Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Don't Know How to Knit, But I Churned This Baby Blanket Out In Two Days

Two words of advice: chunky yarn

Things like hand-knit blankets represent the  kind of childhood I didn't have.  I grew up very quickly since my mom died when I was four and my dad did his best to raise me and my younger brother by himself until he remarried when I was 12.  I don't have sweet memories of favorite blankies.  Instead, I have memories of waking up to my own alarm clock when I was five and constantly getting into trouble for losing my house keys starting at at least age 7.  It's OK; my circumstances helped make me independent.  But, I want to give my son a happy and safe childhood.  I have the luxury of doing that.

My son was going to have a hand-knit blanket, gosh darn it.  I realized no one else was going to knit him one, so I was like, I'll do it!  It should be from me anyway!  How hard can it be?

The thing is I don't knit.  Well, I first learned to knit when I was 11 and I knitted a potholder with tons of mistakes in it.  About five years ago, I knit a scarf and quickly forgot how to knit shortly thereafter.  Then I picked up the knitting needles again two years ago and knit a scarf for my husband.  I have to relearn how to knit each time and it takes me so long to knit something that I say I'm never going to do it again.  Famous last words!

You know you're not a real knitter when...
-You have to youtube search "how to cast on," "how to knit" and "how to bind off"
-You pray you don't make any mistakes because you don't know how to fix them
-You look for the thickest yarn you can buy because otherwise a blanket could take a year to knit
-You know how to do one type of stitch and that's knit (and you're not sure if it's called a stitch)
-You can make versions of a square or rectangle and that's it

Why did I have to knit my baby's blanket in two days?  I'll tell you after the jump!  Also, more pictures!

Blanket under construction
I wanted to knit a blanket for Greyson at some point, but it didn't hit me that it'd be a great first Christmas present until 10 days before Christmas.  I went to a local knitting shop, ready to get the yarn and needles.  But they didn't have grey and what they did have would have costed me $130 for all the cream-colored wool yarn I needed to buy.  I wasn't about to spend that when I couldn't even get the color I wanted.  So, I went online and searched for chunky, soft wool yarn.  That search led me to Rowan's Big Wool at Jimmy Beans Wool.  They had a cool knitting calculator so I could figure out how much yarn I needed for a 36" by 36" blanket, free shipping and seemingly the best price on the wool I decided to get.  Well, 24 hours after placing my order, I was told that the color I ordered was on back order.  I emailed Jimmy Beans back saying thanks for ruining my Christmas present and they wrote back saying they hoped I'd be back soon.  Yeah, they ruined my present and didn't even read my email telling them so.

I ended up ordering the yarn from, and the price per ball was actually less expensive ($12 per ball instead of $15 because you get a discount the more you buy) and so it costed less than the other site, even though I had to pay for shipping.  The thing is, the order ended up taking a week to ship and they sent the wrong needles, so I only had 2 days to knit the blanket.  Sheesh.

Greyson got a sneak peek and taste of the blanket
After YouTubing "how to knit," it took me about six hours over two days to finish the blanket.  It's hard to say exactly how much time I was knitting because I'd find 30-minute increments here and the car, before bed, while Greyson was breastfeeding, in the shower (just kidding), etc.  It really wasn't that much time and I'm actually glad that I had a deadline to meet.  It's so boring when you knit the same thing day in and day out.  It was fun to challenge myself and knowing I really wanted this to be done by Christmas for Greyson really motivated me.  I knit my butt off!

The only mistake I made was that hole'd that even happen?

Call me sentimental, but I was very happy that I could make something for my baby.  It makes me smile envisioning him as an adult and having fond memories of the blanket. 

I finished the blanket at 9 am on Christmas morning, about 10 minutes before this picture was taken

Tips for knitting if you don't knit:
  • Get the chunkiest yarn you can find (it's satisfying to see the rows build quickly and it's harder to make mistakes with big yarn)
  • Give yourself a deadline
  • Youtube the information you need
Supplies you need for a 36" x 36" blanket:
  • 5 balls of Rowan Big Wool yarn
  • Circular knitting needles in size 15 to 19, measuring 29" or more
  • Two days or about six hours
Videos I found useful, and the only ones I needed to refresh my memory:
  • How to cast on (forms the first edge and base of your entire project)
  • How to knit (the only stitch I know...just repeat until done...row after row)
  • How to bind off (finish off the edge when you're done with your project)
I was very satisfied with Rowan's Big Wool Yarn in Oxidised

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