Baby Shower Gifts, part 2: DIY Easy Peasy knitted blanket for the mother-to-be

Did you catch part 1 about the Easy Peasy baby blanket and soft toys?  Check it out.  We’ll wait.

If you’re ready to start knitting, skip on down to the pictures.  If you’re here because you love my writing and ideas, keep reading.

History

I first learned to knit in 5th grade.  I went to a Catholic school where they began allowing students to choose their “electives” as they prepared for junior high school.  About five girls in my class, all relatively quiet young ladies, signed up for this course taught by the Religion and Music teacher.  We learned the basics then made square dish cloths.  Well, some of us managed squares.  Others weren’t so lucky.

I have picked up knitting here and there over the years, and I have now made two nice afghans.  This little tutorial (chock full of photos for you) will walk you through my second one, the gift I made for my sister-in-law who was expecting.

Two notes:  1.  I chose bamboo needles, 12 gauge, because they would look the most authentic were I to knit “in camp.”*  2.  I chose the colors (dark brown and pale pink) because they were the colors my SIL chose for her bridesmaids’ dresses when she married my brother 7 years ago.

Disclaimer

This really is a super easy project.  I kinda made it up, as a matter of fact.  I’ll show you three basic things:  casting on, knitting, and purling.  There’s not much to it, and I did it as cheaply as possible.

You’re going to see a ton of photos; don’t let that scare you into thinking there’s a lot of skill you need to develop.  I personally learn better with this kind of thing when I see how it is done rather than read about it.  The photos are to help you SEE what I did and maybe mimic as you create your own lovely piece.

Also, I only make the basics and they must be in rectangular form.  Don’t ask me for anything fancy because I’ll just tell you there are books at your library that can help you.  And YouTube videos.  I can make scarves, blankets, wash cloths, and fingerless gloves (yep, just a rectangle you stitch together).

Easy Peasy Knitted Blanket

A detail shot of the completed blanket.

A detail shot of the completed blanket.

Supplies

1 pair of needles

2 skeins of yarn (I chose two colors:  dark brown and light pink)

1 good idea

Good Idea

I wanted to alternate colors and slowly decrease the blocks of color until I used the entirety of each ball of yarn**.  I decided I would cast on 60 stitches with the brown, knit then purl the knit then purl until I had 30 rows.  I switched to the pink and k then p then k then p until I had 25 rows.  I switched back to brown and did 20, then back to pink for 15, then 7 brown, then 5 pink.  That left me with about 14″ of brown yarn and maybe 5′ of pink.

There are specific ways one writes up a knitting pattern.  I’m a beginner assuming I’m writing for beginners so I’m not going to bother with technical jargon.  I can’t read a true knitting pattern, so I’m not going to learn just to try to teach you.  Again, there’s books at your library and videos on YouTube.

Casting On

Again, check out YouTube.  Here’s how I did it:

1.  Make a slip knot (pretzel).

1. Make a slip knot (pretzel).

2.  Slide one needle through one loop of the knot.

2. Slide one needle through one loop of the knot.

3.  Pull on the side leading to the ball of yarn (but not too tight).

3. Pull on the side leading to the ball of yarn (but not too tight).

4.  Using your non-dominant hand (sub?), take the skein end of yarn between your thumb and forefinger then around your thumb.  Make sure it crosses your hand like it does mine in this photo.

4. Using your non-dominant hand (sub?), take the skein end of yarn between your thumb and forefinger then around your thumb. Make sure it crosses your hand like it does mine in this photo.

5.  Slide your needle up through the loop you made around your thumb.  Pull your thumb out of the loop.

5. Slide your needle up through the loop you made around your thumb. Pull your thumb out of the loop.

6.  There are now two stitches cast on your needle.  Repeat the thumb-loop-process until you have the desired number of stitches. In this

6. There are now two stitches cast on your needle. 

7.  Repeat the process.

7. Repeat the process.

8.  I cast on 60 times.

8. I cast on 60 times.

Knit

For this pattern, I chose to alternate each row knit then purl.  I cast on my 60 stitches then switched the needle with the stitches into my left hand.  I picked up my empty needle and began to knit.  Even though I knit-then-purl 30 rows of the brown, the photos are of the pink yarn.  Bear with me.

