The Hemlock Ring Blanket
Posted by Jared Flood on
Walking around Brooklyn the last few days, I've noticed the slightest change in the air. Autumn is beckoning and this knitter can't think of any better reward for making it through another hot summer. My inaugural Fall project is draped over my lap as I type and I find myself ready for cooler winds, wooly knits and fresh transitions.
This project was born from my love of working heavyweight lace and my desire to spruce up my new place. And probably also from a sale on Cascade EcoWool which, in my eyes is the lord of Yardageland and the true definition of a wooly workhorse.
I searched high and low for a lace pattern that would both size out right and have a repeatable chart that I could work ad nauseum until I felt like binding off. I love how Feather-and-Fan Stitch looks and had that in the back of my mind too while searching around. I found a lot of great circular shawl patterns but most were already huge when worked in lace. Knitting one of those in a heavy worsted yarn would result in a room-sized blanket which, as intriguing as that sounds, wasn't what I was going for.
I was pretty set on Meg Swansen's "Feather and Fan Shawl" from A Gathering of Lace. This shawl, however, epitomizes the idea of giant lace, so for my own sanity I ruled out modifying it. Doilies, though, are a great place to look for hidden gems and perfect for working up a bit bulkier than directed. So when I came across this vintage doily pattern from The Canadian Spool Cotton Company (1942) I felt like I hit the jackpot: a repeatable 5-row lace chart, a whole lot of feather-and-fanning, a perfect size for tweaking and some great vintage accents to play around with (oversized wool floral motif anyone?) - perfection.
I was shooting for a lap blanket, something not too large that I can use to warm up while knitting or watching movies (or both, they're usually happening concurrently anyway.) A lap throw is also a great size for doubling as a table cloth, shawl, or general decorator-in-a-pinch (see photo below to dress up a bowl of yarn). When you live in a small space, multi-purpose knits are a wonderful thing. After blocking, the diameter of my blanket measured just an inch or two shy of 4 feet. The pattern as-is guides you through 87 rows of lace knitting, which I expanded in order to transform the doily into a blanket. The great thing about feather-and-fan is that you can just keep doing it in order to make a larger piece. Also, it's purdy.
As far as 'expanding' the pattern that's given you, I've already done the grunt work of charting out the expandable feather-and-fan section here for your convenience (When it comes to lace, I have a serious aversion to line-by-line pattern writing). A special note about the chart: I did not chart out the entire pattern, only the feather and fan section. Row 1 of my chart corresponds directly to Row 47 of the original doily pattern. (You'll still have to do a little line-by-line knitting). Also, the beginning of the round in the pattern starts in the CENTER of my chart. This will be more clear while knitting - just follow along with both pattern and chart until you orient yourself to the new setup.
I worked through row 55 of my chart (highlighted in Orange) before working the edging bind-off. I have included additional feather-and-fan repeats beyond where I concluded mine for those of you who would like to work a larger blanket. You can easily continue adding repeats beyond the final row of my chart - it's all up to you. (You'll need more yarn, though)
The lace edging in the pattern is awesome. The most beautiful thing about it, though, is that you can work it whenever you want. Just finish your last pattern repeat and work the edging. It blocks beautifully.
And warm under the newest creation here at BT headquarters, I welcome Fall with open arms. Happy knitting one and all.
Pattern: Hemlock Ring Blanket*
Source: My modification of the Hemlock Ring (link no longer works, see note below) vintage doily (1942), with added chart repeats and heavy weight yarn. [See full post below for details]
EDIT: THE ORIGINAL VINTAGE DOILY PATTERN IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE AT THE SUGGESTED LINK ABOVE. TO FIND A PDF OF BOTH THE WRITTEN PATTERN AND MY CHART, FIND ONE HERE, AT THE RAINEY SISTERS BLOG.
Materials: Cascade Ecological Wool in "Latte" (8063)
Needles: US 10/6.0mm 40" Circulars; KnitPicks Options
Amount: Approximately 311g/11oz; About 600 yards (less than 2 skeins)
Finished Measurements: Just shy of 4 feet in diameter
*Ravelry users, queue it up here.
Start Date: 27 July 2007
Finish Date: 9 August 2007