Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

Magical Mystery Blanket

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Dear Ann,
We got a lot of entries to our giveway of a subscription to Debbie Abrahams’ 2013 Mystery Blanket Club.. Sorry it took me a bit of extra time to get organized and random-draw the winner.
Without further ado, the winner is
JUDY
This particular Judy’s email address includes “jwslfarm.” Judy left this comment:
Started with a blanket for each of my babies, which we still have, despite hard use. I design all of my own blankets, using pattern stitches from the wonderful Barbara Walker Treasuries.
(The “hard use” refers to the blankets, not the babies, and I’m so glad Judy still has them.)
Moving on, let’s talk about blankets. My blankets. Here is a blanket I started in 2009, in a Noro-induced fever that was very enjoyable.
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When the Noro ran out, I stuck the blanket in a bag in a nearby oubliette, thus sidelining not only the WIP, but a perfectly good bag and a couple of long circular needles that I immediately forgot I owned.
This was all part of my Artistic Process, you see. I didn’t know where I wanted to go with this blanket, but I knew I didn’t want to just bind it off, because then it would be a repeat of the big Noro log cabin I rescued from a bucket-shaped fate earlier in 2009. We can’t be having repeats (apart from Honey Cowls). Life is too short to knit the same blanket twice. Especially when there are so many good ideas for blankets.
The good idea finally came to me, when I was stash-tidying one day. I came across my precious hoard of Rowan Denim in the long-discontinued shade of BLACK. This is a dreamy shade, because it weathers to pale grey. Apparently it was difficult and/or expensive and/or environmentally unsafe to continue to dye the yarn to such an inky and rub-offable shade of black. I have been collecting it for years, and using it very seldom.
But again, LIFE IS SHORT. KNIT THE YARN! KNIT THE GOOD YARN. This past spring, I excavated the project (“Whee! Free circular needles!), and began bordering the Noro with the black denim. It’s a bit wacky to mix a silk/wool blend with a string-like cotton, but I liked the idea a lot, and I knew that our pal Belinda would like it too. So I knitted on asymmetrical borders, and then edged the blanket with applied i-cord, using a leftover nugget of Belinda’s hand-dyed, self-striping blue denim yarn.
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I snapped a few photos of it. Just a few. And Belinda has taken it back with her to London, where I hope she beats the heck out of it, and fades the black to grey in no time. I do not know how the Noro Silk Garden will fare with the beating and the fading, but Belinda will no doubt report all the facts. Belinda is not one to sugarcoat. If Noro and denim do not make a good marriage, we will hear about it. Until then, I really like the idea of a soft cotton outside surrounding a warm, woolly inside.
Congratulations, Judy! Have fun on your mystery blanket adventure. Send us a postcard every once in a while.
Love,
Kay

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37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. I admire your patience for applied I-cord around the entire blanket.

  2. Lov e it. It says Kay all over.

  3. FABULOUS! And as always I stand in awe of your applied i-cords chops.

  4. FABULOUS! And as always, I stand in awe of your applied i-cord chops.

  5. The “hard use” refers to the blankets, not the babies, and I’m so glad Judy still has them.
    Love this clarification, can’t begin to tell you how much I love it! I spent hours of the summer putting new squares on top of totally worn squares of a quilt I made for my now 19 year old. I learned to like hand sewing more, but mostly I was just consumed with one thought: Why the heck did I buy such crappy material? What a waste! P.S.-He took it back to college(shhh, never tell anyone) so it was worth it.

  6. My heart skipped a beat and my mind raced when the page opened to reveal your blanket! Luv, luv, luuuve the applied I-cord!
    Thanks so much for sharing; it gave me a needed lift.
    LoveDiane

  7. Sigh…I would be crushed at not having won the blanket were it not for the above quoted clarification about the babies and the blankets! I think that line will keep me smiling for the whole week ahead! Thank you!

  8. Asymmetrical borders!?! I LIKE that….

  9. oh, cotton and wool make a wonderful melange. this blanket is perfect!

  10. I’m now on the edge of my seat to find out if the Denim plays nicely with the Noro or if the run-off turns the silk dingy. Anxiously awaiting Belinda’s report. I’d hate to see this lovely blanket dingified.

  11. Beautiful! Do you recall what color the Noro was/is?
    thanks!

  12. Such a gorgeous blanket! Love those colors. All of them.
    Congrats to Judy :)

  13. I love the blanket. I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable knitting the wool/silk with a denim yarn, but it is lovely regardless.
    I have yarn for my first honey cowl, but I need to finish some other projects first. I would love to have this and a second project both done before the first winter snows.