1.  Grasp with your sub hand the needle with the stitches.

1. Grasp with your sub hand the needle with the stitches.

2.  With the empty needle in your dom hand, slide the point through the first stitch BEHIND the sub needle.

2. With the empty needle in your dom hand, slide the point through the first stitch BEHIND the sub needle.

3.  Bring your yarn around the dom point from behind.

3. Bring your yarn around the dom point from behind.

4.  Using the tip of the dom point, bring the loop of yarn towards you through the stitch.

4. Using the tip of the dom point, bring the loop of yarn towards you through the stitch.

5.  With the yarn from the ball on the dom needle, slide the needle up the sub needle to remove the original stitch off, putting a new stitch on the dom side.

5. With the yarn from the ball on the dom needle, slide the needle up the sub needle to remove the original stitch off, putting a new stitch on the dom side.

6.  Repeat the process.  Remember that with KNIT you slide the dom needle BEHIND the sub needle and keep the yarn BEHIND your stitches.

6. Repeat the process. Remember that with KNIT you slide the dom needle BEHIND the sub needle and keep the yarn BEHIND your stitches.

7.  This is like step 3, just a different picture to help you see what I'm doing.

7. This is like step 2, just a different picture to help you see what I’m doing.

8. This is like step 3, just a different picture.

8. This is like step 3, just a different picture.

9.  This is step 4, a better image of pulling the loop of yarn through the stitch.

9. This is step 4, a better image of pulling the loop of yarn through the stitch.

10.  This is step 5, just a different picture.  Don't pull the yarn too tight or it'll be hard to slide the dom needle in when you come back on the next row.

10. This is step 5, just a different picture. Don’t pull the yarn too tight or it’ll be hard to slide the dom needle in when you come back on the next row.

Purl

Remember, I am following my mental pattern of knit one row, purl one row.  At the end of each row, I switch the needles to the other hands and proceed down the row using whatever stitch I did not use on the last row.  I knitted Row 1 so will purl Row 2.  The main difference is that the dominant needle slides into the stitch in FRONT of the submissive*** needle and the yarn gets looped from the FRONT of your work.

1.  Make sure the yarn is in FRONT of the dom needle.

1. Make sure the yarn is in FRONT of the dom needle.

2.  Holding the work in your sub hand, slide the dom hand's needle into the first stitch in the FRONT.

2. Holding the work in your sub hand, slide the dom hand’s needle into the first stitch in the FRONT.

3. Pull the yarn up to wrap around the tip of the dom needle.

3. Pull the yarn up to wrap around the tip of the dom needle.

4.  Slide the dom needle back through the stitch.

4. Slide the dom needle back through the stitch.

5.  Here's a different angle of step 4.

5. Here’s a different angle of step 4.

6.  Slide the stitch off the sub needle, keeping the new one on the dom needle and the yarn in FRONT.  *Princess is a phenomenal supervisor.

6. Slide the stitch off the sub needle, keeping the new one on the dom needle and the yarn in FRONT. *Princess is a phenomenal supervisor.

7.  Here's a better shot of step 2, the dom needle sliding through the stitch in FRONT of the sub needle.

7. Here’s a better shot of step 2, the dom needle sliding through the stitch in FRONT of the sub needle.

8.  Another view of step 3, with the yarn in FRONT looping over the dom needle.  If your yarn gets to the back, you'll create an extra loop and you'll be knitting rather than purling.

8. Another view of step 3, with the yarn in FRONT looping over the dom needle. If your yarn gets to the back, you’ll create an extra loop and you’ll be knitting rather than purling.

9.  Another shot of step 4, where the dom needle is pulling the yarn back through the stitch.

9. Another shot of step 4, where the dom needle is pulling the yarn back through the stitch.

10.  A different shot of step 5 where the stitch was slipped off of the sub needle and the new loop is on the dom needle.

