I came close to ripping the whole blanket out yesterday, which would have been madness. Why rip it out? I’m using an I-cord edging on the sides of the blanket and what I didn’t realize at first is that knitting it too tightly pulls the sides of the fabric down. When you’re just knitting I-cord on it’s own, you have to be really careful with your tension when you knit the first stitch of each row so that the tube forms and the stitches are even without a ladder between the third and first stitches. But in this case, the stitches need to be large enough to bridge 2 rows of regular knitting in the body of the blanket or else the sides will pucker and pull the blanket fabric at the sides. Instead of ripping it all out, I made my peace with a few tight rows and have loosened my tension on the edge stitches.
There’s another tension problem with this pattern. It’s a variation on herringbone patterns like the one used in Lisa Bruce’s Favorite Scarf Ever (a great pattern – I made the scarf and then made a baby blanket using the pattern). But instead of using yarn overs to add stitches to balance the centered double decreases, the Dragon Skin pattern uses make one (M1). With M1, you’re basically borrowing yarn from the row before to make a new stitch, which tightens the gauge of the row you’re borrowing from – it’s essentially a twisted yarn over made without paying out the extra yarn, so M1 makes the stitches in the previous row on either side of where you pick up the yarn smaller and tighter. I have three pattern repeats, so there are 5 places where the tension of the M1s are an issue: the three places between the pattern repeats plus one for each side. Those two side stitches are also affected by the tensioning issue with the applied I-cord and together, I have some rows that are super duper tight at the edges and loose in the middle.
I’m compensating now for both of those tension issues, but those rows before I started … gah. I have to leave them in the interest of actually finishing the blanket.
One last flaw with this blanket: it’s only 18″ (46cm) wide. Most of the blankets I make are over 30″ (76cm) wide. I should have added another repeat or two. Oh well: forging ahead anyway. Maybe I’ll make it extra long instead. Or pick up stitches along one side and knit perpendicular to the body of the blanket to make it wider. We’ll see! Anything could happen between now and 11:30am Saturday, when I’m meeting my friend/the recipient for lunch.