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JF's Notebook
Photo of Jared Flood


Penned by Jared Flood

Hello and welcome! I'm a knitter, photographer, designer and the creative director at Brooklyn Tweed. I use this notebook as a space to record inspiration and write about my creative work both inside and outside of BT. Thanks for reading, and don't be a stranger—I love hearing from you!

Travel Companion: A Giant Swatch

January 20, 2010

At this point I’m starting to accept that being stranded in an airport due to cancelled flights/blizzards is fast becoming my new holiday tradition. That said, I guess I should also say that off-the-cuff, knitting-is-my-only-sanity gift projects are also becoming a customary form of combat when faced with this unfortunate and mind-numbing fate.

Wool Leaves

This year, I willed myself to knit through the stress with something simple that would take care of one of the many handknit gifts I had planned on getting done by December 25th but, well, never quite got around to. In need of simple, mindless, therapy knitting, a giant swatch seemed just the ticket. After all, that’s all a baby blanket really is, right?

Wool Leaves

I’ve been binging on a generous diet of wool lace recently so this was naturally already where my brain was. Since fine yarns and detailed patterns were out of the question under such duress, I grabbed a leftover skein of Ecological Wool, conveniently pre-wound into a center pull ball (always travel prepared), took one end from each side and started knitting a chunky and fast project on 13’s with yarn held double.

Instant stress relief.

Wool Leaves

The result isn’t the most heart-stopping piece of knitting I’ve ever seen, but it served it’s purpose, both for me and its little recipient, very well. The center rectangle is a simple Shetland Leaf pattern, trimmed with double-seed stitch on all sides. I really meant it when I said Giant Swatch.

And by the time we finally landed on the other side of the country… it was blocking time.

Wool Leaves

There’s definitely more interesting lace knitting on my needles at the moment, (including a color that I’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with and must photograph for your viewing pleasure) but sometimes keeping it simple makes for such welcome company.

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91 responses to “Travel Companion: A Giant Swatch”

  1. I love it! I have been searching for a lace baby blanket pattern for a few months now and this is perfect! Would you mind sharing the Shetland Lace Leaf pattern you used? I think I could take it from there :)

  2. That's a beautiful blanket! And remember, if you ever need a place to send those adorable baby knits I can send my address immediately. :) Any day and I'll have a new one to wrap in wooly love.

  3. Wow. It's so beautiful. I love the interaction of the colour and the pattern and the simple border. Just gorgeous.

  4. That is gorgeous!! Once again you
    have inspired me and leave me with a smile. I have been terribly thirsty for more of your lovely knitted projects, your gorgeous photos and your inspirational comments about the beautiful wool you have worked with or discovered.
    Please, more. So thristy! And the
    pattern would be lovely to have. :)


  5. Gorgeous stitch pattern. And the Eco Wool looks so velvety, I almost thought it was chenille of some sort!

  6. I love the design you used on the blanket. You'll make some baby warm and happy. I'd love to know which Shetland Leaf Pattern you used ~ Care to give your pattern secret?

  7. that's absolutely gorgeous!! would you mind sharing the leaf stitch pattern you used? I'd love to make a wrap, or wide scarf from the same pattern. :)

  8. It's gorgeous! I'm with you…knitting is a life saver. I feel that wherever I pass the time, I pass it productively. I always carry a project. or two, with me! Thanks God for yarn and needles:)

  9. Beautiful! I swear, not six hours ago I was thinking "ooh, a candle flame lace would make a great baby blanket!" and here you go with your Shetland leaves.

  10. This is the most beautiful baby blanket I've ever seen. I love the simplicity of it. Your photographs are gorgeous!

  11. I think this is the center pattern from Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' Christening Chrysalis in Shawl and Scarves (The best of Knitter's Magazine) page 22.

    I LOVE IT. As with everything you knit, I want to knit one of these!

