Knitting the Almanac - April Mystery Blanket

Can you spare a square?

April brings us to EZ's "mystery" blanket.  Contrary to the meaning "mystery" has taken in the fiber arts world, we are not being asked to blindly knit something for which we have incomplete directions and no finished photo.  In this case, rather, we are knitting something which should prove "mysterious" to other knitters who examine it.  Namely:  In which direction was it knitted?  (And yes, all knitters who examine this blanket will have to sign an agreement not to dangle any prepositions in front of it!)

This is because the squares are knit from the center out, then grafted together.  Smaller squares are then knit from the outside in, and borders are picked up and knit along the outside edge.  In essence, this blanket is knit every which way, and with nary a seam in sight.

I agonized over the yarn choice for this project, because I simultaneously wanted to highlight the unique construction with color-changing yarn (can anyone say Noro?) and disguise the unique construction with solid-colored yarn.  Since I obviously couldn't do both, I decided to indulge my desire to knit with the amazing Noro Transitions and allow this project to be a bit less mysterious than EZ planned.

I am going to acknowledge up front that Transitions is a) a bit of a splurge in blanket-quantity and b) a bit of an impractical choice for a blanket.  I typically try to find washable yarns for blankets since gently laundering and hauling a wet blanket around is a pain in the rump.  In this case, I decided that since the other front-runner-yarns for this project were also not machine washable, I wouldn't let that dissuade me.  I will just do my best not to get it dirty, and suck it up when I do have to wash it.  I recognize that this is not a practical solution for everyone.  I am ready to hear your mocking; I can take it.

I thoroughly enjoyed knitting the squares.  They were the perfect instant-gratification "project", since you get the little thrill of having finished something every time one is completed.  I also enjoyed playing a little game with myself to see if I could make it through all the squares without having a harsh (read:  knotted) color change.  Noro is infamous for knots with no regard to color sequence, but by careful planning, I emerged victorious!

Now I am working on what I believe to be the most difficult step of the entire process:  the layout.  I want to avoid the "scrappy patchwork" look at all costs, because this yarn is really too beautiful to relegate to that fate.  So far I've tried an all-over random layout (with the help of my fabulous sister), and a weak attempt at ombré.  I'm not sure I'm in love with either of them, but I'm also not sure I'm going to come up with anything better before I get too itchy to start grafting.

Layouts side by side

Anybody out there have an opinion?

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