Just in time for the deadline of December 31st, I finished the great red and white blanket of 2006. All it took was about ten minutes of knitting and one long border-seaming session yesterday. Done!
This is the type of knitting project I fell in love with the moment I laid eyes on the pattern, here: dark red and off-white, clean, Nordic motifs in a sampler-design...it was just irresistible to me. The only catch was that it really doesn't match the style of my living-room, or the colors of the couch. Never mind. Who knows where the blanket will eventually settle. For now the black leather couch will do just fine, thank you.
The pattern was published in my favorite craft magazine, Marie-Claire Idees, which sails from Paris to my mailbox in California every three months. I hardly ever tackle the projects but they are pure eye-candy, especially those of the Winter issues. The focus of the magazine is on embroidery, cross-stitch, sewing, some basic woodworking, and "la recup" or "recuperation" and recycling of old fabrics, furniture, etc. But one or two knitting projects are featured in most issues, courtesy of the design team at la Droguerie in Paris.
The pattern was very basic, and involved 35 squares, knitted separately, and the four borders. I tackled it last March and finished all the squares by May. Then I started the borders and ran short of yarn towards the end. I had bought more than the recommended amount to start with, but I was so careful to weave in the stranded yarns in the back that this must have contributed to the need for two more skeins. It was worth the effort since blankets do tend to show their wrong side far more often than garments, and since the frequent weaving in should result in fewer accidental snags.
I must say that this didn't make for the most relaxed knitting experience. Since I had to knit flat squares, there was a lot of stranding in purl, which I don't do all that well. I know that my rule of sticking with three projects, and no more than three, at a time, helped me complete something this big. I aimed for one square a day, and worked on one motif at the time. I also used knitting software to enlarge and color the charts for each motif, a true lifesaver.
I am not crazy about this method of knitting the borders separately, then sewing them on at the end. Obviously the heart motif was worth the trouble, but there was a bit too much guessing on the exact length for my taste, especially since nowhere does the pattern give dimensions for the 35 squares.
Googling "Plaid Coeurs et Flocons" took me to just one link but it was a great one. I owe un grand merci to Narmelle who answered my questions and who provided the inspiration for signing one of the squares. Here are a few more pictures of my cushy, warm and bright blanket. I couldn't be happier with it.