  14. Love the i-cord edging. It frames the knitted art and also protects the edge.Good idea.

  15. Inspired and lovely! Motivates me to finish my lanquished log cabin. Just TWO squares away from completion! Would be nice to free up those circs!

  16. Inspired and lovely! Motivates me to finish my lanquished log cabin. Just TWO squares away from completion! Would be nice to free up those circs!

  17. Inspired and lovely. Can’t wait to see what your next project is!

  18. Looks gorgeous. I’m sure Belinda will love it even if the fibers fight eachother!

  19. I am liking the asymmetrical border a LOT. I am intrigued by wonkiness in blankets–it’s so easy with knitting for things to be even, square, perfectly plumb. How interesting to break that natural order. Short rows seem like another opportunity to mess with the orderliness that knitting naturally generates.

  20. I also like the idea of the (faded) black cotton around the edges. I hope it works out well.

  21. The border absolutely makes that blanket. I have a ton of Jaeger denim so it looks like it may have a future at some point. I can’t imagine doing that much attached I-cord. Having put it on Dawn, I am pretty much over ever doing it again. Although, my edges were not optimal on that project.

  22. The border absolutely makes that blanket. I have a ton of Jaeger denim so it looks like it may have a future at some point. I can’t imagine doing that much attached I-cord. Having put it on Dawn, I am pretty much over ever doing it again. Although, my edges were not optimal on that project.

  23. Wow. Can’t wait to hear progress reports from London and from Judy!

  24. I am completely besotted with the whimsical corner in the first pic of this blanket, although the rest is very nice, too. If only my own knitting muse would take a cue and do ‘whimsical’ instead of ‘half-***’ when requested. (sigh)

  25. Thanks so much to Ann and Juliet for the Debbie Abraham’s Mystery Blanket subscription. I am completely amazed to be the very lucky winner of this superb prize. Yes, my babies were not given “hard use”, but a lot of love. They also “designed” their own sweaters and blankets once they were old enough to pick colors, pattern stitches and draw designs. I’ll keep you posted on the progress once the blanket installments start coming.

  26. It’s always those little touches with your blankets that get to me. Those squares that make the rows (logs) seem to be woven on that corner! Wow! That is the best design feature ever. If it was because you ran out of yarn, all I can say is run out of yarn a lot, all the time. This is so great!

  27. It’s always those little touches with your blankets that get to me. Those squares that make the rows (logs) seem to be woven on that corner! Wow! That is the best design feature ever. If it was because you ran out of yarn, all I can say is run out of yarn a lot, all the time. This is so great!

  28. Oh Kay, what a work of art! Lucky Belinda. Even if it’s a less than perfect marriage, it looks like a fabulous honeymoon!

  29. London calling… blanket has had much use over the weekend due to prolonged collapsing on sofa because of nasty bout of D&V laying low the entire household (except rabbit, of course, who was merely disgusted that her routine had been disrupted. Severe OCD, our bunny.)
    SO. Once we drag ourselves back to normality, I am going to chuck Mr.Noro-and-Denim into the washer (on a wool wash of course). I expect slight fading and no murking of the wool / silk. But I will let you know.
    It is a Beautiful Thing, this blanket. Iman has Looked at it in a Serious manner and been warned off it.

  30. Self striping i-cord!!! Holy smokes, it’s the bomb!!
    (No wonder you’re sending it to London.)(I know, that was really really bad.)
    Gwageous. Rilly. Thank you for boldly mixing fibers, I think there’s not enough at all of that going on. I even get comments that people can’t believe I’m combining different cottons in the same gauge. Scarier than Halloween!
    Great use of the precious black. It’s so very lovely.

  31. Black is brilliant. In that middle photo, it looks like it’s floating, like a photo of an artwork against black. I don’t even want it to fade, but the grey will surely look cool, too.

  32. Much admiration from this coast. The entire blanket is sheer genius and those little square accents are over the top – color block intarsia? And then the binding…. Such talent! jdu

  33. Simply brilliant. I love the mixture of the very different colors and fibers. I hope it works. I will be watching.

  34. Yes, bravo for brave yarn play, and in such a big project! I look forward to seeing what the black dye does to the silk. I think that it will just make it more folk-artish and interestingly time-worn.

  35. Arent you worried about the shrinkage that will accompany the fading of the Riwan yarn?

  36. Aren’t you worried about the shrinkage that will accompany the fading of the Riwan yarn?

  37. Hi there MWknitter,
    The Rowan yarn will only shrink if Belinda washes it hot and dries it in the dryer on hot. Therefore, it can fade without shrinking, just not as quickly or dramatically. And even if she washes & dries it hot, it’s a fairly small percentage of shrinkage. I’ve knit a lot of it, so has Belinda, we’re kind of intrigued to see how it goes.