Tag Archives: baby blanket

round 5: knitting a baby blanket (with pattern!)

Through the winter months, on road trips from Utah to Louisiana and sitting on couches in Oregon with family, I knitted this baby blanket. It’s one of my favorite blankets to date (and I know I keep saying that), but I’m getting better at the knit stitch, and this time the yarn also made a huge difference. I used “Ocean” by Paton Colorwul, which is 100% wool, and I absolutely loved it. Wool yarn is expensive, and it can be scratchy, but when it’s done right, no other yarn compares. As I am wont to do, I ran out of skeins and had to frantically track down the last one from a Michaels across the valley. I’ve been trying to be more careful about buying skeins with matching lot numbers, but when you run out of yarn, you aren’t left with many choices.

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close up of knit stitch in “Ocean” by Paton Colorwul

The blanket was finished just in time to serve as a gift to a friend who gave birth to her son last month. I have identified somewhat with her journey to motherhood (i.e., she’s had love, life, travel, education, and a career before she very actively chose motherhood), and so I liked giving her an extra special gift.

The Materials:
-6 skeins of “Ocean” by Paton Colorwul
-Knitting needles, US 10.5

The Pattern:
-Cast on 76 stitches.
-Knit purl, knit purl, purl knit, purl knit until the row is finished.
-Then reverse it: purl knit, purl knit, knit purl, knit purl until the row is complete.
-Continue this pattern until you’ve got a few inches of a ribbed border.
-Then, knit the rest of the blanket until the last few inches or so.
-Finally, repeat the pattern from the beginning (knit purl, knit purl, purl knit, purl knit; then reverse it on the next row) to create a ribbed border again at the other end.

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nearly finished baby blanket

The finished product should be rectangular, with a ribbed border at each end. I’m getting better at making even stitches, and so the wobbly edges of my previous blankets are starting to disappear (though not entirely).

My idea for the ribbed border on the ends was actually difficult to keep track of. There is an easier way to do ribbing, but I wanted the ribs on this border to be a little thicker. Normally, I like very absent minded knitting (for which baby blankets are perfect). But, these borders were knitted and torn out a few times before it was all said and done. It still ended up a little uneven in places. The take away: if you’re looking for an easier border, there are easier patterns out there. If you’re looking for the perfect yarn for a baby blanket, look at the Paton Colorwul selection.

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round 4: knitting a baby blanket (with pattern!)

For years I did not like crafting. It seemed like the antithesis of art, and art was what I was after. However, that’s shifted for me in recent years when suddenly things like tying knots with sticks and stitching little squares into aida cloth has seemed strangely satisfying and important. I’ve even developed a few philosophical justifications for crafting. (And I’ve been delighted that people in my own field of study have taken up the subject as well.)

Recently a colleague,  who takes crafting above and beyond anything I will ever do, stopped by my office to talk about the stuff we’re making, and I was motivated to put together this post about my last baby blanket. I made it as a gift for my cousin’s daughter. Her son got one when he was born, but I hadn’t made one for the older daughter. My homemade blankets have imperfections (which makes them unique! which isn’t something everyone values!)), so I was delighted when my cousin’s husband mentioned that their son loved his blanket and used it all the time.

Here’s the blanket that I made for my cousin’s daughter. I’ll be using this pattern again. I think it is my best baby blanket to date.

Loops and Looms—Lavender

skein of Loops and Looms—Lavender Blues

I used four skeins of Loops and Threads: Country Loom – Lavender Blues. To start, cast on 73 stitches and knit five rows.  Then, to create the border, knit four (mark) add increase, then knit across for 63 stitches. Add another increase, (mark) and then knit the last four. In the next row, knit four (mark), add increase, and then alternate between decrease/slip, increase/knit stitch all the way across for for 63 stitches. At the end, add increase (mark), and then knit the last four stitches.

increase/decrease stitch border

increase/decrease stitch border

For the body of the blanket, continue to knit four (to the mark), increase, knit across (for 63), increase, then knit the last four. For the next row, knit four, then decrease, purl across, decrease again, and then knit the last four. Continue to alternate between knitting/increasing rows and purling/decreasing rows. Stitch to the desired length. I ended on knit stitch (with increases on each end before moving on to border).

At the very end, knit four, decrease/slip, increase/knit (for 63), then knit the last four stitches. That creates the last border edge. Then, knit the last five rows, and cast off.

finished and folded

finished and folded

round 3: knitting a baby blanket (with pattern!)

