Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finished Object: Reversible Basketweave Blanket #2

Okay, I think I am far enough removed from this ordeal that I can blog about it now.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I have been madly working on a project that I gave myself 90 (and later 100) days to do. I even added on to it at the 11th hour, giving myself more work. I got it done. I think I may have had a nervous breakdown.

Pattern: Simple Reversable Basketweave Blanket by Yellow House Designs
Yarn: 8 skeins Vanna's Choice in colorway Chocolate
Needles: US size 6, Boye interchangeable
Timeline: I began knitting on 06.10.10. I finished knitting on 09.08.10. Blocked & washed from 09.18.10 to 09.19.10.
Modifications: I don't know if I modified the pattern or not, honestly. Oh, wait, I did 19 basketweave repeats, not 17.

Opinions: By now, I've usually posted a picture. I'm going to save that for random thoughts. This is the second time I've used this pattern. There is an error on the pattern page, which is corrected on the Ravelry page. You need to cast on 236 stitches, not 124. I will not use this pattern again.

Random Thoughts: I decided to make this blanket almost 6 months after I found out my husband's co-worker was pregnant. I gave myself a 90 day deadline to get it done before she had her baby. I started this project ten days after I moved. I got the knitting done in 91 days and finished washing it on the morning of the 102nd day, the day of her baby shower.

I think this project was doomed from the start. I did not swatch. Let me repeat that. I DID NOT SWATCH. Foolishly, I believed that using the same size needle and the same weight yarn as I did the last time would produce similar results.

I'm not sure if I'm an idiot or if the pattern is faulty. What I ended up doing was having 28 8-stitch basketweave blocks in each row. Maybe there are only supposed to be 14. But 8 x 28 + 12 (for the seed stitch border) = 236, so who knows.

The moral of this story is that the blanket was very long. Very very long. Also, I did not have enough yarn. I had to buy 8 skeins of Vanna's Choice to make it what I considered a decent height, which was only 2 weave repeats over what the designer suggests. I was assuming I wouldn't be able to steam block it any bigger, which is probably the smartest thing I did. I used over twice as much yarn as what was suggested. Did you know that 1360 yards is 77.27% of a mile, by the way?

I borrowed a friend's steamer to try and block the blanket. I knitted a swatch after the fact, but unpinned it too soon and it shrank back in the wash. I spent hours threading crochet cotton through 19 spots because my blocking wires weren't long enough. I went out and donated blood and picked apples and when I came back home and finished threading crochet cotton, it was like 10 PM. I attempted to stretch the cotton tight to pin the blanket out and it failed epically.

I think I collapsed on the floor at that point. I definitely cried. My husband came in and did something to help while I curled on the floor in the fetal position. You think I'm joking, but I'm really not. I had invested so much time in this thing it was ridiculous.

My husband managed to fix things somehow (I'm fuzzy on the details) and I steamed the s*^t out of that blanket. I left it pinned on our bed overnight. We slept downstairs on the futon. I woke up the morning of the party, wove in the ends and washed and dried the blanket on the lowest dryer setting.

Maybe I should have used the hottest setting. You know where this is going, don't you.

Blanket post-block, pre-wash & dry:


My bed is queen-sized, by the way.

Blanket post-wash & dry:


In closing, I don't know what I did wrong. I failed on multiple levels with this. It was the most humbling and hurtful knitting experience I have ever had.

So what I have I learned? Here, I'll break it down into a handy list for you.

1. Swatching is not a bad idea.
2. I don't know how to properly block acrylic.
3. I am never knitting a baby blanket again. Or, I am not knitting another baby blanket again until a lot more booze has washed away the pain.
4. On the plus side, acrylic bounces back nicely. Good to know.

The mom-to-be, by the way? Loved it.


TeresaNC said...

I think its a lovely blanket!

Acrylic is what it is, no blocking will really keep it into a larger shape, also it wilts with steam.
For future reference :).

Jen said...

Not that I don't believe you, Teresa, but I was following this tutorial, which says changes should be permanent after steam blocking. I think I did it wrong!