Friday, December 10, 2010

Bigger and Badder (Blankets)

And now for the opposite of cholera and political unrest... babies and knitting!  I recently finished my fourth variation on a the Big Bad Baby Blanket (BBBB as its called in the blogsphere).  I originally tried my hand at the pattern back in college, when I was looking through my trusty Stitch 'n Bitch* book and decided that I wanted to try something harder than a scarf.  That first BBBB came out well, but unfortunately it fell prey to mice while it awaited a baby recipient.  Nonetheless, I was hooked on that pattern - it produces a big sturdy blanket (usually around 3x3) that is double knit and durable.  If you use different colored yarns knit together it produces beautiful patterns. 
My second attempt at the BBBB ended up as a baptism present for Kyle, the son of my friends Sara and Aron.  This time I used a sturdy baby yarn in blue and green.  It was machine washable of course, because I do not believe in giving new parents hand-wash only baby creations.  This project ended up being an exercise in letting go of my need for perfection, because I ran out of yarn and couldn't get more in time - so it ended up being rectangular and asymmetrical.  I was pretty happy with the results. The green and blue looked pretty together and it was still a pretty good sized blanket.  

My next attempt was last winter, and I went a little crazy with my new-found love of asymmetry.  My friends Rich and Jen are serious Terps fans, and they also love things that are quirky.  For them, I redesigned the BBBB into a funky stadium blanket for Roz's first Maryland football games.  I chose retro UMD colors in Louet Gems yarn (which I fell in love with), and in a fit of insanity decided I was going to do an intarsia "M."  The blanket proved to be a challenge - and it ended up being bigger than the 3x3 because I don't pay close attention to gauge when it comes to blankets.  This yarn is machine washable with care.  I will say that I was really pleased with the way this one came out, but half-way through the "M" work I was cursing myself for my ambition. I saw this blanket the other day, and its held up pretty well, although I haven't gotten the knack of weaving the ends in so they don't pop back out.  It stretched out a little so it is a monstrous size now - it seems to be growing with Roz!  

And finally my most recent project was for "Sweet Pea," as my friends Ashlee and Matt have nicknamed the daughter they are expecting in a couple months.  As soon as Ashlee told me she was pregnant, the colors pink and green popped into my head - I had seen some really pretty variegated yarns in those colors in my LYS.  Ashlee is a bit of a girly-girl, but I waited until she told me she was having a girl (somehow I just knew) and then went out and bought the yarn.  Oh that yarn.  I picked Ella rae Lace Merino, another machine washable (delicate)/dry flat yarn.  I contemplated doing another funky pattern, but with this project I really wanted the yarn to be the main attraction.  And besides, Ashlee is a pretty traditional lady in a lot of ways and I was already using some colors that are pretty vivid for a baby blanket.  (I've decided I don't like knitting in pastels for babies, anyway).  Sweet Pea's blanket is colorful and girly but not too girly.  Its on the smaller side for a BBBB (about 26 in x 26 in) because the yarn is pretty fine.  Hopefully she'll like it!  

Knitting for babies great, because the projects tend to be less daunting than their grown-up sized counterparts.  Plus, when I am knitting for babies I can channel all of my excitement, prayers, and happy thoughts for the family into whatever I'm making.  The best projects really are knitted with love.  

*Say what you like about the title, its the best book I've found for learning to knit.  



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