Fridays with Franklin – The Adventure of the Stealth Blanket: Part Four

fwf-logo-v11The Adventure of the Stealth Blanket: Part Four

 

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first installment of this series, click here.

Kenzie and Kenzington is 20% off until August 12th, 2016 using code Franklin816 !

 

The delicious moment of epiphany that capped Part Three, was itself capped by a less delicious moment of epiphany.

Stealth 4.1

I still had half the blanket to knit. Another thirty two squares. Plus seaming. Plus a border.
I felt queasy.

When you write a column like this, you’re not supposed to say that. You’re supposed say this:

And here, dear readers, I must leave you–for the joys quill and paper are as nothing to the thrill that awaits at the work table. Such brilliant yarn! Such dear little squares! I warrant I shall not sleep these ten days ’til I have had my fill of knitting them. Anon!

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Okay, maybe most writers wouldn’t say it exactly that way–there would probably be a “yummy” and a “squee” and generous use of “ZOMG” plus a smiley emoticon. Such is the current fashion.

But what you are never, ever supposed to do is admit in public that you are not fainting with delight over every single stitch.

Pssst. Pssst. You wanna know a secret? We aren’t always fainting with delight over every single stitch, any more than you are. But don’t tell anybody I told you.

You may recall, however, that I started this adventure by admitting the blanket would be a minefield of personal aversions: big, repetitive, garter stitch. That was part of the point. Could I do it? Or would I fall apart in front of you all and pretend a throw pillow made of these two blocks was really what I wanted the whole time?

Garter on the Go

By this time, the two-color square pattern had engraved itself upon my brain as deeply as the alphabet, my telephone number, and the theme tune from “Mister Belvedere.” They had become such mindless knitting that on more than one occasion, I found myself binding off a square I could not remember casting on.

So I knit them in a sports bar…

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On a Chicago rooftop…

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On several airplanes, of which this was one…

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On the back porch with a dear companion…

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I knit through conference calls, waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting in a coffee shop, sitting in the park, lying in bed, lying in the bath, lying on the sofa, lying to myself, lying in wait.

I continued the running tally of my squares to make sure I knit enough–and not too many–of each combination.

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To my great surprise, in much less time than I’d anticipated the table was covered with the requisite number of squares.

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Whipped

Then I sewed them up with whip stitch (more about that in Part Two), once again following a sequence inspired by the way quilters put their blocks together.

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Choosing the color for the sewing was nerve-wracking. My original intent was to use one of the quiet background colors, thinking the joining method shouldn’t draw attention to itself.

But…why not? Why not celebrate the sewing? And pull the counterpoint color into the blanket more fully?

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Edged

Finally, a border–to recall the binding that is the finishing touch on almost every patchwork quilt. By now, I was addicted to the sunny, Bayberry colorway and figured I might as well run with it.

I considered knitting the border as circular garter stitch, picking up stitches all around and increasing at the four corners as I progressed outward from the center. I’ve edged lace shawls that way, and it worked well.

However, a lace shawl–even a large lace shawl–doesn’t weigh as much as this blanket. I started to calculate the number of stitches I’d have on my needle, and how long that needle would have to be. I thought about alternate rounds made up of purl stitches. I thought about the difference between my flat gauge and my circular gauge.

I decided to do this, instead:

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The same rate of increase that gives you the first half of the two-color square also gives you a perfect mitre at each corner.

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The Finish Line

I did it. I did it! I knit my first blanket. And…I enjoyed it. The repetition, the garter stitch, the sewing. I enjoyed it.

I call it Floralia.*

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I finished it on a day the heat index in Chicago hit 102 Farenheit with 86 percent humidity, and I still wanted to wrap up in it. It’s that cuddly. It’s that deluxe.

Here are the vital statistics.

Yarn: Kenzington by Hikoo® (60% Merino, 25% Nylon, 10% Alpaca, 5% Silk Noils; 208 yds per 100g skein). Colors: 1015 (Boysenberry), 1027 (Takahe), 1018 (Seal), 1000 (Pavlova), 1005 (Bayberry). 2 skeins of each color.

