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baby afghans

  • Sweet and Sunshiney Shells

    I finished the Sunshine pattern from Blankets for Toddlers this weekend!

    It was my big, all-consuming project for this weekend and I'm happy to see it completed.  It took three skeins of Red Heart Super Saver and an I hook.  It measures 38" long and about 34" wide, and I'm sure it will stretch out a tiny bit with regular use.  I felt like adding a bit more color to it, so I worked single crochets across the top, and in the free loops of the begging chain at the bottom in a bright pink yarn.  I think it looks fun.

    This is a fun and simple pattern--I would definitely recommend it for car trips or movie marathons.  The pattern is simple enough that you can look up from your work and enjoy the scenery around you while your hands stay busy and your laps stays warm.  I watched a tremendous amount of crime-solving on TV this weekend while I finished this up.  It was such a laid back fall activity to enjoy, and I loved it.  I have another baby blanket or two to finish up, and then I think I'm done with blankets for the year!

    I didn't realize I would have quite so many blankets to make when I thought about making more blankets this year, but oh my goodness.  I feel like some sort of blanket wizard now.  I'm not actually a blanket wizard, but when you consider that I had only made three or four before this year and that I made three or four just this summer.....well, I feel like I've really pulled something off.  Yay!

    This project is the same row of shells and single crochet stitches over and over.  I've been getting over a little cold, and I've been a little worn out and also loopy from medication.  It was nice to have something that made me feel a little more productive while I was glued to the couch without having anything too complicated for me to mess up in my less-than-stellar state.  I'm going to give this to some friends with a new little niece, and I'm hoping this will see a lot of use this winter.  I'm also hoping that the baby appreciates the little pop of pink I added to the borders, but I think I should just be happy with how nicely the pattern turned into a nice little blanket.

  • Finishing a Precious Ribbed Blankie

     It's finished!  I finished up the Ribbed Blankie from Precious Knit Blankies for Baby in time to give it to a mother-to-be yesterday afternoon.  It was a hit!

     

    I had cast on fewer stitches than the pattern called for (I really wish I remember how many) and bound off long before the pattern called for.  This blanket is 16" X 22", and is more of a little car seat blankie than a full-size blanket.

     

    I used Caron One Pound and #8 needles, but I think I could have gone up a needle size or two because  that yarn seems a bit thick for worsted. This little blanket is solid and simple. 

    I actually tried crocheting a border around this in bright pink to add some color and detail, but then I took it out.  It didn't look quite right, and this little blanket is fine on its own.

    I love giving handmade gifts.  Even when I get a callous on my finger and a permanent cramp in my hand from so much knitting.  Even when I didn't have a chance to run this through a washer and dryer to even out this out a bit.  I know you can't really block acrylic, but a quick wash and run through a dryer can help straighten the stitches out and would help with the bumps that can appear along a bind-off edge. 

     

    I'm sure this will look better once its washed in some of that baby detergent and wrapped around a little person. 

    Handmade baby gifts always do.

  • WIP Wednesday: Knitting a Precious Ribbed Blankie

    I'm knitting the Ribbed Blankie from Precious Knit Blankies for Babies and it is so very precious!

    I've decided that this is the blanket I'll be giving as a gift this weekend, so I hope I can finish it up quickly.  I'm about a fourth of the way through it, and it's going pretty quickly.  The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and #8 needles for a little ribbed blanket that's 26" X 32".  I cast on fewer stitches than the pattern required because....well, I just wanted to.  Blankets stretch and sag over time (something something, joke about childbearing, something something), and I'm not sure how big this thing will be.  Also, let's be honest. I'm pressed for time.

    I'm not sure why I've been so indecisive about picking out patterns and getting started on my baby shower gifts, but it's really kicking my tail now!  I have a baby shower this weekend and I have nothing ready for it!  Yesterday's pixie bonnet doesn't seem quite right for this baby, so I'll need to make some little booties or something to go along with the blanket that I still haven't finished.  Or maybe I won't need to make something extra.  Blankets take time and my time is precious and this blanket is precious because the book title wouldn't lie about that sort of thing!

