When I learned last April that my daughter Katy was pregnant with her second child, it occurred to me that this would be the perfect occasion to knit a blanket that I had been lusting after for years, Shelly Kang’s Sock Yarn Blanket as described on her blog. (Look for All About the Blankie on the right.) If you are considering making this, go to her web site for excellent detailed instructions; I just want to chronicle for you my own experience with this really fun project! It took Shelley Kang two years to make hers the size of a double bed; surely I could make a baby blanket by mid-November? Here I was on May 4, off to a good start.
It was super time-consuming, and super-fun. Because every block is different (or can be), I found myself thinking “just one more” and continuing to knit for hours at a time. By May 15, when this photo was taken,
I realized that even though I had MILES of leftover sock yarn from making zillions of hand knit socks over the years, I wasn’t going to have enough. So I sent out an SOS to all of my friends who I thought were or might be knitters, explaining the project and asking for any scraps they could spare. (Each completed square weighs only 3 grams, so even the tiniest scraps could be put to good use.)
For a few weeks after that, it was like Christmas and my birthday rolled into one! Packages of yarn arrived nearly every day, some of them containing extremely generous gifts of full skeins of yarn! In those cases, I checked with the donors to be sure they wouldn’t mind if I made a complete pair of socks from their gift rather than adding it to the blanket.
I put out a similar request on a neighborhood List-serv, and got a response from a woman who signs her e-mail messages “Molly Weasley.” (If you don’t get it, you haven’t read Harry Potter.) She gave me an entire bag full of self-patterning sock yarns left over from her own projects. We now meet for coffee and knitting every 3 weeks or so (and she has inspired me to get serious about lace knitting.) Another time, I met a perfect stranger who lives a few blocks away when we were out for a walk one Sunday afternoon, and after chatting for a while I asked her “You wouldn’t by any chance be a knitter, would you?” Indeed, she was a knitter, she was generous with her yarn, and we now have become such good friends that she came to our house for Christmas dinner.
By June 16, I was starting to realize that summer is not the ideal time to be knitting a wool blanket. But I soldiered on, because I was getting nervous that it wouldn’t be finished by the time the baby was born in November.
Weaving in the zillions of ends was clearly going to be a problem if I didn’t get them under control. (Raise your hand if you love weaving in ends. I thought so.) I knew that if I left them all until I was finished knitting, I would throw the whole thing into a corner of my closet where it would languish for all eternity. So I developed a system. When the ends started to look overwhelming, I forced myself to weave in six ends before I was allowed to start another square. (6 ends = 3 squares) After a while I would be caught up, and I could knit with abandon until the ends started looking overwhelming again. There’s no mistaking the back for the front, but it does look pretty tidy.
I decided that it was finished when it was about 45″ square. I have no idea what size a standard baby blanket is, so I just tried to make it big enough that this little boy (yes, by now I knew that he was a boy) would keep it folded at the end of his bed for the rest of his life, or use it as a lap robe when he got chilly. The knitting was done some time in October (deadline approaching!), and then began the tedious job of going all the way around it with a 3-stitch attached i-cord edging. It was very fussy and slow, but the end result was great!
Clearly I was not the only one in the household who thought it was terrific! Here it is being blocked on two beach towels on the den floor, the only low-traffic space in the house that was big enough.
That beautiful baby was born on November 16, and two weeks later we traveled back east to meet him and congratulate his older brother on having such a fine new baby in the household. The blanket was received with all the awe I was hoping for!
I had made a smaller version of the same blanket for Older Brother’s doll, whom he named Hidgery. He was quite delighted with his very own blanket for Hidgery-of-undetermined-sex, and immediately had to try it to see if it fits. It does, because when I was visiting them in August I measured Hidgery when no one was around, just to be sure.
And finally, the image I had in mind all along. With every stitch and sigh, with every decision about which color came next, with every end woven in, I imagined this beautiful, healthy baby lying under the blanket I was making for him with so much love.
Note that he is wearing a hand-knit made by his mother. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.