Jan 28, 2013

The little blanket that could

If you've read this blog at all in the past few months you know how much I've loved diving back into knitting. I've made a lot of scarves, a baby hat, and even kid leg warmers.

But since mid-December, I've been working on my biggest project yet. I have a cousin who is pregnant (and one who recently had her baby - more on that later!) and she is due at the end of March. She is one of the sweetest people I know - she's always had a friendly ear to listen to my fertility-related rants, she will randomly send me packages or a little Starbucks gift card to let me know she's thinking about me, and she shares my love for the handmade.

I knew I wanted to knit something for her daughter-to-be, and since I've become a little more comfortable with a few types of stitches I decided I would try to make a baby blanket. I didn't say anything to her about it, because at first I wasn't convinced I could actually pull it off. It was quite the learning experience. 

The pattern I chose was pretty simple - only two kinds of stitches - knit and purl - and I chose grey for the blanket. (I love neutrals and let's be real, grey will hide things better so my cousin and her husband aren't constantly washing it!) I usually share pictures of what I'm knitting on instagram but my cousin follows me there so I couldn't share any of my progress without giving away the secret.

So below, how to make a baby blanket, Becky-style, in ten steps.

1. Cast on 148 stitches (one row), and be unimpressed by how tiny this looks.
2. Keep going, completing the border, feeling like you've got the hang of it. (Little tip: wearing comfy pants while knitting always helps).
3. Start knitting the main part of the blanket which involves building squares or "blocks" of one type of pattern at a time - text a picture to your friends so they can assure you they can see the pattern too.
4. Get excited because it's starting to look like a blanket. Then lose your mind a little because you read the pattern incorrectly, and instead of another 20 rows, you have another 220 rows to go.
5. Let knitting a baby blanket consume your life. Text your friends about your progress. Think about how close you are to being done, only to realize you are running out of yarn when you shouldn't be. Send a not very nice email to your yarn store at 1:30 in the morning demanding to know why the pattern says it only requires five skeins of yarn when you're clearly going to have to buy a sixth. Be humbled when it's (gently) pointed out that if you made your stitches a little tighter this wouldn't have been a problem. Make this face a lot.
6. Stay up until 1:30 in the morning again (only two nights after the first time), because you're so close to being finished. Get ready to cast off (start the last row) and realize instead of only doing 12 more rows at the end to finish the border you did 22, so the border at the bottom is bigger than the border at the top. Cry. A lot. Put the blanket down and go visit your friend for some much needed no-knitting time.

7. Come back refreshed and consider your options: un-knit ten rows of stitches (which, at 148 stitches per row would mean un-doing over 1400 stitches), or leave it and know the end with the bigger border can be the bottom. Decide to leave it, finish the last row and step back to admire your hard work.
8. Cry a little bit because you know even though it was a lot of work you are proud of yourself, your cousin will love it, and her daughter will be able to use it for years. It was a labor of love.

9.  Brag to all your friends and show them pictures, before flying out for your cousin's baby shower to present it to her.
10. Celebrate by knitting something other than a baby blanket.

This is by far the coolest thing I've knitted - and it helped me get past my fear of making something other than just scarves and the occasional hat. Will I be picking up another labor intensive project again soon? Probably not. But do I have ideas in mind for things to do later? Absolutely.

Have you ever worked on a project where you could see the progress and felt accomplished at the end? How did you handle little setbacks along the way?


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

It turned out so beautifully and I sure the look on your cousin's face when she opened it was all worth it (well, sort of... I know how frustrating projects like that can be).

I went through something similar when I decided to knit and crochet baby blankets for my 2 best college friens. Oh my God, never again. It was my first crochet project and I honestly hated crocheting. And I could not figure out the edge work, nor could my yarn store because they are knitters. So yah, that project was a labor of love. And then I knitted a baby blanket very similar to the one you made and it took FOREVER. That was over 2 years ago and I have yet to work on any baby projects as I got so burned out!!

Annie said...

You melt my heart! I was speechless when I opened it. You nailed the color - you know me well!

Our baby will always be wrapped in your love.

Love you, Becky Jo.

Nora said...

LOVE IT! It's a gorgeous pattern!

Emily Lockley said...

I can't get over how beautiful this is! Good job!!!

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Oh man, this is VERY impressive. I know how to knit but I can't follow a pattern so I basically just do scarves and that's it haha. This definitely intimidates me!

Amber said...

Beautiful!!! Way to go lady! Hearing you and Lisa talk about knitting has really made me realize how much WORK my grandmother has put into all the wonderful creations she's made me over the years! Not that I didn't already, but this kind of makes me treasure them even more!

Hope your trip to Ohio was fabulous!

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