Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

A Great Blanket, Now That I Remember It

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Dear Kay,
You write of this blanket pattern, this Fussy Cuts Blanket pattern. So haunting, like a faded memory from the past.
Hold on–I remember it now! How could I forget making a 36-square-foot blanket? Maybe it’s because I finished the thing and incredibly stuck it into the mail to a complete stranger.
For those just joining us (where have you been?), Fussy Cuts is our blanket pattern that appears in the new and lush Craft Activism by Joan Tapper and Gale Zucker. This pattern is particularly well suited to a group knitting effort, so I got a bunch of knitters together to test the pattern and to make a raffle blanket for the Monteagle Assembly’s library renovation.
This was in May 2010. I completely associate this project with the Nashville Flood, which happened on May 1, right as I was receiving squares back from knitters. At one point our dining table was covered in squares while the roof leaked without pity into buckets right beside it.
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The yarn: Noro Silk Garden. I bought a bunch on sale, with little regard for colorways. More is more, after all. This thing was going to be OFF THE CHAIN. I launched yarn and pattern to volunteers Morgan, Ann, Pamela, Sue, Cullen, and Pam.
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Within a couple of weeks, this stellar group had returned every single square–not a layabout among them. Most impressive, they all got gauge.
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The squares were SQUARE. My tears of relief mingled with the deluge raining into our dining room.
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I took on the framing and joining part of the project myself, to test the pattern and also to give myself a colossal project while the house dried out.
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I spent a long time dithering on the color for the frames and ended up with a pea green Noro that seemed sort of summery. For a wool/silk blanket that was going to be raffled in July, we needed all the summery we could get.
I think we all know now that Noro Silk Garden in that neutral cream shade would be the obvious choice. But I didn’t even know it existed, lo those many moons ago in 2010.
Also: in the interest of finishing this thing asap, I made the frame on each square narrower than specified in the pattern. It worked just fine to do them this way.
And we didn’t do any fussy cutting to get the centers of the squares to pop out. I honestly didn’t think it would make a bit of difference when the color situation is so crazy.
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The back looks almost as tidy as the front, which is what you want with a knitted blanket.
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Before the raffle, I dragged the blanket all over the place, sentimental that it was about to leave home.
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The raffle went well enough, though it just about killed me that the adorable lady who bought 100 tickets didn’t win. I managed to do the right thing and mail the blanket to a lady in Cowan, Tennessee.
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Conclusions: This pattern is absolutely addicting. Each square equals one skein of Noro, basically. You don’t stop knitting until the square is done. Everybody seemed to love the pattern. It was great.
Now that I remember it.
Love,
Ann

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52 Comments

52 Comments

  1. Lovely! A bunch of Noro all tossed together, so wonderful!

  2. LOVE that green!

  3. Purty! Reckon it would work in other Noro, as we’ve seen with Mitered Crosses? Coincidentally, I started seaming my three-years-in-the-making Buncha Squares yesterday (pool knitting, as it’s cotton). Do I detect three-needle bind-off there? (Will still buy the book!)

  4. Y’all are going to start a worldwide Silk Garden grabbing frenzy.
    I can see the headlines now.
    MAYHEM AT THE LOCAL YARN STORE.
    Ethel Simms, 63 of Hooterville, claims she was stampeded by a wild mob of knitters while shopping at Sewmuchyarn last Thursday. “I was just browsing through the Baby Ull. And then the door burst open and there was so much noise and commotion. I just didn’t know what was happening. I heard things like. Don’t let her take all the 243. I have 4 skeins of 272 but I need 6! They were tackling each other, throwing skeins over one another, I was down on the floor before I knew what happened.”
    Maybelle Tubbs, Sewmuchyarn owner, said “By the time they left. We were cleaned out of all our Silk Garden. I have one skein of #269 left until our next shipment. There was sock yarn and fun fur thrown all over the store. I’ve scheduled Tracy extra hours to put everything back.”
    Ms. Simms added “I may have to start shopping at Wooly for Ewe. They don’t carry Noro.”

  5. The squares looked great – but seeing it all assembled on the rocker really makes me want to do one! I just hope Gwyneth’s story isn’t prophetic.

