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Koigu Blanket Dreams

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It's really hard to sit with a fabulous bag of of Koigu Painters Palette Merino next to your desk and not want to do something with it. It's doubly hard when you know that you have purchased that yarn with the intention of trying out something new and fun and you have the hope that the combination of color and new technique will lead to something both creative and beautiful.

After getting my desk cleaned up on Saturday afternoon, I still had some daylight time to consider my Koigu throw. I didn't want to use up any of the new stuff that I had, so I went back through my yarn remnants and pulled out some KPPPM that I had left over from my Charlotte's Web Shawl. This turned out to be an ideal starting point, since my leftovers were colors I used next to each other in the shawl.

Initially I was thinking that I would just try to find a good needle size to get the right drapey blanket texture that I wanted to achieve. But after I made the first square, I decided that I just wanted to play with joining squares together. The 4 squares below are the result.

20040815_DominoBlanketSwatch.JPG
1. Solid garter stitch square in KPPPM 602; 2) Garter stitch square alternating KPPPM 602 and KPPPM 334; 3) Alternating garter and stockinette stitch square with KPPPM 502 and KPPPM 334; 4) Solid garter stitch square in KPPPM 334

My general idea for the blanket is to have a strip of squares in a "solid" (if you can ever call a KPPPM colorway a "solid") followed by a strip of squares that alternated colors in some fashion, followed by a strip of squares in the second "solid" color.

In the above swatch, the squares labelled 1 and 4 are solid colors, while the squares labelled 2 and three alternate every two rows using the two solid colors. Square 2 alternates color but uses garter stitch all the way through. Square 3 alternates both color and stitch pattern, switching between garter stitch and stockinette.

I need to loosen up a little bit carrying the alternating yarns up the sides of the squares, but other than that, I consider the experiment a success. I even think the gauge is about right. Each of the dominos is 12 stitches and 2.5" on a side (4-3/4 stitches/inch), which seems to create the right amount of drape in the fabric. So I guess I'll be sticking with my 4.25 mm bamboo double points for this project (Clover DPs, for some reason, don't use the standard 4.0 mm sizing for US size 6 needles).

I was going to knit a few more squares to get a better idea of how this would look on a larger piece, when I realized that through the miracle of digital photography and PhotoShop I could make my small swatch grow into something much larger and more interesting.

20040815_ImaginingABlanket.JPG
PhotoShopping a Throw

No one will ever be able to confuse me with someone who really knows how to use PhotoShop, but I am pretty pleased with the overall impression I was able to create. I definitely like the striping effect that I was thinking about. Now I need to decide how I want to alternate the color. So it's time to take an opinion poll. Do you like the solid garter stitch with the alternating colors (a la square 2) or do you prefer the garter stitch alternated with the stockinette (a la square 3)? Or do you think I should head back to the drawing board and try something else? All opinions will be gratefully accepted.

I'll kick the voting off with my dear, sweet husband's pick: alternating the garter and stockinette, which he likes because of the texture it creates.

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