Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Baby Knits: A Light and Airy Baby Blanket
You would think, with my own baby coming along, my needles and hooks would be flying with anticipation, whipping up baby booties, little hats, blankets, sweaters, and all manner of little knits. After all, when my best friend announced her pregnancy, I churned out a full-sized baby blanket in matter of mere weeks. The knowledge of a tiny new life pushed me into a focused frenzy, as I poured my love and hopes for my best friend and her new baby into each stitch of that blanket.
When I found out I was pregnant, I cast on a baby blanket almost right away. I chose a small little blanket, carseat sized. Considering Baby V is due in June, this made sense to me. I won't need particularly heavy blankets right away, and considering the number of knitters in my life, I don't expect it would be the only baby-sized blanket in our home. Especially considering the size, I figured I could fly through the delicate pattern and use the little blanket - along with our dogs - to announce the good news.
Obviously, that didn't happen. Instead, this did:
A) The first trimester sucks. I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30 every night for a month. I didn't realize how low my energy levels really were until I hit the second trimester and some of it came rushing back. I had no desire to do anything, and even picking up my knitting needles felt like a chore.
B) The pattern I picked was a challenge. I knew it going in, but combining the pattern with my yarn choice made it more of a challenge than I really bargained for.
I started this blanket on October 16. I finally finished on Sunday, January 26. Three and a half months for a tiny, light little blanket, three and a half months that felt like forever.
I chose this pattern - a free one! - but paired it with a light DK weight yarn instead of an aran weight as it called for. I used a measly single skein of Caron Simply Soft Light, which, while as soft as the label claimed it would be, was not the ideal yarn to use on such comparably large needles (6mm) for such an intricate pattern. Every time I put my knitting down, I lost my place on the pattern chart and, because of the nature of the yarn, it was not easy to find said place back again. A few times, over the Christmas holidays, I leaned on my talented mom to help me figure myself out again so I could move forward.
The baby blanket was very nearly done. Two pattern repeats away. And then? Those unruly dogs. Filled with pent-up energy from the deep cold Ontario has been stuck in for the whole winter, they found the baby blanket, and the crunchy bamboo needles that held its stitches. I gently removed the splinters and remnants of the cable, folded it all up and shoved it in a drawer. By that time, I was already feeling off about the little blanket itself, since it had caused me so much trouble. On one hand, I was ok with the destruction. On the other, I couldn't help but acknowledge the hard work I had poured into it. Could I really just toss it away now, when it was so close to finished?
Once again, my mom came to the rescue. With a tapestry needle, she carefully picked up each of the 83 stitches and handed it back to me, safely on 6mm plastic straight needles, a cheap replacement for the interchangeable tips and cable I had lost. I rushed to finish. I wanted it done. As soon as I cast off the last stitch and tossed it in the washing machine, I breathed a bit of a sigh of relief. I felt like I was free of it, finally.
I spread it out on the counter to dry. It's perfect. The nature of the pattern means that any misplaced stitch threw the whole thing off, so every error I made, I carefully ticked back and corrected. It's probably the most error-free project I've made to date. I'm proud of it, for persevering, for knowing when I couldn't manage and requesting help, for each individual stitch and yarn-over.
I hope my little one likes it one day, once he or she is old enough to appreciate it. Perhaps the little blanket will even inspire him or her to pick up a pair of needles.
(For details on the project, check out the project page on Ravelry.)