I'm so excited to share this project with you because it has been finished since March!  
The more I knit, the more comfortable I am altering patterns.  I mostly find my patterns on Ravelery, and when I find a pattern I like, I scroll through other people's projects to get a feel for common improvements.  I hardly ever do a test run (a swatch).  I usually just cast-on for the project and if it is coming out terribly I take it apart, and then again, and then again.  I love to jump into a project and then I like to look at the item as it develops and respond to inspiration as it strikes.
At any rate, the net result of plowing ahead is sometimes ending up with a shopping bag full of kinky yarn when you pull the whole thing out.  I think it is important to emphasize how many times I take things apart.  I know a lot of people view un-knitting as the end, but to me it is just a step towards a project that I will find really satisfying.  When I ask someone what they think of a questionable project in progress and they say "yeah, that's fine, you won't notice when you're finished," that drives me nuts, because I will notice, and I don't want to spend hours on a project that is fine!  On the other hand, I love the line "no one will notice that from a galloping horse."  and I hypocritically give this advice to people all the time.  You know if you'll care later, and if you will, rip it out!
This blanket is mostly from a free Lion Brand pattern.  For this project, the main divergence from the pattern was doing a wide moss stitch border instead of the more fussy leaf shaped border in the pattern.  Deciding about the thickness of the border was one of the reasons I had to take this blanket apart so many times.  I also framed out each section of design with stocking stitch and moss stitch sections.  These changes made the blanket slightly larger than written, a plus in this case as the groom of this couple (as all the grooms this summer seem to be) is quite tall, and I think the framing of each section made the whole blanket design more modern without losing the heirloom quality.  
I made this pattern because I fell in love with the intertwined trees.  They are such a perfect wedding symbol, especially for this couple who has grown, both individually and together, through the years.  The flower panels were another story, and there was much ripping back, much searching of Ravelry, much testing of different techniques, and much uncertainty.  Ultimately I do like the way the floral sections balance the arboreal sections, though I'm curious to hear in a year if there is a problem with snagging . 
This blanket is knit with 100% wool, Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool which is an amazing bargain, and so blocking was a must.  For the blocking process I took a cue from my recent experience blocking shawls, and wove crochet thread along each edge.  That gave me a firm, sturdy string to pull tight to make the edges straight.  I did this instead of trying to pin out all the edges strait.  So instead of using a gazillion pins I used about 20.  I also recently read that the first time blocking is the most important, because it teaches the wool its new shape, and that treatment after subsequent washing doesn't need to be as labored.  That makes me feel slightly less guilty about giving 100% wool items.   (I can't find that link now though, so don't quote me!)


I love the final result and I hope the happy couple can love it for years to come.  
 


MIL
08/25/2013 18:51

It is a stunning blanket, both in the pictures and in real time. I know Kristen and James love it!

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Gene Lindsey
08/25/2013 19:09

This is an incredible set of pictures of a real work of art.

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MIL
08/28/2013 11:28

The bag of ripped out yarn looks like ramen noodles!

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