Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hemlock Ring Blanket - Done!

I did manage to finish the Hemlock Ring Blanket a few days ago, but after I blocked it, it took me awhile to snap a decent picture.

I'm not really sure yet what I think of this project. When I was knitting it, it was a lot of fun, and I had envisioned knitting one for each of my family members/groups. Euphoria from the project was creating hazes of bliss around my head, I suspect. (Beware projects with "Hemlock" in the title).

Once it was off the needles, however, things started to go a little wonky. ("Wonky" is my technical knitting term for "I'm not sure what's going wrong, but I don't like it".) I was confident that this long legged octopus would straighten out after blocking, and anticipated the magic results. Huh.

First, my regular needles wouldn't pin the wonky thing in place, because the cotton was so heavy, the sewing pins couldn't handle the tension. (I found myself shouting things like, "The truth? You can't handle the truth . . ." to my unfortunate knitted project. I'm sure Handyman just figured it was another pregnant moment in which he wisely decided to stay downstairs.)

In desperation, I took an iron to the blanket. This was truly a desperate measure, as ironing can sometimes have either wonderful or disastrous results with knitting. That helped, but my beautiful blanket still resembled a white blobby octopus.

Finally, I read that someone had encountered a similar dilemma with Mr. Wonky Hemlock Ring Blanket, and used T pins to block. I got some at Wal-mart, and it worked! I stretched the bugger within an inch of it's life (ha, as if that's anything compared to what my poor tummy's going to go through in a few months . . .), and voila! Much better.

I'm still not completely thrilled with it, because after it was dried and I removed the T pins, it shrunk up a little. However, it's a recognizable semi-flat object now, so I can just pretend it's supposed to be that way.

Okay, I suppose all you knitters out there are yelling at the monitor, "Alright already, what yarn did you use?" Since I am well aware that acrylic, my often favorite, is not meant for blocked objects, I opted for 100% cotton. For some reason, I thought that cotton was blockable. I suppose it is, in a way, but not to any satisfactory extent. So now, you same knitters are most likely feeling all smug and thinking, "Huh, doofus should'a used wool". To which I whine (yes, I can read your minds), "I don't like wool! It's itchy! It's expensive! I can't afford to buy this much Merino wool! It has to be machine washable!"

But wool does block beautifully.

I want to knit another blanket.

Anyone know of an affordable, non-itchy wool?