High off the rush of completing a sweater, I started looking around for other things to do. I did a few Google searches for 'yarn' and 'patterns'. Turns out there's a lot more out on the web about knitting than a non-knitter (or former non-knitter) would suspect!
I discovered Knitty.com and did a search for a baby blanket I could make for my older sister, who is expecting her third child. I found the Wild Stripes Baby Blanket and quickly put in an order at Knit Picks for the yarn. Knit Picks turned out to be a great discovery for me because I still only had two different Addi Turbo circular needles and, being a grad student on a budget, I really didn't have a lot of money to spend on needles and yarn. I was so excited that the yarn I needed was so cheap that I could afford to get more needles too!
This blanket knit up very quickly. Well, relatively quickly for something of its size. I had never done stripes before, so the hint in the pattern about weaving in the ends as you go was a good one.
I absolutely love this blanket. The colors are so vibrant and are a nice change of pace from all the pastel stuff that babies seem to generate. The only part I really disliked about the blanket was stitching the backing onto it by hand. It took forever. I enjoyed the knitting part, but the finishing? Not a fan.
But as soon as I finished the blanket, I ran into a problem. I love this blanket. I think it's fabulous. Plus, it's the first thing I've completed that turned out pretty much the way I intended. (I like it so much I even used it as the background for the banner on this blog!) So...here is my problem:
My older sister was supposed to be the recipient of this blanket, but it's made of 100% wool with a cotton backing. You can't just throw the thing in the washing machine when it gets dirty. If I give this blanket to her, it will be ruined as soon as the baby spits up on it!
So I did what any rational person would do to spare one of their proudest creations: I rolled it up and stuck it in my stash cart (yes, it is only a cart for now), and I ordered some new superwash wool from Knit Picks. It is gray and blue. She will be getting a very plain, very washable blanket. And if she ruins that one? Well...at least my beautiful Wild Stripes blanket will have been spared.
So...what did I learn from working on the blanket?
1) Weaving in ends is not fun. I will definitely do them as I go along. But stripes are not as scary as I thought they would be.
2) Hand stitching a backing to a blanket is not fun either. It is certainly not something that can be accomplished in a few hours the day before the baby shower. But come to think of it, not being finished with the blanket is probably what saved me from having to give it to my sister so I guess in the end it was a good thing.
3) I learned how to tie a French knot (after searching all over the internet for directions) and they do look quite nice, if I do say so myself.
4) You should always match the project to the recipient. It's not enough to make something for someone else just because you like it. If it's not right for your friend, save yourself the trouble.
But now here's my question: has this happened to other knitters too? Has anyone else ever made something that they like so much they just can't stand to see it go to someone else? Or have I violated some cardinal rule of knitting? You know, like You Are Not So Great That You Deserve To Keep All The Good Stuff or something? Good thing I have no readers yet because otherwise I might be too ashamed to admit all this! ;-)