February 15, 2011

Wrap it up!

I'm not one to get super hepped up about New Year's resolutions.  They often represent what we wish we were or could do in an ideal world rather than what we should do, or what's good or right for us.  And failure to achieve them (which starts to set in right about this time every year) is depressing. But, I do love making lists and plans and setting goals and cleaning things out and wrapping things up, whether it's my closet, my wallet, the kitchen sink or, OR my UFO pile. 

I'd had a few projects hanging about the apartment for several months now and they'd been getting me down.  Looking at them was making me feel like a greedy, impulsive flake who lacked follow-through, so I decided that before I started a bunch of shiny new projects, I needed to finish a few things, set them free and give them the life they deserve.  My Random Order socks were the first and easiest to finish up, and they gave me the momentum I needed to tackle this bad boy. 

Pattern: Log Cabin Square, by Sarah Bradberry
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash
Needles: US 7/4.5mm
Started: February 22, 2010
Finish: February 11, 2011

Around Christmas of 2009, my friend Adrienne had asked if she and her boyfriend could commission a blanket from me.  They'd seen some neat ones while travelling in France earlier in the year, but really liked the idea of having something made by a friend.  Producing a commissioned work is not something I'm completely prepared to do, yet.  My skills need improvement, and I am prone to see a mistake and say "I can live with that."  Not quite the right attitude for work for hire.

At the same time, I was really excited about the idea of making something for the two of them, and so I suggested that if they bought the yarn, I would be happy to do the work. She was down with this idea, and so began our collaboration. 

We started by exchanging emails with lots of photos of knit and crocheted blankets and afghans.  I'd skulk around flickr, mostly, for ideas.  I have to admit that I was kind of hoping she'd pick a crocheted pattern, because it would be faster work, but was also quite willing to make a knit blanket, so when she picked a log cabin pattern, I wasn't disappointed.

The next step was selecting yarn.  I knew she would want wool rather than acrylic, so I decided we had to go superwash (they have a toddler and practicality is key); also Adrienne hates the chemical effects of dry cleaning.  I promoted Cascase 220 Superwash pretty heavily, because it's the superwash I've used the most, is widely available and affordable.  Adrienne and Clayton both have very specific design aesthetics, so I left the color selection up to them.  She then sent me an architect-style rendering of the blanket, which was invaluable to me in working on this.  Some people are too loosey goosey with descriptions, and I'm a word person, so that can make me crazy.  Adrienne's an architect and is quite adept at creating visual representations of ideas.

Once I knew the colors to buy, I ordered the yarn from a couple of different online stores to maximize volume discounts and  free shipping.  I think the total was something around $119 or so.  And then, last February, I started knitting.  I'd forewarned Adrienne that this may take me the better part of a year, and darned if it didn't do just that.

Despite swatching and wet blocking a square in advance, when I wet blocked the actual squares, they grew more than I'd planned. The blanked was supposed to be 4' x 6' and it's probably closer to 5' x 7'.  When I finished piecing it together in January, I realized how completely unfinshed it look.  "Shit!" I thought.  "All this work for something that looks like an oversized dishrag."  Then Sarah from my knitting group suggested I make an applied i-cord border (she is i-cord obsessed, but I can make fun of her no longer).  Perfect!  It totally saved the project.

There are 24 squares in total, but I didn't have any way to photograph them all at once.  I'll be mailing this off to Seattle later this week with a twinge of sadness.  Why?  Because it's so groovy, I kind of want it for myself.  At least I know it's going to a good and loving home.


WhiteStone said... Best Blogger Tips

I've never seen an i-cord border! Learned something new. Take photos and send it off. It's a standing joke around our house that when some beloved item/car/possession must leave our home, we "take a photo and send it off". And while it may be a joke..it works. lol
Lovely, lovely blanket!

Oiyi said... Best Blogger Tips

The blanket turned out great. The I-cord edging is a perfect way to pull the blanket together. Of course, I love small details like that.

Erin Joy said... Best Blogger Tips

Very retro - very cool. What a lot of work!

craftivore said... Best Blogger Tips

That is a beautiful, beautiful blankie. Totally worthy of super picky architect types.