Sunday, November 6, 2011

Extra Panels in Blanket of Awesome

I got a comment on my original post regarding the extra panels, and realized that as a reader of blogs, I would find the process of adding to the original design interesting, so as a writer, should probably write about that!

The original blanket is meant to be more of a lap blanket, perfect for keeping on the couch. I wanted a blanket that could be used on a queen- or king-sized bed. This required lengthening the blanket in all dimensions. Making it longer was easy, just knit more repeats until it's as long as desired, roughly 80". I did that for the three original pieces, and then had to figure out how to make it wider. Some people also widened theirs, knitting the edges or inner piece again. I didn't like that solution. Instead, I wanted to make something that looked like it could have been part of the original pattern, if the pattern were originally made for a queen-sized bed. I tend to be better at taking something that exists and improving it (changing the decreases, ways things are attached, small technical details) rather than coming up with something 100% from scratch, so a knitting designer I am not. However, I think this modification turned out well!

In the original panels, the main panel is a nice mix of a lot of cables:

The side panels have one main cable, a lot of background stitches, and a nice border on either end, separating the panels. The edging braid is repeated in the last two pieces knit for the blanket, a top and bottom border as well:

I knew I needed roughly the equivalent of two more edge panels to bring the blanket to the size I wanted. I decided I liked the outside panels as-is so I wanted to add something in between the two original panels, something with some background stitching (the trinity stitch on either side of the main cable in that second picture) and some cables. I wanted the panel with many cables to fade into a panel of few cables to fade into the panel of one cable. I also wanted to keep the border braid in between each panel; the outside panels had one on either side so I would just need one on the side closest to the center in the new panels. Thus far, the general stitch count was set (about as many as the edge panels, give or take a few to make the patterns work), two motifs (more than zero trinity stitch, one braid on the edge by the center panel), and I knew that there would be more than one cable but less than three.

Both original panels have a fairly intricate and large cable down the center. Since I was trying to match them, I decided I should have a large-ish cable down the center, with trinity stitch on either side. I didn't want any stretch of trinity stitch as large as the stretches on the end, in keeping with the fading from many cables to a lot of background. I'd knit Valencia from Gardiner Yarn Works somewhat recently, and really, really, really liked the front cable motif. It fit the general cable requirements, fancy, large-ish, so I chose that one as my main cable:

Ooh la la, I know!

I also needed another smaller cable to break up the trinity stitch on either side of the main cable for this panel, so I chose a little fun one that I think I used somewhere sometime but I don't remember anymore because this was over a year ago. For that one, I decided how much of the trinity stitch I wanted on either side (one repeat on one side, two on the other, because it worked out nicely that way and you really can't do half-repeats) and then figured out roughly what size cable I needed to fill the rest of the space. I recall looking online, but am not sure where exactly I got that little cable from. Either way, it fit, I love it, and here's the panel I ended up with, shown off in blocked and unblocked format:

I love this blanket, love how well the panel I came up with works with it, and really truly am planning to knit it again, even if it was months and months and months of knitting. It ended up being late, actually, and I was knitting it in the car on the way to the wedding, frantically trying to finish the borders so I could give it to them there:

Had I not knit one of the borders 10" too far, it would have been fine, but I'm almost happier I didn't finish, because then I was able to give it one final block and take finished pictures of it!

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