before christmas, one of my knitting friends (the same one who made me the happy baby this monster) gave us this wonderful, magical knitted baby blanket.
i had been wondering how in the world we were ever going to transition out of swaddling him to sleep and the first night i got this blanket, i laid it on top of him instead of swaddling and… like magic, he fell asleep! it has a yummy weight, but because it’s knit, i didn’t feel like i had to worry about him getting it stuck over his face (knitting has lots of holes!). it’s made of cotton yarn (easy, peasy washing!) and the pattern has polka dots on one side and stripes on the other. could this blanket have been any more perfect for us? the only way i can see would be… if there had been two of them instead of just one. or maybe three. my friend was so thrilled by the blanket’s positive reception that she agreed to make us a second blanket, but it might take awhile and so… i decided to try my hand at making one of the blankets myself. eep! me! knitting! a blanket, for crying out loud! why not something small like a hat or even a scarf? well, this project has the most incentive behind it, so it was the push i needed to dive back into the world of yarn after being gone since my undergrad years. i’d been wishing for a good, portable handwork project anyway, right?
i asked my friend about the pattern and yarn she used and asked if it was difficult (it looks pretty complicated to me!) and she assured me that it was very simple (‘yes, but you’re a knitter,’ i told her. ‘will it be simple for me?’). she pointed me to the free online pattern and i looked it over and realized it was just knit and purl (and i know both of those!) but then it was also something called “slip stitch” … hmmm… new stitch. might be scary. plus, it looked like there would be counting involved and a pattern i’d have to pay attention to. i began having some doubts. then some wise knitter friends explained that slip stitch was just slipping the yarn from one needle to the other. oh. not so scary then. really probably the easiest stitch of the whole blanket. i can do that!
my friend then told me that she’d used inexpensive but really wonderful cotton yarn from hobby lobby. i had a sense that many knitters would be pretty skeptical of cotton yarn for a blanket and even more skeptical of cheap cotton yarn (this was on sale for $2.44/skein) but whenever i show it to knitters, they finger the blanket and say, ‘this is 100% cotton? it’s so .. soft! and … stretchy! and…. squishy!’ yes, it really is a very nice yarn. and i’m thrilled that it was cheap too! (at least that way if i mess up, i don’t feel too guilty about investing tons of money into the project.) after some needle research, i decided to invest in a set of nickel-plated “addi turbo” circular needles. my friend’s only complaint about these needles was that they were “too fast” for her… i didn’t think that would be a problem for me.
i got started just before christmas vacation and worked on it in the car and whenever someone else was in charge of taking care of the happy baby while we were visiting family. it turns out that this simple pattern is actually kind of addicting. because it’s not just the same thing over and over there is incentive to knit “just one more row.” and since the whole thing repeats in just 12 rows, it’s pretty easy to set these little baby-step goals (just one more dark blue stripe and then i’ll quit). and yes, there is some counting , but never higher than the number four and i can usually manage to count that high even when i’m watching a movie (as long as it’s not subtitled or something).
so here’s what it looks like so far:
and here you can see the stripes on the back:
and the only real problem so far is that due to some initial miscalculations this is way too narrow to be a blanket by itself. and rather than ripping out the first 50 rows i’d knit when i realized this problem, i decided to use this as an opportunity to learn how to seam or pick up edge stitches or something that will allow me to add more big chunks to this blanket to make it larger. i’m thinking about using some “bee stitch” that alicia raved about here if i can only figure out how to do that stitch (yes, i’ve seen instructions for it online, but so far, whenever i try it, it turns out looking… wrong.) because i think it looks nice and because i love the idea of using bee stitch + something that looks like honeycomb (who in the world thought “spice island” was a good name for this blanket pattern?!) and maybe making my own whole new pattern and calling it the “honey pie” or “honey cakes” blanket. can i do that? is that copyright infringement? stay tuned to see how this project develops!