While I was in China, I knitted a wonderful and meaningful blanket for myself with tons of Noro Kureyon yarn that was given to me by many friends and family members. (Pictured on the left. Ignore the goofiness.) Each square represents a loved one, and together the blanket can remind me of my time in Shanghai. I was planning on making maybe a 24-ish square blanket, but I ended up receiving over 70 skeins! I got so much yarn that even when my blanket was done (with 42 squares), I had tons leftover. So I am using that leftover yarn and keeping the love alive by making a different style blanket for my parents. I plan on giving it to them for their wedding anniversary at the end of this year. They have already seen me working on it, so it's not much of a surprise...
When trying to find a good pattern, I found the Paintbox afghan on Ravelry and simply fell in love. The picture on the right is what really sold it for me. (Note: I did NOT knit this). I love working with transitional yarns, and I think this is the perfect pattern to highlight the lovely qualities of the Noro yarn. Each square is knitted from the inside out and the final effect is supposed to seem like a painters box of swirled paints, hence the name. The pattern for the squares is also known as "Log Cabin" because the overlaying structure is similar to building a log house.
Through using full skeins and also fudging some transitions by putting together scraps leftover from the other blanket, I managed to knit up 36 squares. I plan on putting together a lovely 6x6 blanket. The sample above is 5x5, but I am hoping to end up with something roughly queen-sized.
Since all the knitting is done, the next step was blocking. Blocking involves taking knitted work of natural fibers and by using heat/steam/agitation/etc, to get it to take the final shape you want. Even though each square I knitted was made with the same yarn and knit with the same pattern, by differences in the tension of my knitting, the thickness of the fibers in the yarn and the alignment of the planets, not every square is the same size. By stretching the squares, pinning them down and giving them a bit of a steam/ironing combo, I can get them the size and shape I want. I aimed to get them all to somewhere between 10.5-11 inches square.
It's a long and rather dull process that I haven't done much in the past, but after it made sewing together the last blanket about 1,000% easier, I have been converted. And it wasn't too lonely. Since it was extremely windy out that day and my dog, Ben, is a big baby when it comes to howling wind, I had company. I just wish he hadn't decided to cower DIRECTLY UNDERNEATH the ironing board. Ah well.
Next I just have to decide the blanket layout. Whee!