Thursday, January 31, 2013

Itty Bitty Blankets

The photographer I've been doing a lot of work for recently asked for some small blankets; about 16"x16".  She was finding that traditional baby blankets were too big once folded and placed in baskets.  She had purchased a stack of dyed cheesecloth style "wraps" to wrap the baby up in, about 8 different gorgeous colours.  She didn't want to loan them to me to take to the store to match colours, so asked for a mid-to-light grey and oatmeal blankets.
The pictures she showed me were of chunky knit blankets.  It seems that most baby prop items are made in chunky, or multi-stranded yarns--to be quick, obviously.  I have another weapon in the war on time--my knitting machines!  I didn't know exactly how chunky I could go, so found some worsted weight yarns..."Vanna's Choice" by LionBrand in Linen and Steel Grey (I think).  I couldn't find a medium grey, but liked the blueness of this grey; thought it would look nice with the blue and purple wraps she had.  I asked her, and she was indeed looking for a lighter grey.  All I could find was super chunky, and tweedy greys.  So I went to Value Village, like I wrote earlier, and found the Old Navy sweater.  So soft! 
 I also had a bit of a panic about "oatmeal".  I dont' eat oatmeal anymore, but it was always a greyish colour too.  LOL.  I thought the linen (upper left blanket) was a nice choice, although I think she now needs a warmer taupe colour ;)
The "Vanna's Choice" in Steel Grey is at the top left; the middle one is from the Old Navy Sweater, bottom right is "Vanna's Choice" in Linen.
So, I could do these on the knitting machine, but was I going to negate the quickness of that by having to do a trim?  I've had good results with doing tuck on every other needle, for a ribbed look.  It lays flat when steamed.  I worked up a swatch in this tuck pattern and steamed it.  Seemed to work!  These ended up being 60st and 17" square.  Maybe a little closer to 18" after steaming and blocking. I was worried they might not be plain enough, but she liked the effect of the two different sides.
  I used the entire 100gr ball of Vanna's Choice, but for the light grey one, only 66gr.  It was a cotton blend, and normally cotton feels heavier.  It was actually three strands (I think each was 2ply) and not heavily twisted, so I think the yarn had more loft than the acrylics.  I still have quite a bit of the light grey left.
This is also the tuck pattern that I used in the hat in my profile.  Swatch, of course, and cast on a multiple of 4, plus two seam stitches.  Do not include the seam stitches in the patterning.  Put every 4th needle to hold (so, starting with the 5th needle on the left, then skip 3).  Knit 3 rows.  Put the held sts back to work and knit the row slowly.  Now select the center sts of the three sts that had been in work (so, third needle from left, skip 3) and put it in hold.  Knit three rows, put them back in work, and knit slowly.  For the hat, I changed colours every 4 rows. 

It's such a simple, but interesting pattern on both sides.  These blankets took just under 40 minutes each, on the machine.  And a bit of time to block out and steam, but for a baby blanket, you might want an edging.

Yarn In:  1442gr
Yarn Out:  266gr + 92gr = 358gr
Balance:  1084gr more brought IN than used up
Costs:  $58.61/31 days = $1.89/day

Guess I better sew up that large pinwheel blanket so I can include it's total!  I'm also working on a shawl that weighs nothing, another slouchy Beehive hat, a HK pinwheel blanket, a pair of socks, and a little "fisherman's outfit" for the photographer.  Have the finished green and pink textured hats to show.  Not sure all that will equal up to 1084gr...

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