Gauge: 5 stitches/10 rows = 1 inch in garter stitch

Finished Dimensions: 3 feet by 3 feet

Needles: addi® Click circular needles, size US 6 (4mm) with 16-inch (40 cm) cable (for working the patches) and 40-inch cable (joined to 16-inch with connector for working the border)

My friends at Maker’s Mercantile liked it, too, so they’ve decided to take action.

For Your Knitting (and Shopping) Pleasure…

If you’d like to knit your own Floralia, a detailed pattern and kit will be available soon via Makers’ Mercantile.

You can also choose your own colors of Hikoo® Kenzington and HiKoo® Kenzie at 20% during a special sale, by shopping online right here and using the code Franklin816. The sale will run from July 29, 2016 through August 12, 2016.

If you will be visiting Stitches Midwest, August 4-7 in Schaumburg, Illinois, you can shop in person at the Makers’ Mercantile Booth, Number 412. You’ll find Kenzington and Kenzie (among other beautiful yarns, accessories, and notions) and kits for both the Floralia Blanket and a matching pillow–plus a whole lot of other goodies.

And I’ll be signing copies of my newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knitting and Crochet Coloring Book, in the booth on Saturday morning.

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Do pay us a call if you can. We’d love to meet you.

And please join me here in two weeks for the start of a new knitting adventure…

*A rather frisky ancient Roman spring festival (begun on April 27 or 28, depending upon which calendar you use) in honor of the goddess Flora.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Kenzington by Hikoo (60% Merino, 25% Nylon, 10% Alpaca, 5% Silk Noils; 208 yds per 100g skein). Colors: 1015 (Boysenberry), 1027 (Takahe), 1018 (Seal), 1000 (Pavlova), 1005 (Bayberry).

addi® Click circular needles

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Makers’ Minute – Fix A Stitch Tool

Hello Makers! In this video we learn about the Fix-A-Stitch tool! It’s the perfect size to carry in your notions bag and will become the tool you won’t be able to leave the house without having!

For the video on repairing garter stitch with this tool, click below:

To purchase the Fix-A-Stitch 3-pack, click here.

To purchase the Fix-A-Stitch 2-pack lace set, click here.

Fridays with Franklin – The Adventure of the Stealth Blanket: Part Three

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The Adventure of the Stealth Blanket: Part Three

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first installment of this series, click here.

 

The design process is, at bottom, a series of questions. The more honest your answers, the better your design.

Most of the questions are Am I happy with this?

Facing the Swatch

This sixteen patch Ohio Star block is probably the largest single swatch I’ve ever knit for a project.

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As I wrote in Part Two, I liked it well enough to begin an entire quilt-inspired blanket. But an even, good swatch suggests what you might do better.

I wanted a few changes.

First: more color. There’s not a shade of Kenzie I don’t like–it’s been a favorite of mine since it was introduced. The blue and grey are perfectly handsome, but too quiet for my current mood. This blanket is going to take a lot of time to knit, so I want it to make a statement. A bold statement. A really bold statement. If I could make it dance the hippy hippy shake while singing “Ain’t We Got Fun?” I would.

Second: more heft. The Kenzie fabric is soft, drapey, and sweet to cuddle. However, I live in Chicago, in a Victorian apartment house, and I don’t use blankets as decorative accents. Come February, I use them for survival. Heavier is better.

Kenzington Calling

The Hikoo line offers a yarn I think of as Kenzie’s bigger, fancier cousin: Kenzington. The two share similar fiber blends– both have New Zealand merino, nylon, alpaca, and silk noils.* Kenzington is thicker, though; and rather than being twisted, it’s held together by what the industry calls “chainette” construction. Look at it closely, and you’ll see the strand is, indeed, a teeny weeny little chain.

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When I first wrote about this yarn, someone asked me if it’s as soft as it looks. I told her it feels like an extremely stylish angel kissing you on the cheek.

Am I happy with this?

Oh, you bet I am.

