Hooked on Needles

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easy Knitted Baby Blanket ~ Instructions Included!

The next generation in my family seems to be expanding so quickly that I can barely keep up! This is why I only make a handmade gift for each first baby! It is so wonderful to have all these new babies coming along, but I just wish that I lived close enough to the families of my nieces and nephews to be able to see their babies and get to know them. The next best thing is to send a little homemade love in the form of a hand knit or crocheted blanket that they can snuggle with and drag around with them wherever they go. Here's my latest...

This one is a knit blanket, which is a rarity for me. Usually I crochet baby blankets and afghans, but I had a good reason for wanting to knit this one.

This blanket is knit on the diagonal, starting at the corner pictured here. I started out on size 10 straight needles because that's what I had available, but then I switched to circular needles and the closest I could get to size 10 was size 10 3/4. You can see where I changed needle size, right where the stitches cease to be close and tight and instead become loose and ... well, loose! Overall, I don't think the difference is all that noticeable, and the blanket turned out very soft and squishy and quite cozy.

So the reason I wanted to knit this on the diagonal is because I had exactly four skeins of yarn to make this blanket and I wanted to use as much of it as possible and end up with a finished blanket. So I needed to use one of two designs. The crochet design would have been a simple spiral square, starting in the middle and continuing around and around until the yarn was gone. I have done a few blankets like that and they turn out quite nice and it is a good way to use up yarn without ending up with an unfinished item. You can see some examples HERE, HERE and HERE.

The knit alternative is what I used for this afghan. It's so easy and you hardly even have to think about it once you get going. Here's the pattern:

Cast on 3 stitches.
*Knit 1, yarn over, knit to end of row.* (This is the increase row. Note that you only increase at the beginning of each row, not on both ends.)
Repeat from * to * until you have used up almost half of the available yarn.
Knit one row even (no increase).
*Knit two together, yarn over, knit two together, knit to end of row.* (This is the decrease row with the decrease only at the beginning of each row, not at both ends.)
Repeat from * to * until only three stitches remain on your needle. Bind off.

Because I had four skeins of yarn available, I worked the increase rows until I had just a few yards left on my second skein. Then I worked the even row and started decreasing. When I bound off those last three stitches, I had just a small handful of yarn leftover. I think it's always safe to err on the the side of having a bit leftover than to get to the end of the last skein and still have one or two little rows to finish!

So that's my latest baby blanket, all finished and ready to be mailed out soon to my niece Lucy in Wisconsin for her first baby. I'll also be mailing this crocheted candy stripes blanket to her sister Mary in Texas for her first baby. There are a few other babies due this year in our family, but they are not firsts so I'm off the hook for them!

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Crocheted Candy Stripes Blanket ~ Finished!

This crocheted candy striped blanket was so quick and fun to make! It is now finished and ready to ship down to Texas for my niece's new little baby who will be arriving sometime later this year. I have always believed that every baby should have some kind of handmade cuddly thing like an afghan or blanket or other snuggly item, so each of my siblings and now my nieces and nephews receive something handmade from me when they have their first baby. I'd love to be able to make one for each baby, but the list would be never-ending, so only the first gets one, and they can learn that valuable lesson of sharing very early in their life!

So here it is...

The diagonal stitching of this afghan made it start fast and get big fast...instant gratification!

The long sections of bright, fun colors in this yarn made for some fabulous chunks of color intermingled with chunks of bright white.

The texture created by this stitch will be perfect for little fingers to discover.

Don't you just love that simple scalloped border?

I surely do!

The perfect border can really make the blanket, and it doesn't necessarily have to be something big and fancy. This border is a simple double crochet scallop worked directly onto the edge of the blanket without even a round of single crochet to start. I think it wraps up this blanket perfectly!

You can make your own Candy Stripes blanket too! I ordered my kit from one of my very favorite online retailers for all things yarn, Mary Maxim!

Happy Stitching!

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