    Um, that logic seemed a little less circular and a bit more logical before I typed it out.  What I am mostly saying is this:  I am once again a cautionary tale about procrastination and crafting and falling into the habit of yarncrafting for every little baby that comes along.  And while I am incredibly ticked at myself for my lack of planning, I don't think I'll stop making blankets or sweaters or hats or booties or whatever else I'm in the mood to make for every little baby whose mama's belly catches my eye.  Seriously, if we've seen each other in the past year, I'm going to feel like I should make your little one something.  Babies are precious!  They're small and helpless, but also strong and amazing.  I have no idea how they keep growing!  Parents work so hard!  They love so much and need to know that people are rooting for them (something something, breastfeeding joke, something something), and I always felt so loved when people made things for my daughter when she was a baby.

    Plus, this blanket truly is precious.  For the first four inches, I felt weird about not using variegated yarn like the model photo.   Can you imagine how great this would look with Lion Brand Amazing?!?! Because I've been imagining that a lot while I work on this.  But then the work got a little bit longer and I could see this simple ribbing a little better and the dark purple looked simple and beautiful.  I had originally considered crocheting a row or two around this in pink or gray, but now I think it's going to be perfect just as it is.  

     

    I just have to finish it so I can find out for sure!

  • Crocheting the Granny Stripe Blanket!

     

    I have crocheted the Granny Stripe blanket from Baby Afghans and I'm so thrilled I can barely stand it.  I love it.  I love it.  I love it!

     

    After a bit of a false start with the wrong hook, I tried again with some more worsted weight yarn (Caron's One Pound for the brown and Red Heart Super Saver for everything else) and the pattern's recommended J hook at my weekly knit night.  And then I made the body of the blanket.  Yes.  That night.  And I still went home early.  Yes.  Even after getting a bit lost and having to count out loud for my beginning chain during the middle of an interesting story.  It's a rookie mistake and that's why I normally get my projects started before going to knit night.  But still.  I crocheted the body of this little blanket in one evening with a break for supper.  And then I crocheted the border on an hour-long car trip! 

    This is fast!  I am a golden god!  I even wove in all my ends!

    [Laughs maniacally just remembering the experience.  WHAT A RUSH!]

    I'm just very excited about this baby afghan!  It has shells, which I'm an absolute sucker for.  I used easy-to-care-for acrylic, which is going to wash and dry beautifully.  It's a little over 2' wide and nearly 3' long, which means it can be wrapped around a little baby perfectly this winter.  And it can cover a little baby in a car seat next winter.  And it can cover a little toddler's legs the winter after that.  And on and on and on.  I dearly love the sweet baby girl I made this for even though I don't know her yet (no one does. She's not even born!) because I dearly love her mama.  I'm so thrilled to be making little baby items for my friend, and it's doubly exciting that I liked this pattern as much as I did.

    And it's going to be soft and lovely when I give it to my friend because I'm totally washing this before mailing it out.  If she ever sees that I placed this blanket on several surfaces on my parents' farm, she might get a bit panicky!  Plus, I want this to feel completely ready to be next to a little person's skin.  It's going to be great.  I don't know what else I'm going to make for this little girl, but I'm very glad to have made such a sweet little afghan for her.

  • Let's Crochet Some More Baby Blankets!

    I'm working on the Flower Border blanket from Baby Afghans!  I think when one is a bit stalled on a baby blanket, it's a good time to start another blanket!  Or something. 

    I just really wanted to work on this blanket.  I had never thought about it until someone from my knitting group was flipping though the pattern book and said she didn't really care for this pattern.  Or maybe she wasn't super enthused about the border.  Either way, I suddenly thought this was a great pattern and I had to make it.  Sometimes it's just that simple.  So now I'm getting started! 

