Boyten's blog

Aventures of the Masked Canary

Thinking inside the box


It is with mixed emotions that I start the laborious job of sewing up my hand-knitted patchwork blanket. This project started off last summer as a nice way to get back into knitting. After doing a couple of squares of purl knitting I decided that I’d switch to the basic knit stitch of which I’m very fond of anyway. Yes, the purl stitch definitely has its place but not in my squared blanket. With the type of “wool” I was using I found that the edges curled up too much and I really wasn’t inclined to start steaming and pressing said squares. I say “wool” because its proving very difficult to get the real McCoy. Wool is beautiful, wool is great but wool and washing machines do not get along that well. Having had an authentic Norwegian sweater ruined by a well-meaning certain someone who shall remain nameless, I’m very wary of washing woollen garments unless it’s got some man-made component to the fibre. Unless of course I want to achieve the felted look. lol. My devious side is now thinking of all those lovely garments in my house that could be “accidently” felted. Oops, Oh sorry honey, oh well I could always turn your favourite-worn-since-uni-days sweater into a cushion…;)

IMG_0277                                                  IMG_0278

Anyway, back to the blanket or should I say blanket in the making. I started off by using up some very old wool that I’d had jammed in at the bottom of a bag (yes, me and my bags! Read all about it in post entitled Bag Lady.) I decided to stick to two colours and variations thereof. For many years now I’ve really admired Kaffe Fassett’s colourful textiles and textured knits so inspired by him, I decided to think about the blanket in terms of colour, tone and texture. The overall effect was always in my mind, rather like an abstract painting. All good in theory, however, I found myself obsessively knitting so that I could quickly get onto the next square and the next tone or texture. Oh, and then I discovered a great Aladdin’s cave of a wool shop close to work which I happened to pop into on a lunch break. Funny how there’s some shops that you just don’t notice until you develop an interest and suddenly they’re everywhere!

Squares, squares, squares! Or should I say ever so slightly rectangular squares? Working organically and without a pattern is freeing but it does bring its own problems such as how many stitches do you reduce by when using a thicker wool. If you knit yourself you’ll know what I mean. Anyway, this kind of hit and miss approach lends itself to slightly wonky measurements. Nothing that a bit of pulling and stretching, as I piece the squarish rectangles together, won’t fix! I hope…;)


Patchwork blanket and recently dyed cushion cover on revamped wicker chair

Patchwork blanket and recently dyed cushion cover on revamped wicker chair

Working organically but within the confines of squarish type shapes to be squared up into four squarish squares and then sewn together into one large squarish rectangle (by this point it doesn’t really matter because it will in fact be a BLANKET) is one way of keeping my over-active imagination in check. No need for procrastination or worries about will it ever be finished, because who’s to say it’s not finished even if you only do four squares and end up making a small cushion or failing that an unusual facecloth(!) Yep, my kind of pick-me-up-and-do-it-when-you-feel-like-it project. The whole project has slotted into my busy, hectic yet paradoxically compartmentalised lifestyle and I would recommend it for anyone who like me needs a knitting project to get back into the swing of things.

So as I get closer to finishing this masterpiece *cough* part of me is relieved that after five months I can now see past the trees and see the wool. Part of me is also a little sad and a little unsettled, because I will no longer have this focus. Oh well, there’s plenty of other projects crying out for me. They’re so needy! Now as for selling this masterpiece, aside from the cost of wool, labour costs alone, even at the minimum wage means that we’re talking at least £600. Any takers? 😉



Yours knittingly
Kat x

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This entry was posted on January 30, 2014 by .
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