Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawlย is on through Sunday, September 25.

Yay (It Ain’t Sew)

Dear Ann,
Riding high on the early-morning reverse jet lag energy, I’m (over)excited to be joining the Mitered Crosses Blanket sample. If you have ever sewn up a bunch of knitted squares into a blanket (and I know you have), you understand. I am a decent hand at sewing up. I know my way around mattress stitch, and I am not ashamed of my whip stitch, neither. It’s just so much more fun, for a knitter, to knit things together than to sew them together. There is a stitch-to-stitch, mechanical precision about it that is extremely satisfying. Everything works out right, and the tension and flexibility of the seams match the knitted pieces–because it’s all knitted.
(The pile.)
It was not a stretch to finish the remaining 8 of the 10 mitered cross blocks while I was away for a week. It was delightful to have a truly portable knitting project in my purse for train rides in and out of Paris, on the buses of the western Parisian suburbs, and of course on two long plane rides.
(Yes, this is a square-in-progress, hanging on the Eiffel Tower. Yes the kids were kind of embarrassed.)
Take It Or Leave It Tip Department
I wove in all the ends on each square, except the last one.
Laziness? Procrastination? Yes and yes, and also another reason: when I am joining the squares and strips together, I undo the fastening-off and pick up a stitch in that last stitch.
(You could also just not fasten it off, and leave a marker in the last stitch. Me, I can’t keep track of markers, so I just fasten off loosely and undo it when I’m ready to knit into it.)
I also do this with the last stitch of each of the 4 miters, so that when I am picking up for the log cabin strips, I can undo the last stitch of the miter and knit into the live stitch instead of picking up in the knot. I don’t like knots. I don’t say it’s necessary to do this small thing, but it appeals to my sense of knitterly elegance to eliminate those little fastening-off bumps as I join the pieces.
Here’s the first strip I’ve joined. While I was knitting the half-blocks in plain garter onto the ends, I thought of other ways they could be done. They could be true half-blocks, exactly half of the cross shape, with exactly half of the log cabin strips. This would economize on yardage of the background color, which would be handy since I am still one ball short of Ol’ 269. They could also be true half-cross blocks knitted entirely in the background color, which would be a bit more fun to knit than plain garter, and visually interesting. But, fighting every inclination in my scofflaw soul, I kept to the pattern. It seems kind of basic that the sample in the photographs match the dang pattern, am I right? And I got a reward for good behavior, because I really like the way, by knitting straight rows of garter, Noro’s genius striping of pales shows itself. I really, really like it. (Now if only Mr. Noro would un-discontinue Silk Garden Shade 269. Please? Pleasepleaseplease?)
OK, now I must get some exercise. And by exercise I mean walking the city in search of a ball of Silk Garden 269.
Thanks to everyone who has bought the pattern and especially to the 69 valiant souls who have started knitting it. It is a thrill to see actual, real-life blankets blooming on Ravelry.com, in all their knitterly diversity. (I would be remiss as a fundraiser if I did not take this opportunity to display the Buy Now button: )
Signed Your Name On My Heart With an X-O

I leave you with a different kind of love letter to Japan, a Black Eyed Peas video that was filmed there a week before the earthquake/tsunami.

(I’ll take self-striping over auto-tuning any day, but it’s all good.)

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  1. Love the pattern, Love the idea of the half cross, which I will do. I have finished 1 block and I am holding off doing more as I am saving it for “vacation knitting” Love Love Love

  2. gah. your blanket is looking so fab!

  3. Your squares look so very nice. can’t wait to see the blanket.

  4. Your squares look so very nice. can’t wait to see the blanket.

  5. WOW. I am always stunned at how fast you can whip out a blanket. It is beautiful.

  6. Lovely blanket!! And thanks for reminding me of Paris. Remember Oliver’s blanket? I knitted a square in my little rented pied-a-terre en Paris.
    (Oh, and then I ripped out that square and fixed it at CDG,whilst waiting for my flight home. Who knew a mitred square could require ripping back? Oh la la la la la!)

  7. Good luck in your search. I’d love to hear more suggestions for alternative yarns since all the neutral Noro has apparently disappeared online.

  8. The pics on Ravelry really show how Noro, with the long color changes and funky color combos, is the perfect yarn for this pattern. Got my copy of the pattern. Thanks for writing it up, offering it to us, and doing it for Japan.

