WIP Wednesday

knitting on baby blanket WIPstart date: 25 May 2015
time elapsed: 1 month, 6 days
completeness: 50%

Once upon a time, I received a big skein of yarn as a gift.  It was cotton and the colors reminded me of fruit stripe gum.  I wanted to use it, but wasn’t sure how.

Then I discovered the super-sized-doily-as-blanket phenomenon.  I quickly knitted up the offending yarn into a Hemlock Ring baby blanket, and I LOVED it.  A round baby blanket!  Could there be anything more perfect?

I was an instant convert.  With a round blanket, using it as a decorative throw after your baby outgrows it is effortless.  A round blanket makes a superior nursing shawl, the perfect ground cover, and a more convenient sunshade.  To wrap a tiny newbie, fold the blanket in half and swaddle as usual.  To cover an older baby, use in a single layer and NEVER worry about baby’s feet sticking out of the bottom or baby’s hands getting entangled.

So when i was looking for a gorgeous, timeless, lacy baby blanket pattern, I was drawn inexorably toward round shawls and oversized doilies.  I finally settled on Leaves of Grass by Jared Flood.

center of blanket I'm knitting showing flowery motif from the first lace chart

This is my first pi construction project.  In pi construction, rather than trying to knit a circle by making constant small increases at greater and greater distance from each other, you knit a long flat-topped tube: sections are worked totally straight with no increases or decreases, and between sections you work an increase row that doubles the number of stitches.  The magic happens when you block it– what was a long tube blooms into a perfectly flat circle thanks to the elasticity of the lace.  But I haven’t gotten to that part yet.

me still knitting along with Númenor's legs in the background

In fact, my progress has been achingly slow, due in part to the heat (when it’s 101 F outside, it’s NOT a great time to have a big pile of wool in your lap), but also to some minor difficulties in the pattern.  I’m about halfway through the third lace chart now (of five total), and completely in love with what’s taking shape on my needles, but happy to go slow and make a row or two of headway here and there.

showing the middle chart of the blanket with lacy zigzag or branching pattern

This project has been my companion on road trips and park benches since the weather turned summery.  I’ve knit on it in the car as we cruised down the coast, and while waiting for a movie to start at the drive-in, and on the back deck in the afternoon shade.

And when blanket-knitting weather comes again in the fall, I will be happy to sit in my favorite spot in our library and finish this up.  Not only will I be glad of a lap full of wool then, but I will also have the memories of sun on my skin and warm breezes and long summer evenings and days at the beach in every stitch.

And probably some sand and some dust, too.

Númenor holding the yarn cone I'm knitting from with my lap (and the WIP in it) in the background

The yarn is Jagger Spun 4/8 Waxed Lambswool in Umber— technically a weaving yarn,  but a very economical (not to mention beautiful, durable, and soft) choice for knitting and crochet.  Some people find that it works up at DK weight, but I am pretty satisfied with calling it worsted.

My fingernails were painted last week with Piggy Paint in Midnight Pansy (purple) and Ice Cream Dream (sparkly teal).  I highly recommend this brand; it is truly odorless, but it’s also long-lasting and bright.  Their marketing patter and some of their shade names make it pretty clear that they believe painted nails are gendered, so I can’t give them full points, but they make a great product.

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