A Shiny Baby Blanket

I finally finished this special project, which is a blanket for my friend Mandi’s upcoming surprise baby. It took a long time, because I used small needles and only have about an hour of knitting time per day. I recommend the size called for by the yarn, a 5 US.

Knitted ripples

Mandi asked for a ripple afghan, which is easy to crochet, but it hurts my hands too much. So, I looked for knitted ones. I didn’t like any of the ones I found, so I just did it the way I wanted to.

Note the sequins!

I used another version of Lion Brand Mandala yarn, the one that has slow color changes. This one has sequins in it. Just enough. Not too many. It was easy to work with and is machine washable. I also like the size it came out. Perfect for a newborn or a “lovey” blanket. I had one of those I slept with until college. Its name was “Lovin’ Blanket,” or LB. It once was a satin receiving blanket, but after many years, all that was left was its edges. I digress.

How to Make Your Own

So, here is the extra easy pattern, at least if you know the abbreviations.

Mine took 3 balls of Mandala Sequins plus about a quarter of another ball, to make both ends blue. You can make the blanket as wide or long as you want. It could be adult size, if desired!

Cast on a multiple of 12 stitches + 8. I did 12 repeats. 142 stitches.

Row 1 slip 1, knit to end

Row 2 slip 1, *SSK, K4, YO, K2, YO, K4, K2tog* repeat between ** until the last stitch, K1

Repeat these two rows until you reach the length you want, then bind off loosely. Slipping the first stitch on each row makes a nice edge, especially if you knit the last stitch through the back loop.

The next blanket I make will be mitered squares in another colorway of the same yarn, with a centered decrease accent.

Let’s Knit Stuff

Knitting has always been my go-to centering activity (after actually meditating, of course). I’ve been knitting up a storm the past month or two, which explains the lack of book report posts! I’ve finished one thing and almost finished another one this week. Let’s see.

The secret project I was working on just before Christmas was a dish towel in cotton yarn for Anita’s new house. I tried to make it approximately the right colors, given the options that I have (one ball each of many shades of Dishie, which is a cotton dishcloth yarn from Knitpicks). It turns out a dish towel takes a bit more than one skein, so I added a second color to it. The pattern is called Dixie’s Dish Towel Recipe (don’t blame the messenger; Dixie was the person’s name). I like it, because you can improvise different knitting patterns in it, though I liked her original ones just fine.

I am pretty sure I messed up something toward the end, but hey, it still looks like a dish towel. I like the kind with buttons that will hang from your cabinet and not fall down all the time, so I’ll probably make myself a couple of these. The only one I have was one someone sewed, and it’s getting really old.

Neither of the photos here show the color of green the yarn actually appears to be to my eyes. It’s a nice, soft sage.

One reason I was so disappointed in Christmas was that I had knitted on that darned cotton yarn for three days to get the dish towel done in time, only to have Anita be unable to join us. But, I stuck it in with her mail, so she got it when she dropped by to visit her house in Cameron.

The other project I have been working on is another one of those six-sided baby blankets. I really like doing those. This one is for a baby due in March, so I made that deadline with no trouble! This pattern takes just a wee bit more than two skeins of yarn, so I had to borrow a bit of yellow to finish out one set of stripes, but it’s right where yellow would have started anyway. The other skein had enough. That’s either because skein lengths are just approximate, or the first ball was used for more of the longer rows. Who knows?

I am not sure if these are what folks would call “baby colors,” but I think they do look sort of Western or cowboy-like, so it should go over fine in the family who’s getting it. I am going to do the border in the happy yellow color.

I’m not sure what’s next. I do know that you could easily make a Christmas Tree skirt from the six-sided pattern by just using happy holiday colors and maybe some shiny yarn for the stripes and binding off at the end rather than joining into a hexagon. Maybe I will do that.

I hope you have something fun to pass the time when you need to keep your hands and mind busy. I am quite glad I’m back to work, myself, because it’s really good to think about work problems instead of my own crap.

Square Simplicity

It was suggested that I make a giant Grandma’s Favorite dishcloth pattern as a baby blanket. It’s also been suggested that babies no longer use blankets. So, it is also a “tummy time mat” or whatever modern babies use.

It’s not plain and boring.

I had two balls of this nice, soft baby yarn, Sridar Snuggly Pattercake, in two different pastel color ways. I used the same stripe sequence as with my hexagonal blanket I just finished.

The colors lined up similarly, but it ended up looking nice, I think. It’s certainly soft and snuggly. And it can be washed by machine if soiled by normal baby activities.

This will go to one of three upcoming little ones in my friend and family circle. I like making baby things, because I can give them away! That makes less yarn in my soon-to-be-bursting yarn room.

Speaking of not bursting, my closet is less stuffed today, since I packed up 6 large bags of clothing (size small and medium mostly) and a bag of shoes this morning. Maybe I’ll have room for the remaining clothes and shoes that got moved here. The purge has begun!

It’s Penney’s turn.

Rainy days off are good for something after all. And since it’s chilly, there are more dog snuggles.

Hexagonal Rainbow Stripy Glory

Hooray! My mistaken “invention” is finished! It’s perky, trippy, stripy, and glorious. If I were a baby, I’d want it for my floor mat, and I’d want to gum those wormy fringes.

It’s different, all right.

I had so much fun watching the stripes develop. And the fringe cracked me up. It makes the blanket a little feminine but won’t hurt babies.

It’s easy, too.

How to Make It

Intermediate and above knitters will want to know how to make one of these, so here we go, informally. Beginners, make the actual pattern! It’s easy.

Lion Brand Mandala in Gnome and Sprite with a little Honeycake.
from the Lion Brand site.

The basic pattern is NOT by me. It is an adaptation of Meadowland Baby Blanket by  Irina Poludnenko. (It’ a free download.) The pattern is supposed to create a square blanket, and if you follow the instructions correctly and pay attention to the diagram of how to make the triangles link up, you will, indeed, get a square blanket, just like the one on the pattern front page. Lots of people have made it, and it comes out quite cute.

However, I made a mistake after finishing the first triangle and picked up the stitches for the second triangle along the edge with the decreases, not the straight edge. If you look at the close-up above, you can see that I picked up the 96 stitches along the edge with a little jog in it (where the decreases that create the triangles are). So, you do this, too.

Other than that, follow the Meadowland pattern, but don’t stop after four triangular wedges (because it will NOT be a square). Keep going and make one more.

It really adds that pop of color to one’s bland timeshare condo.

For the sixth section of the blanket, you’ll attach the new triangular wedge to the first one as you go. To do this, end each right-side row with K2tog, knit next stitch together with the next cast-on bump from the first triangle. There will be 96 of them, and since there are 96 garter ridges in the triangle, you’ll end up having invisibly seamed the blanket. (In the close-up photo, the blue stripe was where I cast on, and the pink stripes are the last triangle.

You could also just knit the last wedge the same as the others and use mattress stitch to sew the edges together.

When you’re done, work the same edge as the Meadowland pattern calls for, or any other edging you’d like, such as single crochet.

Note that the two extra wedges meant I needed to start a third ball of yarn. If Sprite had been available, I’d have used it, but I used another color instead.

There you go, how to make a hexagonal blanket from a square pattern. If you read this and know a better way to describe the way I finished the last wedge of the blanket, let me know.

something poetic

(formerly The Lost Kerryman)

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