Noro Silk Garden Solo is available at Webs and Jimmy Beans Wool, and at your local purveyor of Noro.

Anaconda of Love

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Dear Kay,

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.

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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.

No.

It was the back side of two squares I was seeing. Sewn wrong.

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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.)

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Tip Number 6. Knit extra mitered square blanket. Place near your work area as decoy.

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Love, Ann

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.

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. OMG, decoy blanket! Why have I not thought of this before? I can commiserate on the failure to repair on the first try. It was quilting, not knitting. Can’t say which idea instills more fear in my heart and angst in my psyche. Power on, you can finish this!

  2. Suck it up and start crocheting, so much faster :) blog post might be more boring though ;)

  3. Breathtaking. The adventure with the two wack squares, but mostly the whole blanket together. Totally breathtaking. Fingers crossed for an amazing photo shoot, because I really want to vicariously revel in that baby.
    Wow.

  4. Ann, thank you so much for the tips! I am just finishing up my third square, and I suspect I will need every last one of those tips. Also, your blanket is STUNNING!

    • Knit on! Share your work when you can!

  5. I once did the 3 needle bindoff on a cardigan inside out and left it as a design element, but I agree, on this blanket, I would have fixed the wrong side squares twice too!!!

    You will make it, but for this rush, I might have learned to crochet!

    • With my kind of luck, I would probably crochet the thing to my brassiere.

      • *laughing* What a great image! I’ve been in quilting groups where one of us painstakingly hand applique’d several pattern pieces to her skirt. Boy was she bummed when she stood up!

        • LOL!

  6. What an heirloom! Keep on keeping on; it is just wonderful. Thank you for sharing with us!

  7. Fantastic!! Is this Noro #84 that you mentioned earlier? All of this done is just a skein at a time?

    • Yes, that’s Ol’ 84 as the red border. This recipe calls for one skein of Noro Silk Garden per square, 48 stitches per side when the square is complete. The border takes a half skein if you work 10 rows of garter stitch, resulting in 58 stitches per side. The attached I-cord on a 20-square extravaganza takes less than one skein; the seaming takes less than a skein. So: grande totale for a 20-square blanket like this is 32 skeins of Noro. It helps to buy it incrementally . . . just sneak in a skein or three every once and a while.

      • I love sneaking in extra skeins, especially Noro!!

  8. Lovely blanket! Wait till you see the colors in India.

    “Mad Men”!!! Yes. So glad it is back, but sadly only 7 episodes. Read Tom and Lorenzo for ‘Mad Style’ and read Sepinwall/What’s Alan Watching for thoughtful analysis.

    Should we feel sorry for Don? But let’s root for Joan …. And sadly, remember some of those clothes … and a 70s inspired yellow and brown afghan we still have from in-laws … Nowhere as pretty as Noro.

  9. Thanks for the update! I am on square #9 and hoping to have enough lacrosse/soccer/SF Giants games to get through 20 before I despair of finishing. Was the switch to Noro for the border (as opposed to the pattern as written) just a color/taste decision? Or better for gauge? It is gorgeous!

    • How thrilling! Can’t wait to see how yours looks. I went with Noro Silk Garden rather tha Lamb’s Pride Worsted because a) I was hoping for a maximally colorful blanket, b) was quickest to use locally available yarn, and c) couldn’t find a Lamb’s Pride shade that looked right. Also: didn’t want to use neutral Silk Garden 211 because I’ve already made a blanket with it and wanted something different.

  10. I would not have thought of using the reddish color for the borders, but it is a beautiful combination! And thanks for the tutorial, too. I’m always learning from this blog. Oh, I feel your pain on the reversed squares! I’m making a blanket to use up some acrylic yarn, going to give to charity, but just realized that I’m using a different size needle on the second square’s border than I used on the first (going to have to rip one of them, even though this blanket is clearly not going to be a masterpiece or heirloom on any level).
    I’m wondering…do you end your border after a purl row or knit row to make it look good when you connect them using 3-needle bind off?

    • Last round is a purl round, the. The stitches then go onto waste yarn.

      • Curse you autocorrect!

        • Thanks!

  11. I realize this is a subjective question – but here I go anyway. Is all Noro extra scratchy? I have looked at Noro in yarn stores. So pretty – butI find it to be unbearably scratchy. When everyone was knitting those striped Noro scarves I looked at it again – but I could not imagine letting it touch my (tender, delicate – haha) neck. Someone once told me that after proper washing (i.e. hand-knit friendly techniques) it fluffs up and is not scratchy – but my scratch threshold is very low – and I’d hate to put all that work into something that was set aside because of the scratchiness.
    What say you Kay & Ann?
    And – if scratchy- (I think I know the answer already…..) is there anything that is similar? In the ballpark? A sensitive-skin friendly alternative?

    • An excellent question and a fear I shared for many moons. The secret to Silk Garden is the SILK component of the yarn. Once you wash it, Silk Garden is downright snuggly, soft enough for even prickly-averse me.

  12. That cabin! Besides its inherent hideousness, I’m worried that Meghan is going to have some sort of Sharon Tate ending to her character. Isolated cabin in the canyon? But that would be too obvious, right? I hope the writers don’t go there.

  13. May I recommend “Midsomer Murders” as good knitting viewing? There are about a billion episodes available, and they generally move slowly enough that you don’t need to be watching all the time (DO watch the initial set up few minutes though – I speak from confused experience). They’re murder mysteries, but they’re along Agatha Christie lines in the general lack of depicted gore and violence.

  14. How timely. I have 20 squares tucked away in a bag all ready to be put together. I confess that I have been put off by the putting together part and won’t confess just how long those squares have been in the bag!

  15. There is a way easier way to accomplish this, and you won’t have holes. Use those 60″- long lengths that are now part of the good interchangeables.

    Then, 3-needle b.o. all the squares for two columns, lengthwise. You’ll feel like a sailor, with a lot of little flags waving on from two sides of one pole. Then do the same thing for two more columns of squares. When you have all the squares joined this way, then join the columns to each other.

    Then use those long lengths and join each set, width-wise.

    • That’s what I did! Still managed to have holes! Urgh!

  16. So beautiful! Boy, I really feel for this project! Your blanket is giving me the inspiration and the craving to put down current knits for others, and get back to my own Fussy Cuts. I,too, purchased my SGL here and there, waiting for sales and then purchasing as much as I could afford at each time.

    Ann, I’m wondering if when you blocked the squares you included in the borders in the blocking process; or, did you block the squares before addding the borders?

    Safe travels to you and yours, for the upcoming wedding trip. Wishing every blessing to the happy couple for their wedding day, and beyond.

    LoveDiane

    • Sorry, it wasn’t SGL, but regular Silk Garden (I think I’ve done this before…..)

  17. Your work is just beautiful. It’s also great to hear that others make the same mistakes, again. Sometimes I think I’m the only one:)
    And tip number 6…invaluable. Enjoy your trip and the wedding.