I finally got round to tackle finishing this blanket. I was surprised how quick it was in the end. I think I had in mind other blankets with some 270 blocks - it is much easier with only 20 blocks.
I lay the blocks out on the bed, trying for a pleasing arrangement, so that similar blocks were not adjacent. I left them on the bed for several days, moving a couple now and again. I came to the conclusion that any arrangement had to do, because it was impossible to make it perfect. The patterns gave two different ways of joining the blocks. I liked the one where you pick up stitches along one side of block A, with circular needles, turn the work round and pick up stitches along one side of block B, turn it round again and do a three needle cast off. Then you are in the right place to pick up stitches from block C etc. It worked well. I used safety pins to hold the blocks together while I was doing it. I first joined the blocks horizontally, and then all were in place for joining vertically. The only thing that I am unhappy about is the ridge that the three needle cast off makes. I tried putting it on the reverse, but a ridge on the underside of a blanket did not seem a good idea, although it looked fine from the top. Now there is a ditch but it is only noticeable if you pull on it.
The second way of joining the blocks involved picking up stitches and purling one row before the three needle cast off. I rejected this method, because it would have meant cutting the yarn, and fastening it, for every block.
The yarns that I used for the cast off both came from charity shops. Holywell Textile Mills did a double knitting weight aran type brown wool, and Hermit a standard double knitting, again brown, colour clove. I can't find pictures of either of them now. I wondered how much wool the joining would take and using the two doubled it took 65 gr of the first and 57 gr of the second. When I knitted the rocking chair cover last summer I went out looking for more Lopi wool unsuccessfully. Since then I have seen it, so I bought some more for the border. I wanted the border to be similar to the blocks, so the joining wool would not do. I judged it well that 200 gr would be sufficient, in fact it took 125 gr. The colour is darker than I wanted as I could not find a lighter brown. The border was very simple, a few rows of garter stitch. I did it in two sections, using two circular needles, with rubber bands stopping the stitches from falling off, and knitting with a third. Well, I did own three pairs the same size. The corners are not elegant. It does not matter in the least that the blocks are not precisely the same size. You just pull it to shape. The blocks, once blocked and joined, turned out to be around 36 cm square.
I am very pleased with the blanket now that it is finished. I can't stop looking at the patterns, and the wool feels so nice. It would be even better if you used three or four shades of the same yarn throughout. To my mind the randomness of the stripe pattern is the best thing.
Geo Modern Throw C8
Pattern: Knit Picks website (see link in previous entry)
Yarn: Various chunky pure wool yarns, total 1795 gr
Size: 185 cm long 150 cm wide
Knitted 30 March 2011 to 11 February 2012