Baby blanket the third was gifted to my work colleague today in my absence. There was never any surprise that there was going to be a blanket after blanket one and blanket two. So the surprise this time around is that no one at work knew anything much about what this one looked like.
I chose to knit the “Tweed Baby Blanket” by Jared Flood. The intention was to knit the centre in dove grey and the border in blue/purple if it was a boy, pink/green if it was a girl or green/purple if it was unknown. As with the previous blankets, Bendigo Woollen Mills 8 ply cotton was used for its excellent weight, stitch definition and washability. The yarn does not come in grey. It doesn’t come in blue/purple/green/pink shades that appeal to me either. It was dye pot time.
I’m good at getting strong colours on cotton with Procion MX dyes, as proven before with the second blanket and other garments like Daniel’s jumper and Charlotte’s Anouk. But black and pale colours have been problematic. I knew my “black” dye was actually bluish, and so would not come out grey at reduced colour saturation. I had bought a grey dye ages ago, but had never used it. Still, I threw 400 grams of cotton in a dye pot with the grey dye and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, what I got was not grey and too dark (below left). I didn’t leave it in the dye bath for the usual duration, because I hoped to reduce the depth of shade. That didn’t work. So I put another 400 grams in a new dye bath of much reduced strength. Still not grey, but actually a quite nice pale blue (below right).
I had to abandon all attempts at dyeing grey cotton. I could have knitted the two shades of blue, something like the two shades of grey used in the original blanket, but I feared if it was not a boy then it would suffer an identity crisis in a blue blanket! I came up with a new scheme – the centre would be in the colour “Parchment” that Bendigo does. The border colours would remain the same, and the pale blue I already had could be used as is, and some of the extra could be over-dyed to make the green or the purple and the only additional dyeing required might be for pink. I began knitting the centre panel before school started in January.
On returning to school, my colleague said she was not going to find out the baby’s sex before birth. So I split 200 grams of the pale blue into two skeins, and over-dyed each to get purple and green. The day after the dyeing was done, she had a scan, and it was very evident it is a boy. Never mind – I liked the green and purple so much that I stuck to my revised plan.
The garter centre panel was tedious. I enlarged it to 221 sts on the diagonal so that there were nine pattern repeats of the border on each side rather than six, as cotton has less give than wool and would not block very large. It took 339 grams of cotton to make a 78 cm square. The border was a delight to knit but became tense towards the end as I nearly didn’t have enough of the purple. The bind off was supposed to be icord, which is very yarn-hungry. I modified it to a suspended bind off (*K2tog tbl, pass stitch from right to left needle* repeat to end) and had just 4 metres of the purple left over (98 grams of purple, 41 grams of green used). The final size is about 90 cm square.
I got a picture message on my phone earlier of the happy recipient!