The Hemlock Ring blanket is done! This was an amazing project on several levels, not the least of which is the finished product – soft, feather-light and lovely.
Pattern: Hemlock Ring blanket, made famous and adapted by design genius Brooklyn Tweed, outlined here.
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted, colorway “Tuscan Sky”
Notes: This was a really great knit for me. I learned new skills (the Emily Ocker cast-on is amazing), the construction was new and different from what I’ve been knitting, and I really had to work to wrap my head around the idea of a doily becoming a blanket!
I also made a kind of leap/step of faith with this knit; when this blanket first hit the blog and Ravelry airwaves last fall I looked at the pattern and chart and was completely intimidated. I understood bits and pieces of what was going on, but I couldn’t put it all together. It kept popping up on my radar and I always admired the beautiful finished blankets on Ravelry. I’m not sure what finally inspired me to try – I had the perfect yarn/color in the stash and I really wanted a new/better afghan for the sofa (my old one is decades old and made of acrylic in very sad colors) and I really enjoy the challenge of trying something new. I also think I had finally done enough knitting (and interpreting of patterns) to believe that in fact I could figure it out. And believing is usually all you need.
If you ever knit this I strongly recommend that you visit the Rainey Sisters blog (fun and interesting in it’s own right!); they’ve put together a neat and tidy PDF with the entire pattern all in one place (if you take the pattern off brooklyntweed you have to piece it together a bit), including all of the errata and suggestions for increasing the size and edging alternatives (the PDF is on their sidebar) Thank you Rainey Sisters – that was a huge help!
I was amazed at how quickly this knit up. Officially it took me three weeks, but I was finishing up the Tang sweater during this time plus the blanket sat completely idle for about a week while I waited for a new circular needle with a longer cable to arrive.
Finishing was quite interesting; I estimate that it took about four hours to knit the scalloped bind off – there’s a lot of turning and turning again and increasing and decreasing – but well worth it. Blocking took another couple of hours – when the blanket first comes off the needles it is determined to ripple. After a good soaking, you start with the center star and flatten and smooth and pin, then work the feather and fan sections, then pin out each scallop (I used about 200 pins) The pointy and wrinkly sections gradually become relaxed and rounded. It’s an amazing transformation.
The Malabrigo is just wonderful – it’s so soft and light and has a beautiful drape. The color is perfect and the kettle-dyed variations add interest and movement.
Here’s hoping your knitting is inspiring you as well these days!