  12. Yes,,,please share your pattern…babies are being born as we speak…share/sell quickly! :) Kim in Madison

  13. Too funny that this is a "simple Shetland Leaf pattern, trimmed with double-seed stitch on all sides"–emphasis on simple– for you. It would have taken me a year of delayed flights to knit this, even with the yarn held double. Your recipients are very lucky to be loved by you. Happy New Year.

  14. I've hesitated on doing non-tradional lace but now I'm getting out my red yarn and fat needles! Jill (downunder)

  15. .. great blanket and do you know how lucky you are that they still allow knitting in planes in the States.. here in Europe its terrible, no knitting.. allt he best.. Christa

  16. So, have you had any problems with knitting and flying? They confiscated my needles (circulars) from London to US in November. I was a random, last minute, screen, but they made me feel like I shoud have let screener know when going throught the initial screen, and they would have taken them away at that time. No way did they believe me that I have always understood that needles were okay on flights, and that I have flown manyh times with no problem. So I am somewhat reluctant to take needles again–especially since the December 25 issue……

  17. I've found that the simplest things can be the most interesting… or the most sublime. No pattern needed, just an idea of what looks good in the eye. A beautiful color for a baby, too.

  18. ha,ha wish my 12 week old little guy was the recipient of your amazing swatches! On the other hand, my good buddy Tracy ("Himalaya" on Ravelry) did knit me your Tweed Baby Blanket! I love it!

  19. One skein of Eco wool? How big did the blanket end up? I have thoughts of an eco wool lacy blanket for my living room… just trying to get an idea of how much yarn I will need!

  20. Jared, that's absolutely gorgeous. I'm thinking about doing it as (don't gasp) a table cloth. But in something washable. And another airport tip, carry an extra pair of hand knit socks in your bag, a finished pair. They can sometimes be used as a bribe for an upgrade at the gate!

  21. That is beautiful and I too love knitting while on the plane and stuck in those airports. I have found it to be such a good way to pass the time. I actually look forward to flying now because it is uninterrupted knitting time. Or after a long stressful day, just sitting and knitting a mindless project for 30 minutes helps soooo much.

  22. I have ecowool. I have 13's. I even have a lace stitch pattern…but how many did you cast on? What were the final dimensions? Babies tend to be BIG in my family…

  23. As a new knitter/someone who is getting ready to make her first lace project/someone totally in love with your simple but often elegant designs/a mom with girlies who love to be wrapped in beautiful hand-mades, can I just say wow. Beautiful. Lovely. Perfect.

  24. The double seed stitch border is simple and brilliant. Much prettier than garter stitch or even regular seed stitch. Well done!

  25. This is so lovely, and exactly I am looking to knit for my friend's April baby . . . as with other requests, will you share the pattern? xo Thank you!

  26. Lovely blanket, and I love your photography, but I have to ask, How do you actually pull from both the inside and outside of a center pull ball without ending up with everything all twisted and tangled?

  27. hi all :)
    love this !
    but i am a mite confused..this does NOT look to me like yarn held double ( worsted weight yarn) & knitted on size 13's? it looks like it was knitted on a much smaller needle, say a 6/ 8?
    anyone else agree?
    anyhoo, like i said LOVE it!

  28. Thank goodness for knitting! I find it really does help pass the time when time might otherwise stand still.

  29. Your photographs and descriptions of your knitting projects is enough to make me want to knit till I drop! The blanket is just gorgeous and if that's what your giant swatches wind up looking like, I'm definitely doing something wrong, LOL.

    I would also like to know how you manage to pull from two ends of the same skein of wool without a tangled mess…..please let us know the secret.

  30. I've thought of this balnket often after seeing it, and thought I may have seen this pattern in one of my stich dictionaries. Low and behold it's listed as 'Flower Buds' in The Ultimate Sourcebook of Kntting and Crochet Stitches. Hope this is helpful for happy knitting.

