baby blanket (finished)

finished knitted baby blanket

After a marathon knitting session the past week, I finished the baby blanket. (I used a pattern from the Purl Bee for the chevron baby blanket.) A lot of other things got put on hold so that it would be ready by the time I left town for Christmas because I didn’t want to mail something so precious (read: sort of expensive and time consuming).

Now that it’s over, I can’t believe I made it. I mean, I know I did because I spent many hours knitting it and I ran out of yarn six rows too soon two days before my trip and the nice people at Purl Soho made a skein of yarn materialize out of nowhere to help me and I sent out text updates like “10 rows left!” to anyone who would listen. But when I look at it now, I don’t think about that. I think, wow, that’s beautiful. And it’s even more beautiful wrapped around my perfect, perfect niece.

baby nugget in knitted blanket

I’m not a very experienced knitter. Before this blanket I think I just knew how to knit and purl. I could knit or purl two together, and I could maybe increase a stitch or two after looking up how to do it on youtube. But for this baby blanket I learned two new stitches (kfb and ssk). And that was all it took to make a chevron stripe and the biggest thing I’ve ever knitted.

This is why I love taking risks on bigger projects. When I started, it seemed impossible. I messed up a few times, and just kept going. And going, and going, and going. And when it seemed like I would be doing these two stitches for the rest of my days, suddenly I was done.

And now I’m ready to move on to a bigger blanket, or a few new stitches. Who knows where it will take me or what I can make next. I wasn’t even sure I could do this one.

But now that I’m one blanket smarter, I would do a few things differently the next time around. It turns out I knit looser than this pattern really intended. This means that I ran out of yarn faster (I used Purl Soho’s super soft marino), and because this pattern used a whole skein for each color of stripes, I ran out of yarn before I was finished with each section. After this happened the first time, I left out a garter row of my last stripe for every color. This kept me from running out of yarn, but it means that my stripes are of varying sizes. As I’ve said before, I’m no perfectionist, so this was ok by me.

But if I were to make this blanket again, I’d make each color stripe only three garter rows instead of four, and I’d go ahead and buy an extra skein of white yarn from the get-go. So if you’re a loose knitter (which I know now that I am), I’d recommend those modifications. Another thing I learned about knitting loosely is that you’ll end up with a slightly bigger blanket than the pattern indicates. So if you leave out some rows, that would make up some of the difference.

But even with uneven stripes, I think it’s about one of the best things I’ve made. If only because I made it for my brand new niece.

baby nudson in baby blanket

You can see previous progress on the blanket at baby blanketbaby blanket progress (4 inches)baby blanket progress (a note to baby girl)baby blanket progress (11 inches), and baby blanket (a lot of inches).

(I chose this project and paid for the yarn on my own. I’m not affiliated with Purl Soho–I’m just a fan.)

top 10 crafts of 2013

This year has been a wonderfully crafty year. I’ve tried new things and made some I am really proud of. Out of a lot of crafty posts, here are my top 10 favorites.

screen printed card

Screen printed cards. This was a really fun project. I used my at-home screen printing kit to make some fun, punctuation inspired note cards. I definitely want to do more screen printing in 2014.

mischief managed embroidery

Mischief managed embroidery. I have loved starting embroidery this year. I am so happy to have made them and have them hanging up on my wall. I definitely plan to keep embroidering next year. One of my favorites is one of my first, “mischief managed.”

Lying Cat from Saga embroidery

And of course, Lying Cat embroidery is another favorite. I totally enjoyed reading Saga this year and Lying Cat is a star. Plus, sharing this with the illustrator Fiona Staples over Twitter was super cool.

walter white embroidery breaking bad

Walter White embroidery. Breaking Bad was another story I spent a lot of time with this year. My friends and I would obsessively email after every episode, and I just loved it. This tiny tribute to Walter White is a perfect memorial for me.

cross stitch pillow

Cross-stitch pillow. I have loved having handmade items in my home. It’s so personal and fun, and I like that my house has original things you can’t find anywhere else. This pillow turned out great, if I do say so myself.

ka pow comic book inspired sweatshirt

Comic book sweatshirt. I have gotten into comic books this year, and it’s seeping out of my reading and onto my clothing. This sweatshirt was so fun to make and it’s super cute to wear when I need a superhero boost.

wedding project life pages

Wedding project life. This was the year of project life for me. It’s helped me document wonderful moments like the wedding of my best friend. I love looking at the pages!

wedding present embroidered hand towels

Embroidered hand towels. And my wedding gift was another one of my favorite crafts. Such a nice way to give someone something personal. Especially if that someone likes to be in the kitchen.

ugly sweater ornaments

Ugly sweater ornaments. There’s still time to make these before Christmas! Grab some felt and my template and you’re just about good to go. They are so cute on my tree!

baby blanket knitting

And of course the baby blanket. I’m still working on this one, but I bet it will be one of my favorite projects for a very long time. I can’t wait to wrap up my baby niece in it when it’s done!

 

baby blanket (a lot of inches)

progress on knitting a baby blanket

We are two weeks until Christmas, and my niece is already born. I need to kick it up a notch.

I’m into the third section of this blanket, and it’s going pretty well. I’ve knitted past the ruler, so I’d guess I’m at maybe 21 inches or so?

I think I knit looser than the pattern, so I run out of yarn faster. This can be an issue because the instructions use up a whole skein for each color of stripes. So, I cheated. In the last stripe for the red, I left out two rows. It’s a little bit of a bummer because it’s such a nice big project and I of course want it to be just right–but also, probably, no one will notice but me. And it would also be a bummer to have to buy three to four new skeins of yarn just to finish one or two rows. So here we are. I bet the baby won’t mind. I’ll see how it goes for the rest of the colors, but I’ll probably do the same thing. If I had planned on it, I would make the middle stripe of each color the one that was a little bit too skinny.

