Saturday, September 7, 2013

One Fish Two Fish ~ a knitted blanket

I wrote this post earlier this summer when I completed this blanket, but wanted to wait to post it until the baby shower for my SIL a few weeks ago- I didn't want to ruin the surprise!

A number of years ago I stumbled upon a pattern (also found on ravelry as "A Recipe for Fish") for knitting fish that could be assembled into a blanket. The beauty of the pattern (as well as many others) is that you can really customize it based on what you use and how many fish you make. The more fish you knit, the bigger the blanket, and the larger the yarn and needles, the bigger the fish and blanket.
the growing school. sorry, gauge, they aren't real!
For my first go at it to test out the pattern, I used scrap yarn and orphans, and ended up with a very colorful little school. I think it's destined to become a cat blanket, if they'll have it (Gauge already approves, as you can see above). That finished piece is not very large, partly because I was trying to use up all the small bits, and partly because I lost steam as I was also working on other projects. And, who the heck wants to sew together a giant school of fish . . .
finished fish sampler. very colorful, not very large. 
In the back of my mind I knew I wanted to do a bigger project with this pattern, modeled after the beloved classic, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss. The project went through several phases and sizes in my mind before coming on deck as a baby gift idea for several different friends who popped kids out over the past year. I decided to stay smallish so as not to lose steam - a baby blanket is just the right size to accomplish that! Soon after I started, my SIL mentioned they were trying to build a collection of Dr. Seuss books for their baby, due in October. I knew immediately that this would be the perfect gift for them, along with the book.
one fish. two fish.
The original pattern I sourced (see links above) called for the fish to each be knit separately. The fish could then be sewn together in whatever desired fashion (rows or columns) into a larger blanket/afghan. Another version I found includes instructions for co-joined fish, knit nose-to-tail in blocks that are then sewn together. There are a lot of other alterations, modifications, and finishing techniques out there, including a crochet version, but here is a little of what I did.
red fish. blue fish.
I knit the blanket using Knit Picks Shine Sport, partly because it is a soft, washable cotton, and partly for the added Modal fiber, which gives it a bit of depth/shine - a little bit like the ocean. The color palate I was able to choose from at the time (back in March) had nice, bright, classic colors that I used on the fish, as well as the fun background (called Reef!), and coral (Grapefruit, by their palate) for the border color. I admit I strayed a bit from some of Dr. Seuss' fish, using yellow and orange for the "one" and "two" fish. The gauge for this yarn allows for needle size #6-9, and I went with 7 because those are the needles I could find at the time. When I ordered the yarn I really had no idea how much I'd need; I ended up using some of each of the fish and border color, and about five of ten skeins of the background.

We all know how much I love having to finish knitting projects by sewing the pieces together, so I reduced the finish sewing by knitting continuous rows of fish that could then be sewn together. I mapped it out so that the colored fish were in every other row; this made it easy as I started and ended the "ocean" rows with the nose of the fish, and started and ended the "fish" rows with the tail of the fish. I also eliminated stockinette rows that create a prominent fin, and knit each fish entirely in garter stitch. I don't mind purling, but this meant I didn't have to worry about there being a right or wrong side to the fabric when assembling the blanket.
continuous fish.
The rows were seamed together using the background color along the edge stitches of each row of fish. Once the rows were assembled I crocheted the border, three rows of the coral (grapefruit) and one more row of the reef. I could have knit the border (I'm now partial to an I-cord border - SO easy!), but with the wavy top and bottom, I felt like the crochet border would show it off better.
wavy top border.
three rows grapefruit, one row reef.
The finished blanket is about 22" wide by 26" long (one fish wider, and it would have been more of a square then a rectangle). There are 6 background rows and 4 fish rows, with 4 fish per row - so a total of 40 fish, although only 5 are really prominent due to their color.  I also picked up a copy of the book at a local, independent book shop to complete the gift.
and done!
 I absolutely love it, this is now one of my new favorite completed projects!

No comments:

Post a Comment