Do you ever have something that you’re planning on doing in JUST such a way? Something that you’ve always planned on doing – and you just knew exactly how you envisioned it? Like you have a perfect picture in your mind of the exact type of project you’re going to make. Well, thats me and this baby blanket. I’ve knit so many baby blankets – for my niece and nephew, for friend’s babies, for friends of friend’s babies.. you get the idea. And with every blanket knit, with ever stitch placed on the needles, I always envisioned the baby blanket I’d ONE DAY make for my own sweet babe… I tallied up all the things I loved about each blanket knit (which yarns worked well, which patterns turned out best) and had in my minds eye the perfect baby blanket design for myself.
Well, here I am. Preggers and pouring over Ravelry for baby blanket inspiration. I always assumed that once I found out I was expecting, I’d pick up the nearest needles and yarn and eagerly start in on a blanket. Because having a baby = lots of baby knitting (and especially baby blanket knitting). But 8 weeks later and still no blanket inspiration. Maybe because I always had in my head an idea of the type of blanket I’d make. Like one of these blankets:
And all of these blankets were lovely, exactly what I expected to be itching to make as my little (or admittedly, not so little) baby bump expands daily before my very eyes.
And yet, nothing was clicking.
Until around midnight one night, unable to sleep, and after a few too many hours perusing Ravelry, I found it. THE baby blanket I just had to make. Sure, it was none of the things I had been looking for. The yarn is a scratchy, monochrome, and non-machine-washable yarn (I just scream ‘first time mother’ with this choice), in a lace pattern (I’ve not only never charted before, but never desired to chart before) that resembles a fan and feather type pattern (which I’ve never really been particularily fond of.)
And yet, I just had to knit it. Because somehow it just FEELS perfect. Deliciously natural and scratchy wool – with a semi-old fashioned pattern – just screams out organic, and natural, and exactly what I’d want to wrap my baby up in for long walks in the woods (or in the fancy stroller I’m telling myself I don’t need but will most likely break down and buy).
So, here I am. Go figure. Guess this is just one of those things. One of those things that you can plan with your checklist (machine-washable, variagated and softer-than-a-baby’s-bottom yarn, with a simple stitch and pattern to showcase said fabulous yarn), but when something just feels right, you’ve just gotta go with it. And this blanket just feels right. All sorts of naturally organic goodness wrapped up in a spontaneous knit that just feels right.
About the yarn: the yarn is scratchy because is minimally processed (yes, there are bits of random hay and veggie matter that I spend a fair amount of time picking out as I knit, but I figure this is just the price you pay for a less processed wool – a little scratch factor and hay to pick out – all in the name of crunchy/naturally organic goodness) and that just makes me happy. As does the color. I mean, who knits a grey baby blanket. GREY. Odd, no? I had grand plans for gorgeous deep blues and light greens with splashes of orange and magenta thrown in for good measure, yet, I’m now loving the natural tone and shading of the grey. Its more ‘natural’ than ‘plain’ to me. And it just works.
Lets just hope that this kiddo’s not allergic to wool….
The pattern: Jared Flood’s Shale Baby Blanket
The yarn: Brooklyn Tweed SHELTER in “Sweatshirt” – 6 skeins
Needles: US 9
Modifications: I basically knit the pattern as written. The only mod I made was to slip the first stitch on every row purlwise – I’m not a huge fan of the little bump edge so prominent in garter stitch and by slipping the first stitch on every row, it creates a nice clean line.
The verdict: I LOVE this pattern. As I mentioned, I’ve never done any sort of lace knitting before. This pattern has an easy enough chart (a simple 4 row repeat thats easy to memorize) – I think it makes a great ‘get your feet wet with lace knitting’ pattern. The yarn is not something I would typically use – especially for a baby item (see non-machine washability and scratch factor above), but somehow it just worked for this project. Glad I went with my instincts on this one. I guess this Jared guy knows what he’s doing.