Sunday, 19 October 2014

Patchwork blanket C17

The name is misleading.  The pattern is called Patchwork shawl, so that is why I chose the name, but my selection of yarn does not make it look like patchwork.

It started with the yarn.  After the baby blanket in King Cole Mirage I could not resist buying the four balls of orange King Cole Riot.  I presume the name is because of the bright shades.  Later I found two more balls of the same dye lot in a small yarn shop so I bought those too.  That would be enough for a child's blanket.  Riot is 70% acrylic and 30% wool, but it still feels nice, and it is the same single ply as Mirage.

I intended this for bus knitting.  The garterstitch bias blocks are pleasant to knit, but joining them takes time, so I thought that knitting strips would require less joining, and would still be portable enough for the bus.  So I came across this book - The Beatrix Potter Needlepoint Book by Pat Menchini published in 1990.  Among the embroidery patterns are a couple of knitting patterns, and I liked this one, for the Patchwork shawl, knitted in wavy strips.  It is actually hexagons - first you increase each side and then decrease.  The pattern calls for change of yarn at the narrow points, and that created the patchwork effect.  There were yarn overs at each end every two rows to create a lighter piece.  I relied on the striping effect of the yarn to create a more uneven patchwork.

The pattern uses double knitting wool on size 4.5mm needles.  I used 3.75mm on Riot which is a thin DK yarn, so I calculated the number of stitches needed to do one strip per ball, and get a blanket of the right proportions.  I underestimated - I could have done broader strips and still got a good sized blanket.  Because of my tighter tension I did increases/decreases every four rows instead of every two.  Later on I found another ball of Riot, in a different yarn lot, and it shows that the middle strip is lighter than the others.

The knitting was fine and relaxing.  The pattern joins the strips using an oversewing stitch.  I wanted to see if I could crochet them together, and after some experimention I found a method that works and does not look too bad.  I finished the blanket with one row of crab stitch.  The joining was made easier because of the yarn overs.

Overall I am quite pleased with this blanket, although I do think it looks clumsy.  This must be the end of my knitting with King Cole synthetic yarns, although I must say that I am impressed with their premium acrylic.  It feels nice, if you must do synthetic.  A lot of blanket patterns use synthetic yarns, and this would be my choice.

I am not a fan of Beatrix Potter.  Anthromorphism did not appeal to me as a child nor does it now.  The book is based on BP's paintings, and few of the patterns uses the familiar figures from her children's books.  There are a number of very attractive needle point projects.  Recently I have seen Pat Menchini's patterns in knitting magazines.  Unexciting I thought, until I saw her pattern for a peplum sweater.

Patchwork child's blanket C17
King Cole Riot, acrylic 70% wool 30%, DK weight
size 3.75mm needles
125 cm by 95 cm, 680 gr
Knitted 7 July 2013 to 20 August 2014

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