Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Feather and Fan Rainbow Baby Blanket

Middle daughter is famous for calling me (as she did 14 mins ago) and asking, "Mom, how long does it take you to knit a baby blanket?" Uhhhhhh a couple of days...wait. that means...I should have a clue by now. That translates to 'Someone I know is having a baby, and I want one of your Rainbow Blankets asap!' Keep in mind that earlier this week she already asked me to make one for someone else at work. Add to that the boy blanket I'm working on for a new baby in the family due this August. And the girl blanket that I have yet to decide on for the new baby in the family. All totaled up? 4 baby blankets. (Baby daughter wants to know why her fingerless mitts aren't in Boston yet....hmmmm)

Just the other day, I was mentioning on one of the knitting groups how we end up with babies around our family and friends. It's not the water that they're drinking I said. It was how big my pile of baby things were that I had already knitted up. Alli thought that was funny. Alli-you're going to love this one. I was only thinking about making a Beribboned Sweater this time!I.HADN'T.STARTED.KNITTING.YET! when these two requests were made! Guess I have to shush up about what I want to knit now, BEFORE the babies start popping out!

Now, you may wonder why I am making both a boy and a girl blanket for the soon to be baby in the family? Well, we don't know yet what this little one is going to be. The family is hoping for a girl, but has a history of lots of boys. Guess which one I picked to start first? (sorry guys) I'm going for the side of the odds-that would be the boy's version. However, I am not adverse to being proven wrong about odds! Since it doesn't have a deadline of 'yesterday', I figured it gives me lots of time to work on it between other things. Like 2 Rainbow blankets. Something around here is always popping up. Especially since middle daughter loves to give away things I've knitted for baby gifts. In high school there were times I wondered if she would only take classes from pregnant teachers! (ha ha ha)

The pictures I have of this blanket, again are knitted up in RH's TLC Lustre. It's no longer being made, but Caron's Simply Soft is similar in softness and it's a worsted weight. I've also made this in a single color. I'm thinking any worsted or aran weight would be fine with this pattern. I'm hoping to make one out of Encore Colorspun one of these days soon. But middle daughter only wants the Rainbow version. That does make it easier when you don't know if it's a boy or girl, I guess.

One time I was on an airplane knitting away on one of these blankets. The flight attendants were full of compliments and I knitted away. One of them told me that she'd just started knitting, and had never done any lace work. Well, this feather and fan pattern is one of the easiest lace patterns I've ever known! In the middle of the flight while the other flight attendants sat and pulled out their favorite books, she came back and I taught her YO's and K2Tog's. Then I wrote out the pattern for the blanket and a couple of other things using the stitch pattern for her. She was so tickled that something that looks so hard, was so easy, and she had learned to make it!. A couple of months later, I got a really great box in the mail. One of her regular routes is to Germany. She sent me a box full of sock yarns from GERMANY! Now, that's a bonus for flying! I was just happy to have spent some time teaching her something I enjoy so greatly. her gift really surprised me!

If you wish to make the blanket into a rectangular shape, please purchase extra yarn for the added length. Because NMCRS wants the blankets that I make for them to be square, I write my patterns for the square sizes. By no means should you limit your blankets to my color choices or my stripe patterns. Experiment as always...and make them your own 'flavor'.

About the length of the circular needles. I like longer circulars when I'm making blankets and afghans. I like to be able to smooth out my project and visually check the patterns while I'm working. There are several ladies in the yarn shop I like to go to, that use 29" lengths for full sized afghans. It's really up to you and your personal preference. Just like brand of needles, so too is the choice of length you will prefer to use.

If you have any questions, email me at:
bruinmom99 (at) yahoo (dot) com for help. Please make sure you put something in the subject line so I know that you're not spam. Yahoo mail has been filled with soooooooooo much spam lately! ULG! Can put folks up in space and on the moon, but we can't stop spam!
Feather and Fan Rainbow Baby Blanket
© February 28, 2006, Cathy Waldie

Finished size: 36” wide x 37 ½” long (91 x 95cm)
TLC luster yarn…1 (5 oz.) skein each of lt. blue, lavender, pink, yellow, mint, 3 skeins of white; or 4 skeins of any one solid color.
(US) 9 (5.5mm) and 10 (6mm) circular needles 32-40” length (or size you are comfortable with)
Tapestry needle, scissors.