  9. I happened upon your blog through Ravelry. I love, love the mitered crosses pattern, and was looking at it the other day, before I found your blog. Anyway, after reading this post, I did a quick search on Ravelry and user Mtndznr has a skein of the noro in 269 that she’s selling. Not sure if this link will work, but here goes:
    Good luck!

  10. KAAAAAAAYYY! Your linky on the sidebar about the i-cord has a nasty virus on it! My computer freaked out and shut the page down.

  11. Check with the Fiber Gallery here in Seattle. I believe they have what you are looking for in your Noro colorway! http://www.fibergallery.com/

  12. Make that 70 knitters! I may have been the fifth person to buy the pattern, and I scoured my stash to find my Noro. I didn’t have/couldn’t afford the background in Noro too, so I’ve subbed a perfectly serviceable Lion Brand Fisherman’s creamy background. No stripes, but making process and loving them. I’ll join up at Ravelry and upload some pix as soon as I can. BUT, what I really wanted to say is it’s a lovely pattern and makes me happy to knit it. Thank you!

  13. Can’t wait to see the knitted blanky. I love all your various blankies. You are brave though…I’m a skeert of all those ends.

  14. Welcome back. The blanket is looking beautious.

  15. The blanket-to-be looks beautiful. The crosses are pleasing, but I have to admit that I especially love the warmth of Color 269. It looks so creamy and wonderful. It reminds me of the affogoto I had yesterday. Espresso and panna cotto gelato = yum! Noro Silk Garden 269: also yum!

  16. Doesn’t it just amaze you to see how many people have tons of Noro in their stashes, ready to cast on a blankie-project in a heartbeat?
    I recently made a lizard ridge in Kureyon for my grandson, and still have enough for another one. And that’s not counting Noro sock yarn, and other sweater projects-in-waiting.
    The blanket is gorgeous, of course. Fantastic colors. And you are so fast!

  17. This is like a KAL, I guess. So fun to see everyone’s emerging crosses and colors.

  18. Wow loved the video,you are always showing me the coolest stuff! Like my own personal stumble….remember the knitted house and the Beatles stuff. Always tell my daughter to go to your website to check out the newest thing youve shown us. Thanks and of course for the pattern and Japan help money.

  19. I think the Eiffel Tower swatch shot is kind of funny. I think there should be a Eiffel Tower KAL. You know there’s got be enough Knitters in the world to duplicate this shot on a daily basis. Yes, daily. On second thought. Why not do a blog on Where in the World is this Swatch? Have it travel and pose in different locales just likely some of those glossy travel magazines do with that silly doll.

  20. The blanket is looking wonderful, and I’ve just downloaded the pattern – it’ll be a bit of a challenge for me as I’ve never done anything like this before… I’ll probably be at all year! It’s fantastic that you’re using this to raise money for Japan, and to have raised such a lot already is incredible.

  21. The blanket is looking wonderful, and I’ve just downloaded the pattern – it’ll be a bit of a challenge for me as I’ve never done anything like this before… I’ll probably be at all year! It’s fantastic that you’re using this to raise money for Japan, and to have raised such a lot already is incredible.

  22. I am really looking forward to making this blanket. I’ve been trying to decide between this and the Albers shawl for my next trip (I’m unfortunately leaning to the shawl, because it has even greater powers of garter stitch than the blanket amazingly).

  23. I had no luck finding the Silk Garden 269 at the shop as well, but we had color 211 in the Kureyon. 6 balls. So I matched it up with enough Cash Iroha in color #1 to make the background color. Right now, I’m using that to finish the miters off. I’ll start using it to do the log cabin bits once I run out of the 211. But I found a work around!

  24. The tiny details about undoing the last stitch are exactly what I love to read.
    Also, thanks for the Bronte link above, also took me to Jane Austen’s fight club, v funny.

  25. This is why you are a rock star knitter – beautiful work without any knots knitted at warp speed! Thank you for providing this lovely pattern to help the people of Japan. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. My son was playing a Beethoven Sonata a while ago and declared it “geniussy” a label I am now applying to you. Undoing the fastened off stitch and knitting it – you are the Beethoven of knitting.

  27. Hey Kay-
    I have some Silk Garden col #269. If you want it, send me an e-mail. Thanks

  28. My LYS, Katonah Yarn Company, was donating a portion of sales from their Noro stock to aid Japan, so I got my Silk Garden, but they had no suitable Noro neutrals left. I couldn’t wait, so I tried Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend, color 3019. It’s knitting up very well with the Silk Garden and it feels luscious.


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