I know I've been complaining about this blanket for a while, but now I can say with certainty that my kvetching is over -- the blanket is complete!
Pattern: Rainbow Chain Carriage Blanket (Raverlry link) by Erika Flory, Knotions spring 2009
Yarn: Berroco Vintage (50% nylon, 40% wool, 10% nylon), in Mochi (1.5 skeins) and Dark Denim, Bilberry, and Misty (0.5 skeins each)
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)
Started/Completed: August 13/October 27
Dimensions: 25" wide x 28.5" long
Mods: followed Courtney's changes (see below)
I didn't realize how involved this blanket was when I bought the yarn and cast on. I wasn't a good knitter and didn't read through the pattern before I started, and so I didn't realize right away that it involved intarsia. Now, I hadn't done any intarsia in years because the first (and last!) time I tried it, it seemed way too fiddly. I realize now that the instructions I was using then were way more involved than they needed to be and that all that was needed was a simple twisting of the yarns. The difficulty lies in keeping an even tension, and really, with all the stranded colorwork I've done since then, tension issues aren't really an issue anymore. So I'm no longer afraid of intarsia. Go me!
If you click over to the pattern, you'll notice that my blanket doesn't look that much like the original, and that's because I pretty much copied Courtney's blanket -- to the point of asking her for her mods -- with the exception of the colors I used. Instead of the double chain in each stripe, there is one chain that is centered in the stripe. I actually like this version better. I think it's a little cleaner and the stripes of the background color are a little easier to see. I also opted for only three colors for the stripes, rather than a rainbow. The recipient specifically requested a blanket in blue(s), and I thought a few shades would add a little more interest than just one. Changing colors so frequently did mean a lot of ends to weave in, but I did that as I went, which was a huge relief when I bound off and had only a couple of yarn tails left to weave in.
I picked this project up and put it down over the course of many weeks, so the start-to-finish time isn't really an accurate representation of the time it took to complete. I'd say that each stripe took an hour, more or less, to complete, including the time I spent detangling my skeins. When I started, I knew that I wanted it to be rectangular but didn't have an exact number of stripes in my head; I figured I'd just keep knitting until it looked long enough. In the end, 21 turned out to be the magic number. A little bit of blocking magic helped to make it just a bit bigger, and now it's a size that should still be good through the toddler years.
Yarn selection for this blanket was also heavily influenced by Courtney's version. I wanted something washable with at least some wool in it, and the Vintage certainly fit the bill. I am usually not a fan of acrylic, but this yarn feels more like a superwash wool -- soft and bouncy without the telltale acrylic "squeak." I enjoyed knitting with it, and it was certainly economical and produced a baby-friendly blanket. I have enough leftover that I can probably make a small sweater or some accessories with it, too.
Because I've been complaining about this project so much, I feel I should tell you a little bit about the recipient. The mom-to-be is the older sister of my childhood best friend, so in a way she's been like a big sister to me my whole life. To be perfectly honest, she's also someone I never quite expected to settle down; she's always someone I thought of as living the glamorous life. But she is now married and expecting a baby boy right around Christmas, and I couldn't be happier for her. We have spent Christmas with her family every year for at least the last decade, and we have been told by the mom-to-be that everything will be as per usual this year, whether or not the baby has arrived!
Finishing this blanket seems to have kick-started my knitting mojo, so expect to see a slew of other finished projects in the near future!