K = Knit
K2Tog = Knit two together
Sl 1 = Slip one stitch as if to knit
YO = Yarn Over
* * = repeat directions between* *’s
(__) x times = repeat directions inside ( )’S the number of time specified

Bottom Border:
Using white and size (US) 9 (5.5mm) needles, cast on 154 stitches with a cable cast on. Knit 6 rows, slipping the first stitch of each row for a smooth border edge. Knit each row back and forth, do NOT join.

Change to size (US) 10 (6mm) needles and begin pattern, still using white.

Row 1: Sl 1, knit across row.
Row 2: Sl 1, K4, Purl across 144 stitches, k5
Row 3: Sl 1, K4, *(K2tog) 3 times, (K1, YO) 6 times, (K2tog) 3 times*, repeat between * *’s 8 times; K5.
Row 4: Sl 1, Knit across row.

Rows 5-24: Begin 20 row color sequence:
Repeat (Rows 1-4) in light blue
Repeat (Rows 1-4) in lavender
Repeat (Rows 1-4) in pink
Repeat (Rows 1-4) in yellow
Repeat (Rows 1-4) in mint
Rows 25-52: Repeat (Rows 1-4) 7 times in white
Rows 53-72: Repeat (Rows 5-24) in color sequence (light blue towards mint)
Rows 73- 108: Repeat (Rows 1-4) 9 times in white
Rows 109-128: Repeat (Rows 5-24) in color sequence, reversing the color order (mint towards light blue)
Rows 129-156: Repeat (Rows 1-4) 7 times in white
Rows 157-176: Repeat (Rows 5-24) in color sequence, reversing the color order (mint towards light blue)

Rows 177-180: Repeat (Rows 1-4) in white
Row 181: Repeat Row 1, once more
Row 182: Repeat Row 2, once more

Top Border:
Continuing with white, change back to size 9 (5.5mm) needles. K 7 rows, slipping the first stitch of each row. Bind Off in purl. Weave in ends using a tapestry needle.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Flaunt your Colors Scarf

Knitting scarves seems to be synonymous with being a knitter in this day and age. And it's mentioned over and over especially lately, that scarves are a beginner project. I beg to differ. I've been knitting for 40 years now and I'm certainly not a beginner knitter. I do so love finding new (at least to me) ways to twist an old theme.

Today's scarf was started for my oldest daughter when she bought her season tickets for the fall tailgating season. After 4 years of sitting in the top rows of the Rose Bowl watching her march, I knew how the winds could kick in during those evening football games. She use to wear wool uniforms with a cape and sat down next to the field and didn't need the outer layers her sisters and I did. So, I knew she would be needing some 'warmth' for the years to come. The trick was to find something she would also like.

Not liking ends that take forever to weave in, or scarves that curl up, the idea was to find something that would lay flat without have a back side that wasn't pretty. After knitting many beanies, it was a quick leap over to knitting a scarf in the round. Had I been a HP fan, I would have figured out that the concept wasn't quite new. DUH! (yes, some folks learn slowly.....)

Since that first trip around and around and around and around the needles....three of my four kids have scarves, one has three, one of which has some added details I'll save for another day. The day my youngest daughter turned 18 years old, she spent the day skydiving! I didn't go with her on that trip. Her dad took her. She had given me a 'ball park' of the day's events, I stayed at home and was glued to the clock waiting to hear that she'd landed safely - still in one piece without having to be scraped off the ground with a putty knife.

She didn't call when expected. She was 'off' in her timing by quite a few hours. She wasn't aware of how long the class would last ahead of time before the jump commenced. Being the MOM that I am....I can prove for certain that stress will change the tension in your knitting! When she finally called with the tell tale excitement in her voice that translated to, "MOM! THIS WON"T BE THE LAST TIME I DO THIS!!!" I looked down and realized that there was a difference between what I'd knitted the day before...and the width of the stripes I'd knitted while waiting for her soft landing. I refused to take it out, and marked them with bows as a way to mark her 18th birthday and to remind her that I was with her in spirit if not in Mother's prayers for her big day.

If you choose to knit up one of these, pick any amount of colors, in any number of rounds to suit your fancy. Most of the time I've been doing them in sports/college teams but have done some in favorite colors for the individual recipient. The black and white was the most recent combination for the baby's roommate. Whatever colors you like...fringe or not...your combinations are limitless.

