Sunday, September 20, 2015

Octagon Baby Blanket

The words "I'm done!" have become almost a weekly challenge for me to finish projects begun.  I know when the weather encourages me to move to larger projects like full-sized blankets or possibly an intricate design, finishing a project each week isn't likely going to be a reasonable expectation.  But in these early weeks and months of this year's Year of Projects blog challenge I'm liking the motivation it's providing.

So...once again...   I'm done!   With the Octagon Baby Blanket I started early last week.


The picture above is an accurate representation of the colors and tones of the yarns used in this blanket.  Other pictures are edited to get them close to correct - just to explain some variations in tone and lighting.

I have not figured out a way to get an attractive picture of the whole blanket spread out (when I manage to get the whole thing in one shot it seems anticlimactic somehow), so hopefully I've captured the essence of the octagonal shape and managed a little intrigue.




I had to tweak the instructions a bit at the section breaks (it just wasn't as intuitive to me as it seemed to be for others who had previously crocheted this blanket and created project pages on Ravelry), but once I got something figured out that worked for me it became a very simple and intuitive pattern to work.  

In fact, except for having to count the stitches each time I finished a row in a section, it was pretty mindless.


One might say...a tad...monotonous.   ;^)    Every single stitch is a double crochet.  I find that patterns like this are perfect for creating a sort of meditative and peaceful space.  A perfect thing to do during periods of stress.  Not that I am under stress presently.  Just sayin'....
I decided to edge the blanket with a simple scallop edging.  I think it creates a sweet edge without being feminine, or even obvious. 


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And now, in the spirit of  sharing with my fellow YOPers my progress on personal challenges, I present my first knitting attempt.  It's embarrassing, and awful, but I look forward to coming back to this post - months (or maybe years) from now and seeing the progress I've made.

You are free to laugh.  In fact, I insist that you do.  Believe me, I have to laugh at this or I might just cry: 


As is, I'm going to have to challenge myself to keep picking up my knitting needles to practice because my overwhelming inclination after knitting the above swatch is to simply give up. 

While some of the process came back to me (I had knitted once upon a time as a teen), I found it impossible to keep a consistent tension and have no idea where some of those stitches disappeared to.  It didn't help, I suppose, that I kept switching back and forth between Continental and English, but my lands....look at that mess!  lol  And the edges are just depressing on the stockinette part.  They don't show because they curl under, but all of my edge stitches are loose and loopy.  Hopefully through practice I can conquer that, but I found that the most discouraging thing of all.

And don't get me started on purling Continental-style.  Let's just say...it seemed to me much like trying to eat ice cream with a fork while standing on my head must be.  It is not natural.  Knitting Continental-style wasn't too hard for me, but purling holding the yarn in my left hand...  On my. 

I imagine I'll be practicing knitting squares and rectangles for some time.  I'll make it a goal of mine to post a monthly (at least) picture of my knitting progress.  I see a lot of dishcloths and scarves in my near future.

Speaking of scarves, here is a progress picture of the latest linen stitch scarf I began crocheting this past week.  I think combining the nothing-in-common-colors of yarns is making an interesting looking scarf for autumn.


That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.  The bright riot of colors in the one yarn would, no doubt, create an attractive crocheted or knitted fabric, but I rather like how the muted tones of the blue and beige colors of the other yarn tones down the loudness of the first yarn.  And yet, the end result is still fun and cheery.  This was a project that was purely for the experiment of seeing how these two somewhat disparate colors and tones would work together (or not). 

Visit Ravelry to see what other YOPers are up to this week.   A free (and no-strings attached) membership with Ravelry is required to see most of the links on this page. 


 



14 comments:

  1. Well done of persevering with your knitting. My first attempt was very similar and now I love knitting. You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs!

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    1. That is encouraging because I see what you produce now, Una. Actually, your knitting posts have been one of my inspirations to just sit myself down and start learning to knit instead of continuing to say, "some day..." :^)

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  2. Love the baby blanket and we get hints of all the right things. On the knitting front, don't worry about the edges of the stockinette more practice and a more even tension will take care of that fully and everyone's stockinette curls but look at the centre of the stockinette, I already see some consistent tension right there so although parts of the garter might have been a bit dodgy the further you went the better you got even on that sample. If your going to practice on squares perhaps do some that you can join together to make a blanket or try knitting some squares in cotton that you can use as dishcloths, this way you will have a purpose for the squares. I really love the muted tones with the loud they seem to work so well together and give a really great interesting project.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Ruth. The video tutorial I used actually encouraged just knitting away a skein of yarn - with no project in mind. Given this experience I do believe that is the most freeing way to approach this. Though, I did decide to start a dishcloth. It's all become pretty tiring, though, so I think I'm putting it away for a week. Letting this new "skill" brew for a few days and maybe come back to it fresh vigor.

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  3. You might think your knitting is a mess but it sure looks to me like the last 3-4 rows are perfect. The journey of a thousand miles ....

    I really like the scalloped edge on your octagon blanket. It's a nice subtle touch. Well done!

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  4. Really well done with the octagon blanket, it is gorgeous. And as for the knitting, it looks much better than my first attempts!

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    1. I can't tell you how encouraging it is, Lucy, for experienced knitters to say stuff like this. :^) It gives me hope.

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  5. Congratulations on the blanket! It is really lovely. I absolutely love how your scarf looks, so yummy. I think your first attempt at knitting looks great, you can see that you you are making no mistakes already in the stockinette section, and your stitches and very neat for a beginner. Keep practicing and you will feel confident soon.

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  6. Nice work on the blanket! Any new thing can be pretty frustrating to try to figure out especially if you can do something similar that's easier for you, BUT it feels so good when you show yourself you can do it!! That's how I felt about learning to crochet, I actually tried on my own about a year or so ago and didn't stick with it but after I tried again recently I was hooked (ha!) Don't give up, it's a good start! :) Also, that scarf is so pretty, I like the color combo you chose! Was that enough exclamation marks? I think I use them too much I can't help myself haha

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    1. The perfect amount of exclamation marks!! Thank you for the encouragement!!! :^)

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  7. The baby blanket has turned out beautifully, and good job on getting it done so quickly!!

    It's always awkward when you pick up a new skill, isn't it? And there is a trick to purling continental style. It's the only way I know how to knit, so the English knitting style is a total mystery to me anyway, but when you purl you need to use your middle finger to push down the yarn a bit to make it easily accessible for your needle. Once you know how to do it it just happens naturally. :)


    And lastly, I LOVE that scarf you are making. Gorgeous colours and the stitch brings them out perfectly.

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    1. Iris, after more practice I actually figured the above out (using my thumb to bring down the working yarn in purling and my middle finger to control the working yarn on the needle in knitting. It was easy! And then I switched to metal needles and they were so slippery I forgot everything I had learned. lol. Two steps forward one step back...

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