Learning to Knit – Gorgeous Baby Blanket

Although sewing will forever be my favourite craft, I’ve recently started to knit on a regular basis and I absolutely love it. While I find sewing faster and more satisfying in some ways – mainly because I feel that I’ve become more adept as the years have passed – knitting is just so indulgent! I really feel like I have ‘me-time’ when I knit because there’s minimal fuss (unlike machine sewing where you need a fair bit of equipment), minimal tidying up (unlike my kind of sewing where bits of thread and material end up EVERYWHERE! I actually almost broke our Dyson hoover because so many little bits of thread had caught up in the brush and clogged it inside… the man in the hoover fixing shop was horrified…) and you can carry a WIP around wherever you go. I also quite like that I seem to have unwittingly joined a friendly and vibrant community of people who share the same passion and want to chat about it! With sewing, very few strangers actually know that you’re a sewist unless you tell them (“You like my dress you say? I MADE IT!”). Whereas with knitting, because my needles and yarn are prominently on display in public places, I often find that people want to chat to me about what I’m making, what they’re making, good yarn shops, favourite projects and so on. It’s so lovely.

Despite my love for the craft, it’s been quite a rocky start for me. I think it was around November 2015 that I started to play around with knitting…

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I promptly realised that IT’S REALLY HARD! I put the needles away in frustration. I couldn’t even hold them properly so felt like there was no hope. But then I was saved by my wonderful mum. She observed me during another frustrated effort and was quick to point out why I was finding it so tricky.  She opened my eyes to so many of the little mistakes that were making my venture in to the craft all the more difficult, from the way I was holding the yarn and needles to the actual needles I was using (metal ones are SLIPPY!!). After a quick masterclass from her over the Christmas period last year, I ended up producing this.

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Finally! Something that looks like knitting!!! My mum was a prolific knitter when my brother and I were little. One of my favourite memories is visiting the musty little haberdashery in my home town and selecting the buttons to go with my latest knitted cardi (I’m pretty sure I went with ladybird shaped ones). However, as we grew up and handmade clothes fell out of fashion (and we became teenagers who would rather die than be caught wearing something unbranded), she stopped knitting as much and then eventually stopped altogether. I think her little masterclass (and new grandson of course) have revived her passion because she’s now pouring over patterns and yarn again which is just lovely!

For my first knitting project, I decided to tackle a blanket because I thought it would be easier than a piece of clothing. Except that I did what I always do and picked a tricky (but super gorgeous) one that I wanted to use when my little boy was born. I saw it on Pinterest a while ago and managed to track down the pattern on Amazon.

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The process was slow going but really enjoyable. I bought two skeins of yarn from Wool Warehouse (didn’t even know yarn came as a skein!!) and converted them to balls, which was oddly satisfying.

IMG_0896I learned how to add another colour using (bloody annoying) novelty yarn.

IMG_0943Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 09.19.12 …and after a couple of months of knitting, the sheep blanket was born! It’s 100% wool so it’s nice and toasty. I’d read about wool not being appropriate for babies because of the rogue fibres that have the potential to irritate newborn airways with many articles and websites instead advocating ‘baby safe’ acrylic yarn. Pfffft. Correct me if I’m being horribly naive but babies have been wearing wool for centuries and while acrylic is lovely, I just think that 100% wool feels so much nicer.

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There are a couple of little mistakes and this was by no means an easy sailing project but I’m really trying not to dwell on them.  I really feel like I’ve learned so much with this one. I now know how to deal with a dropped stitch, I understand how the wool should sit on the needle (I was forever putting stitches on back to front) and I think I’m getting better at maintaining an even and consistent tension.

I’ve now moved on to another blanket but this time it’s more of a home project and one that we can all share. I bought 25 balls of this super chunky 100% Drops Eskimo yarn and I’m making a blanket/throw for winter. It’s going to be HUGE, which means that it’ll be perfect for cold winter evenings when we’re lounging about the house being lazy. I reckon it’ll take quite a while to knit but I have to admit that I like the slow going nature of it because it means that I can focus on other things alongside it. It’s being knitted in Moss Stitch using my Knit Pro circular needles, which I love.

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Once I’ve tackled this, I think it’s time to brave the world of knitted jumpers. Perhaps the first one will be mini though for my little boy, rather than a full on post-pregnancy adult one!

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