Friday, February 10, 2012

Many Hearts Blanket + Answering A Knitter's Questions - Maybe Yours Too...

If you have my book Color by Kristin, you probably remember this photo of the sweet little kitty on the baby afghan. The kitten is Annika Sue who had a litter of her own kitties last year. She was spayed and is all grown up, helping to take care of all the critters around the farm. She was the sweetest kitten but now she is all business. I loved this photo and I actually thought it might make the cover. There's something about cats and knitting and yarn. But I digress.

Here is the purpose of this post. I got a note from one of my Farm Retreat Students from last fall. She is making the "Many Hearts Baby Afghan" and she was curious about the back of the knitted hearts. I thought this was a perfect excuse for a post about it since many of you may have the same question.  Here's what Kamin wrote:

"I saw your Many Hearts Baby Afghan this fall at your workshop I added it to my project list.  I could kick myself for not taking a picture of the back side while I had the opportunity. I started it a couple of nights ago, thinking this is great each section is small and easy to work on, then all the small pieces put together etc. etc. no problem.  But, I am having a blonde moment and need your help."

I am going to do my best to answer Kamin's questions here in case some of you are curious too..... Here's what the back of the afghan looks like..... I know very messy but seriously, who looks at the back side.

KT: I am assuming you really did knit the hearts on straight needles as the pattern says since each square really isn't big enough to work on circulars, correct?  
KN: Each square was knit on straight needles and worked back and forth.

KT: Do I carry the heart color to the end of each row? 
KN: You could but it would make the seams very heavy and would also use more yarn than given on the pattern.

KT:  I am getting "u-turns" when I go to the next row, knitting on one side and purling on the other  and carrying the yarn.  This is making the edge of the heart thicker than the rest of the block and the back doesn't look nice. 

KN: Above is a photo of the back of my blanket. As you can see, the yarn was only worked in Fair Isle in the center of each square. The heart will be thicker because there are two colors being worked.

KT: How do you go from row to row in fair isle on straights without cutting the yarn and having  zillion ends to weave in?"
KN: You won't have to worry about ends if you work it back and forth. The chain stitch will cover up your uneven joins.

Now an aside about the back of the blanket... The back of my blanket is no prize but I don't really care. I'm not going to enter it in the county fair. If I were, I would probably line it with a pretty piece of print cotton fabric.The loose ends are left from the embroidery. I leave the ends about 3/4" long. That way they won't pop out to the front side. When the blanket is washed (which I do before I give anything away), the embroidery stitches become more set into the fabric and the ends fray. That is okay with me.

If you are curious about how to work the chain stitch around each heart, see my Chain Stitch Video Tutorial (always available on my sidebar) which I posted the other day on this post.

Farm Workshop Alert: If want to be alerted to the dates of the upcoming 2012 workshops at the farm, please stay tuned - I will be announcing dates by the end of February. Sign up for my newsletter on the right at the top of the side bar and you will get instant notice of the class schedule. The newsletter will be sent directly to your email in-box. I'll also be using this newsletter format for other announcements (not sure what yet but maybe something exciting will happen!). It is a different format than the daily blog update feed which you can subscribe to at the top left sidebar. (My aren't I getting "blog-fancy" -- feeds, newsletters, subscribers, oh my!)


Bonney said...

This was very, very helpful. I think I'm going to try this blanket myself!

Lynn said...

I made this beautiful blanket for my fifth and I think last grand baby. I am So proud of it.

May I share with your followers what I did differently on the back?

I really wanted the back to look as neat as the front. So I made a reversable blanket by knitting a second nine square of hearts and sewed it on the back side of the front hearts thus covering all the wonky look on mine. (not inferring yours looks at all wonky)...
It also makes a thicker middle that is a soft spot for baby to lay and later sit on.

Baby is using this blanket now and her mommy and daddy love it too. All the people at the baby shower raved about it as well. I couldn't have been prouder. I told everyone about your book and pattern!

Lindsay Obermeyer said...

As always, your blog inspires! I am passing along The Versatile Blogger award to you. See my blog for details. - Lindsay

Anonymous said...

The "Many Hearts Baby Afghan" is one project on my list (even gotten the colors/yarn for back in Christmas 2010). Love the colors of the blanket. I stopped myself from doing it because I've never done intarsia. Revisiting it (plus, I'm a much better knitter now). Sorry to hear that your Julia yarn has been discontinued.