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From June to July, I knit another Radiating Star Blanket.  This one is a lap blanket version for my own use at home.  If you remember, the first one was a baby blanket that I knit for a cousin’s first child, and it can be seen by clicking HERE.

I knew I wanted to make another one of these blankets because I am in love with the pattern, and I enjoyed knitting it the first time.  I wanted my blanked in chunky weight, washable wool, but I was worried about cost, so I did some bargain hunting and came up with this:

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It is Ella rae classic superwash wool: a 100% washable wool.  I loved the color, and the price was right, so I thought I couldn’t go wrong. 

As it turns out, in wool, as in many other things, you do get what you pay for.  Once I got started on my blanket, I noted that my yarn was full of knots and strings – not just a few, but enough that it was beginning to make me worry that it would affect the quality of my work.  Once I became frustrated with the issue, I hopped on Ravelry to see if other knitters had anything to say about the yarn. 

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As it turns out, I should have checked ahead of time.  There were lists of complaints, most having to do with major color bleeding when items are soaked for blocking.  There were so many painful stories of entire sweaters being carefully knitted in combinations of strategically selected colors, only to have the colors disastrously bleed into one another when the items were soaked for blocking.  Just the thought of such a scenario terrifies me.

Apparently the yarn also grows significantly after soaking, rendering the final dimensions of many a knitter’s project not what was initially intended.  Given all of this information, I considered myself lucky to be knitting an afghan (rather than a garment) in only one colorway.  Knots started to seem like not such a bad problem to have.

Since I already purchased the yarn for the project, I went ahead and used it to knit the blanket.  While working, I stored the project in one of these nice, deep, plastic bins that I found at the ‘dollar store’.  That’s right:  only a dollar for some good, square baskets in which to keep my projects organized.  Joy!  I love these things.

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I decided to get this project done by July because I was planning this summer’s fair entries.  I thought the pattern was ‘fair-worthy’, as I like to say, and if my blanket turned out as planned, I felt I had a good shot at a ribbon. 

Here is the blanket early on.  It is knit on large, circular needles, and it goes through an awkward stage where it looks like an over-sized tam.

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Here is the finished blanket all pinned out on the rug after steam blocking before the fair.

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Even though it was knit from washable wool, the yarn still joined reasonably well via felted joins.  That discovery made dealing with all of those knots a bit easier.  I cut them all and was able to seamlessly join the yarn for a nice, smooth finish. 

The pattern designer has actually posted additional instructions for continuing the blanket to make it larger.  I wish I had noticed that before I bound off my blanket.  I ended up with two balls of yarn left over, and I had expected the finished blanket to be a bit bigger.  It would have been great to have extended it a touch more.

In any case, I did enter it in this year’s Lake County Fair (it didn’t ribbon…), and I know I will get lots of use out of it around the house this fall and winter.

In other news, I am hoping to make it out to Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg IL tomorrow.  I actually missed Stitches last year, and I was really disappointed when I did.  It will be nice to see all of the new products available, and I am always happy to be around yarn!

~Happy knitting!

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