Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Keeping My Girl Warm

As a knitter and as a mother my main goal in life seems to be keeping my daughters warm. The main goal of my daughters, however, seems to be avoiding receiving un-stylish sweaters from their mother. Un-stylish translates as "anything mom would knit." They do accept hats, mittens and gloves, provided that they have approved the yarn and the style ahead of time. Daughter #1 also accepts socks--in certain colors and certain (plain) styles.

These smaller projects were not enough to fulfill my mother/knitter goal however. Four years ago I convinced Daughter #2 that she needed a blanket for when she went to college. I began to make a blanket on size 2.5mm needles, using leftover sock yarn. The blanket went slowly, since I needed to generate leftover sock yarn. Then, people began to give me their leftover sock yarn, but progress was still slow. Gradually the blanket grew and grew and my daughter, while in high school, kept the unfinished blanket on her bed. Click here for previous posts about the blanket.

Well, in September Daughter #2 left for college and the blanket still needed an edging!! There is nothing wrong with her memory, and she reminded me as we dropped her off at college, "Mom, where is my blanket!!??" Now, I knew that the weather wouldn't require a blanket until late October, when I finally finished the blanket.

Unfortunately, my husband's camera (or my husband) deleted the photos of the blanket that I had taken while it was blocking. This is a photo taken by a friend at The Sow's Ear, a much loved knitting and coffee shop. I think the sun shining through gives the blanket a nice effect.
I made a chart for Daughter #2 identifying the yarn in each square, for whom the socks were knitted and whether the yarn was donated. When she comes home from college, I will take better photos.

The blanket edging was a life time project in itself. Daughter #2 selected the edging colors while we were on vacation in 2008. She wanted a three colored edging, to give the blanket a framed and matted effect. I first knit miles of a 10 stitch garter stitch strip, with mitered corners. (The blanket is the size of a sheet for a long twin size bed.) That nearly drove me insane. In my blind need to find a more interesting stitch, I found a garter stitch lace diamond pattern, which I knit onto the garter stitch strip using a purple sock yarn. Although that was far more interesting to knit, it was twice as wide as the plain pink garter stitch and took about three times as long to knit.

I was ready to stop right there. Forget the green yarn my daughter had selected. But, promises are promises and mothers have to keep their promises. So, I determined to minimize the number of stitches using the green. I "un-vented" the double-applied-I-cord. If Elizabeth Zimmer could un-vent knitting techniques, I figured that I could un-vent something that she probably tried, but never published. I attached the pink/purple strip to the blanket using the green yarn and a four stitch I-cord, picking up one stitch on the edge of the blanket and one stitch on the edge of the edging. After a few fits and starts, I got into the rhythm and it worked!!

I delivered the blanket to my daughter's dorm in early December 2009, hoping to keep her cozy and warm from the brisk, frigid winter winds of Minnesota. Her bunk bed is right against the uninsulated windows of the room. Has she used it? No. The dorm heating system blasts out hot air 24 hours a day and she is always too hot. Does anyone see it? No. To make room for three girls in a room built for two, the beds are elevated with the desks and dressers underneath. No one can see what is on top of the bed. Does she love it? Yes--she treasures the blanket and would not part with it.

I guess, after all, what is most important is that we mother-knitters warm our children's hearts, even if we are unsuccessful at warming their bodies.


HPNY Knits said...

simply spectacular! and I love the reference to all the socks made. it a masterpiece.

Cindy G said...

Wow, that's beautiful! Mind boggling that something that size was knit on #2's. Yeah, I know it was one piece at at time, but that's a lot of pieces.

And warming hearts is at least as important as warming bodies :-)

Lulu said...

wow!!! lovely..

Hilde C. said...

This is really great work! Your daughter is one lucky girl :-)

Daughter #1 said...

Great looking blanket(s), mom! And, yes, #2 and I appreciate all the warming you provide :)