Hand Knit Rug

The blue hand knit rug is finished.

Pattern: Ten Stitch Blanket by Frankie Brown
Yarn: Briggs n Little Heritage in navy blue and sewSpun yarn with Leaves (hand spun and hand dyed)

Although, I had intended it to be a bedroom rug, I ran out of steam to make it big enough. It looked ridiculously small laying beside the queen size bed, like I had stuck a postage stamp on a 9*12 envelope.

So, it found a new home underneath the half moon table in the hallway.

Though I have yet to catch him on camera, Jake has found a way to squeeze at least half of his body onto this small rug. Poor Jake. He is still upset with us for throwing the old green carpet in the trash.

A Christmas Gift 11 Days Late

Poor Dan.

For Christmas, I made Elly a handknit flower hat, 3 lace cards, a hero mask and a jewelry box.

Heck, I even made hero masks for 3 of Elly’s cousins and 2 of Elly’s friends.

Dan got to open a half-finished Phillies blanket with the pins still in it.

Thankfully, Dan just laughed at the pins and thought the blanket was a great gift.

On the 11th day of Christmas, I finally gave Dan the finished blanket, which he promptly put to use.

It is super warm, being made of 2 layers of fleece. If I hadn’t opted to use one of the fancy stitches for the border, the blanket would have been finished on time. Those fancy stitches are pretty, but they take three times as long to sew as a simple straight stitch.

A Tradition Made

Without planning it, I have started a tradition that I’m not entirely sure I can continue.

It seems that I have made Elly a quilt or a blanket for every year of her life plus an extra year.

The quilt I made for her birth

The blanket I knit for her 1st birthday

Look at that chub! I miss it.

The quilt I made for her 2nd birthday.

And now the quilt I repaired for her 3rd birthday.

The odds are good that she will get yet another quilt for her 4th birthday, since I have one in the works for her.

It should be mentioned that she doesn’t lack for quilts and blankets. Her great aunt hand stitched her a Winnie the Pooh quilt for her birth. Her Gram has crocheted her 4 blankets plus made her 1 quilt. I have actually put away all the store-bought blanket I received at my baby shower, since handmade blankets are far superior in my book.

After 28 Years, a New Blanket

When I was 8 years old, my Grandmother bought me a cuddle wrap, basically a blanket that could be zipped up and snapped around you. I remember being able to walk around in it when all the closures were done up.

For the past 15 years, it has been on my bed every single night.

Today I took it off and slowly threw it in the trash. It was long overdue. The zipper had broken years ago. The binding had come off in more than one place. Several spots in the middle of the blanket were threadbare.

In its place, I laid down a new blanket.

If you guessed by the colors that I made it, you’re right.

The fabric is called minky and it’s as soft as baby bunny fur. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s still very soft. It came from my stash. More specifically, it came from the stash my MIL gifted me. The color is a lovely, vibrant kelly green. The red satin binding also came from my stash. If the red binding hadn’t been in my stash, I’m not sure it would have occurred to me to use a contrasting color. I’m so glad it was because I love the combination.

For tips on how to add satin binding to a blanket (as this was my first time using satin binding), I watched this YouTube video. Though my corners are quite as nice as hers, I’m still pleased with the final result.

Think it can last 28 years? I’ll be putting it to the test, you can be sure.

The Hexagon Blanket

It is finished.

According to my Ravelry project page, it took me a year to knit this blanket. Though I’m fairly sure for 6 months of that time, I had it stuffed in a basket that was then piled high with fabric. It took me a while to fall in love with the pattern. But, I did. Perhaps it was all the stitches that one must pick up in this pattern that caused me to initially hide my head in the sand. I was never very good at picking up stitches. Thanks to this pattern, I’m a pro and speedy to boot.

Speaking of the pattern, let’s talk details. I hope you want to know the stats because I am dying to share them with you. I took notes just in case you wanted to knit a hexagon blanket too or just in case you are curious. Either works for me.

Pattern: Basic Two-Needle Hexagon by Barbara Walker
Located in a 4th Treasury of Knitting Patterns book
Page 16 in my copy

Size of finished blanket: 60″ diameter
Size of individual hexagon: 20″
My gauge: 5 sts per inch on size 6 needles (though as mentioned previously, I’m a very loose knitter)

I originally made a hexagon about the size featured in the book by casting on 25 stitches. Yet, I knew Dan would find me on a train headed to the funny farm if I had to knit 20+ hexagons and then stitch them altogether. Learning from my swatch, I cast on 55 stitches. The rest of the instructions I followed to the letter. I even used 2 colors like Barbara recommended. After the first hexagon was finished, I became lax and perhaps a bit confident in my picking up skills. Finding her instructions on how to pick up exactly 55 stitches tedious, I stopped counting and proceeded to pick up only the stitches that were easy to pick up, skipping stitches at random. Rarely did I pick up the correct number. I usually had 2-4 stitches too many, but I solved that problem by quickly decreasing the extra stitches on the next row. Can I tell you that it made the hexagon just that much more enjoyable to knit? And how! As happy as I was to finish knitting before the weather got hot, I was sad to be done with the blanket. Though I’ve never knit a pattern twice, this is one pattern I would gladly make an exception for.

