Sunday, April 5, 2009

That bowl of yarn

So what was that bowl of yarn in the last post?

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a 10-day trip to Colorado. Thinking this was a wonderful opportunity to start a new project, I ordered a sweater's worth of yarn to be delivered directly to Colorado. Sure, I could have finished one of the many projects I have in the works, or started something with yarn I already had ... but I had just fallen in love with the sweater on the back cover of Vogue Knitting (here, if you're on Ravelry), and just had to have it. It would have been a great project, if the yarn had arrived in time. Unfortunately, it took so long for the seller to ship that the yarn wasn't scheduled to arrive until two days before the end of my vacation.

No problem, though, right? I had a pair of socks to work on, plus another ball of Socks that Rock in my suitcase, so I had plenty of knitting to keep me busy.

But then I went to Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins in Boulder. Wow, what a wonderful store! One of the first things I saw when I walked through the door was the book Beautiful Sheep: Portraits of Champion Breeds. Who would have though portraits of sheep could be so striking? That same table held a variety of Japanese knitting and felting books, something I've rarely found other than online or at Kinokuniya in New York. That was one of the best things about this store -- an amazing collection of books related to all the fiber arts. And years' worth of back issues of fiber-related magazines. I could easily have browsed for hours. And that was before I even started looking at the yarns!

I thought I'd pick up a little project to make up for the fact that I couldn't start my sweater. Then I saw the Koigu rack.

Lots of stores carry Koigu, but very few seem to have much of a selection of the solid colors. SS&S had them, though -- dozens of gorgeous hand-dyed solids. My first thought was that I might pick up some yarn for a couple of pairs of lacy socks. But then I remembered why I really needed some solid-colored Koigu ... the Babette Blanket!

This pattern is in the Spring 2006 issue of Interweave Crochet. I don't even know why I happened to pick up that magazine when I saw it at Barnes and Noble three years ago, but when I saw that blanket I decided to buy the magazine -- notwithstanding the fact that I hadn't crocheted in years. Every once in a while since then, I've pulled out the magazine to look at that beautiful riot of color and contemplate whether I was ready to tackle it.

So I guess all the stars were aligned on that day that I went to SS&S. They had that rack full of Koigu, and the magazine with the pattern in it. And the series "Knit and Crochet Today" had recently piqued my interest in trying crochet again, and given me a bit of a refresher course. It was time for Babette!

I picked out seventeen colors, more or less the same as those used in the original version. I spent hours winding them into balls (since my skein and ball winder were back at home). And I started crocheting. Here's what I've got so far. Isn't it gorgeous?

The blanket is divided into ten modules, and I've finished the first six. (They get larger as you go, though, so I"m not yet half finished). The crocheting is very straightforward, and luckily Knit and Crochet Today taught me how to weave in the ends as I work -- with all these squares, and all these colors, I believe there are approximately 967, 347 yarn ends in this piece! I'm sewing each module together as I finish it, partly because I'm anxious to see the blanket come together, and partly to avoid the daunting task of sewing it all together at the end.

On my project page on Ravelry, I've named this "Memere's blanket," in honor of the grandmother who taught me to crochet when I was a child. My Memere was an expert crocheter, and I'm so glad she gave me the skills to make this beautiful blanket.


Batty said...

Wow, that's pretty! Just the thing to cheer you up when spring is taking a long time to come. Great haul. And souvenir yarn doesn't count as stash.

adrienne said...

Gorgeous! I've always loved the Babette pattern, and wish I could crochet well enough to make it.

(and the Renaissance pullover is gorgeous!)

Fujiyamamama said...

It's lovely!