Out of the blue

Apparently one whole month ( did you ever notice how a month isn't as long a time as it used to be?) is simply not enough time for some people to get their act together and put their show on the road. For here it is already July and while most other people have moved on to the color purple for

there are still some people (and when I say "some people" I may actually be referring to a person and when I say a person... I am of course referring to, well you know, myself ) who , as usual, have some unfinished business in regards to the month of June and the color blue.

Remember those Hippopotamus* socks that I had planned to knit in Trekkin xxl for my June Project? Right, didn't happen. I'm having issues with knitting socks at the moment of which I plan to elaborate more on in my next post. ( in August, about July.... ha, ha, just kidding, maybe.) So while not knitting the blue socks and looking for a distraction from the never ending lace project, I began perusing back issues of knitting magazines that I have acquired over the years. ( Do you ever do that?) I was trolling for something that might peak my interest, nothing elaborate just simple knitting to divert my simple mind, when I came across the Bear Claw blanket pattern by Veronik Avery in Interweave Knits Spring 2005 issue.

This pattern is one of those patterns that would repeatedly snag my attention. ( Does that ever happen to you?) Whenever I would come across this page of the magazine I would stop and look at it and say to myself, "I really like this pattern, I think I'm going to have to give it a go one day." ( Do you ever do this? )

A blanket you say?
Something simple, you say?

Well yes, it's a blanket but it's made in blocks like a quilt, in fact the Bear Claw pattern actually is a traditional quilt block used in quilting. There are nine blocks to the blanket, five blue claws with yellow centers and four yellow claws with blue centers.
But simple? It's knit in garter stitch, is there any stitch more simpler?
But you hate sewing knitting projects.... Ah, here's the beauty of the design, the blocks are built from the center out using mitered squares and picking up stitches for the sashing, each block is knit as a unit. Cool, huh? In fact the whole blanket, borders and all, are knit up from picking up edge stitches, there is only a row or two of kitchner stitch and wah la a blanket.

Perfect, right? And it uses the color blue too what more could I ask for?
Well, yarn for starters. The pattern calls for Koigu, which is a fingering weight wool and a bit more expensive than I can afford at the moment, which is probably why I had this project in mind for "some day". So my plan then was to knit it in cotton instead of wool, maybe a cotton denim yarn. Being a blanket, gauge didn't matter much because I wasn't concerned about size and so the hunt was on. My local yarn store has recently opened a outlet store that is open only on the weekends, of which I usually forget about it because it's on the weekend. But now that I had a project to shop for I was determined to check out the shop. I did find it... eventually. Of course by the time I did they were going to be closing for the day in about ten minutes. None the less the lady in the shop was helpful in pointing out the cottons and when I showed her the project I had in mind, she was very helpful in making suggestions for different options. Whether it was because she was anxious to get me out of the shop or because she really wanted to help out, I'm not certain and in the end it didn't really matter, for I had found what I was looking for, a cotton/wool blend of yarn by Goddess Yarns in the blue and cream and the gold is a cotton/silk blend also by Goddess. I left with a bag of yarn for my blanket and at half price to boot. What more could you ask for? I'm a simple girl, I don't need expensive jewelry or shiny appliances, just give me a big ol' bag of cotton & wool and at a discount and I'm a happy girl.

And I was happy, that is, I am happy with how it's going. Only... it's just, well, there is this:

Do you see all those ends to be worked in? Uhm, I hadn't thought about that, that was definitely not in the plan. Working in all those ends seams suspiciously like sewing. ( Pardon the pun, I simply can't resist a good pun. It's a failing of mine, so sew me. Okay, I'll stop. No really.)
Even working the ends in isn't sew terrible, (What can I say? I lied.) I just thought that the blanket being knit in garter stitch would be more reversible. Because of the color changes and the picking up of stitches, there is a line of stitches delineating the outline of each of the squares on one side, giving the blanket a very definite right and wrong side.
Speaking of picking up stitches, how come none of the knitting books I have explained very clearly what exactly it means to " pick up and knit " stitches? Now look you, I am no novice at knitting but I struggled with this for a good hour or better trying to figure out exactly whether the loop that I picked up was considered a stitch or whether the loop that I pulled through was the stitch and do I then knit that stitch? or was the loop from the edge the picked up stitch and the loop I pulled through that stitch considered the knitting of the stitch? Turns out it's the second or at least it I'm fairly certain that that is what I was suppose to do. However, the first method had a more reversible look to it, it is more like a crocheted edge but I decided to go with the second.
So I have this block with many ends and I'm thinking that rather than work all those ends in I maybe should just line the blanket with flannel and quilt or tie it together. What do you think?
Meanwhile, while you contemplate that, here is another little project that I started in June. Any guess what you think this might be? Here's a closer look. (Now, it's not guessing if I already told you what it is.)

Other June diversions included knitting this swatch for a sweater I plan to make for my sister Lynn, who had a birthday in June.
Happy Birthday Lynnie.

On Father's day we made a trip out to the arboretum with the girls. Can you see the Elfmaiden sitting amongst the hostas?

And in keeping with the theme of blue, little girl blue

and a blue secret garden.

*It's just no good I can't say Pomotomus.

6 Opinions:

Connie said...

Your bearclaw looks great! I think I would probably line the back with flannel - this would probably help the entire blanket keep its shape. I'm sure that the cotton wool will pull a little as the blanket gets bigger. Only 8 more squares to go!

Ani said...

I like flannel, flannel is good! I'll even help you pick out some pretty ones! (And knowing me, my idea of pretty flannel is probably not what you will ever have in mind.) But I'll try!

beth said...

Nice pics of the fam at the arboretum. The sweater for your sister looks great so far:)

KnitterBunny said...

Stumbled on your sight off of Red Dog Knits link to the Day of the Dead KAL. I love this post, very conversational.

- LisaD. said...

Awesome WIP's, I don't know how your are gonna find the time to knit a K and and E for the Cure-rageous knitters next week?

Gonna love that bear claw afghan when it's done! So cool.

Heather said...

I love your blog - the mouse "tag" with the Purple Rain phrase is what made me seek out your whole blog! I love it!

Is your mystery project a Baby Surprise Sweater by EZ?? Looks like the beginnings of one to me!!

I think you'll be getting my vote for the Amazing Lace challenge - your "use" of your project is pretty AND practical! Sold!!!