Friday, June 17, 2011

Sea Star Blanket

When I set out to create a blanket for my godson, I wanted to try something new.  I'd been working on The Hope Blanket for months and I was more than ready to work with a different type of yarn, a different stitch pattern, and maybe even a different shape.

I hit the pattern books at a local craft store and came across something that interested me.  After a little research on the ever-wonderful website Ravelry.com, I discovered it was a pattern known as the round ripple--essentially a blanket created in rounds rather than in straight rows.  It can be used to create a circular or star-shaped blanket, and there are a myriad of variations available.  For this project, I chose the 8-pointed star version and used a free pattern on Ravelry.com.


I also wanted to step away from my favorite go-to yarn (Lion Brand Homespun) and try something completely different.  I ended up selecting Caron Simply Soft.  As a standard worsted-weight yarn, it allowed the stitches to be more clearly defined than with the bulky yarn I've often used in the past.  Plus, Caron Simply Soft provides one of the broadest color palettes available on the market--and that makes a color-loving girl like me very, very happy.  I chose two shades of blue (Light Country Blue and Ocean), two shades of green (Sage and Dark Sage), and a variegated yarn (Spring Brooke) to tie all four colors together.


I didn't want to create the typical light-weight "baby blanket"--partly because that's not my style and partly because this blanket was intended for a 4-year-old.  In the past, I've always used the bulky Lion Brand Homespun yarn to give my blankets a nice feel and weight.  This time, I incorporated the new-to-me technique of double stranding instead.  Double stranding is exactly what it sounds like--holding two strands of yarn together while you stitch.  It can be used with both knitting and crocheting, and it results in a thicker material while still allowing for great stitch definition.  It does require a larger hook/needle size in order for the thicker material to drape gracefully, but other than that, it's merely a matter of getting used to holding two strands at once.  I found it quite easy to do and really loved the results.


I also learned a new way of "turning" at the end of each row.  It's called "no-chain turning," and there's a video on YouTube to show you how to do it.  The technique is tricky to learn--especially if you are double stranding--but after a bit of practice, it's become pretty natural for me.  And I'm thrilled with how beautiful the seam turned out because of this trick.

(The seam is in the center of this photograph)

(And here's a close-up of the oh-so-beautiful seam)

I found the round ripple pattern to be a lot of fun to work with--and very simple to learn.  The first half of the blanket comes together quickly, as the circumference around the blanket starts small and the rows can be finished in a short amount of time.  Near the end, however, when the blanket is over 4 feet across, each row takes about an hour to complete and the progress feels much slower.  I will definitely be playing with this pattern for a long time to come, as there are so many ways to change the look with color selection and placement.


With its blue-green color palette and 8 points, I've decided to name this blanket the Sea Star.  And that's quite apropos considering my godson loves the undersea creatures, especially the octopus and its 8 legs.

By the way, did you know an octopus has three hearts?  I learned that in a trivia game last weekend and now I feel the need to bestow that strange information on everyone I talk to.

I did put a lot of heart into this project, but I'm pretty sure I still only have one.

2 comments:

  1. you would think that a guy – a guy who is never knitted or crocheted or even sewn a button wouldn't get anything out of this at all. But this is why I read in this community – this is why I write in this community. Reading the heart in between the words – it fills my heart – it inspires me. All the knitting stuff that I didn't understand – it still made me smile – every word - made me appreciate what you did – I look at this and I see heart, and love, and a little miracle. And I'm smiling as I type this. Smiles are good. Thank you. God bless you Courtney – and all of yours.

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  2. @Craig--Yes, indeed, smiles are very, very good. And I'm so glad you found a few here. I always wonder when I post the nitty-gritty of my art projects whether anyone will get anything out of it or just be bored silly, so thank you for reassuring me that my heart is still visible even here. Grace to you, Friend, and thank you for reading.

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