One other thing about knitting in the round, when your daughter lives in Boston, or son lives in Indiana, after growing up in Southern California, you know they're going to need that double layer when the flakes are blowing. My son text messaged me not too long ago telling me that it was 18*F and the scarf kept him warm! Now, that was a testimony! This was the child who'd taken me years ago to the Dodger's game on Mother's Day with the stipulation that I NOT take my knitting! He's changed his tune! Smart kid. As for me, having grown up in Michigan, it sure would have been nice to have had a double layered scarf when I used to walk to and from school and home for lunch. (and yes, it was up hill both the snow...but I did have boots.)

Flaunt your Colors Scarf

© Cathy Waldie, Dec, 2003

(US) 8 (5.0 mm) 16” circular needle
Stitch marker
Chibi needle to weave in ends
4 skeins of 100 g yarn; 2 of each color (or amounts and numbers of colors of your liking)
H crochet hook

Size: 6 ½” - 7” (7 ½”) x 73-82” without fringe (depending on the yarn used)
Gauge: 16 sts, 22 rows = 4”/10 cm

With color A, cast on 60 (70) stitches. Join in the round being careful not to twist the stitches and place marker. Knit 20 rounds.
Change to color B and knit 20 rounds.
Changing back and forth between the two colors, you’ll continue in the same manner until you have 11 (10) stripes in color A and 10 (9) stripes in color B for a total of 21 (19) stripes. This gives a total of 420 (380) rounds.
Bind off in knit.
Weave in the ends at the color changes.
Stitch the ends closed so the scarf lays flat.

If you choose to add fringe, add 15” lengths in groups of 4-6 strands for 9-11 times across both ends using the crochet hook. It’s up to you how thick and full you want your fringe to look. Trim ends to match.

*note: my favorite way to measure 15” lengths is to wind yarn around the length of DVD cases before cutting. When the fringe has been added, it gives a nice length of 7-7 ½” length at the ends of the scarf.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hail to the .... (corrected 12/12/07)

Growing up in Michigan while going to a junior high school with a principal who played football at the U of M, it was a treat in 8th grade to take a field trip down to the football game vs. Navy. Then in high school, with a band director who also graduated from Michigan, we were able to march for the annual Band Day festivities. My senior year, I was fortunate after switching over to majorette, to have performed under the direction of Benny Goodman. As a clarinet player, that was cool.

All those events helped to create my 'fanship' of the Wolverines. This past summer, even before the boys in blue demonstrated their abilities once more in the Big House, I got to playing with the sticks and string. Yep...clearly it was time to Blue and Maize up my kitchen, and possibly my aunt's as well. After all, living in Ann Arbor, and being a life long fan herself (not to mention the fact that she has helped to Block M my house and my wardrobe over the years) it was the least I could do to promote the colors.

As per usual, I am using Lion Cotton. Perfect shade of yellow and their navy work well to go side by side. I have to say, the yellow dishcloth shows the pattern much better than the navy one in pictures. Just remember, a true fan, would have both!

This one's for Bo! We'll miss you!

©Cathy Waldie, August, 2006

Lion Cotton (Sunshine), (US) 7 (4.5mm) needles

C/O 37 sts

1-5) K (slipping the first stitch as if to knit for each row of the cloth)

6, 8, 10) K3, P31, K3

7, and all odd rows) K

12, 14, 16) K3, P2, K9, P9, K9, P2, K3

18) K3, P2, K9, P4, K1, P4, K9, P2, K3

20) K3, P4, K5, P5, K3, P5, K5, P4, K3

22) K3, P4, K5, P4, K5, P4, K5, P4, K3

24) K3, P4, K5, P3, K7, P3, K5, P4, K3

26) K3, P4, K5, P2, K9, P2, K5, P4, K3

28) K3, P4, K5, P1, K11, P1, K5, P4, K3

30, 32) K3, P4, K23, P4, K3

34) K3, P4, K11, P1, K11, P4, K3

36) K3, P4, K10, P3, K10, P4, K3

38) K3, P4, K9, P5, K9, P4, K3

40) K3, P2, K10, P7, K10, P2, K3

42) K3, P2, K9, P9, K9, P2, K3

44) K3, P2, K8, P11, K8, P2, K3

46) K3, P2, K7, P13, K7, P2, K3

48, 50, 52) K3, P31, K3

53-57) K

58) B/O in Purl

I have to say that the first picture shows the pattern better, but the second picture shows the color better. Happy knitting!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Matching Cloth

Back in November when I started the mint colored Puffy Basketweave Baby Blanket, I found some mint Lion Cotton in my box and thought a matching wash cloth for the baby might be a nice little addition to the blanket. Looking at my Morning Glory Blue Lion Cotton got me thinking that this would be a nice addition to my kitchen. You can see after I steamed the cloths why I wouldn't block the blankets. I generally like the look of dishcloths blocked but it does flatten this pattern out.

