When my best friend Anne announced her engagement almost 2 years ago, I immediately started planning what to knit as their wedding present. I knew it had to be something really special, something I couldn't knit in just a weekend. I wanted the item to be something they could both use, and hopefully pass down to future generations. A blanket came immediately to mind of course!
This pattern is from an older Interweave Knits, from the Fall 2006 issue, and I'd had it bookmarked since the first time I saw it. In the magazine it's shown in a gorgeous spice orange and just looks so cozy and timeless, I knew I was going to knit it eventually. When I started looking around for inspiration for what to make for Anne, I checked out the Ravelry page for this pattern (link) and fell back in love with the design as I browsed through the 70 other blankets knitters have posted on Ravelry. I momentarily considered designing my own cabled blanket to make the present even more personal, but then I remembered that I was getting married only 2 months before Anne and had to knock some sense into myself! I knew that I had enough on my plate just knitting a big blanket, let alone designing it first . . . and when I realized how perfectly the design goes with Anne's preppy style (hello, nautical cabled blanket goes perfectly with Nantucket style, doesn't it??), I knew I'd found a winner.
Even though I'd found the perfect pattern, I had NO IDEA what to knit it out of. Initially I wanted to find the kiwi green that she was featuring in her wedding colors, but that search proved completely fruitless after scouring webstores, Ravelry, and two LYS's. I knew that if I was going to go with green, it had to be THE green she used, not just something kind of similar . . .
In the end I decided to go with white for two reasons: 1, they didn't own a couch yet so I had no idea whether kiwi green would go with it, and 2, if I chose the wrong green it really wouldn't have any meaning at all, it'd just be some weird green blanket. I figured white went nicely with the whole "wedding" thing and that it would go with any decor they might end up with in the future. Plus, I know Anne's a real clean freak (don't hate me for saying it Anne!) so I knew she wouldn't have the usual objections to a not-very-practical white blanket!
Once I settled on white I had to find THE yarn. If I were still working at String and still had access to my employee discount, I probably would have made it in cashmere. But without that discount, I knew that I was going to be looking at cashmere blends, not 100% cashmere! I ended up choosing Classic Elite Princess, a yarn I'd worked with before and really loved. I like how soft the yarn is and how good the yardage is per ball -- it meant I could knit a huge blanket that didn't weigh very much at all! The yarn also washes beautifully so I'm comfortable giving something knit out of it as a gift (I think shrinking a gift has to be the biggest downside to giving handknits!).
As I read through the pattern I realized that for some reason, Kathy Zimmerman didn't include increases after the beginning seed stitch border. If you look through the Ravelry projects, you can see that some of the borders came out VERY ruffled, and that makes perfect sense when you compare the stitch gauge of seed stitch with that of cables. Considering how prolific a cable designer Kathy Zimmerman is, I can't explain why increases weren't used, it's such an established technique! I decided to add them myself but should have added even more, as it turns out my blanket still had a wavy border (but not as much as some of the others on Ravelry). The other design change I made was to increase the side borders to make them wider, so that the whole blanket would be wider. Princess is a bit thinner than the yarn called for in the pattern, so I added to the border to make a wider blanket.
Knitting the blanket was a LOT of fun and I really loved watching those cables weave into and out of each other. It did get a bit boring after the second repeat, and I did make a few mistakes along the way, but all in all I enjoyed this project. Unfortunately I blew the deadline of gifting it to her at the wedding, and then multiple other things go in the way of finally finishing it off . . . so they didn't get it until their 1 year anniversary earlier this month.
Better late than never though, right?
Congratulations Anne and Eric, hope you get many years of cuddling out of this blanket!
Pattern: Saffron Cables by Kathy Zimmerman, Interweave Knits Fall 2006
Yarn: 20 skeins Classic Elite Princess in white (#3416)
Needles: US size 7
Started: August 16, 2008
Finished: March 22, 2009 (knitting), September 12, 2009 (finishing)