  6. Tis true, the Noro pretty much fussy-cuts itself. BUT it fussy-cuts even better with a little help.
    As Gale and I were putting together the sample, we had a long discussion of how there are basically only 2 kinds of knitters: (1) knitters who will cut right into a skein of Noro to make the color they want come out first, and (2) knitters who will never, ever do that.
    And to Maggi, yes, 3NBO is part of the story, but in this case you don’t have to pick up stitches! Exciting! LIVE STITCHES! That’s why the seams look so smoooooooth on the wrong side and there aren’t any grooves on the right side.
    Smooth and groovy in NYC,
    Kay

  7. I love the blanket with its bright green borders. While natural might have been an obvious choice, I think the green speaks more. Noro should never feel sedate after all.

  8. It’s beyond beautiful. I’m a blanket nut myself and may have to start collecting rogue skeins of Silk Garden.

  9. I want to add my vote of confidence for the green border. It is summery and colorful yet it doesn’t compete with the bright colors of the various squares. IMO the neutral white shade would have brought too much of a contrast. In the mitered cross blankets, you need that wide expanse of a neutral shade to set off the smaller bits of color, but here it is all about the squares, right?Not that I am obsessing about Noro or colors or blanket squares, mind you.
    The result is g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s and I can only wonder at your ability to keep quiet about it for over a year. Bravo!

  10. Hey Ann!
    Our next book title: “AMBIEN KNITS: 30 FABULOUS BIG-ASSED PROJECTS WE DON’T REMEMBER MAKING.”
    I do this all the time except usually the projects I find are large but not quite finished. Slow dawn of realization as to WHY not finished, put back in bag for another couple of years.
    xoxo Kay again

  11. The color you chose for the borders is perfect. Gives the blanket a hip log cabin look.

  12. That is one gaspingly beautiful blankie – well done, knitters! And I am going straight to Amazon to pre-order the Ambien Knits.

  13. wow – beautiful, and another commenter in support of that perfect green edging/background!

  14. Just gorgeous! The pea green was an excellent choice.
    Knitting Draped Across Cat Butt: a familiar sight in my house, too. I love it. :)

  15. Kay, I would so buy that book! And Ann, I, too, LOVE the green! I serioulsy need to find a LYS that stocks Noro in solids and stock up before my book arrives. Sadly it won’t have “big-ass” in the title, but it will contain the Fussy Cuts pattern.

  16. Another member of the “I know I have some brain cells but I can’t remember where I put them” club here. When I saw your post I thought wow, how did Ann knit this already, having completely forgotten about the green edged version. I have to say I think a more neutral border lets the Noro squares pizzazz more themselves BUT that green is one of my all time fave colors so I would happily steal it out from the lady in Cowan (what did you say her address was?).
    xo gale
    ps The rocking chair photo is absolutely lovely.

  17. Good thing I ordered the book last week! Because who doesn’t need a reason to order more Silk Garden? It IS the ultimate blanket yarn, if you ask me.

  18. Oh my Zimmermans and Starmores, I am absolutely itching for some Noro right about now.

  19. Gorgeous. Love that, and am a bit jealous of the winner!

  20. It is incredibly beautiful! The pea green (or chartreuse) makes it. I am the instigator of the chartreuse group on Ravelry,and there is a big place in my heart for bright green. Also, the majority of those Noro colors are analogous to green and the minority are directly across the color wheel from the pea green. Not that I would justify my personal taste with color theory or anything.

  21. Man, do I love that blanket. Holy crow! So gorgeous. I would never have picked that green yarn but now I want to make one exactly like this one even down to that green yarn. Who knew it could be a neutral? Love it, Ann.

  22. You’re right: the pattern is absolutely gorgeous. I bought the book on Amazon, got it, and was leafing through thinking “why did I buy this?” when I came to the pattern, and in an “aha” moment, it all came back to me. Forgetting may be a part of its mystique, but I must cast on!

  23. Oh, and by the way, talking about forgetting: did I ever tell you about the time I fell in love with a flower basket shawl pattern on another blog (Okay, it was Stephanie) and thought I must make this, until I realized “Wait a minute! I already did!” In Mountain Colors cashmere, no less.
    This is what happens to people who knit too much and read too many compelling blogs. But I don’t intend to stop. You provide way too much fun and inspiration.

  24. As usual, your blankets make me crave Jolly Ranchers. It’s lovely.

  25. I am in love with this. The book is arriving shortly!

  26. Wait – solid Noro? Didn’t know that was possible. What is that wonderful pea green Noro? It rocks all those beautiful squares. This blanket is fantastic!

  27. Oh that is luscious! If only I had an unlimited yarn budget….and a maid….and a cook….I could maybe, MAYBE do something like that! *drooling* And for what it’s worth, that green is perfect. Just the little bit of acid the whole thing needed.