10. A different shot of step 5 where the stitch was slipped off of the sub needle and the new loop is on the dom needle.

Switching Balls

Forgive that.  I mean to say this is where I’ll tell you how to switch to a new ball of yarn; in this case, I’m changing colors.  The pattern is brown K then P for 30 rows, pink K then P for 25 rows, brown K then P for 20 rows, et cetera, until I’m out of yarn.  For these photos, I was switching from pink to brown when the row called for the purl stitch.

1. Hang about six inches from the new ball of yarn off of your dom index finger (sub finger photographed for sake of photograph).

1. Hang about six inches from the new ball of yarn off of your dom index finger (sub finger photographed for sake of photograph).

2.  With the yarn of the first ball in front, slide the dom needle into the first loop in FRONT of the sub needle.

2. With the yarn of the first ball in front, slide the dom needle into the first loop in FRONT of the sub needle.

3.  Instead of using the first yarn to loop and make a stitch, use the loop of yarn from the second ball that you made in step 1 to wrap over the dom needle.

3. Instead of using the first yarn to loop and make a stitch, use the loop of yarn from the second ball that you made in step 1 to wrap over the dom needle.

4.  Like in the purl instructions above, pull the dom needle back through the stitch, but hold on to the lengths of yarn from both balls.

4. Like in the purl instructions above, pull the dom needle back through the stitch, but hold on to the lengths of yarn from both balls.

5.  Slide the first yarn off the sub needle, leaving a new stitch with the new yarn on the dom needle.

5. Slide the first yarn off the sub needle, leaving a new stitch with the new yarn on the dom needle.

6.  Let the extra yarn continue to hang as you proceed to purl a few more stitches on this row.

6. Let the extra yarn continue to hang as you proceed to purl a few more stitches on this row.

7.  This is what the two contrasting yarns look like about 5 stitches in.  Slide the work on the sub needle down so you don't accidentally pull any stitches off in the next steps.

7. This is what the two contrasting yarns look like about 5 stitches in. Slide the work on the sub needle down so you don’t accidentally pull any stitches off in the next steps.

8.  You are going to tie the loose end of the new yarn to the piece of the old yarn still attached at the beginning of the row.

8. You are going to tie the loose end of the new yarn to the piece of the old yarn still attached at the beginning of the row.

9.  Tie the two yarns nice and tight as close to the start of the new row as you can.  I don't know my knots (wasn't a boy scout) but you can see in the photo what I did.

9. Tie the two yarns nice and tight as close to the start of the new row as you can. I don’t know my knots (wasn’t a boy scout) but you can see in the photo what I did.

10.  Continue to knit (or purl, in this case) the rest of the row.  Waiting until I completed the row and could set down one needle, I cut the yarns as close to the knot as a possibly could.

10. Continue to knit (or purl, in this case) the rest of the row. Waiting until I completed the row and could set down one needle, I cut the yarns as close to the knot as a possibly could.

Ta DA!

A detail shot of the completed blanket.

A detail shot of the completed blanket.

That was as basic of a knitting tutorial as I could possibly give you.  I hope the 4 million photos I’ve presented were helpful each step of the way.

Here's a nice shot of the completed project, neatly laid out on my couch.

Here’s a nice shot of the completed project, neatly laid out on my couch.

*The BHE has been engaging in reenactments of life during the American Revolution since he was a child.  Now Angel Baby and I are also living historians.  As it would have been common to see a camp follower knitting by the firepit, I need needles that look as close to what would be used in the 18th century as possible.

**If this is a real pattern, somewhere out there, and somebody else already wrote this up and published it or whatever, I did not steal it from them.  I really did make this up in my head.  If it matches someone else’s work, then I think the two of us should pat ourselves on the back for being awesome.

***Again, I am not using technical jargon.  And because I can sometimes have the mind of a 14-year-old boy, I’m totally giggling over my word choice.  “Dom” and “sub” seem to be working for me today.  No apologies.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Baby Shower Gifts, part 2: DIY Easy Peasy knitted blanket for the mother-to-be

  1. Pingback: Baby Shower Gifts, part 3: Wrapping It Up | Thoughtfully Sought

  2. Pingback: Trying to Unstuff | Thoughtfully Sought

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s