Last night, I ripped out the striped baby afghan that I was doing on a size US 5/UK 9/3.75 mm circular needle and restarted it on a size US 8/UK 6/5.0 mm 36-inch long circular knitting needle, one of my sets of Clover Takumi bamboo knitting needles. (If you don’t like metal needles because they’re too slick, you might try these bamboo needles. They come in straight and double pointed as well as circular styles. They are also more environmentally friendly than metal needles. I get mine from Amazon.com.)
I ripped it out because it was going painfully slow, and because I didn’t like how the yarn looked as it was being carried up the side. I put it on the bigger needles so it will go faster. I’m trying to get it done by this Christmas! Since I’m doing two-row stripes (out and back), rather than twisting the yarn before I start in on the next color, I just pull the new color up without wrapping it around the other color in any way. You can’t even tell the yarn is being carried, so the carrying edge looks just like the other edge. It wouldn’t matter if I was knitting a piece of something, like a sweater front, that was going to be sewn to other pieces, but this is a blanket, so all edges will be visible, and I want them all to look the same.
This time, I also started the blanket in a different way and I got a pointier looking corner. The way the pattern is written, it looks like the diagonal “corners” (where you start and end the piece) had the points “clipped off.” I didn’t like that look. Here’s how I began it. (Kfb = knit front and back of the stitch.)
Row 1: Cast on 3 stitches.
Row 2: K1, Kfb1, K1
Row 3: K1, Kfb1, K2
Row 4: K2, Kfb1 K2
Row 5: K2, Kfb1, K3
Row 6: K3, yo, K to end of row, etc.
When I get the thing made, I’ll post the full revised pattern that includes the decrease portion.
There are several complicating factors with this blanket. In the first place, the two color stripes. You’ve got to change colors every two rows, even when you’re starting out, so that’s tricky. Then, there’s the fact that the circular needle I’m using is 36 inches long. The “free” end wants to sproing about because the plastic bit wants to curl. Of course, once the piece is about three times the size it is now, that won’t be a problem. I’m ordering a 48-inch circular needle because I want the blanket to be as big as I can make it. These 1-pound skeins of yarn will make it really nice because I won’t have any knots or joins anywhere, and will only have to weave in ends at the beginning and end of the work. Of course, that’s another difficulty — these gynormous balls of yarn. I’ve had to resort to putting each of them in a plastic project bin because I don’t have any bowls that big.
Using the bigger needles is making it go a lot faster. What you see here is only about an hour and a half’s work. I would have taken me four or five hours to have done this much on the size 5 needles. In just the time since I ripped it out yesterday evening, I’ve knitted an area larger than I had knitted before I ripped it out. Here is a comparison of the edges looking at both sides of the work. Hard to tell which edge is the “carrying” edge (the bottom one in the first picture, the top one in the second).If I have enough of this yarn left over to make anything like a hat or something, I’ll have to learn to do jogless stripes in round knitting. I saw a video on YouTube that shows you how. . . . YouTube videos are the internet hive mind equivalent of the Little Old Lady Who Knows How To Do Stuff And Will Teach You How If You Ask Her Nicely. Resistance is futile . . . .