The Unnatural Colorist

Now, which colors of Kenzington to use?

There was a time when this question would have sent me straight under the bed to shiver among the dust bunnies. I am not what you would call a natural-born colorist.

I lay this partly at the feet of my mother, who had a remarkable aversion to color. Our house and most things in it were a low-key mélange of brown, tan, ecru, beige, and rust. When she was in a carnival mood, she’d throw in a dash of hunter green.

How, you might ask, could such a person be a quilter? Well…in her all-too-brief lifetime she turned out a heap of beautifully made quilts in brown, tan, ecru, beige, and rust (with an occasional bit of hunter green). Such was her taste.

What’s more, as an American boy I was conditioned to limit myself to the so-called “masculine” palette of black, grey, blue, and khaki with a touch of moss green. Unless it was a color you could find on a battleship or a rotting log, I wasn’t allowed to wear it.

I overcame this to become a knitter who is in middle age perhaps almost too fond of mixing colors together in my work. In fact, these days I teach other knitters how to do it. It’s not–as I used to think–an arcane talent with which one must be born. You can learn, if you apply yourself a little and mess around a lot.

Coloring the Block

Here’s how I did it for this project.

I started with a color I really liked: Color 1015 Boysenberry, the purple.

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I chose it for no other reason than that: I liked it. I figured I would enjoy knitting with it.

I had an idea that this would be the dominant color in the star; but I didn’t want it to stand alone. I wanted a second, closely related color, and reached for Color 1027 Takahe, the blue.

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The two are similar enough (cool, dark in value, containing blue) that a star made of both would (or should) still read as a single unit of design.

For the background, I needed something that less intense that wouldn’t draw attention to itself. Grey had worked well in the Kenzie swatch block, so it was easy to choose a similar grey, Color 1018 Seal, in Kenzington.

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If the star has two colors, why not have the background in two colors as well? Kenzington offers a pale tan, Color 1000 Pavlova, that is similar in value (very light) to the grey, and so should read well as a continuation of the background.

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This is where, once upon a time, I would have stopped. All these colors sit nicely next to one another. Nothing jars. I have learned, though, that therein lies a problem. If everything goes together too well, the mix is inclined to be quiet. That can be soothing; but just as often can be dowdy or boring. I needed a jolt energy, and that comes from adding something very different.

So into the cool mix I dropped Color 1005 Bayberry, an orange-red. This would be primarily for the diamonds between the blue-and-purple stars. There would be less of it, and so I didn’t need to worry about it overwhelming the blanket–I hoped. You never know, do you?

Stealth 3.7

Am I happy with this?

Indeed I am.

Seeing Stars

Before knitting the new patches I drew a sketch of the block, so I would know how many of each patch I’d need.

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As the patches were finished, I laid them out to watch the blocks shape up.

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When I had finished the first block, I was happy enough with it to knit the second. Then the fun really started.

My original plan was these two blocks, repeated.

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Cute, right? I mean, fine. Yeah.

Am I happy with this?

Kinda. I mean, it was…fine. It wasn’t bad. It would work.

But as long as the squares were all laid out, I figured I’d not try some other arrangements. Like this.

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Or this.

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Or even set aside the Ohio Star entirely and try something else. Why not?

Stealth 3.13

And suddenly, in my head and stomach, the happy little vibrations that tell me, “That’s it. That’s the answer,** right there.”

 

Am I happy with this?

 

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Never. Stop. Playing.

I have a whole lot of knitting and sewing to do. And I think we are going to need a border to finish this thing.

See you in two weeks.

*Kenzie also includes a touch of angora.

**The answer for me. Your answer may differ, and that’s as it should be.

 

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Kenzie by Hikoo® (50% New Zealand Merino, 25% Nylon, 10% Angora, 10% Alpaca, 5% Silk Noils; 160 yds per 50g skein). Colors 1002 (Grey Salt) and 1013 (Tekapo).

