Monday, November 15, 2010

The Thrilling Conclusion to the Blanket Saga

Much like the original Star Wars trilogy goes the story of the smocked diamond baby blanket.

First, there was Episode IV: I introduced the blanket, explained where the pattern came from and how interesting and lovely it was. (Incidentally, I DID win that old Paton's pattern booklet where the pattern came from. There are some really neat patterns in there, particularly the bed jackets, which were oh so popular in the 1930s and 1940s.) But...these aren't the droids you're looking for....

Then there was Episode V: the dramatic and tense episode, where the joy of the finished product was quickly dashed by the blocking horrors caused by the evil Darth Wires; I lost a hand and then Orson got frozen in Carbonite.... Ok, not really.

Um, MOM! I am NOT frozen in Carbonite!

Now I give you Episode VI: good wins over the evil blocking wires and there will be a mega Ewok dance party at my house this weekend. Bring snacks and a panflute! \m/ \m/ (throws up the horns!)

So, it finished blocking and I removed the wires. It looked like I dragged the corners and one edge through the La Brea Tar Pits. I didn't know what to do to fix this. Spot cleaning didn't seem ideal. So...I tossed it in the wash. Now, it was superwash merino. And I used the most gentle cycle possible --- "hand wash"--- on the washer and gave it a double rinse to make sure all the detergent residue was gone. I'm not sure what I was so hesitant about because it washed up beautifully.


It also stretched out a lot. So a 29 x 29 blanket was now 38 x 38. It looked like a lace kerchief. Not so great.

I tried to hand shape back into a square, as you can see in the pictures. It looked ok; it was mostly square. So I left it there to dry and started another little project (which I will talk about later on). After about 40 minutes or so I started to think that I didn't like how the blanket was going to turn out. So I went back to it, picked it up and then tossed it into the dryer and prayed that the Force would be with me.


I used the "angels-blowing-swan-feathers-around" intensity on the dryer (actual setting: delicates) for about 20-25 minutes. I waited on pins & needles to see if I totally ruined this thing or it would come out looking like a washcloth. I mean, I've heard that superwash doesn't necessarily mean superdry. My socks take a beating in both the washer & dryer because Todd launders them. And he puts everything on the "construction-worker-concrete-and-mud-encrusted" industrial setting. But, the socks that I've made are with a wool and nylon blend, so I imagine that helps. This yarn was 100% merino wool.

DING! Dryer cycle over. Did Han & Leia get the shield generator down???

Why, yes, they did!

I am amazed, pleased, and extremely lucky that the blanket turned out as nicely as it did:

The yarn totally blossomed out and the pattern just pops right off the surface. The stitches seemed to tighten where they needed to and to spread out where necessary. The yarn overs around the diamond parts look especially good and even now. It's soft as a cloud and the size is just about what the original blocking was. I don't know whether to credit the yarn or the decency of the washer/dryer (probably a little of both). The yarn is Queensland Super Aussie. I HIGHLY recommend it. I got mine from Webs.

I have to say, I was a little worried about the diamond parts. While I was knitting them and even during the first blocking, they looked very lumpy and irregular. Plus each diamond's tip was a p5, which looked strange and loose no matter how tightly I pulled the yarn. Looks great now. I can't believe it.


Katie J said...

Ok...loved the Star Wars incorporation. What do I love even more? That blanket! It is truly fantastic, Gina!!! Congrats.

Beth said...

Gorgeous, Gina! you did a great job on that blanket.

Gina said...

Aww, thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

The blanket looks FABULOUS! So when are you going to knit a grown-up-sized version for yourself? :)

Bubblesknits said...

Wow...that blanket turned out beautifully! :D And my inner geek is loving the Star Wars crossover. lol