Now as you know, this blanket was a yarn hog. I made 2 trips to my LYS and still had to order extra yarn from a fellow Ravelry user. In the end, I used 8 skeins of Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica in natural, colorway 14 for the MC (main color). I even needed a 9th skein to stitch all the hexagons together. It was that close. For the variegated yarns, I used 3 balls of Crystal Palace Taos and 6 skeins of Noro Kureyon in colorway 250. If you plan to use Noro throughout the blanket as the CC (complimentary color), then you’ll need closer to 10 skeins.

Oddly, when I finished stitching all the hexagaons together, I didn’t like the blanket. I didn’t like it. It wasn’t as amazing as I had dreamed it could be. It looked like a bunch of little stitches with 3 different types of yarns. No angels descended from on high and sung to me. It just didn’t happen.

And then I washed it and blocked it. But more importantly, I left it at my neighbor’s house in her upstairs room to dry (she had the space to allow it to dry flat). Walking away from it for 2 days and not looking at it allowed me fall in love with the blanket when I saw it next. I think I had been too close to the blanket for too long. It looked so mundane to me because it was commonplace in my hands. Now, I truly love it again.

Beautiful Noro Featured in the 4th Hexagon

The beautiful Noro matched with the natural Manos del Uruguay

I just love how the Noro changes color throughout the hexagon.

Serious progress is being made. There aren’t too many cool Spring days left in which I want to be working with warm wool.

I work on it every night. My knitting bag comes along on every trip to the local playgrounds.

Elly has even learned proper etiquette around a knitting project, such as pulling yarn out of a skein currently being knitted from is a no-no. Lol.

Baseball Blanket, a new pattern

With Phillies baseball season officially starting tomorrow, it gives me great pleasure to release a baseball knitting project.

A blanket for the baseball enthusiast!

It is an easy and fun project to work on while watching your favorite baseball team. The blanket is knit entirely in garter stitch so you can keep your eye on the ball. Three sections are knit separately and then seamed together to form the shape of a baseball. Shaping is created through simple yarnover increases, k2tog and ssk decreases, cast on rows and bind off rows. The yarnovers also serve as a visual guide of where to put the baseball stitching.

Knit one to take to the game today!

Price: $5.00 USD

This blanket would fit perfectly in a baseball themed nursery too!

I originally designed and knit this blanket because I needed my firstborn child to have a baseball blanket. Dan and I are huge Phillies fans. Of course, our daughter would be a Phillies fan too. Already, she shows great enthusiasm for the game.

Go Phillies!

More information about the pattern can be found here or on Ravelry.

Thank you to Nihart Photography for the beautiful pictures. More of her work can be seen at nihartphotography.smugmug.com.

3 Down and 13 Inches Left

The 3rd hexagon was completed on Sunday.

About halfway through the hexagon, I realized I was going to run out of the Taos yarn. Not wanting to switch yarns in the middle of a hexagon, I ripped all the yarn out of the sample hexagon I had knit when making a gauge.

It was barely enough. I was left with only 13 inches.

More luck came my way during the finishing phase. This time the hexagon lay flat. There was no bubble in the middle as there had been with the previous two hexagons.

See the difference?

Perhaps I had seamed them together wrong. Sure enough, too much of the cast on edge was bunched up in the middle causing the bubble. I only had to rip the seam back 3/4 of the way, match the end of the cast on row with the top stitch of final section knit, ease the fullness of the cast on row and reseam. They look so much better.

I’ve already cast on for the 4th hexagon. When I get further along, I’ll post pictures. The Noro yarn is just beautiful.

Picking up Speed

Remember how I said this blanket was going to take years to complete? It’s looking like I may have to admit I was wrong. Give me a little bit of knitting time and I don’t screw around! Ha!

Since Elly is more and more independent with each passing day, I am back to bringing my knitting bag with me everywhere I go. While visiting my godsons for the eldest’s birthday, I managed to sneak in a few rows.

In the past 4 days, I have knit 1/3 or 2 sections of one hexagon.

Why I just might finish this blanket in the course of a few months. Oh, I hope so. I have so many other knitting projects I want to make like a skirt for Elly, a jacket for me and a sweater for Dan.