  28. That is one fabulous blanket! While the cream colorway would have been pretty, I agree with the others that the pea green gives it an extra pop of color. I’m looking foward to making my own version (am really excited about the live stitches).

  29. I have never used Noro yarn(!) and thought the mitered cross blanket might do it , but no it will be the fussy cuts blanket that will do it! The green makes the colors POP and neutral would have been too bland. That blanket has mojo!
    Michele
    Ps loved the comment with the faux news item re mob of Noro shoppers!

  30. I feel a bit rotten for doing this- I should be commenting on how amazing that Noro blanket it…because it is and that’s the post topic, but I have a problem. A friend just adopted a baby boy and I knit him a blanket. I finished sewing in the ends last night and “washed” it in Soak. I noticed that my hands smelled a bit sheepish as I was squeezing out the excess water. Now, I’m not much of a blocker. I’m, in fact, an awful knitter really in that I don’t swatch or block (except that one other time, I think). This blanket Had to be blocked though because it was awfully long and just too narrow. The blocking worked…only it still smells like sheep (in fact, the whole room in which the blanket is lying smells like a barn…a nice barn, but a barn). Really, it probably smells like alpaca since that’s the fiber, but I’ve never been close enough to an alpaca to differentiate them (smell-wise) from sheep. Anyhow. I hate to embark on the process again as I’m obviously not fond of blocking, but I will if it will get the smell out (this is where I need your advise). If it were my baby, I would deal with the sheep smell to avoid re-blocking (scandalous, I know), but I’m pretty sure that’s bad form when talking gifts. Plan B: taking it to Dillard’s and spraying it with each & every sample scent out there. Ok, not really. What would you two do? Love (and pre-thanks), Sara

  31. I think the green is perfect and while you probably can’t go wrong using the cream, I’m glad you didn’t use it. The green is spot on.

  32. It would be wrong of me to say, “I hate you for posting this.”, so I won’t. But I was fairly successfully thinking ‘must do mitered crosses, do not be distracted’ and then you throw in that lovely green. (sigh) I. Am. Doomed.

  33. Is the cat really dragging the square into place? Amazing. I need a feline helper like that anytime I decide to make a Noro blanket. Perhaps there’s something in the Noro yarn that the kitty likes? A little catnip, eh?

  34. I caught sight of Craft Activism last night at a local book store. There it was in the crafts section, at eye level, facing out. I felt almost as excited and proprietary about it as if I’d written it myself! : )

  35. love the blanket my book is in the mail
    reading norma and your selves and gale
    i have been red scarfing and remember olivers blanket so many others over the years
    i feel as if i wrote the chapter myself

  36. Superb. The green just right.

  37. Oh, man. I was JUST thinking, “Thank goodness, I never have to knit with Noro again –” and you do this to me!

  38. Loved the mitred square loggy one, now this! My only problem is that the Noro irritated my contact lensy eyes. Or was it the Cascade 220? First time I worked with either. But I’ll wear goggles to make one of these beauties.
    And how do more than one knitter all make gauge? I cannot ensure my own consistency. Depending on mood, weather, the Euro….

  39. I think the green is actually a better choice than off white would have been.

  40. Beautiful!
    Thanks, yet again, for the inspiration!
    LoveDiane

  41. Wow – what striking colors. Beautiful…

  42. I am in love with Noro and this is the most beautiful blanket, whomever is receiving it is one lucky guy/gal! It is sure to be a family heirloom piece.

  43. What a gorgeous blanket, as a noobie knitter I can only hope that one day soon I am knitting such perty things!!

  44. Saw Gail’s version at Webs last week. LOVELY. Love her new book. I have never knit w/ Noro although my good friend Cathy Payson has gifted Julia w/ many Noro sweaters.
    I love this afghan. You can see a photo of the one w/ the brown edging over on my blog.
    http://getting-stitched-on-the-farm.blogspot.com/2011/10/craft-activism-oh-yeah.html
    Not sure if I will get to Rhinebeck on Sunday. We have the Amherst Farmers Market on Saturday and may be too pooped to attend. Besides, I can walk out into my yard and look at hundreds of sheep w/out paying $20. What a scrooge I have become!

  45. Beautiful. I especially like the rocking chair picture.
    I just wanted to bring to your attention that some people (like myself) are allergic to cats and just the smallest bit of cat hair on that blanket could make their allergies act up.
    Also, I just found your book in my library’s craft section and enjoyed it so-o much! I can’t wait to try out some of those patterns. I taught myself to knit maybe 7 years ago and then I learned to crochet. Since I picked up crochet I hadn’t knitted anything. Then I found your book. Now I have to knit! :) And when I saw that you have a blog, well let’s just say I might be checking in very often. Thank you for such wonderful ideas!

