I’m just back from a week’s vacation traveling around England and Scotland with Mr. Karen’s mom and dad. It’ll be a few days before I can do a proper trip report, as Mr. Karen did not come home with me (he’s spending a few days getting his parents oriented in Paris where they’ll finish out their tour–I don’t have enough vacation days so couldn’t tag along) and he’s got the camera with the card with all the pictures I took. I could have worked out a way to come home with my pictures without having the camera, but that would have upped the hassle factor for the trip and that’s no good.
Since a trip report without pictures is not the kind of thing I like to do, instead I now present pictures of something I did before I left. This is the first baby gift I’ve ever knitted, a blanket inspired by the book Mason-Dixon Knitting. I used the Courthouse Steps Denim Blanket pattern to get started, so I suppose I should have called this entry “Courthouse Steps Baby Blanket” but in my head it was always a log cabin, since in the quilting world courthouse steps is just a variation of log cabin. I made it for Heather’s daughter who, at not yet four months old, is still a genuine baby. It’s sort of amazing that she’s not yet walking and talking like some kids who get “baby” gifts from me.
The pattern calls for DK weight yarn, US size 6 needles, and a finished size around 50 by 38 inches. I used worsted weight yarn (Knit Picks Swish), US size 7 needles, and finished up around 38 by 36 inches. The pattern calls for binding off each log when it’s reached the appropriate size, then picking up stitches along that bound off edge when it’s time to add the log on top. I found all that binding off and picking up rather tedious. Fortunately, I found these directions for avoiding most of that work. The extra cables I’d bought for my Knit Picks options needles set came in very handy; I’d finish a strip, unscrew the needle tips from the cable, and screw them onto the cable for the next strip.
I ran out of green two garter ridges from the end of the last strip. At first I thought I’d just rip back two ridges on the matching strip on the other side and they’d both just be a little narrow, but then I placed another order with Knit Picks for my next project and added in extra balls of the colors I was using for this one and hit the dye lot lottery—all the lots in the new order matched the ones I had on hand. I ripped back the few rows I’d done on the strip after the undersized green one made it the right size (fortunately I hadn’t yet ripped back the full size one so I didn’t have to re-do it). I ended up using about 100 yards of yellow, 200 yards each of light blue and hot pink, 250 yards each of green and light pink, 300 yards of dark blue, and 325 yards of purple.
The blanket in the book has a garter stitch border, but I decided to get fancy and try seed stitch for the first time, inspired by chemgrrl. I only had the stamina to do about four rows before binding off, but think it turned out pretty well. Then, because I like to live life on the edge, I washed the blanket before mailing it off. I figured if there was going to be trouble it was better for it to felt or stretch or pill or shrink or fall apart while I still had it rather than the first time Heather had to wash it. I used cold water and Tide on the gentle cycle of the washer, then air fluff followed by permanent press in the dryer and the Swish came through fine.
I haven’t given up making baby quilts, but I figured since I can knit at times when I can’t quilt, I might as well do both. I was a bit surprised at how long knitting this took relative to sewing something the same size. I mean, I know I’m not a fast knitter, but it still seems I should have been able to get this done sooner, given that I started it in early August. I have read since that garter stitch uses more yarn than a lot of other stitches, so that surely didn’t help. I am happy with how it turned out, and like I said the baby is still a baby, so I’m counting it a success.
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