When I first purchased the Celtic Journey pattern book, I knew I was in love with this throw. My brother-in-law recently moved into a new apartment and has always been fond of Celtic-inspired things, so I knew this would be the perfect house-warming gift for him and his girlfriend.
This pattern is set up for two different sizes, the small is 24″ by 32″ and the large is 48″ by 64″. For my purposes, the large was the better choice. But this would certainly make a great baby blanket if made in the smaller size, so I must keep that in mind for future projects.
I chose Caron Simply Soft for my yarn as it’s one of my favorite go-to worsted weight yarns. I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but I just adore the way the yarn glides off the needle, and the drape of the finished product always feels luxurious. This time, I chose Autumn Red for the color as it best suited their decor.
One side-note about the Autumn Red: it stained my knitting needles!
I’ve never had any yarn by Caron (or any yarn period) stain my knitting needles, but this one certainly did. I’m not sure if it was just a bad batch of yarn where they failed to set the dye or if it’s something about this color, but beware if you plan on using this color. It’s a machine wash and dry yarn, so I advised my brother-in-law to wash it separately unless he wanted red dye to get on other things in the wash.
While working with this pattern, I did notice a fair amount of mistakes and general vagueness. It seems to be a running theme with this pattern book, as the Dubline Cardigan also had a couple head-scratchers as well as the Flidais Stole which I have yet to finish and blog about. Fear not, once finished I will share a full account 😉
I don’t want to post any images of the original or altered knitting chart (y’know, copyright laws and whatnot) so I will do my best to describe my alterations as if you have the pattern in front of you.
The first thing I noticed was the knitting chart for the main body of the blanket. It shows blocks of moss stitch set against a stockinette stitch background. A simple idea that adds some interesting texture to the body of the blanket. But the number of stitches between each block of moss stitch didn’t quite add up and working it up exactly how the pattern shows made them look oddly crammed rather than evenly spread. The obsessive-compulsive in me just had to change it. I moved one block to the left by one stitch and left the other in its original place, making the blocks evenly spaced on both sides. It’s important to note that I did not change the total number of stitches across in a row, these are important to keep track of when working up the border.
The second thing I noticed was that the materials list wound up coming up a bit short. You will actually need more than just a circular knitting needle size 8 and your cable needle. Once the body is finished, you will need to pick up stitches along all four sides of the body to begin working the border. Up until that point, the circular needle is all you need. But once you begin working the border, you’ll realize you need at least one straight needle size 8 to work with your circular needle, and the other end of the circular needle will not be used. I recommend using a circular needle set that allows you to change the needles on the cord instead of a fixed circular needle, as the stitches tend to fall off the other end while you’re working the border. I switched out the end I wasn’t using with the biggest size needle in the set to keep the stitches from falling off. It was also very useful in picking up the edge stitches as I was able to switch to a much smaller needle, making it infinitely easier to pick up the stitches.
Now to address the border cable chart itself: this one was a doozy. And don’t bother with the “corrections” posted on the Knit Picks website, they would have you changing cabled knits into purls and creating a whole other mess. Do this instead. I noticed when I got to row 13 that something didn’t look quite right with rows 9 and 11. In the celtic knotwork, the cables should be coming smoothly together to eventually criss-cross and then smoothly separate again for the longer 0 shape, then it repeats. But with the way it had you do the cables, rows 9 and 11 had a weird S bend to them. So I took the outermost cables from row 9 and moved them up to row 11. I did the same on the opposite end of the chart, moving the outermost cables from row 45 to row 43. This will smooth out the way the cables first come together and separate before and after each knotted section.
In the knotted section itself, I likewise had to make some adjustments. Rows 19, 27, and 35 are the rows where the “corners” of the knots are, so the cables must turn sharply inward to go back to center and cross each other again. The original pattern would have you do so with stitches 10, 11, and 12 and 25, 26 and 27. But doing so will cause one of the purls from each side to be cabled forward, and that just isn’t right. I had to move each of those stitches toward the center by one stitch, making it a cable with stitches 11, 12 and 13 and 24, 25 and 26 instead.
Also, the directions for each of those corner cables are as follows: 2/1 RC, put last st on CN behind work, put 2 sts back from right to left needle, K the st from CN, K2 and 2/1 LC, put last 2 sts on a CN in front of work, put 1 st back from right needle to left wyib, K the 2 sts from CN, K1. Essentially for the first one you move two stitches from the left to the right needle, put the third stitch on a cable needle in back of the work, move the first two stitches back to the left needle, and proceed to knit the stitches from the cable needle and then the left needle.
Well, after doing these instructions a couple of times, I got to thinking, “aren’t I just doing a regular cable-3?” and it turns out that yes, yes I was. For some reason the pattern is written to have you cross the stitches prior to stitching them by moving them around from the left and right needles, creating a bunch of unnecessary steps. If you simply hold the stitches you’re cabling in front or behind the work and work them like a normal cable, it will look just the same as if you do the extra steps. Save yourself the time and replace the special corner instructions with a regular cable-3 front or back as appropriate to the work.
Now the other thing that happened is I realized that the cable-4 sections that come right after the corners would need to be changed since I changed what stitches it was all happening on. So for rows 21, 29, and 37, the outermost cable-4 sections should become a cable-3, and the cable-4’s in between those cables remain as cable-4’s. I know you must be thinking “But Niki, won’t that make the cables not line up and bend weird? I dunno about this”. Trust me, though, it looks just dandy. The cables are turning so sharply and crossing each other so often in such a small space that the difference by making a couple cable-4’s into cable-3’s won’t be noticed at all.
The cable chart for the corners of the border is worked similarly to the straight sections, except that you decrease as you go until only a few stitches are being worked and the border angles up and out, then steadily increase stitches so the corner wraps smoothly around the corner of the body. The pattern contains the same mistakes as the straight section, so change stitches accordingly. However, when you get to row 71, the cable-4 on the left will remain a cable-4 and not be changed to a cable-3. This is because you will not be doing the left corner on row 19. In fact, there are no left corners at all on the corner chart. It took a little bit of playing around to figure out how to make the cables from row 19 line up with those in row 71, but I got it.
Tl;Dr Too long; Didn’t read: The pattern contains some pretty hefty goofs, and I was overly-descriptive in how to fix it for those of you who might be frustrated and ready to throw the whole project out the window. Don’t do that. Take a deep breath and work through the pattern with the fixes as I’ve detailed them here. It helps if you grab some graph paper and draw it out on your own, or highlight the sections that need fixing directly in the pattern book itself.
Unfortunately, I neglected to take a finished-product photo of this one. I was just so relieved when I got it finished that I wanted to give it to my brother-in-law and his girlfriend right away. It is now in its new forever-home to be (hopefully) enjoyed for years to come. If I can get him to take a photo of it, I’ll be sure to update my post, so check back if you’re curious.
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As always, happy stitching.