Kenzington by Hikoo (60% Merino, 25% Nylon, 10% Alpaca, 5% Silk Noils; 208 yds per 100g skein). Colores

addi® Click circular needles

 

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has just been brought out by Soho Publishing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News,Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Knitty.com, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

 

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, two looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

 

Makers’ Minute – Strauch Jumbo Ball Winder

 

This Jumbo sized ball winder from the Strauch Fiber Equipment Co. is the BEST ball winder on the market. It’s super sturdy, made in the US, and contains no plastic parts with exception of the band, which lasts for years – and if the band wears out we sell an inexpensive replacement band.

The Strauch Jumbo Ball Winder is made proudly in the US, so you can trust the quality of this product.

So, whether you’re rolling a giant skein, many skeins into one giant ball, or your own magic ball, this ball winder will be your go to for years to come.

Buy one here!

Transcript:

Hi, I’m Katie, and this is your Makers’ Minute. Today we are talking about the Strauch Fiber Equipment Company Jumbo Ball Winder. Proudly made in the USA!

The Strauch Ball Winder has a really big advantage, mainly because it comes in this jumbo size. So for yarns that come in a very large put up, such as HiKoo Zumie which has 200 grams per bulky hank, this will actually accommodate the entire hank with no problems. Woah! That’s a big cake! Let’s say you’re a person that travels a lot, or you don’t really like winding balls and you tend to go through them very quickly. Why not just wind them together all at once?

As we said before, this product is made in the US, and it’s also extremely sturdy because it’s made of wood. No plastic! Over the years the only part that could possibly need a replacement is the drive band and replacement parts for those are inexpensive and easily available.

And there you have it! Four total balls of SimpliNatural yarn and it’s still a perfect center-pull ball. To knit from for your entire lifetime. So really this is a great winder to wind any yarn from. Whether you’re making your own magic balls, rolling up a big skein of Rub-A-Dub, or putting your entire sweater’s quantity of yarn into one giant cake. Because who doesn’t want a big piece of cake? Get your Jumbo Ball Winder right now at makersmercantile.com.

Fridays with Franklin – The Adventure of the Stealth Blanket: Part Two

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The Adventure of the Stealth Blanket: Part Two

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first installment of this series, click here.

 

Today, as we continue the quilt-inspired blanket, I’m going to talk an awful lot about the S word. Sewing.

Stealth 2.1

Don’t make that face at me. I wish I had a ball of Cashmere Queen for every knitter who has said, “Oh, I hate sewing,” after she has tried it once, for about half an armhole, then got frustrated and stuffed the project into a bag and shoved the bag into a closet and then moved to a new house without opening the closet again.

I’m not saying you have to love sewing. I’m not promising you ever will love sewing. I do believe that if you give basic sewing a fair shake, you’ll be glad to have it in your arsenal when a simple seam will get you the results that you want.

Why Sew?

You might well ask why a knitted blanket must involve sewing at all. Many of you have asked. More than a few have asked indignantly, suggesting in heated terms that alternate methods (from join-as-you-go squares to garter stitch intarsia) would allow me to work the whole project in a single piece and avoid…shudder…sewing.

Those alternate methods all have merit, and the question is a fair one. So here’s my answer.

If I try to work a blanket this size in one piece, I know I will never finish it.

This isn’t going to be a bedspread, just a little lap blanket; but even a lap blanket becomes a chore to haul around once you’re about a third finished. You can’t tuck it into a pouch or a pocket. You either knit it at home, stationary, confined to what I hope is a comfortable chair. Or you find a bag big enough to encompass it (along with the long, long needles and enough yarn to see you through the long, long rows) and you drag the bag from pillar to post until your shoulders give out.

If I can work on this only when I’m at home and at rest, I’ll never finish. I have to nibble away at it, square by square, wherever I happen to be–for example, in a taxi on the way to the airport–

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or on the back porch–

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until I’ve got enough squares to amount to something. Since the basic square is so simple, light, and small, it makes a perfect traveling project.

The sixteen I made to test this idea were worked at home, on the subway, in a few taxicabs, in four airports, in three hotels, on six airplanes, in the car, in a clutch of restaurants, and in seven states.