I’ve been trying to knit a row here and there when I have time, but my favorite way to knit is to settle in with a TV show or movie and get to it for while. I was watching Orphan Black, and that was the only time I really messed up a row. I think I was paying a lot of attention to the show (it’s really cool!) and definitely not enough to counting stitches. To fix that row, I cast stitches on until I had the right amount again. And then I just kept going. And no I won’t tell you what color it’s in, so hopefully no one can find it.

Alright. Gotta get back to work.

knitting baby blanket

You can see previous progress on the blanket at baby blanketbaby blanket progress (4 inches)baby blanket progress (a note to baby girl), and baby blanket progress (11 inches).

baby blanket progress (11 inches)

baby blanket

At about 11 inches, I am a little more than a quarter done with the baby blanket I’m making for my niece (pattern from the Purl Bee). I feel like I really turned a corner once I started a new color.

baby blanket rae's days

It’s gotten a little bit chillier here in New York, and it’s nice to think about this blanket keeping a little baby warm. This stage in a knitting project is nice because you can start to really see what the final product will be. But it’s also hard to know there’s so far to go. I like that the blanket is striped because I don’t get bored with one color and it makes it really easy to mark progress. One stripe done, two stripes done, and on and on until you have several stripes in several colors.

baby blanket stripes

I think it’s coming out so lovely, and I can’t wait to keep going. Since colder nights are coming quickly, I am sure I can hunker down with a warm blanket and get more stripes done in no time. And I better hurry–the baby’s due date will be here before you know it!

You can see previous progress on the blanket at baby blanketbaby blanket progress (4 inches), and baby blanket progress (a note to baby girl).

project wish list

I’m a person who reads knitting patterns for fun. You know, like how people read recipes? I like to see the different stitches and try to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I like to look at complicated patterns and remember that everyone starts learning just one stitch before they can do all the rest. Reading a bunch of great projects, though, means I have a large backlog of things I’d like to make and patterns I’d like to get to.

My dream projects right now are from the Purl Bee, a blog I am totally in love with.

purl bee coasters

  1. I love these fun coasters. The colors are great–they’d be so cheery in my kitchen. These are pin loom coasters, and you can pick up the kit right here from Purl Soho.
  2. These coasters have a similar pattern to these dishtowels that I also love. Their examples are all in blue, but maybe I could do pink orange to match my new coasters. They have a kit to make these available, too.
  3. Once I’m done keeping my kitchen clean with my new coasters and dishtowels, I’ll settle in with this luxurious scarf. I daydream about this scarf. It’s that good. It would be a dream to wrap up in these bright colors to stay warm on a cold day. (Here’s the kit for this one)
  4. You all know I love handmade things for my apartment. I still think about these cool round crocheted rugs. I’d love to layer some of these under my desk area.
  5. And this pillow is so cute. It is handmade, crocheted, and incorporates my love for needlework in a fun new way. You could make it say anything you want!

purl bee pillow

I love all these projects. Even though I’m in the middle of several things, it’s nice to take a break and get inspired for the future.

baby blanket progress (a note to baby girl)

wrong side baby blanket
Baby Girl,

Twelve years ago today a Big Bad Thing happened. It will be years before your parents tell you about it and many more years before you’ll begin to understand it.

I hope you never experience anything like we did 12 years ago. But I can’t keep bad things from happening, I can’t keep your heart from being broken, I can’t keep you from pain.

I can promise that you are loved. Me and your Auntie and your grandparents and your parents and your cousins and people you haven’t even met yet all love you so much. And if a Big Bad Thing happens, and one day something will, I hope you hold on to that love. I hope you know that despite all the bad things, you are a good thing. And love is stronger than evil. And love will last.

So, Baby Girl, I hope when you wrap yourself up in this blanket, you also feel wrapped up in love.

Love, Aunt Rae

You can see my previous knitting progress here: baby blanket progress (4 inches). And I’ll write more on how it’s going later.

baby blanket progress (4 inches)

baby blanket knitting

A while ago I started on the baby blanket I’m making for my niece. I am happy to say that I have made some progress. About four inches of progress!

baby blanket knitting inches

I have finished the very first stripe of what will be many stripes of several colors. I still have a long way to go, but each row is getting easier and quicker already. I won’t kid you guys, my favorite part of any project is when it is finished and you can look at this cool thing you made.

But my next-favorite part is when you start to first see what it will become. I started with a bunch of yarn and some needles, but after several rows, I started a contrast color stripe and the Vs of the chevron started to appear. And it started to look like I was making a chevron striped baby blanket. I get this feeling when I sew or embroider, too. If you put enough pieces together or stitch enough stitches, there’s a moment you can start to see what the final image will look like. And it’s very exciting.

baby blanket pattern notes

When I use a pattern like this, it helps me to print it out and mark off as I go. (I’m following the chevron baby blanket pattern from the Purl Bee.) Each time I finish a row, I mark a dot. And I use different color dots for different color yarn. You can also count, of course, but marking them down helps me stay on track easily. If I ever need to stop in the middle of a row, I mark down somewhere what I just finished. For example, I’ll write k10, if I just finished knitting 10 and am ready to go onto the next stitch after that. As long as I’m consistent in how I mark things off, I am able to stop and start without getting confused.

knitting striped blanket

I’m thrilled with how this is looking, and I can’t wait to knit more. I was a little worried about learning two new stitches to make this blanket, but thanks to YouTube lessons and some practice it’s been going really well. More updates soon!