I have a personal preference for the Lion Cotton when using 100% cotton worsted weight yarns. I think the fibers are a bit longer and when the cloths are all knitted up, there isn't as much splitting and piling as I've had with other brands. My own wish is that Lion Brand would make more colors like the other companies produce. I like a bigger variety to pick from. When knitting up for gifts, especially for kitchen sets, I try to match that person's kitchen, dish, or favorite colors. Or for a face/baby cloth, to the blanket or that person's favorite colors. When my kids went away to college, I did their initials in their school colors, my parents got their favorite colors, for bridal showers I tried to match the brides' dishes. Therefore, Lion Cotton is not always the brand I use. And I'm ok with that.

Puffy Basketweave Cloth
© Cathy Waldie, November 28, 2006

(US) 5 (3.75mm) and (US) 7 (4.5mm) needles
100% cotton yarn

With smaller needles, cast on 36 stitches and knit 4 rows for the bottom border, slipping the first stitch of all rows in cloth as if to knit.

Change to larger needles and begin the pattern.
1: K4, (K4, P4) 3 times, K8
2: K4, (P4, K4) 4 times
3: K4, (K4, P4) 3 times, K8
4: K4, (P4, K4) 4 times
5: Knit
6: K4, P28, K4
7: K4, (P4, K4) 4 times
8: K4, (K4, P4) 3 times, K8
9: K4, (P4, K4) 4 times
10: K4 (K4, P4) 3 times, K8
11: Knit
12: K4, P28, K4

Repeat rows (1-12) 2 more times for a total of 3 pattern repeats. Then repeat rows (1-10) once more.

Change back to smaller needles and knit 5 rows for the top border. Bind off in Purl. Weave ends.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Puffy Basketweave Baby Blanket

4 skeins Red Heart TLC Lustre 5oz skeins [Solids: 5 oz (141 g) - Approx. 253 yd (231 m)] or any worsted weight yarn.
(US) 8 (5.0mm) and (US) 10 (6.0mm) needles, circulars, 32-40” length to accommodate the stitches. Blanket will be knitted flat, and not joined in the round.
Finished size: ~36” square.
15-20 hours to knit.

Using (US) 8 (5.0mm) needles, cast on 132 stitches. Knit 6 rows, slipping the first stitch as if to knit.

Change needles to size (US) 10 (6.0mm) and begin pattern, remembering to slip the first stitch as if to knit on each row.

1: K4, (K4, P4) 15 times, K8.
2: K4, (P4, K4) 16 times
3: K4, (K4, P4) 15 times, K8.
4: K4, (P4, K4) 16 times
5: Knit
6: K4, P124, K4
7: Knit
8: K4, P124, K4
9: K4, (P4, K4) 16 times
10: K4 (K4, P4) 15 times, K8
11: K4, (P4, K4) 16 times
12: K4, (K4, P4) 15 times, K8
13: Knit
14: K4, P124, K4
15: Knit
16: K4, P124, K4

Repeat rows 1-16 (11) more times for a total of 12 pattern repeats. Then rows 1-4 once more.

Change back to size (US) 8 (5.0mm) needles and knit 7 rows. Bind off in purl. Weave in ends.

© Cathy Waldie, 2004, revised

I would not block this blanket for the charm of it is in the puffiness the pattern creates. When using acrylic yarn, if you spritz it with a mist of water, pop it into the dryer for 10 minutes, it will even out most of your stitches that may have been pulled either too tight or left too loose. Acrylic is forgiving like that.

Now, most of the blankets that I've knitted over the past several years are for charity groups that request acrylic yarn. It's cheaper for them to provide, it's easier for new mother's to toss into the washing machine when you KNOW that little bundle of joy is going to throw up on it, and if you were paying for your own yarn, that donation dollar is going to go farther with acrylic. And, not all acrylics are created equal. Long gone are the days of of the 'non-forgiving, will stretch out and not return to the original shape' kind of yarn that I learned to knit with back in elementary school.

