Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pea Pod "Puffy" Blanket and a Very Nice Yarn

This is what I was working on when I started the afore-mentioned shirts. I find it best to switch off projects because one maybe makes my shoulder suffer; another one gets to my fingers; one takes a lot of paying attention; another one is pretty mindless; one turns out to be tedious as all get out; one turns out to be more fun than it looked.

With all the babies in our lives these days, I have been looking through the baby knitting books at JoAnn Fabrics, and came across this pattern.

I really liked the idea of the pods that add some loft to the blanket, making it useful as a soft pad for a lie-down or a diaper change, especially on a hard surface. And they looked like fun to make! And the seed stitch on the border is a favorite of mine. It's kind of slow because you switch from knit to purl constantly, but it makes such a nice fabric from both sides of the piece.

The yarns used in the book were all  chunky wools or combos of wool and something. Wool has two issues for me: one, I think it can be hard on baby skin; two, I'm mildly allergic to wool, and it can really make me crazy if it is running over my fingers for an extended period of time.

The author also suggested cotton as an option, and that it makes a nice option for a beach towel as well.  Works for me! Chunky cottons are not easy to find - I knew I would likely have to double it - and JoAnn didn't have much in the way of pleasant cotton yarns. I use Sugar and Cream for washcloths, but I wanted something softer.

Google to the rescue! I typed in chunky cotton yarns and found www.yarn.com and this lovely yarn on sale.  It's Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted in green tea heather. It's very soft, and very slightly fuzzy and feels really good.

On size 13 needles it went really quickly (especially since the last major knitting I had done was on 0's and 2's on fingering yarns). Here is a picture for comparison:

and here is the pattern I had used. It's from a 1959 Vogue Knitting Book for Spring/Summer. I wanted to make a sweater on small needles because my mother had done it several times and I wanted the experience of it; I made this simple 3/4 length sleeved cardigan for my daughter because she is smaller than I am and I thought it would go faster - not so much. A true UFO, I finished it a couple of months ago after 2 1/2 years. And forgot to knit the buttonholes in and had to do a grosgrain ribbon finish. Let me tell you, modern grosgrain is the pits. Sorry, no finished photos - I handed it over as soon as I finished it.

Nature Spun Nordic Blue wool fingering yarn; bamboo needles in 0 and 2 sizes. For some reason fingering weight wool doesn't cause me as many allergy problems.

Scribbles by me at age 4 or 5 :)
Some notes: I think that the puffiness of the pods would have been more pronounced with a bouncy wool or wool blend yarn. I also should have remembered that my knitting is very loose and generally it works best if I go a needle size smaller. My gauge was correct when I did a swatch, but the blanket is about 3 inches larger all around than the size in the pattern. That could also be a function of the difference in spring of the wool and the cotton, though.

Now back to the fun but tedious trade shirts from the previous post. And if  you are a knitter without a local yarn shopping option, check out yarn.com. They have a great selection, and some good sales.

Thanks for reading,



  1. I am super impressed with all the projects you are finishing!!!

    1. Thanks, Julie - if only the remaining pile wasn't so huge!