That’s why it’s a stealth blanket. If I’m going to knit it, I have to knit it almost without realizing I’m knitting it. If that means sewing–okay, fine. I’ll sew.

But First, I Block

My childhood needlework teacher, my late grandmother Pauline, beat it into me* that successful sewing owes much to proper preparation. We have here many small squares that we hope to join into one large square.

Stealth 2.4

 

To get the best results those small squares really need to be square and equal. That means blocking them all to the same size and shape.

I prefer wet blocking, so all the squares went into a nice bath of warm water with a touch of gentle baby shampoo and sat there for about forty minutes.

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While they relaxed, I set up an impromptu blocking frame. This idea isn’t original. In fact it’s been parroted so many times I finally gave up on trying to find the originator. Whoever you are, I salute you.

You need, first, a base of something firm but penetrable–it might be a couple layers of thick corrugated cardboard, a Styrofoam block, or–in my case–a piece of insulating foam left over from a home improvement project.

On this base, use a good straightedge (mine was one of Mom’s quilting rulers) to mark out a square the size that your finished knit squares need to be. Keep in mind that we are blocking gently–don’t expect to stretch a five-inch square to seven inches unless you’re knitting lace.

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Then get yourself eight metal (and rust-proof!) double-pointed knitting needles a few sizes smaller than the needles you used to knit your squares. (Mine are eight-inch addi® double-pointed aluminum needles.)

Insert the needles into the base, as perpendicular** as you can get them: one at each corner of the square, and one in the center of each side.

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After a thorough rinse, retrieve your squares from the bath and gently press out the excess water. They should still be damp, but not sopping.
One by one, stretch them over your uprights and slide them down to the base. Soon you will have a stack of clean squares blocked to match. The sight is immensely satisfying. Take a moment to enjoy it.

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The downside of this method is that the stack can take a long time*** to dry. To hurry it up a bit, I a) blow a fan on it and b) peel off the topmost squares as they finish drying.

Next, We Plan

In assembling the squares for a blanket, we would do well to follow the wise example of quilters everywhere, including my own, dear mother.

Step One. Squares are sewn together into strips.

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Step Two. Strips are sewn together into blocks.

Here’s the plan for sewing our block, which mimics the traditional pattern many quilters call Ohio Star.****

Stealth 2.10

The arrows in the top row indicate that we first sew the four squares into a strip.

Then we sew the squares in the three rows below into three strips.

Then we sew the strips together to form the block.

This orderly approach keeps us from making grave mistakes, and also means each piece of the blanket is handled as little as possible–handling can lead to stretching, which leads to un-square squares.

Clever people, those quilters.

Then, We Prepare

Sewing isn’t knitting, even when you’re sewing two pieces of knitting together. It has a few special requirements; and if you’ll just take care to meet those you’ll be well on your way to success.

Light. Sewing needs a lot of light–in general, more than you need to knit. You can feel your way along a row of knitting, even in a dim lecture hall or a dark theatre. In sewing, you must be able to see clearly where the next stitch is to be taken. The usual table lamp in the living room may be insufficient. Work in good daylight, or under the very best artificial lighting you can muster. This is especially vital when working with dark colors.

Surface. Most of us knit with the work–even when it’s large–in our laps. Very small bits of sewing might be that portable; but you’ll do best to sew a blanket with the aid of a work surface. Do what you can to clear a level, stable area of table or desk to hold your supplies and the piece in progress. As you begin to sew the strips together into the finished block, the table will support the fabric and keep it from stretching. You’ll be able to focus on your stitches, not managing the bulk.

Length. Don’t reel off 50 inches of yarn to sew a 40-inch seam. The maximum length of yarn or thread to work with is somewhere between 20 and 22 inches. Longer than that, and you will suffer snarls, knots, and kinks sufficient to make you wish you had never been born. What’s more, long strands of knitting yarn may well weaken or wear through from repeated pulling through the fabric, and your seam will break.

