Anaconda of Love
April 17, 2014
The clock is TICKING on this wedding present blanket. I am way behind but hope to power through in order to get this thing on its way to the bride and groom in Chicago before they depart for India next week. And, relatedly, before I depart for India too.
Squares: done. Blocking: done. Phase III: The Attachment? Not so fast there, hon.
To review: the squares have live stitches on all sides, held on waste yarn. The squares are joined using three-needle bind off, which adds a nice sturdy seam throughout the blanket and also joins the squares with great elegance. Love this. It is not, however, the fastest way to do this. Crocheting would be fastest. But I don’t crochet. (No hate, just a fact.)
Pro Tips For This Method Of Blanket Creation
Tip Number 1. Three-needle bindoff does NOT require three needles of the same size or length. Only the “action” needle, the one you make the stitches with (for me, it’s the right-hand needle) needs to be the size I knitted the whole blanket with. The others are just holder needles, so don’t go buying a bunch of specific needles when you can basically wing it. Also: they don’t have to be long circs, despite the fact that the seam can be five feet long. You can easily scooch three or four squares on a 29″ circ, then add squares as you need them.
Tip Number 2. When knitting the borders around the squares, put each side of the square’s live stitches onto separate pieces of waste yarn. I forgot to do this on this blanket and used just one long strand, all the way around the square. As a result I have been counting 58 stitches over and over and over, making sure I’m picking up the exact number each time. I despise the number 58 at the moment, honestly.
Tip Number 3. Trader Joe’s Lite Kettle Corn is the official snack food of this blanket. Be sure to get a pile of it to garner strength for the journey.
Tip Number 4. Spend more time than you think necessary to make sure you are connecting the correct edges together. I cannot emphasize this enough. After attaching fifteen squares in an efficient and cheerful way, I spread out the blanket to admire my handiwork. It looked fantastic. Oh: a couple of ends that found their way to the right side of the blanket.
It was the back side of two squares I was seeing. Sewn wrong.
Now, I stared at this mess for a long, sour while. The two squares had flipped at some point. Yes, I considered the idea of leaving it. But the fix meant undoing one seam and flipping the two squares back, so I did that, feeling penitential. Did I then connect them incorrectly a second time, creating an incomprehensible tube of squares that was 10,000 times worse than the first problem? I can . . . barely . . . type . . . this . . .
Yes . . . I did that . . .
Tip Number 5. The nature of this three-needle bind-off is that there are moments of holeyness at the intersections. You make little drawstring hole-fixes around these, using the ends of the three-needle bind off yarn, MacGyver style. (I think I’ve found my next binge-watch.)
Tip Number 6. Knit extra mitered square blanket. Place near your work area as decoy.
PS For those of you wallowing in the delectable gloom of the new season of Mad Men, I’d like to direct you to the superb recaps/deep analysis coming out of Basket of Kisses. The Lipp Sisters are running basically a PhD program in Mad Men Studies. My takeaway from the first episode: MEGAN YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF THAT CABIN HONEY.