  46. That is beautiful. I love that it was group knitted.

  47. Just throwing my 2 cents in while I should be studying… Love the green! I can’t imagine how a cream would do…just that it wouldnt do what the green did. Beautimous!
    Cheers!

  48. I just found out that the afghans for Afghans project is mentioned on the Fussy Cuts Blanket page. We’re thrilled and honored! Thank you for the boost for the cause!

  49. I know this was ages ago, but for technological and other reasons I was unable to read your blog for a long time now (after having been a VERY devoted follower). So now as I try to catch up, I see these photos of your blanket! WOW! I mean *really* WOW! It is stunning! gorgeous! And it’s not the first time knitting you and Kay have done makes me sad that I never had art clases in school – never learned about primary colors til a couple of years ago. LOL. I KNOW crazy. But that’s what happens if you attended public school in manhattan in the 70s during NYC’s bankruptcy.
    Oh, and by the by, in case you can’t tell I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. It’s helped me through many a sleepless and pain filled nite (I have “a medical `condition'”) as well as enhanced regular low-pain filled days.
    Thanks guys!
    love,
    marilyn
    (p.s. due to landlord issues ( a long tawdry and very boring story), I haven’t had access to about 20 of my knitting books and my 4 binders of patterns (they’re small binders), and the book I miss THE most? Your first one! (I do have access to your second one, which you so kindly allowed me to “win” from you).

  50. I know this was ages ago, but for technological and other reasons I was unable to read your blog for a long time now (after having been a VERY devoted follower). So now as I try to catch up, I see these photos of your blanket! WOW! I mean *really* WOW! It is stunning! gorgeous! And it’s not the first time knitting you and Kay have done makes me sad that I never had art clases in school – never learned about primary colors til a couple of years ago. LOL. I KNOW crazy. But that’s what happens if you attended public school in manhattan in the 70s during NYC’s bankruptcy.
    Oh, and by the by, in case you can’t tell I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. It’s helped me through many a sleepless and pain filled nite (I have “a medical `condition'”) as well as enhanced regular low-pain filled days.
    Thanks guys!
    love,
    marilyn
    (p.s. due to landlord issues ( a long tawdry and very boring story), I haven’t had access to about 20 of my knitting books and my 4 binders of patterns (they’re small binders), and the book I miss THE most? Your first one! (I do have access to your second one, which you so kindly allowed me to “win” from you).

  51. I know this was ages ago, but for technological and other reasons I was unable to read your blog for a long time now (after having been a VERY devoted follower). So now as I try to catch up, I see these photos of your blanket! WOW! I mean *really* WOW! It is stunning! gorgeous! And it’s not the first time knitting you and Kay have done makes me sad that I never had art clases in school – never learned about primary colors til a couple of years ago. LOL. I KNOW crazy. But that’s what happens if you attended public school in manhattan in the 70s during NYC’s bankruptcy.
    Oh, and by the by, in case you can’t tell I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. It’s helped me through many a sleepless and pain filled nite (I have “a medical `condition'”) as well as enhanced regular low-pain filled days.
    Thanks guys!
    love,
    marilyn
    (p.s. due to landlord issues ( a long tawdry and very boring story), I haven’t had access to about 20 of my knitting books and my 4 binders of patterns (they’re small binders), and the book I miss THE most? Your first one! (I do have access to your second one, which you so kindly allowed me to “win” from you).

  52. I know this was ages ago, but for technological and other reasons I was unable to read your blog for a long time now (after having been a VERY devoted follower). So now as I try to catch up, I see these photos of your blanket! WOW! I mean *really* WOW! It is stunning! gorgeous! And it’s not the first time knitting you and Kay have done makes me sad that I never had art clases in school – never learned about primary colors til a couple of years ago. LOL. I KNOW crazy. But that’s what happens if you attended public school in manhattan in the 70s during NYC’s bankruptcy.
    Oh, and by the by, in case you can’t tell I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. It’s helped me through many a sleepless and pain filled nite (I have “a medical `condition'”) as well as enhanced regular low-pain filled days.
    Thanks guys!
    love,
    marilyn
    (p.s. due to landlord issues ( a long tawdry and very boring story), I haven’t had access to about 20 of my knitting books and my 4 binders of patterns (they’re small binders), and the book I miss THE most? Your first one! (I do have access to your second one, which you so kindly allowed me to “win” from you).