    The body of the blanket is crocheted with single crochet and double crochet stitches.  It's a lovely way to make this textured and interesting.  The border is squares sewn into strips that I'll stitch on later.  I think about the border a lot while I'm working on the body.

    I'm not sure yet about the colors I'll use.  Do I want to crochet brown squares with orange, yellow, or green centers?  Orange squares with brown, yellow, or green centers?  

    Or I might make blue squares with brown, orange, or green centers.  Or something.

    The more I look at these pictures, the more I think I might not use brown at all.  I'm making this for a friend of a friend and the color scheme of the nursery decor is brown with oranges and purples and greens.  So I need four colors that go well together, and with purple.  I'm certain I have the colors in my stash, but I'm not sure which ones I want to use.  That's okay, though.

    I have at least fifteen more inches to crochet on this before I have to decide.  That should give me plenty of time to think!

  • Crocheting a Rough Draft with the Granny Stripe Blanket

     
     

    Another day, another work-in-progress!  I'm working on the Granny Stripe pattern from Baby Afghans

     

    One of my friends from college is expecting her first baby this fall and I wanted to make her this blanket.  I love rainbow-type color combinations and I thought the dark brown would make this look extra warm and cheerful right as the weather will start to get chilly.  I realized early into the project that I wanted to go up a hook size.  Or two.  My gauge was fine with an H hook, but the end result feels a little too bunchy and stiff. 

     

    But I kept going.  I wanted to see if this would stretch a bit as it grew heavier.  And I wanted to try out this pattern so that I could make this little afghan as beautifully as as I can for my friend and her baby.  One of the reasons I like to make a pattern repeatedly is because it always makes me a little sad and confused when I finally get the hang of something and then I have to go onto the next thing.  I just got good at it!  Why not try it again to make something better?! 

    It's not going to get better than these colors, though. I just want to put that out there.

    When my friend and I were just a few weeks into college, we started giving each other our papers to review if we (fine, I) had them finished a day or two before a deadline.  We would check each others work and offer feedback.  This time around, I'm really taken with the idea of mailing her a blanket that's been fully planned, well-composed, and carefully crafted.  I think I ripped off a syllabus section about essay answers in quizzes.  I've been reminiscing a lot about our time together in school and my memory takes me on some strange detours sometimes.  Anyway, my point is that I don't mind that this blanket isn't The Blanket. 

    I've been thinking about the color arrangement and I do believe I'm going to follow the instructions and repeat the color repeats twice instead of mirroring them like I'm doing with this one.   I'll figure out how to weave in these ends discretely. 

     

    And, of course, I'll make this larger. I don't know what I'll do with this rough draft of a baby afghan.  But I have one more row of the border to crochet and then the real work of making the next version will begin.  I'm really looking forward to it.

  • I Got a Project Bag Full of Sunshine

    I'm crocheting the Ripples of Joy afghan from Baby Afghans again and I love this sunshiney little work in progress.

    This is looking a little different from the project I made with this pattern last time.

    For starters, I'm using one color instead of five, and I don't think I'll be making this nearly as big as I did before.  This is, after all, a baby pattern.  And I am making this for a baby this time around.  I'm using Caron One Pound, so I know one color should take care of the whole blanket.  This is actually my second skein of Caron One Pound for just this year.  I want to tell you that, but I don't want to really think about what that says about me because I'm not quite sure.

    Moving on.

    I love how this is going and I still love this pattern and I love the yarn and I love that the blanket will look like a sun in a children's book when I'm finished.

    But.

    I decided to skip the process of working through the back loops.  Here's a post that describes what that means and has a tutorial, and here's a left-handed equivalent.  But basically working in the back loops every other row is what makes the blanket look so ripply.  I don't know how ripply I want my sunshine to look, but I'm not convinced that this is the look that I should be going for.  Like most pattern mods, it seemed like a really great idea before I was actually doing it.  

