Red Lounge Blanket: Swatches

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So I posted a little while ago about my latest project – the Red Lounge Blanket 

Now I have to admit after I done some initial swatches for the blanket I really lost the motivation for this project for a little while.

The first swatch I did was quite successful, this played around with a few different stitches in the wool and a few different cables patterns which gave me the basis for my main pattern. But I needed to sort the edges out, I liked the I-cord bind off in this swatch, but I needed to sort the the cast-on and the edges of the knitting.

Blanket swatches

My next swatch was to test out a few I-cord edges and the cast-on/ bind-off. While I was quite happy with the cast-on and bind-off I hadn’t managed to find a method which gave me a decent I-cord edge… and that put me off this project for a while.

Blanket swatches

I had calculated the amount of wool I needed (a bit of an estimate since the wool was only on sale for a little while), so I had 20 balls of wool sitting in my lounge and I hadn’t done anything with it yet.

20 balls of wool

When Pippa was back from sailing I asked her if she had an ideas for the edging and together we had a bit of an afternoon of knitting up some I-cord swatches.

These swatches below use a method for the I-cord edge which is 3 knit stitches on the RS and three purlwise slips on the WS. I think I possibly had tried this method before on my previous swatch, but with little success. I discovered that I need to work one side (Left of the work) very tightly and the other side (right of the work) looser in order to produce a neat I-cord edge.

In order to get a neat corner I decided to have a few additional I-cord rows which were not attached to the main body of the work. These were formed from the end 3 stitches of the I-cord cast-on, with two extra rows they could be formed around the corner and then placed back on the needle to be worked as the i-cord edge stitches.

For the first corner though this was a little trickier, it required a provisional cast on which the additional I-cord rows could be created from before beginning to cast the stitches on for the main work. When knitting the first row back on the work the provisional cast on was removed and the stitches picked up to form the i-cord edge.

This worked remarkably well for the body of the work but required the final corner to be grafted together with a kitchener stitch which was a new technique for me, but I couldn’t even really tell where the join was in the edging afterwards which is impressive.

Blanket swatches

I created 3 swatches all using the similar edging. The first swatch in the red didn’t have a very defined edge to make the i-cord stand out, so on the next swatch (pink as I used up the first ball) I did a column of purl stitches next to the i-cord to make it pop more. This improved the edging, however the cast-on seemed quite tight compared to the rest of the work.

In the third swatch I cast-on in 10mm needles before switching down to 9mm needles for the rest of the work. (this is where my new interchangable needles are really great). Unfortunately I made a mistake in the first row of the seed stitch so it doesn’t look quite so nice, but I’m pretty happy with how the border works now!

I started making up the pattern for the main blanket but I hadn’t really swatched up the cable pattern with it’s edging so I decided to do one last swatch before I cast-on just so I was happy with the spacing etc.
This swatch is basically 1/3rd of the width of the blanket. My main 3 cable section will repeat 3 times.

Blanket swatches

This swatch tested out the border spacing, the knit columns, the cast-on tension in a longer length, the increases and decreases and the spacing of the cables.
I also tried out whether to add a purl row as a border at the end of the cable, but I decided it wasn’t what I wanted. Ideally I wanted a horizontal knit stitch, but I couldn’t find a way to do that, so I thought it looked neater without.

There were a few adjustments I decided to make from this: I should add an extra row at the very beginning and end of the cable section to set in the cable before I do the first twist as having the increases and the first twist all in one row gathered the knitting too much. Hopefully the extra row should allow the work to lie flatter. Also I think the corners are pulled too tight by the i-cord so I will create 3 I-cord rows so the corner can lie more square (I tested this at the top of the work and it looks better).

I think I pretty much have ironed out the kinks with this pattern so once I’ve got it written out I will be ready to cast-on! That’s going to take me a while though as my I-cord cast-on will have just under 400 stitches in it!


4 thoughts on “Red Lounge Blanket: Swatches

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  2. Sheila

    Wow, the whole i-cord thing sounds incredibly complicated – I don’t even know what it is, but it looks great! The blanket promises to be quite special with all this working out that has gone on beforehand.

  3. Nikki Post author

    Thanks! I had never even come across an I-cord before starting this! I’m definitely learning a few new techniques with this blanket… Did my first russian join to connect balls of wool which was suggested by Kim (themateriallady) and even had to go correct some stitches. I just realised I did one of my cables the wrong direction though, not looking forward to correcting that!

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