and not need to be reblocked everytime it’s washed. Well, acrylic is a inexpensive experimental yarn. It it comes out good and I’m not too bored with it, I might make another in a better yarn.

I could also substitute this blanket for a table cloth or a coffee table doily if things don’t work out. I chose a Beige Cream colored Walmart Mainstays Worsted Yarn, which in now discontinued. I have lots of this. I estimate it might take 2 or more 8 oz skeins to finish it.

So I cast on with 10.5 double pointed needles. I later switched to bamboo circulars and then in row 31 I changed to a longer Size 11 circular needled. I did make a few mistakes because I didn’t compensate for my particular style of knitting by switching the k2 tog to SSK. Nevertheless, it is hardly noticeable unless you really look hard.

Here’s my progress…..

I’m such a bad girl. I am supposed to be frogging and finishing my UFO’s, but I just couldn’t help myself. I have a need to be in a community project such as a KAL. I just got a head start, that’s all. Why kill my motivation by waiting for it to start? I feel like getting started now, since I have the yarn. I see this as slowly reducing my stash. Yea!

I am slowly trying to finish my Branching out scarf. It will be so nice when finished but it takes all my concentration to knit this lace pattern. I wanted something else I could memorize and knit mindlessly and I hope this Hemlock Ring will do it.

The more I see this pattern, the more I am liking it. It looks complicated, but with the big yarn and needles it doesn’t seem so intimidating. This one will be in one color, but perhaps in the next one, I’ll try changing different colors in wide bands. I used to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE crocheting doilies, until my wrist started hurting. In fact, crocheting a lace table cloth as a wedding present just about did me in. That is why I switched to knitting. It didn’t cause my wrist to move as much.

I'm in Love with knitting Fuzzy Feet. Here are the ones I made for my sister-in-law with the hand dyed wool in baby blue. I also tried making some for my 17 mo grandaughter. I cast on 30 instead of 44 for adults hoping to make them much smaller. I think they still turned out a little big. Next time I'll try casting on perhaps 24 stitches to see if they result in a smaller fit. Stay tuned.....

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