Radiating Star1

If you noticed that this blog posted around 5am, it’s the cold, hard truth.  I wasn’t feeling well last night, and I went to bed around 10:35pm.  What followed was a succession of events (of the canine variety) roughly every two hours, until I gave up.

My early morning hours went something like this:

  • 10:35 pm  —  Pounding headache.  Tylenol.  Bed.
  • 1 am – Dog #1 jumps out of bed and does the “potty walk”.  This means a trip outside is needed.  If this is not achieved immediately enough, the sound of a urine stream (always in a carpeted room) will promptly follow.
  • 2am – Dog #2 jumps out of bed and stumbles around the house making loud gagging noises.  This doesn’t stop until I get up to assess the situation and comfort said dog.
  • 3am – Dog #2 is now somehow aware of some wildlife creature lurking outside.  He is now making groaning noises while I ignore him and try to sleep.  Concurrently, dog #1 sleeping to the right of my head is exhibiting some impressively loud gut sounds.
  • 4am – Dog #2 gives up on the groaning and gets back into bed.  Dog #1 jumps out of bed.  This is followed by the sound of a urine stream hitting the bedroom door (in the carpeted room).
  • 4:01am – Exhausted,angry ‘dog-mom’ launches out of bed AGAIN. 

After the third trip (in four hours) to the back door with the dogs, I cleaned the urine out of the carpet and gave up.  I’m ashamed to say that these episodes of elderly dog shenanigans sometimes make me consider getting into the closet and shutting the door.  I haven’t ever actually done it, but that’s only because I know that the resulting clawing at the door would only ruin the finish.  And this would likely be followed by the sound of a urine stream.

I would like to state that both dogs are sleeping soundly while I type this.  How nice for them. 

Luckily, my day yesterday was much better than this morning has gone so far.  I attended a baby shower held for my cousin who is having her first child.  Everyone in attendance had a great time.

I decided to knit her a baby blanket as part of her gift, so I went on a search last week for a pattern that I liked.  I didn’t really want to make a tired, traditional blanket, but I needed something that would work up quickly. 

What I found was the Radiating Star Blanket pattern by Alexis Layton.  The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download HERE.  I love the look of the blanket, and actually, the pattern is really easy and fun to do if you can knit in the round on circular needles.

RS1

I used an acrylic yarn that I bought at a local, chain craft store since most things coming into contact with babies will need to be washed sometimes.  I went with Bernat Softee Chunky yarn in Seagreen.  The pattern is written for chunky weight yarn, but I picked super-chunky yarn since I had very little time to complete the project.

I used size 11 needles, but I think if I had used something even larger, like size 13, the blanket would have had a nicer drape.  I also ran out of yarn due to some miscalculations (I always forget to leave enough yarn for the bind-off!) in the last few rows of the pattern.  Due to this, I was not able to put in the edging row which was designed to help control the curling that stockinette stitch likes to do.  Sigh.  My options were to either rip back three rows of work and then put in the edging and bind off or just bind off the last row and call it a blankie. 

The perfectionist in me hates that I chose the latter.  I already have plans to make a second one of these with the necessary adjustments just to appease her. 

So the blanket was a little stiffer and a bit curlier than I had envisioned, and I searched for a solution.  Blocking it was the obvious choice, but I knew that soaking over 900 yards of super chunky yarn would pose some challenges.  I think it would have weigh about 80 pounds when wet, for one thing.  I entertained ideas of steam-blocking it, which I have never done before.

Blocking1

I ended up trying it.  I pinned and stretched the finished (dry) blanket on the rug.  Then I used the steam setting on my iron. 

 Blocking 2

I sprayed the blanked down with steamy water, and then steam-ironed it thoroughly.  I was pretty sure that the steam from a little iron would never penetrate the super chunky acrylic, and that therefore, I was wasting my time.  I was excited to find that it actually did penetrate and relax the yarn which smoothed it out while the stitches became more even. 

Blocking is wonderful (especially for perfectionists), isn’t it?

Blocking 3

So the final blanket turned out looking nice and polished, and I felt better about giving it as a gift.

Welcome Baby!

Hopefully it will get lots of use and snuggles.

Radiating Star blanket2

~Happy knitting (and possibly sleeping…)! 

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