Knitting Periodically
February 1, 2015
December 6, 2018

Knitting Periodically

Project info
my head
my son, in secret
Roughly 6'-8" square
Needles & yarn
US 1 - 2.25 mm
5 stitches and 7 rows = 1 inch
Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted
Paradise Fibers in Spokane, Washington

Picture 1

Experimenting: Learning how to knit “double sided”, figuring out best cast on and bind off, how to join the squares and determining gauge (and needle size) in order to create 4” x 4” squares. I tried an invisible cast on with much success, but decided to go with a modified double cast on instead. It seemed to give the joined squares more structure (given the final size of this project, structure is good!) I found that the knitted Kitchener bind off worked best for my needs. To join the pieces, I plan to graft the horizontal and use the mattress stitch for the vertical seams. And finally US size 1 needles gave me a 4” square of 20 stitches by 28 rows (5x7 grid) which worked nicely for patterning.

Picture 2

And so it begins - literally at square one (front).

Picture 3

Back of square

Picture 4

One down, 399 to go…

Picture 5


Blocking - trying to get each square to be 4” x 4”

Ha ha, blocking. Blocking blocks.

Picture 6


The first element (pun intended)

Hydrogen walked into a bar…by the end of he night he only had one beer - because he’s a light weight!

Picture 7


The (other) Nonmetals

Would you like to hear a joke about Nitrogen and Oxygen? NO?!

Okay, I’ll stop with the element puns for now - I think you’ve Sulfured enough.

Picture 8


The Noble Gasses

If a King farts, is it a Noble Gas?!

Helium walks into a bar. The bartender says, “We don’t serve Noble Gasses here.” Helium doesn’t react.

Oh these element jokes are so funny, I slapped my Neon that last one!

I’d tell you some more Noble Gas jokes, but all of the good ones Argon.

Picture 9


The Alkalai Metals

Q: Do you want to hear a joke about Potassium?
A: K!

Q: How about a joke about Sodium?
A: Na! (Element jokes are sodium funny!)

Picture 10


The Akaline Earth Metals

What do you do with dead chemists?
Ya Barium!

Picture 11


The Semimetals/Metalloids

Do I know the Spanish word for Silicon? Si!

I hope I’m not Boron you with these jokes.

In my opinion, there can never be too many puns Antimony jokes about elements!

Picture 12


Aaaaakkk! I found a mistake in my patterning! What do you do when you are this far in and there really is no going back? You hope no one notices and then you say to yourself, “Oh well, these things are bound to happen…periodically!”

For anyone who knows of my knitting OCD, yes, this is killing me! Knitting…must…be…perfect…

Juno says, “Can I eat that pencil?”

Picture 13

The Halogens

Flourine had a great time at the party bonding with everyone…

Do you think you know some good element jokes? Bromine are better!

Who told the best Iodine joke? I did!

Picture 14

The Basic Metals

No I’m not trying to poison you! Now shut up and eat your Pb and jelly sandwich!

Where are you going with all that element 83?
What do you care? It’s none of your Bismuth!

Do you like liver better, liverwurst, or Livermorium?!

Picture 15

The Transition Metals

Two transition metals were settling their bar tab. They came up short. The bar tender says “you need another nickel.”

Silver sees Gold sitting at the bar, so he goes up to Gold and says, “A U, get outta here!”

What do you call a ring of Iron atoms? A Ferrous Wheel!

That’s it for my transition metal jokes, I simply can’t zinc of any more!

Picture 16

The Lanthanoids

Before branding a cow, Europium!

You’re not laughing?! Why so Cerium?

“I come here not to Praseodymium, but to Barium!”

Picture 17

The Actinoids

This be the last of the element squares (except for the ones most recently discovered, but I still have to wait for them to be officially named). Now onto to the title, the key, and then background.

In the meantime, have you ever heard of Nobelium? No

Where do electrons go to cool down? Where ever there is Ac!

Did you know that Uranium is the most popular element? It is a hot commodity, and gets glowing reviews, but don’t eat it or you will get atomic ache!