In the summer months, it’s harder to knit. It’s hot, and I don’t quite crave the cozy warmth of knitting by lamplight, my legs covered with whatever I happen to be knitting. However, there is still travel and downtime and conversations that stretch on through the long, light evenings that are conducive to good knitting.

My last blanket was intended for my cousin’s new baby boy. When I began his baby blanket, I did not realize that every other woman in my family also intended to make a baby blanket for him. Over the last few months, I’ve seen pictures posted via social media of the various baby blankets that have been sent for this little guy. I almost decided not to send mine because mine was such a mess. (I sent it anyway.)

front of the blanket

here you can see the unintended bunching around the border

I used smaller thread than I had ever used before and really enjoyed working with the finer material. Although it took a lot longer to knit up, it was actually more pleasant to work with than the chunky, bulky stuff that I’ve been learning on.

I used Loops & Threads Impeccable Big in Seaside Ombre. This was a big skein of yarn that stretched 582 yards. I was hoping to do the entire baby blanket in one skein, but it wasn’t quite enough, so I bought another small skein at the end (from a different lot number, no less!)

 

front of the blanket

front of the blanket (smooth surface)

I cast on 125 stitches.

After casting on, I knitted 16 more rows.

Then, I marked off the sides for a border, knitting 12 stitches. Then I purled for 101 stitches across the body of the blanket. I marked it there and knitted the remaining 12 stitches to complete the border on the other side.  For the entire body of the baby blanket, I did a regular knit stitch for the border and then alternated knitting and purling to create a smoother surface.

back of blanket

back of blanket (notice the difference in texture and border)

The blanket turned out to be stretchy and bouncy. As I was knitting, it was difficult to tell if the blanket was long enough because the borders were really bunched up. As a result, it is a little too wide and a little too short—more square-ish than the true rectangle I wanted it to be.

The yarn was a mix of dark blue, light blue, greens, grey, and cream. Using the variegated yarn created a more interesting visual texture to the blanket. The stripes, varied in color, looked thick on one side and thin on the other. Also, the small yarn, which calls for US 8 knitting needles, makes the border stand out much more prominently than it did with the bulkier yarn I’d been using on previous projects.

If I had to do it over again, I’d add another five inches or so. I end up needing to buy another skein of yarn to finish it. The new skein was only about 100 yards long, and I didn’t use it all because it was hard to tell if the blanket was long enough. In hindsight, I should’ve used it all. Now, I’m left with a blanket that’s just a little too short and a half a skein of yarn that I don’t know what to do with. I’d also use a different pattern for the border–one that doesn’t scrunch up the ends so much. In the end, I think the blanket will be durable, and because of it’s strange shape, will work well for a floor blanket for tummy time.

round 2: knitting a baby blanket (with pattern!)

These baby blankets have been really fun to make! They provide a good opportunity to practice knitting. It’s a good way to get really comfortable knitting, purling, casting on, casting off, and joining in a new skein of yarn. They’re not very challenging, but they’re fun and satisfying. Also, as a doula, there are a lot of babies. So, baby blankets it is!

My most recent endeavor is making a baby blanket for a woman I work with who is having a baby within the month. I really loved the yarn I used. It’s Loops & Threads Morocco in the color “Spiced Chai.” I originally bought four lovely skeins on sale, all from the same lot. As I neared the end of my fourth skein, I realized I would need another one. Unfortunately, two nearby stores had discontinued the yarn, which is weird, because I love the color(s). Thankfully, I found a skein out in West Valley, which was, of course, from a different lot. Oh well.

The thread was Loops & Threads Morocco in "Spiced Chai."

The thread was Loops & Threads Morocco in “Spiced Chai.”

For some reason, this blanket turned out a lot more uneven than the last two. The end that was cast off was really pinched and tighter than the other end where it was cast on. I also dropped two stitches (oops!), and cobbled it back together, but I ended up with two holes, the largest being a little less than a centimeter in diameter. Not very noticeable, given the loose stitches I was using, but definitely something you can see if you’re looking.

The Materials:
I used five skeins of Loops & Threads Morocco in the color “Spiced Chai.” I used size US 13 knitting needles on the round. The needles were too big for this yarn, which might be why the blanket turned out lopsided. I liked the loose look of the knit, but in hindsight, it probably would’ve been better to knit it on US 11 needles. I can’t remember what size of needles the yarn called for.

