FO: Sweet Faux Hawk Baby Blanket
I finally finished the baby’s blanket!
I knew I wanted to knit a colorful and geometric blanket for my second child, like the Log Cabin Afghan I did for my first. I picked a pattern from a book I owned, ordered the yarn, and waited for it to arrive. Then I started having second thoughts. The blanket I’d picked had a lot of ends to weave in… which I hate… but I reassured myself it would be fine.
The yarn arrived, I started knitting… and I hated it. I hated the process. I won’t name the pattern, but it called for 81 squares with about 5 colors going at once, and then all the squares would have to be sewn together with the multiple colors of ends all weaving in. I knit a couple inches and ripped out. I had a discussion with my knitter neighbor, and we came up with a plan for me to knit 9 strips of 9 squares each. Less seaming, but the same amount of end weaving. I knit a few inches, decided I hated the whole thing, and quit. I love colorwork, but this blanket just did not do it for me. The finished picture was beautiful, but I decided it wasn’t worth hating life to get to that point.
Since I had gobs of multicolored yarn, I decided to strike out on my own and play with a mitred square motif. My first step was to try to figure out my color sequence. This took me a stupid amount of time, as I scribbled on graph paper and tried to some up with different combinations that didn’t have certain colors touching each other. In the end, there are some secret color combos that are special to my family: team and school colors next to each other, colors from the flags of our ethnic heritages next to each other, etc.
Many mitred square items are knit so that you either do them in stockinette, which gives you a nice ridge up the middle, or in garter, which results in no ridge. After some swatching, I decided I liked a combination of the two: garter fabric, but with the center stitch kept in stockinette to make the ridge. I also built my blanket so that the new squares were built off two sides of the squares below. In other words, the squares, when viewed from bottom to top, are actually on the diagonal.
This is opposed to the designs by Vivian Hoxbro, which tend to build off one edge to start so that the squares, when viewed from the bottom to top, are level. See example here.
The method I chose leaves you with a zigzag edge, though, like is common in the Sock Yarn Blanket. I definitely wanted nice, clean edges to make the blanket squareish. As I built my squares over the weeks, I thought about what I was going to do about that edge. I could come up with solutions that featured the same stockinette ridge for some of the sides, but not all. If I went that route, I was afraid the fact that the edges were different would distract from the overall effect. Again after much swatching and ripping out, I finally ended up doing just plain garter in each triangle “hole” around the edges, kind of like spackling in between bricks. And I’ve knit too many other blankets, designed by other people, where I’ve thought, “Enhh… I’m tired of this thing… that border can’t really make that much of a difference…” only to force myself to do it and then be amazed by how much a simple border can give a piece a finished look.
Finally, the name. I had come up with all kinds of descriptive and utterly boring potential names for this thing and was considering crowd-sourcing for ideas. But remember that stockinette ridge? One day my husband referred to it as the “sweet faux hawk” and sent me into such peals of laughter that I knew it was meant to be.
So here ’tis. My second baby’s blanket. I just need a baby to wrap in it.
I’ll be sending this blanket out for test knitting soon, and there will be an option to knit a smaller version. If you would like details about participating, please leave me a comment below.
Update 1/1/2015: Now accepting test knitters here.