And finally, I would make a joke about Plutonium being the stinkiest element, but it appears Seaborg beat me to the punch! Check it out:

Picture 18

Knitter’s Hell:
Taking a full hour to knit one row off a chart (of my own device) only to realize I started at the wrong end of the chart (basically knitting the reverse of what I wanted), then having to take another hour to un-knit my mistake, and then yet another hour to do that row the right way, just to end up where I should have been two hours ago!

Picture 19

The Title

Oh no! It came out backwards! Just kidding - this is the back!

Picture 20

The Title (again)

Picture 21

Making it up as I go along, with help from Hubby.

Here, before I start knitting the key, we are looking to see if there is enough of a color difference between the Halogens and the Noble Gasses (the two yellowish columns to the far right).

We’re also trying to figure out if it would look good with some cool molecules knitted into the black background. TBD.

Also on my mind is how to connect everything together. I am still thinking of grafting (Kitchener stitch) horizontally, and using mattress stitch vertically.

And speaking of connecting, keep in mind that some of the elements (Uut, Uup, Uus, and Uuo) may be replaced once they have been officially named, so those squares will have to be attached in such a fashion that they can be easily removed.

Picture 22

The Key…
…to success in knitting is perseverance!

For those of you craving a bad joke, what kind of keys don’t open doors? Mon-keys, tur-keys and don-keys!

Picture 23

Test for color blindness: Can you read this?!

In retrospect, I probably should have chosen colors with more contrast. Good thing this is the back!

Picture 24

Back to the drawing board

I am thinking about making the blanket even bigger!

Picture 25

IUPAC is proposing to name the four new elements Nihonium (Nh), Moscovium (Mc), Tennessine (Ts), and Oganesson (Og).

Oh Gee (Og!) I guess it’s back to the drawing board…again.

Picture 26

Blanket background molecule: Arsole
Also called arsenole or arsacyclopentadiene, it is an organoarsenic compound with the formula C4H4AsH.

Arsole itself has not been isolated experimentally yet, but the molecular geometry and electronic configuration of arsole have been studied theoretically.

Believe it or not, there has been much debate in the scientific community concerning the aromaticity of arsoles. I will leave the final determination up to you. For sure, my arsole doesn’t stink!

And finally, here is some good parental advice: Don’t be one.

Picture 27


Messin’ with Sas-swatch!

I really dislike making swatches, but I needed to see if my idea would work. I wanted to very subtly incorporate my son’s initials. I think I will go with the bottom design (garter stitch).

Picture 28


Caffeine: The college student’s best friend

Picture 29


It’s official! Gotta design and knit four more element squares. Some of you might say “TS” and my reply would be “yes, that’s one of them”!

Picture 30


Ethyl Alcohol: The college student’s second best friend wink

Picture 31


Ibuprofen: Third best friend?!

Picture 32


Fucitol: A sugar (fucose) alcohol that is derived from a North Atlantic seaweed called Bladderwrack (latin name is Fucus vesiculosus)

Although not usually pronounced this way, I prefer to say it with a hard “c” similar to what an undergraduate chemist might exclaim when their synthesis goes wrong. Yeah, I know that’s a bit sophomoric, but hey, it is apropos, as my son (the eventual recipient of this blanket) is currently a college sophomore.

Keeping that in mind, there are a few articles in the Journal of Biochemistry throughout 1997 concerning a kinase enzyme which acts on fucose. The creators of these articles did not realize that fucose kinase should not be abbreviated as fuc-K. Similarly, the E. coli K-12 Gene has other proteins that have been named Fuc-U and Fuc-R. Recently, the abbreviation for fucose-kinase enzyme has been cleaned up to FUK. However, there are now clones of this where the cloning position in the DNA sequence is labelled by its Open Reading Frame (ORF) number. And of course, these clones are called FUK ORF!

Picture 33


Triptophan: My son’s favorite amino acid.

What’s a pirate’s favorite amino acid? Arrrrrrrganine!

Picture 34


Theobromine: Who doesn’t love chocolate?!

Picture 35


Penguinone: This organic compound gets its name from the similarity of its 2D molecular structure to a penguin.

I chose it for this blanket because my son loved Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers, which he called “The Penguin One”.