Now, We Whip

I like to sew yarn to yarn with yarn–in this case, the blue (Color 1013, Tekapo) of my two-color pairing of Kenzie. My needle is the same I use for weaving in ends.

The stitch is whip stitch. It has many virtues. It is quick, easy, strong, flexible, and the same on both sides. Pattern writers from the great flourishing of knitted counterpanes in the nineteenth century usually called for blocks to be whipped together, and they knew what they were about.

Read these notes first.

General Notes. You will work your seam from right to left–unless you are left handed, in which case you may prefer to work left to right.

If you knit your squares according to the recipe in the previous column, you’ll find you have created slipped-stitch edges that look like elongated stitches. I chose this edge in part because it will help you see where to sew. When you take your stitches, always take them under both legs of that slipped edge stitch.

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Don’t make your stitches too tight or too loose. You want an even tension that brings adjoining squares together with a firm but supple seam. Tight stitches will make the fabric pucker and stiffen. Loose stitches flop around shamelessly and leave gaps in the work. If after you work a seam you find your tension isn’t quite right, use the tip of your sewing needle to adjust the stitches. Nobody else needs to know.

Now, we sew.

Step One. Align your two pieces with wrong sides facing, and hold them in your non-dominant hand like a little sandwich. I work whip stitch while looking at the right sides, so I can really see what I’m doing.

Step Two. Insert your needle at the rightmost corner of the piece nearer to you, as shown. Pull the yarn through, leaving a five-inch tail hanging from the work.

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Step Three. Insert the needle at the rightmost corner of the further piece, from the right side to the wrong side. In the same motion, bring the needle under the edge stitch immediately to the left of your first stitch in the nearer piece. Note that you are pointing the needle directly at yourself as you do this. Pull the yarn through until the selvages of your pieces just kiss one another. Mwah!

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Step Four. Repeat Step Three, taking your next stitch in the further fabric under the edge stitch immediately to the left of your first sewing stitch. Proceed in this way to the end of the seam, taking one sewing stitch under every edge stitch your selvages.

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Step Five. When you reach the end of the seam, cut the yarn leaving a five inch tail. Weave in both tails on the wrong side just as you weave in any loose ends on your knitting.

In Summary. *Insert needle from far side of work to near side under both slipped selvages and pull yarn through. Repeat from *, moving one slipped selvage stitch to the left to begin the next sewn stitch.

And At Last…

When the squares have become strips and the strips have been joined, we have a blanket.

Stealth 2.15

Well, we have a blanket square. Fairly large–mine measures 21 x 21 inches. Nice for a big pillow cover, or a mat for the new baby to lie on while it does neonatal yoga.

Stealth 2.16

I love the yarn. The design and construction have proven themselves worthy. But there’s one thing I’m not crazy about…the color. Rather, the lack thereof. This is fine. But I’m in a mood lately for lots of color. Not two colors, even two pretty colors like these.

I’m also thinking I’d like to try this in a slightly heavier yarn, to make the blanket really deluxe. But after sixteen squares, can I bear to start over?

Enter Kenzie’s beautiful big sister, Kenzington.

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Yeah, baby. Yeahhhhh. See you in two weeks.

*But don’t get crazy. If you find yourself using a square, level, and plumb, you are overthinking it.

**Not an exaggeration. I have a dent on my head where the yardstick landed.

***Eternity.

***Names of quilt blocks are like names of knitting stitches. They abound, they vary, they contradict. You might well call this block by another name, or you might well know a different block as Ohio Star. What a world, my friends. What a world.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Kenzie by HiKoo® (50% New Zealand Merino, 25% Nylon, 10% Angora, 10% Alpaca, 5% Silk Noils; 160 yds per 50g skein). Colors 1002 (Grey Salt) and 1013 (Tekapo).

Kenzington by Hikoo® (60% Merino, 25% Nylon, 10% Alpaca, 5% Silk Noils; 208 yds per 100g skein).

addi® Click circular needles

addi® 8″ double-pointed aluminum needles

 

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has just been brought out by Soho Publishing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News,Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Knitty.com, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

 

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, two looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.