The yarn that I've used to knit up this blanket is no longer being produced from Red Heart. The closest I've found that would be similar is be Caron's Simply Soft. By no means would I end my choices there. NMRCS has provided me with the TLC Lustre and I'm still using what I have on hand for their blankets. If I were making a blanket as a special gift, I might use Lion Brand's Wool-Ease, Plymouth's Encore, or Paton's Decor. Each of those is a blend of acrylic and wool and is very machine washable.

If you wanted to spend a bit more and knew the parents didn't mind the special care needed, Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino Aran would be a lovely choice. Just make sure you pay attention to the amount of the yarn you are purchasing and buy enough from the get-go. I have provided the label information from the yarn that I used so anyone could compare their choices to what I needed to complete this blanket. (Also, if you wanted to make a longer, rectangle shaped blanket, be sure to allow for the additional yarage you would need to lengthen the blanket.)

Another idea, come to think about it, would be to use two strands of a DK weight or a sport weight yarn to approximate the same size I found with the worsted weight. I have used Baby Soft and Wendy Peter Pan double stranded in many patterns as a substitute for worsted and really like the softness it produces. Your choices are endless. And that is where the fun begins!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

NMCRS Basketweave Blanket V.2-updated 11/13/08

I knit a lot of charity items for various projects. When I taught at my daughter's office, this was a pattern that I brought in so excited new knitters could be off and running.

NMCRS Basketweave Blanket V.2
4 skeins Red Heart TLC Lustre 5oz skeins [Solids: 5 oz (141 g) - Approx. 253 yd (231 m)] / 700 yards(640 m) of worsted weight yarn.
(US) 9 (5.5mm) needles (suggest 32-40” circulars)
Finished size: ~ 36” square

*sl 1 = slip one stitch as if to knit

C/O 136 sts
Rows 1-16: sl 1st stitch of each row, k across
R 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27: sl 1, k across
R 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28: sl 1, k7(edge stitches), p8, (k8 , p8 ) 7 times, k 8 (edge stitches)
R 29, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39: sl 1, k across
R 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40: sl 1, k7, k8, (p8, k8) 7 times, k8
R 41-208: repeat rows 17-40, 7 more times for a total of 8 pattern repeats.
R 209-224: sl 1, knit across
R 225: B/O in K.

Weave in ends.

*Note: if you wish to make this blanket a bit longer, you’ll need 6 skeins of TLC Lustre ultra soft yarn, and repeat the center pattern section (rows 17-40) for a total of 10 times rather than 8. The length should come to ~47". Or knit to desired length, allowing for extra yarn as needed.

© Cathy Waldie, April 24, 2005, revised
Update: 10/15/08
I'm going to update this pattern with the additional information I got when making the Red Blanket with Lion Brand Cotton Ease. Adding it here might make it easier for everyone to find.

There are a few things I noticed with this different fiber content starting with the way it knitted up 'shorter' than my previous blankets. I'm assuming that is due to the cotton content. To combat that effect, I extended the pattern repeats once more for a total of nine, rather than the original pattern of eight.

Knitting Stats:

9 pattern repeats to allow for cotton shrinkage
5 skeins of yarn - Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, in Cherry Red, [label: 17 sts/24 rows=4"/10 cm, with (US)8 (5.0 mm), 50% cotton, 50% acrylic, 3.5 oz (100 g), 207 yds, 188 m]
size (US) 8 (5.0 mm) Addi Turbo needles
Pre-dryer blocking:36" x 38.5" slightly stretched...(smoothed out on the bed)gauge preblock: 16 sts x 24 rows = 4"/10 cm in stockinette st.

Post-dryer blocking:33 3/4" x 38 1/2"15 sts x 23.5 rows = 4"/ 10 cm in st. st.

Update 11/13/08

Pink blanket particulars:
NMCRS Basketweave Baby Blanket, ver. 2

5 skeins of Bernat Softee Baby in Rumba Rose (actually about 4 1/2 or so) Used the yarn double stranded.
(US) 8 (5.0mm) for the top and bottom borders and (US) 10 (6.0mm) circular needles for the body of the pattern.
Knit pattern from rows 1-208 as written, then repeat rows 17-28 once more, before knitting rows 209-225 to finish the blanket.