  31. I found another pattern called 'fir cone' in my ancient 'ward lock guide to knitting stitches' that would also do the job – I'm going to try it anyway :)

  32. I think this is rather "fir cone" pattern in the same book, p. 121 instead of page 117 :)

    ("flower bud" seems just a little smaller, with leaves made with 2 "ovals" instead of three for "fir cone" and the pattern here).

    Anyway thanks a lot for the tip, I never would have remembered that it was in that book in the first place ! 😀

  33. Please share the pattern for this blanket – it's beautiful. I'm working on the Tweed Baby Blanket now as a belated baby gift. I love it!

  34. Good call on the pattern Jeri – and Shetland Triangle is in Wrap Style and that is at my local library. Excellent! Shetland Triangle looks a little more open – gauge difference maybe.

  35. This is very beautiful, and a wonderful idea. It makes knitting a "baby" swatch way more interesting.

  36. Oh, please, won't you make this available for us to buy through ravelry?
    I'd love to knit this for my baby!


  37. Jared, love the blanket! Could you possible take a moment and share more specifics about it? Seriously I would love to make this!

  38. it looks beautiful as always. I used to always have to fly standby as an airline employee, unfortunately this was just after 9-11, so no knitting allowed then.

    Have you had any difficulties when going through security with your knitting supplies? Do you use a knit kit? Very curious as we are getting ready to move up to vancouver island but daughter will be in boise, i see air travel in my near future!

  39. everyone:)
    i posted this question & got no response, will try again :)
    does this piece look like it was knitted on size 13 needles & with yarn held double?
    peace&blessings all

  40. Searching for "fir cone" on ravelry was much more fruitful than searching for "shetland lace" and its variations. I found a nice basic pattern that looks quite similar to this one here: Of course you'd have to adjust for the double seed stitch edging (which, I must say, is a much better choice for this pattern), but it's the closest I've come to finding something for free.


  41. simple sucks. your blanket/swatch sucks. your knitting sucks. your photos suck. your spinning sucks. your book sucks. you suck.

    i figured you had to get tired of the incessant gushing, so . . .

    anyway, you rock. i always look forward to your new stuff.

  42. Flyngmunky that comment had me in stitches.:)

    Mr. Flood it is a pleasure to view your knitting and photography.

    Thanks always.

  43. Hi, Jared!

    I was wondering if you would post about percentages, like for sweaters, and how you go about figuring it all out? :)

  44. I also love this blanket. That lace pattern is perfect. I would love to be able to puchase the pattern. I have not done lace knitting but would love to try this pattern. I really enjoy your blog and your creativity.

  45. So beautiful! Love this yarn and pattern choice
    Your simple yet elegant and enjoyable patterns are inspiring! In other words, you keep knitting fun for me… thank you!

  46. This is neat. I am a pretty new knitter, and recently saw the leaf pattern in a knitting stitch book/calendar and tried it out. I love leaves in decor, motifs, clothing, anything, and this has become one of my favorite patterns. I did a little swatch, which was much smaller than your swatch, and I also did it in brown. I absolutely love your blanket and hope to figure out how to make one, too.
    I have also learned to appreciate waiting, since I have something so fun to do while I wait. :)

  47. I love it! Simple is the best and especially when you use what you have and finish it in time for the receiver – wel done!

  48. You may think that isn't the most spectacular lace knitting ever — but I tell you, no baby has ever had a more beautiful blanket!!

  49. How do you overcome the problem of having your
    knitting needles confiscated at security check? I have
    had to resort to crochet with a plastic hook for
    in-flight work!

  50. Hi Jared,

    thank you for the inspiration. On a longish ride from Austria to northern Germany I made a scarf that copies your blanket. Of course I mentioned you blog and the entry.

    if you care to have a look I would be very pleased:

  51. I keep telling myself that I do *not* need to cast on anything new–I already have at least six different projects on the needles–but this little blanket is inspirational. I'm going to try some worsted-weight lace swatches, myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

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