It is so big that I cannot capture it in one shot, so we'll have to make do with piecemeal views for now.
This beautiful, clever adaptation of a quilt was designed by Kay Gardiner as a means to raise funds after the catastrophic tsunami that hit Japan over two years ago. By purchasing the pattern, knitters have enabled Kay to raise close to $20,000 for Mercy Corps's relief efforts. And they have been rewarded with a thoroughly enjoyable knit project that results in a lovely, eye-catching blanket, especially if they have used the exceptionally beautiful colorways of Noro Kureyon, as I did.
My version is less inventive than Kay's as I kept to one type of block throughout. By knitting twenty blocks, I ended up with a big blanket, practically sized for a full bed; to keep the project more affordable, I substituted Berroco Peruvia, in a cream white colorway, for the Noro neutral called for. The blanket lost some character since the color doesn't have any variegation, but the various shades of Kureyon really pop on this background. Berroco Peruvia is an unplyed worsted weight option that meshed perfectly with the Kureyon, and the generous yardage meant that one skein was nearly enough for two blocks. I ended up using close to 14 skeins of Peruvia.
As for the Kureyon, shame on me -- I lost track of how many skeins I used. Some skeins were from my stash, others were collected through various sales, and I gave up on coordinating or seeking out specific colorways early in the game. I figured that the strong symmetrical character of the pattern would unify those wild colors, no matter what, and I am pleased with the result. Using Noro yarns is an exercise in relinquishing control, in a way. I would have a harder time doing this with a garment, but a blanket is the perfect format for letting wild colors be themselves.
Kay devised a clever 3-needle-bind-off technique to assemble the blocks instead of sewing them. After a while, I developed a method for connecting rows of 4 blocks together, then I went across to assemble the 5 columns of rows in the other direction. This is what the reverse side looks like:
Knit-picking issue #1: I kind of like this ridge and I would be tempted to feature it on the right side if I was knitting a blanket in a lighter weight. The advantage of this method is that one is doing more knitting and pretty much no sewing, but one must really take pains to keep the "bind-off" seams loose as they want to pull in. It took a good amount of severe pressing to flatten those seams. My biggest challenge, however, was the i-cord edging that came at the end of the project. I followed my usual method, took pains to work loosely and to give myself extra rows of unattached i-cord at every corner in order to keep things nicely edged. Still, the corners badly wanted to pull. Thanks to the suggestion of a brilliant knitter and quilter friend, I finally tried a combination of steam and clapper firmly applied to the offending corners, and... it worked!
Knit-picking issue #2: I do love the discreet, finished look that the icord edging brings to this blanket, but my frustration with this particular case has led me to revisit my notes on past garter-stitch blankets and afghans to see if I had had that problem before. Not surprisingly, I found out that I have tended to use garter-stitch edgings on all of those past projects, meaning that the 1/1 ratio of edge stitches to body stitches worked perfectly. My past i-cord experiences were all linked to blankets knitted in variations on stockinette. Your mileage may vary, of course, and this is probably just a sign that I yank on my working wool way too tightly as I embark on inch, after inch, after foot of applied i-cord. Nevertheless, I will remember this bit of knitting epiphany the next time I knit a blanket.