    But now I'm just not sure.  Maybe it's just because it feels odd to follow this pattern while doing nearly everything differently.  Or maybe I would like the look of these ripple rows being worked in the back loops more than I had realized.  

    Maybe this is completely fine, though.  The points will become more pronounced as I keep working, and this is going to make a very cheerful and solid baby blanket.  I think I'll work this for a few more rows before I make a decision to rip back or keep going. 

    I hope your projects don't make you feel so conflicted.  Happy crafting!
  • Crocheting A Blanket's Worth of Colorful Circles

    I made the Colorful Circles afghan from Baby Afghans last fall, but in gray and yellow.

    I'm doing that again.

    But slightly different.


    Circles inside of squares are pretty striking, and I wondered what would effect I would get if I switched out Color A and B.  About half of these squares will have gray circles and yellow border, and the other half will have yellow circles and gray borders.  I'm not sure if I'll alternate the squares, or if I'll have alternating strips.

    Alternating squares:

    Alternating strips:

    The blanket is made of four strips of five blocks, but I think I have enough yarn for five more squares.  Another row would give me more chances to play with the arrangement.  This is a nice bold pattern and I think it's great for little baby eyes to focus on!  Maybe kind of like this:

    There are a lot of possibilities even though I'm just making two types of squares with two colors of yarn.  I'm using up a leftover skein of Red Heart Super Saver in Grey Heather, and some Caron One Pound in Sunflower.  I'm getting gauge just fine with the recommended H hook, and so my squares are 5.5".  And I'm really excited to be playing around with the designs in this sweet little pattern again.

    I love this pattern, and I'm excited to be working on this little blanket.  I don't even know for whom I'm making this, but I am really excited about having this in my blanket stash.  I love making these squares.

    I have nearly half as many as I need, and then the real fun of arranging begins.

    I can't wait!

  • Rainbow Ripples of Joy. Exuberant, Exultant, and Elated Joy.

    It's finished!  I have made a mostly full-sized afghan!  It's a modified version of the Ripples of Joy pattern from Baby Afghans and I feel pretty joyful every time I look at this.

    The afghan's about 50" across, which makes it perfect for a lap throw or for wearing around my shoulders when I'm hanging out on the couch.

    Or, more realistically, it will be a perfect size for my daughter to completely cocoon herself in when she steals this.  Because I'm pretty sure she's going to steal this.

    Not that I would blame her.  This is a lovely rainbow-y burst of happiness and kid-friendly primary colors.  It took about a three-hundred-yard skein of yarn for each color, give or take a little.  I didn't use much of my orange, but I did need a little extra blue. 

    There's so much blue in this picture, I couldn't fit it all in the shot.

    I almost regret not adding purple to the pattern because it would have been a tiny bit larger and this would look even more rainbow-like.  Almost.  This is pretty fantastic as it is.

    Obviously this is a bit larger than the baby version, but the pattern is essentially the same.  I just have different color choices and I decided to skip the border because I wanted the edges to be clean and sharp.

    The afghan looks extra ripply because every other row is made by working in the back loops, which I love.  The technique slowed me down a little, but the extra time was worth it for such a beautifully textured blanket.

    Once I was 6 or 7 rows into this pattern, I had no trouble following along.  I might make a larger version of this some time.  And I will definitely make a smaller version of this.  I would love to see this ripple pattern in blues and grays, and I know it wouldn't take very long at all if I made it in the baby blanket size.

    I don't know any baby boys who will be born any time soon (or any little girls whose parents would welcome a blue and gray blanket), but I may make one for my gift stash pretty soon.  I don't quite know what to do with myself now that this afghan is done! 

    Well, other than enjoy my colorful and warm blanket during this cold weekend.  I don't know what I'll do other than that.

    Oh!  But before I forget: if you don't feel like buying Baby Afghans and having 9 crochet patterns in your library (what is wrong with you?!), the Ripples of Joy pattern is available for individual purchase.