The Pattern:
Cast on about 75 stitches. Stitch for 9 rows. Last time, I only stitched 7 rows and the border on the ends was thinner than the border on the sides, so I tried to make the ends a little bigger by adding two more rows. In hindsight, I probably should have add even more rows because the borders on the ends, were still a bit thinner than the sides.

Row 10: I knit seven stitches, marked it (with a twisty tie!), then purl stitched 61 stitches, marked it, then knit stitched the last seven stitches.

Row 11: I knit stitched seven stitches, marked it, then knit stitched 61 stitches, marked it again, and then knit stitched seven stitches.

Row 12-?: I continued to knit a regular stitch for the first and last seven stitches of each row, and then I alternated knitting and purling each row until I had almost finished five skeins of yarn. The end result was about 32 inches wide and 45 inches long.

Last 7 rows: I did a regular knit stitch for the last seven rows and then cast off.

The Final Product:

The baby blanket with border with Loops & Threads Morocco in Spiced Chai.

The baby blanket with border with Loops & Threads Morocco in Spiced Chai.

And another one, just because I love this wrapping paper! Here it is. All wrapped up.

gift wrapped

gift wrapped baby blanket

Fyi, a previous baby blanket knitting entry can be found here.

knitting a baby blanket (with pattern!)

I wanted to learn to knit for years before I finally got the chance. It was on my ‘things to do after graduate school’ list. However, I didn’t have to wait that long because in my last year of graduate school a new student offered to teach a group of us to knit. Before the lesson, she instructed me to go out and buy a big pair of knitting needles and a chunky skein of yarn. Later, I would learn that the chunky yarn knits up faster, which is encouraging for new knitters who spend the first few lessons staring at a strange little tangle of knots hanging from a stick. I can’t remember how many times we met (just a few, I think), and, in those sessions, she taught me to knit!

So, I’ve been knitting. In the past few years, I’ve knitted all manner of squares and rectangles and even branched out to a pretty terrible-looking hat (more on hats later). For Christmas, I made a blanket for my nephew, which turned out to be bigger than I originally intended (he’ll grow into it, right?) The blanket was fun through. It was simple, and it didn’t take a lot of concentration—it was something I could do while watching a show or in a meeting. I’ve decided to tackle a few more “baby blanket” projects, and now that I’m a little more confident, I’ve decided to start working more with textures and borders. My first post-holiday project has been a baby blanket for my cousin’s son’s first birthday. Since he’s a year old now, I wanted to make a blanket that was a little bigger than the patterns I was seeing online for newborn baby blankets.

Below is a description of the pattern I created (which is not in typical knitting pattern speak). If you try it out or alter it, please let me know what you think!

The Materials:

I used four skeins of “Loops & Threads Country Loom” in a color called “driftwood.” I chose this color because it has a natural green tone to it that I hope will complement the baby’s current bedding.

driftwood yarn

Loops & Threads Country Loom in Driftwood; image from Michaels

The Pattern:

Row 1-7: I cast on seventy stitches across. Many of the patterns called for 50-60 stitches across for a 32 inch width. Since my blanket is for a one-year old, I went a little bigger, and I’m glad I did because it was none too wide. Back to the pattern: I knit stitched for seven rows. (See notes below for what I would do differently.)

Row 8: I knit stitched seven stitches, marked it, then purl stitched 56 stitches, marked it again, and then knit stitched seven stitches.

Row 9: I knit stitched seven stitches, marked it, then knit stitched 56 stitches, marked it again, and then knit stitched seven stitches.

Row 10-?: I did a regular stitch for the first and last seven stitches, and then I alternated knit stitch and purl stitch until I had almost finished four skeins of yarn. I was aiming for about 36 inches long, but mine ended up being about 45 inches long—which looked about right.

Last 7 rows: I did a regular knit stitch for the last seven rows and then cast off.

Notes: I created this pattern myself, and I really liked the way it turned out. However, if I had to do it all over, I would probably knit ten rows instead of seven before beginning to alternate the knit/purl stitches in the middle of the blanket because the resulting boarder around the edge of the blanket is not quite as long as the border around the sides of the blanket. I was, however, happy with the length of sides of the border, which was the seven stitches that I marked off on either side of the blanket.

The Final Product:

The final product was a bordered baby blanket about 32×45 inches. I should’ve taken better pictures, but I shipped it off too soon! Just trust me that the actual color is a little better than in this photo. Also, the border doesn’t show up very well–though it is a subtle border. Here it is:

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baby blanket with Loops & Threads Country Loom in Driftwood