Picture 36


Acetaminophen: when ibuprofen doesn’t work!

Picture 37


Methamphetamine: a nod to Walter White and Breaking Bad, my son’s favorite television show and possible inspiration for pursuing chemical engineering.

Picture 38


Out with the old, in with the new!

Picture 39


I believe this is the last of the background squares. I just have to fix a few mistakes and it will be assembly time!

Picture 40


I finally figured out the best way to join the element squares by experimenting on these outdated elements.

Picture 41


This is what the back looks like.

Picture 42


For the vertical seam, I lined up the turned edges and simply sewed back and forth behind the stitches. I did this on the front and back.

Picture 43


It’s happening! I am starting to put the pieces together. I decided to make columns of elements first, then connect all the columns.

I left long leading and trailing lengths of yarn (when casting on and binding off) with the hopes of joining the element squares with them. My plan is working out beautifully.

Picture 44


While I ever so slowly connect all the pieces of this beast, here are some random pictures and project notes (clockwise from top left):

Cast on edges. I used a longtail cast on alternating between two colors. I really like the way it created a herringbone pattern.

The black vertical joins. It became difficult to see all the individual stitches, so I “pinned” them together using double pointed needles.

The Title. I connected a row of plain black squares to the top of the title. I was hoping it would look like one piece and not 13 pieces. To make the seams tidier I picked at the turned edge stitches until they appeared neater, then ironed the whole mess.

Picture 45


Picking the turned edge stitches as I go along. I suppose one could say I was “knit-picking”!

Pictuer 46


Making progress!

Assembly notes: I connected the elements along horizontal seams with a grafting stitch making 20 columns (including 2 columns of all black squares). Now I am connecting all the columns.

After that: the key, the background molecules, and the title. Hope to finish off the edges with an I-cord.

Picture 47


I had to put a wide angle lens on the camera! This completes the “element” portion of the blanket and shows the full width.

Picture 48


I am starting to attach the key.

Picture 49


The key is attached!

I noticed the writing on the key was a little difficult to read due to fuzz created while knitting double sided with three colors (same for the molecules). I cleaned it up with a sweater shaver. It made a HUGE difference!

Picture 50


In case you’re interested, this is what the back looks like (so far).

Picture 51


I am grafting molecules to the title. And speaking of graft…

NASA was interviewing professionals to be sent to Mars. Only one could go and couldn’t return to Earth.

The first applicant, an engineer, was asked how much he wanted to be paid for going. “A million dollars,” he answered, “because I want to donate it to M.I.T.”

The next applicant, a doctor, was asked the same question. He asked for $2 million. “I want to give a million to my family,” he explained, “and leave the other million for the advancement of medical research.”

The last applicant was a lawyer. When asked how much money he wanted, he whispered in the interviewer’s ear, “Three million dollars.”

“Why so much more than the others?” asked the interviewer.

The lawyer replied, “If you give me $3 million, I’ll give you $1 million, I’ll keep $1 million, and we’ll send the engineer to Mars.”

Picture 52


The background has been assembled! Now the blanket is in three really big pieces (down from 187 smaller pieces!)

Picture 53


And then there were two:
The monster blanket is now down to two giant pieces. This is the back.

Picture 54


And then there were two (part two):
The monster blanket is now down to two giant pieces. This is the front. It is so big I couldn’t fit it all in the picture! Some elements are hanging off the edge of the bed.

Picture 55


And then there was one.

Now to finish it with some sort of border. I think I need to practice first…

Picture 56


After much fussing with colors and icord techniques, I have finally decided how to complete the edge on this blanket.

Aside from color choice (grey vs. raspberry) I was having difficulty finding an icord that would completely cover the cast on edge as well as looking nice on both the front and back.

Also, I wasn’t happy with the tension and stitch appearance until I finally decided to attach the icord stitch for stitch and change needle size to accomodate for the differences in stich size from horizontal to vertical.

And then there were the corners…

So, for those of you who might be interested, here is what I am going to do on the real deal:

Starting with a provisional cast on (crochet chain, in contrasting color - using scrap yarn), pick up 4 stitches, one per “bump” on back of chain using size 3 needles.

