His Majesty’s Blanket is nearing completion, part one

His Majesty's Blanket nearing completion
His Majesty's Blanket nearing completion

It’s time for an update of how the blanket is doing. As you can see, it’s doing fine.

Since my last post about it, it has been inspected by the soon-to-be-mother, and she loves it.Phew.

Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot to say about it … the yarn still knits lovely, although I’m somewhat worried by the comments I’ve seen on Ravelry.

Sirdar Snuggly BabyBamboo
Sirdar Snuggly BabyBamboo

I’m using Sirdar Snuggly BabyBamboo, which is really soft to the touch and has a lovely shine to it. Reviews indicate it doesn’t wash so well, however – does anybody out there have any experience with it? At least I’d love to be able to warn my friend if it can’t go in the washing machine (which seems to be the general gist of what I’m reading).

Despite those worries, the detail is coming out nicely on the blanket, and I’m now wrecking my head about an edging. Since it has got a rather wide garter stitch, stockinette based lace seems out of the question. So it should be either an applied icord, methinks, or maybe some garter-based edging – which I’ve not seen a lot of, and I’d love to get some pointers to your favourite edgings!

His Majesty's Blanket - Close up
His Majesty's Blanket - Close up

Progress

I’m halfway through the shawl, which means this is going much faster than I expected.

Halfway there

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out – if I’d start this over again, I’d make the bottom border a bit wider (I’m afraid I didn’t count properly and missed a couple of rows, cough) so that it would be about the same width as the side borders.

The re-alignment of the pattern definitely pays off, methinks.

Halfway a bit closer up
Halfway a bit closer up

What do you think?

A few observations

I’m nearly caught up to where I was before frogging it all.

Weirdness at the border
Weirdness at the border

Can you see how the lace panel cuts in and out of the garter border? That’s how it’s written up in the pattern, but I didn’t really like it, so I decided to “fix” the pattern. And please forgive the crappy shot, it was after midnight and I had to frog right then so I could cry myself to sleep after that and wouldn’t lose all of today fretting.

Let me show you what my thinking process looks like:

Notebook
Notebook

At the top left you can see my chart of the pattern according to the Newspaper.

Beneath that is the band from the yarn I’m using, in case I need/want to buy more at a later point – this way, I’ll always know where to find my reference sample (yes, that’s a braided sample right next to it).

Underneath my new, cleaned up chart. I made one further adjustment while knitting into the first lace panel, tho, and that was to take off one stitch at the end. That means what I knitted was 17 stitches garter stitch, 9 full repeats of the lace pattern, one repeat minus last stitch (which would have been the “groove” purl between the single repeats) and finally another 17 stitches in garter stitch.

I am much, much happier with what it looks like now – oh, I also changed from “knit 2 together” on both sides of a lace panel to “ssk” on the right side and “k2tog” on the left sides.

New lace panel
New lace panel

Two more things:

  1. The pattern calls for you to knit the first row into the back of the stitches. I had never heard or seen this before, but will from now on do it ALL THE TIME. Yes, it makes such a big difference, I had to shout that at you.
  2. Always slip the 1st stitch purl wise. It gives a much better finish, no matter what you intend to do with it in the end. The pattern describes a crochet lace stitch to finish this off, but somehow I imagine that being a hazard for little baby fingers, and lean towards an applied i-cord. Thankfully, I have some time to decide on that one.

Cast on, the 2nd

A monster
A monster

After spending about 15 hours knitting through 3 entire balls of yarn, I began to suspect that I had a monster on my needles.

The original pattern suggests 9 oz of 4-ply yarn, knitted on a no. 7 needle.

I researched. Being from Germany, ounce is not a measure that easily translates to me, so I found a website with a handy converter. It said:

9 oz = 255.145 g

I ordered 6 balls a 50g, thinking I’d be on the safe side. When I realized that after 3 balls I wasn’t even close to being halfway through (as I should have been), as a matter of fact hadn’t even finished a single full repeat of the lace pattern, it dawned on my that something was wrong.

Next up for questioning: the needles. I was knitting on 4mm bamboo circular needles. I double-checked. Here and here. And in a few other places. All of them indicated that my needles, if anything, would be a tad smaller than suggested for the original pattern. Still, I ended up with 112cm of baby blanket.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not the cheap kind. I’d be happy to just buy more wool, and knit may way through this – but it’s simply too big. It’s of no use for a tiny baby. The poor thing would probably drown in it.

So, without further ado, I frogged the monster blanket. *cue worlds tiniest violin* And cast on again, this time about half the stitches specified in the pattern. We’ll see how that goes, but so far, it looks good.

And in fact, there was another aspect of the pattern I didn’t really like which I can fix now. More details about that in a future post.

Cast on, the 2nd
Cast on, the 2nd