Wednesday, November 23, 2016


So, yeah. I haven't written in, oh, I don't know, um, like.... a year and a half or so?


Truth is, for the vast majority of that time, I did not knit anything. I got an actual, paying job about a week after my last post. Sadly, as is so often the case in our modern world, my hobbies fell by the wayside as I became absorbed in the daily grind. I found that I had neither the time nor energy nor willpower to knit, or spin, anything, really, anything at all, and when I did take up the needles, I was just bored. Sometimes you go through phases - knitters know this. Months when all you can think about is knitting and yarn and buying new yarn and finding new patterns and starting new projects and you gleefully abandon one project to start another and you finish twenty things in a matter of weeks. When you finish one thing it's on to the next. And then you have those long stretches of time when the feel of needles in your hands is wearisome and you're apathetic about finishing that project you started and so you start putting them to the side until you have a pile of barely-started projects and all your needles get tangled up and lost and you stare, glassy-eyed, at the television, hands idle, for hours on end.

Oh, just me? Well, nevermind.

At any rate, I did a few projects here and there - a few pairs of socks, a hat or two - but nothing worth blogging about. But now, finally, finally, I am getting back in the groove with - you guessed it - a bazillion baby blankets!!!

Yep, all my friends are having babies now. Let's not think about that for too long.

The first I made (forced myself to make, as I was still in my I-don't-wanna phase at the time) was this:

I made it for my friend Sarah, who had a baby girl last May. It was my very first time doing REVERSIBLE CABLES which was seriously a revelation. A revelation, I say! No wrong side. No ugly side. No unseemly side that your well-meaning family and friends can't actually tell from the seemly side because they are not knitters (no offense, philistines).

At first it was an incredibly frustrating project and I went through about three or four different patterns, knitting up a few inches and then tearing it out, until I finally hit on this one. It took a month to do, and according to my Ravelry post, it was "the slowest project I have ever done. Ever. I feel like I will never, ever finish."

The post notes concluded with, "FIIIINAAALLLYYY DONE! Ugh." So you can tell I really enjoyed that one.

I also made Sarah's baby a little pair of booties:

Then I made some fake tweed socks for my dad's birthday, which I really liked:

I gave them to him when I met my family in the French Alps in July, along with a mug from my work. He liked the socks, but to be honest he seemed more excited about the mug.

(However, note that he is wearing a different pair of socks I knit for him. Credit where credit is due.)

Next project was a blankie for my co-worker's baby, born in August. I started it two weeks after he was born, but I actually only ended up giving it to her two months after it was finished... whoops. But it's okay because when he was born it was still hot as heck outside and only now is it starting to get cold. She really liked it and snuggled him into it right away.

What a smush!

I actually really enjoyed that project, which I think represents my actual Return to Knitting (as in WANTING to knit). I had been waiting for a yarn shipment but was so impatient to start a project that I went to an Israeli yarn shop (I know, I know) and bought some baby yarn. They only had one ball of the blue, so I ended up getting three of the gray and creatively incorporating it into the basketweave block pattern. I think my method of using intarsia to knit stepping blocks was pretty ingenious, and though it was a simple project, I liked knitting it, which inspired me to use my momentum to leap into the next one.

And the NEXT one was much more complex. I ordered yarn from KnitPicks, after spending several weeks deliberating over fibers and colors and shipping methods and doing hours of research on Ravelry. I ordered two different types of yarn so I could experiment. For this blanket, I ordered 10 balls of Shine Worsted in Pistachio because I didn't know the sex of the baby (still don't, as it hasn't been born) and I wanted something bold, not generic neutral baby colors, but also unisex, and I think the color was perfect.

The yarn was also quite nice. I've used Shine Worsted before, so I knew what to expect. What I didn't expect was the sheer heaviness of the fabric, which made for a very warm and durable winter blanket (and a lot of pulling and rearranging on my lap). I made most of it while working my way through "Miss Fischer's Murder Mysteries" on Netflix. However, I ended up missing a lot of important plot points as I concentrated very closely on the pattern, which included four different cables of varying complexity. Here's a picture of the chart, just to give you an idea of what was going on.

It probably seems a lot more overwhelming than it actually is, despite the seven different cable panels. As you can see, panels one, three, five and seven are very simple - just braids, with one cross every five rows. And panels two and six are complex, but short, only 20 stitches each. But panel FIVE... Well. Let's just say there was a lot of replaying of various scenes of "Miss Fischer" while I valiantly attempted to keep the 52-stitch cable straight on panel five.

So yeah, the chart looks intimidating at first glance. Once I meticulously and carefully color-coded it, it still looked intimidating, but colorful. I did such a smart thing - I used tons of stitch markers, obviously, placing them on each side of the six purl-three columns, and I color-coded them as well, and then colored the corresponding columns in on the chart so that I could know where I was with a glance. See the system in action:

Brilliant, yeah.

So the theme of the blanket is hearts. Lots of hearts. And while I was annoyed at the pattern at first, once the blanket started to grow I really began to love it. It ended up being one my favorite blankets ever, I think, and I'm really proud of it.

Color, texture, pattern, everything - it all came together. (It's machine washable, and so soft!) I did make three mistakes (can you spot them?) but I am no perfectionist so I got over it. None were MAJOR. Okay, I missed one crossing. And it kills me a little inside. Shh...shhhh. I gave it to the parents-to-be and they loved it. That's all I require, really - a little appreciation and the knowledge that it will be used. As long as wrap their baby in it, and then it becomes his/her very favorite blanket that he/she won't go anywhere without, and then it turns into a family heirloom they keep for generations, I'm happy.

I started the next blanket while I was still working on Pistachio, because I needed a break from the intense cables. The next pattern I chose is a geometrical but very pretty and fairly simple lace pattern using Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Marlin AND IT IS MY FAVORITE THING EVER AND I DON'T WANT TO GIVE IT AWAY TO ANYONE EVER.

Ahem. Yes. First, the yarn color is ridiculously gorgeous - this deep blue-green marine color that is like a spa treatment for your eyes. And the yarn is a cotton-acrylic blend, so it's soft while still being hardy and machine-washable, and it has great stitch definition. It's smooth and light in my hands, and basically the best thing ever. Despite also being worsted weight it's not nearly as heavy as Pistachio and it is really kind of a spring blanket more than a winter one, so it'll be versatile and they can use it year-round. Plus it's so freaking pretty that nothing else really matters. WELL ENOUGH TALK, YOU WANT TO SEE IT ALREADY!!

I can't even, it's so beautiful.

Look at those crisp stitches! That clean, sweet lace repeat! ::Swoon::

TBH, the pictures don't even do the color justice. It has a bit more of a green/jade tint IRL. At any rate, it's so beautiful that if the person I am giving it to does not go on for at least two full minutes about how gorgeous it is, I will snatch it back and squirrel it away in my lair where no one can ever see it but me.

JK. Sort of. I'm making it for my cousin, who is due in January with her first, a boy (obvs) and who appreciates the finer things in life. I'm sure she will love it, and I hope she uses it. Did I mention it's machine washable? 

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