    Okay, now I think I've said everything I think you need to know.  Have a happy crafting weekend and stay warm!  I hope you  have afghan-making in your plans....

  • Yes, More Afghans Would be Lovely

    There are those who would say that it's unwise to start another project while one has so many WIPs cluttering up the living room.  Those people are probably correct.

    They can just hush anyway.

    I realize it's probably not my best idea to get started on another afghan after I've already started two others, but I'm not too concerned.  I'm not hurting anyone and I can stop any time I want to.

    Besides, this is for my baby blanket stash.

    What baby blanket stash?, you may ask.  Oh that's right!  I don't have one!

    Honestly, not having a gift stash of baby blankets is probably a pretty dumb move on my part.  People all around me are having babies with an alarming frequency and they tend to have these baby creatures in seasons.  There's a period of time where there are no babies and I get lulled into this false sense of security and go on about my business of knitting hats for myself or cowls for friends and then, WHAM!  Babies everywhere.  And with those babies come baby showers.  I guess I could show up at a shower with something I bought off of a registry and save myself the time of NOT making something from an adorable baby knit or crochet pattern, but that's just crazy talk.  Nope, I have to make something with my hands if someone I love has gone to the trouble of making a whole dadgummed baby.

    There are drawbacks to this approach, of course.  We don't have to revisit this time last year when I realized I would be attending 3 showers for 4 babies in the span of a month because I still feel kind of frantic and twitchy thinking about it even now.  Unlike hats or little baby sweaters, baby blankets are automatically the perfect size and fit.  And I'm discovering that if I'm not knitting for a specific person, I'm more freed up to make something simply because I like it.

    And I really like making small baby projects, even if a baby blanket is bigger than an item like a sweater or hat.  I love being able to smooth the whole thing out, fold it up carefully, and pick out a big enough gift bag to hold this wonderful creation.  I love being able to hand the present to a mom and watch her unfold the whole thing, demand that everyone in the room look at it, and then drape the blanket over her belly.  It's one of my favorite things--that moment when someone you care about confirms your suspicion that you've made something just right for them and they love it.  The best!

    I went to a baby shower for a friend last weekend and gave her the Blue Striped Blanket from Knit in a Day for Baby.  She was so excited that she cut her husband off in the middle of whatever he was saying and passed the blanket to him so that he and a cousin could stop talking about football and check out the blanket and feel its squishiness.  I love this woman dearly and was so glad she liked my gift for her son.  I was so excited the whole time I worked on this because I knew she would like this.  As a bonus, she told me this would match his nursery! 

    And when I went to visit my one and only nephew for his first Christmas (and yes, kind of hover over my sister) and saw this blanket on the rocking chair in his perfectly color-coordinated nursery even though I think the yellow was too light?  I was so happy!

    The Colorful Circles afghan from Baby Afghans booklet.

    So yay for baby blankets!  Sort of.  I just have a square for this venture. 

    It's the King's Crown pattern from Knit Dishcloths.  The patterns can be knitted or Knooked, and there is a suggestion in the back to knit them up and stitch them together for a blanket.

    So I think I will!

    I bought a pound of this mustard yellow the other day because sales at Michaels will be the end of me.  I'll only make 9 squares for a good-sized baby blanket, but I think I'll come up with plenty of uses for this worsted weight acrylic.  I love how it looks here.

    I used Size 8 needles, and the square is about 9 X 9".  It's slightly taller than it is wide, but that's fine.  Most baby blankets don't turn out to be perfect squares anyway, and I think this will even out just okay after a washing.  I don't know who this is for, but I think that's one of the most exciting things about this project for me!  There's no deadline on this either, but I don't think it will take very long to finish up.  I really enjoy knitting these patterns when I'm making dishcloths, and I think I'm enjoying myself even more when I make these squares for a blanket.

    And look!  I've even started another one.

    Things are moving right along.  Starting another blanket project was clearly a great idea. 

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