The last time I posted corresponds to that last time I had any knitting mojo. I’ve truly not felt the desire to pick up the needles in months. The last post also is around the time I found out a co-worker was pregnant, and I do what every good knitter does (or, at least, the knitter I want to be) … and I offered to make her a baby blanket.
Let’s take a step back and talk about blankets. They are, bar none, my favourite thing to make for an expecting family. Baby clothes – adorable, I love them. Stuffies … one day I will figure them out. But babies grow out of clothes and stuffies can get lost. And sure, both can be true about a baby blanket … but a blanket can be used to multiple ways. If you make it big enough the baby can grow with it, and if taken care of, the blanket can be handed down and used for many years. I love the idea of gifting something that you can wrap parent and baby in. I like spending hours pouring love and good vibes into blankets for the new wonder and no matter how much I moan, complain, or whine when the blanket gets big or finicky, it is still my favourite thing to gift to anyone. So I offered her a blanket, knowing my mojo was waning but convincing myself I had time.
This post is not about that blanket. I bought the yarn in May, I had an “Oh crap!” moment at the end of June, and even though I had to knit it shorter than planned, I gave the blanket to the Mom-To-Be at the end of July when she went on maternity leave. And, of course, I posted it to Instagram and Facebook, as you do.
And the usual oohs and awwws came in (and I’m not gonna lie, I’m so here for them). And as I lounged at home after a knit-well-done a surprise message on the picture: “Hey! Could you knit a baby blanket for me?”. The intrigue, I had it. The message was from a cousin, the only family I have close by truthfully. She was looking for a baby blanket to gift at a shower. She knew she wanted it to be grey with pink highlights, and I could pick any pattern I liked. And oh yeah, the due date for the project would be August 15. The day she asked was July 28th.
Naturally, I said yes.
I rushed out first thing Sunday morning to Michaels to get yarn, feeling it was my best chance to get something soft but durable for a blanket on a Sunday. And I knew exactly which pattern I wanted to knit. Catty Corner, my favourite pattern in this baby blanket book. I’ve knit it once before, a few years ago, making a Hufflepuff coloured blanket for friends who were huge Harry Potter fans having their first child. This was only the second time I was making it, but it’s a great pattern (especially for beginners), and a great introduction to colourwork if you’re scared.
Now, I read the pattern multiple times, and I bought 200 yards more than needed in my main colour. More on that later. But now, to the blanket knitting!
So I cast on and whip out to the first colour add no problem. It feels like you’re making great progress when you get to the first colour so quickly. At this point I have about 60-ish stitches on my needle, and that feels like nothing. This pattern increases two stitches every two rows … and I need to get to 205. Let the slogging begin!
With a looming deadline I put every spare moment I had into the blanket. But of course, life and lemons – work is getting more stressful with each passing day (it is that time of year for us, after all), and my household gets sick – first boyfriend, then me. I’m struggling to get rid of this cough, but I’ve got to push through on the blanket. It seems to take longer to get to the halfway point then it does to the end. Once I hit the middle and start the decreases I can feel myself get faster and faster on each row. I still pulled late nights (for me) to finish it; the night before it was due I was up to 12:30 to get it off the needles. And because life still has those lemons, I ran out of the main colour of the blanket. The colour I bought extra of? I ran out. So I used the contrast colour to finish and we’ll call it a design element and I meant for the opposite corners to have different colours.
I finished weaving in the ends (so many, but not as many as there could have been), and off it was given to my cousin on the due date as I collapsed on the couch and tried not to over-think the next bazillion projects I need to start (swap, baby things, wedding things).
Things to know if you want to make this pattern:
– it specifically says not to carry your yarn up the side, but to cut after every colour change. I don’t have time for that. And honestly, it’s not that noticeable. I carried the colour for each section of pink, so each “three stripes” of pink only had two ends to weave in. There was still tons of ends, but not as many as there would have been if I followed the pattern
– The pattern calls for 880 yards of the main colour. Lies. Yes, I’m a loose-r knitter. Yes, I’m getting better. No, there is no way my knitting could have eaten up 200+ extra yards. Overbuy your main colour if it’s important to you that it be the main colour the whole way.
– This blanket gets big and heavy in your lap as you get through your decreases. Don’t knit this blanket during heat waves with no air conditioning (ask me how I know).
At the end of the day … I knit a blanket big enough for an adult to use in 17 days, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Knit all the blankets, friends!