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Truckin’ Lizard

April 26, 2010

The beginnings of the Truckin’ Lizard started innocently enough, in late December. I was visiting my brother in Nebraska, and wanted to get ideas for a hand knitted gift.

“I want to make you something,” I said, “how about a pair of hand knit socks?” “Naw, I wouldn’t wear them,” James replied. “O.K., how about a nice scarf?” I suggested. “Uh, uh, I don’t wear scarfs”, he said. “But I made you one before…,” I reminded him. “Yeah, I never wear it,” James ruthlessly responded. In desperation, I suggested, “O.K., a sweater, I know you wear sweaters!” But, James had another idea. “I want a blanket. For the bed in my 18 wheeler truck.”

A BLANKET!? Of course, since my brother does not knit, or engage in anything crafty, he really had no idea of the time and financial commitment involved with creating a hand knit blanket. There was no way I was going to knit him, or anyone a blanket. Right?

Shortly after this practical decision, I found myself gazing a blanket patterns on Ravelry. One in particular caught my eye. Lizard Ridge . It was colorful, easy, and looked fun, without being age, or gender specific. Hmmmm. If I was going to knit a blanket, this would be the one. But no way would I knit a blanket, uh uh, no way.

Opening my email reveled a message from WEBS. Sale! I found my self drawn to the Noro yarns, which were used in the Lizard Ridge blanket, and “click” my finger ordered 21 skeins of Noro yarn in shades of blue, green and purple, at a nice discount. Now there was no backing out. I could not let $125 of yarn hang around, unused. The Lizard was going to become a reality.

A week later an enormous box of yarn from WEBS arrived. Time to get started. I down loaded the free pattern and got to work. I decided to make a few modifications. Each rectangle was going to use a full skein of yarn, therefore my blanket would be slightly larger than the original. Each square took me an average of 3 -4 hours to make, depending on how much I was focusing. As the rectangles took shape, I could not help but notice that about 8 of the rectangles had a strip of ugly, pink-y grey in them. Ewww…no, I could not let that be.

This is where my first experiment in dye-ing took place. With the advice of a couple of friends, I hand painted a deep purple dye over the offending color. I cooked each rectangle in the microwave. Tah dah! No more pink! Not entirely certain that I liked the resultant color with the green, I held the freshly dyed rectangles next to the other colors of rectangles. With relief, I saw it would look just right.

Weeks later, I finished the final skein. Just in time for the CNCH convention in San Francisco, where I found the perfect skein of border yarn. A stunning mohair, merino blend, hand dyed in a delicious, rich olive, which would bring out the subtle shades of olive present in every rectangle. Delighted, it came home with me, where I began the laborious process of sewing every rectangle together. 4 rectangles, across, 5 down. The blanket grew larger, and larger. It spilled over my lap, and puddled on the floor. I began to worry I had not purchased enough yarn for the border! Sure enough, the 7 stitch wide edges on the sides, could not be used for top. A measly 2 stitch border had to suffice. I consoled myself with the thought It would be hidden by pillows.

Time to wash and block the blanket. Given the enormous size, I had only one option. My front loader washing machine. I stuffed the blanket into a mesh laundry bag, gingerly placed it in the machine with a little SOAK, and let it soak over night. The next day, a quick rinse and spin. The Noro bloomed and softened, but the border…felted. Why, how, I have no idea, but it shrank a good 1.5 inches. Luckily, I had knit it in garter stitch, so it didn’t affect the size of the blanket. I stretched it out on a layer of towels on the floor, pinned it into a perfect rectangle, and waited. A week later, it was finally dry, and will soon be sent to James, for his birthday present.

He has no idea. 😀

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Christy S permalink
    April 26, 2010 11:02 pm

    Wow, that is beautiful!!! He’s very lucky. He’ll be impressed, even if he is a guy! I’m not totally sure what a “truck blanket” is, but this is too nice to be kept in a truck. I actually like how the edges felted, and I love that green color.

  2. April 27, 2010 3:57 am

    Cheri, this is a work of art!! It’s stunning. I hope James likes it.

  3. April 27, 2010 4:10 pm

    So pretty! You have such patience and perseverance!

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