!! With 4 sts on dp needle, pick up one from wrong side of work (starting with the cast on edge about 10 stitches away from the corner). Slide all 5 sts to right of dp needle. Knit 3, ssk the last two, so now there are 4 sts on dp needle. Repeat from !! to one stitch from corner of blanket.

Corner: just before you get to the corner, knit one row of 4 stitches without picking up a stitch. Slide stitches to the right, knit 4 then pick up one stitch through the corner. Slide stitches to the right, knit 3, ssk. Slide stitches to the right. Changing to size 1 needles, knit 4, slide all stitches to the right. Knit 4, pick up one stitch. Now continue the icord as before: knit 3, ssk, pick up one, until you get to the next corner. Proceed as written except change back to size 3 needles, and so forth. (size 3 for horizontal, size 1 for vertical)

Finishing: I must admit I haven’t quite figured this out, but I plan to round the last corner, change needle size back to 3 and continue the icord until I “catch up” to the provisional cast on. I hope to then remove the cast on yarn and graft it all together for an invisible join. We shall see!

Until then, I am literally at the beginning of the end. Yay!

Picture 57


Clockwise from top left:

I have made the provisional cast on in contrasting yellow yarn. So far so good.

View of front and back of icord as I progress.

I have rounded the first corner! Here you can see my son’s initials (JCB)

Picture 58


Uh-oh! According to the date shown here, I only have a month left to finish this blanket. Fortunately, this is corner number 3 of 4 for the applied icord border.

I had no idea it would take me almost a whole year to get to this point since I knit in that date!

Picture 59


The icord is complete! Where is the confetti?!

All that is left is the final blocking. Stay tuned…

Pictures 60 and 61


It’s done! This is what it looks like in late afternoon sunlight. I had to climb an 8ft ladder to get the whole blanket in the picture. Unfortunately, the sunlight and lumpy lawn show all sorts of shadows and imperfections that one doesn’t see when indoors. Oh well, these are good pictures to see how it all came together.

Picture 62


Here is an indoor shot. I can hardly believe it’s finished. I think this will make a nice Christmas present for my soon to be Chemical Engineer son (he graduates in May 2019).

I started this when he was a senior in high school with aspirations for some sort of degree in chemistry. So glad he didn’t change his mind and pursue fine arts!

Final Thoughts

Final dimensions: 6’-4” x 6’-2”
Weight: 15lbs
Colors used: 13
Total number of stitches: 481,990
Length of yarn used: Approx. 5 miles
Hours spent knitting/designing: over 1,100
Time passed from inception to completion: almost 4 years (that’s what happens when you knit on the sly!)

I am not allowed to publish my charts here because the periodic table is not considered an original design, but I will be happy to share with anyone who is interested. Just send me a message!

3/8/2020 Update: You can still feel free to ask me to email you the charts, or you can obtain copies of them here

Picture 63


The element of surprise! I finally gave this to my son, and to my delight, no one spilled the beans.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Picture 64


Itty bitty update: What do you do with those left over swatches? Make a tea cozy, of course!

Picture 65


It’s official - the owner of this periodic table blanket is now a degreed chemical engineer!

Picture 66


It has come to my attention that I have incorrectly spelled “gasses”. I can not begin to tell you how upset this makes me, as when it comes to my own knitting, I am a perfectionist to the point of insanity.

According to most sources, “gases” is a noun, while “gasses” is a verb.

My only defense, weak though it is, is that I really did look it up before I charted the key. I would like to convince myself that “gasses” is an acceptable alternate spelling for the plural of the noun.

Until I reach that point, I have settled for considering the error as a knit-in element of humor (pun intended): What happens when King farts? Noble gasses!

viewed 3780 times | helped 18 people
February 1, 2015
December 6, 2018
About this pattern
Personal pattern (not in Ravelry)
About this yarn
by Brown Sheep
85% Wool, 15% Mohair
190 yards / 113 grams

50864 projects

stashed 32690 times

tcbosco1's star rating
  • Project created: April 26, 2016
  • Finished: December 8, 2018
  • Updated: June 18, 2020
  • Progress updates: 12 updates