February 28, 2012

The Hemlock Deadlock

Hemlock Ring Blanket, [ jenleigh ]'s version.
Hemlock Ring Blanket, detailed modification by Jared Flood.
Pattern Specs:
Knit in Cascade Eco-Wool, 1.5 skeins in the straw colorway (4010).
Knit on size US 10 needles.

*My only modification was that I worked the feather and fan repeats on the 5th row rather than the 4th as denoted in the pattern.  I was then able to bind off on Round 62 of the standard sized shawl but achieve the dimensions of the larger version.

Last year I went through an Eco-Wool phase.  I couldn't get enough of it.  Granted I'm a huge fan of Cascade Yarns: 220, heathers, eco-alpaca, tweed.  You name it, Cascade's a great workhorse of a yarn that yields beautiful knits at a reasonable cost.  And the idea of being able to create an heirloom knit such as Hemlock for less than $20 a skein?  Complete no-brainer!

Eco-Wool is by far my favorite yarn for blankets.  You cannot beat a whopping 478 yards a skein.  It's nuts!  It's like our local car dealership that offers $99 for a new truck.  What a buy, what a buy, what a buy!  I keep a large stash of Eco on me at all times for blankets.  And the colorways are gorgeous.

Hemlock had me deadlocked for three years.
I love knitting blankets.  They're comforting and I've always enjoyed rows and rows of stockinette.  But. Enter. Hemlock.  Hemlock had me deadlocked for three years.  I'm a self taught knitter.  Everything I learned came from a Learn to Knit in 30 Minutes! manual from Hobby Lobby and that heaven sent Knittinghelp.com, the latter of which I still go to for technical support on a regular basis.  Needless to say, Learn to Knit in 30 Minutes! was a complete bust.  But I stuck with the basics and when the time has been right, I have practiced and learned, and then learned and practiced enough to become a pretty competent knitter.  But Hemlock...

In 2008, Hemlock posed all sorts of issues for my slight knitting skills.  What on earth was magic loop and how was I supposed to attempt it on needles as thick as my fingers with a forty inch cable between?  I couldn't keep up with my stitch count,  double yarn overs were demons from hell, and every time I put it down, no matter how detailed the instructions I left myself, I had no idea where I was.  I started and frogged too many times to count until I finally rewound the skein and put it away.  Ready to forget that failed experiment ever happened.

It's funny how persistence can pay off though.  And how accomplishing other feats (no matter how small) can give one the confidence and motivation to try something again.  And so try again I did, in February of 2011.  By this time I had possessed the knowledge to knit Hemlock for some time, but it was finally time to mark it off the list.  

The end justifies the means.
When I picked up my needles this time, Hemlock took just four days.  And the last day was spent binding off.  It was a pleasure to knit from beginning to end, and to my surprise, I didn't even mind the umpteen yarn overs required for each stitch of the five hundred stitch bind off.

Hemlock is a beautiful blanket.  Jared based it on a vintage doily chart and the result is gorgeous.  It's the perfect size for a lap blanket.  I even use mine as the base for my Christmas centerpiece on the dining room table.  When it's time to reblock it, I run it through the hand-wash cycle on my washing maching (no joke), and lay it flat to dry.  It hasn't felted the least bit.

I modified the row count slightly.
*I opted to repeat the feather and fan section of the pattern every fifth row instead of every fourth, as called for in the pattern. I was then able to bind off on Round Sixty-Two of the standard sized blanket yet achieve same size as the larger version.   

Mine is forty eight inches from edge to edge.  And that's close enough!  It is off the list! 

Happy Knitting!


  1. SUch a wonderful accomplishement. I love it!

    1. Thank you! It was an accomplishment! I was proud to finish it! =)