Finished - a Hemlock Ring!
What a fantastic pattern! You can find it here. Once you get going, it doesn't require too much attention so it's a great project to bring to your knit group or work on while watching TV or listening to podcasts (or whatever else you can do while you knit!).
I did a total of 16 repeats of the feather and fan portion of the blanket. The pattern calls for 11 repeats for a standard size throw and 3 more repeats for a larger throw. I had lots of yarn to work with so I went an additional 2 repeats beyond the larger size of the pattern.
The knitted bind off has you turning the blanket back and forth every 4 stitches or so, which is fine except my blanket was really big at that point and I don't necessarily like working on those types of edgings! I was also ending up with a large hole in between each loop that I didn't like too much. So I searched on Ravelry for different bind offs that folks have used, and ended up knitting the bind off over 3 rows. (I have a link to the person's bind off I followed on my Ravelry project page but I didn't want to re-print it here in case it looked like I was stealing it or something!) It basically gives the same finished edge but is worked differently.
The Hemlock Ring is another fantastic example of the power of blocking! Below are some photos of it pre-blocked and during blocking. I blocked this rather aggressively (it is 68+" across in the photo) and then left it pinned for several days, and to be honest, after I unpinned it I was feeling like I blocked it too hard. I actually rolled it up in a ball and put it out of sight for a week or so while I debated re-blocking it, but when I picked it up again it had relaxed a bit and the blocking wasn't so severe...and I think it's perfect now! (It shrunk back to about 64 inches.)