Thursday, January 8, 2015

A very crafty Christmas + my favorite baby blanket pattern

Conway does his best burrito impression (using our comforter)
It was very cold and windy this morning. The kind of cold that makes your eyeball hurt. Not fun. No one wanted to get out of bed this morning and definitely no one wanted to go outside. Walking Conway was not pleasant. And, yet, despite the fact that his feet were obviously cold (even though I used paw wax, which usually does the trick) he kept stopping to smell things instead of just doing his business and going home.  Dogs are weird :)  The class I was supposed to teach today was cancelled, which I think was a good call. All of the students in this class are refugees, many of them walk a mile or more to class. Often in clothes that were donated to them because they came from countries with warmer climates.  I don't think it would've been safe for them to be walking 20+ minutes in windchills of -20* (actual temperature was around -2* when class was scheduled to start).  The only thing I like about this cold weather is the satisfaction I get in knowing that something I made actually is good enough to keep me warm in these temperatures. Here I am bundled up in a hat and scarf I knit :)

Speaking of making things, I wanted to share some of the handmade Christmas gifts from this year, now that some of the craziness has died down and everyone has been given said gifts :) The one that isn't pictured is J's PJ pants. I still need to do some adjustments for size on those (that's the beauty of sewing clothes for yourself and loved ones, right? That I can actually make those changes so that they fit him right!)

First up - a Cleveland Browns tote bag for my brother-in-law. He loves everything Browns. This bag has a hard bottom (my first time attempting that) and is great for groceries, tailgating supplies, or any other random things. I am planning on posting my go-to bag-making method on this blog in the future, so stay tuned in the next few weeks for that.

Next are the pressed-flower necklaces I made. I actually made a few of these. For my mom, my mother-in-law, and for myself. What makes these necklaces special is that I made them with flowers from my wedding bouquet :)  I decided not to get the bouquet professionally preserved or to keep it as a whole bouquet, but I wanted to have some keepsake from it.  I learned while making this that I am capable of making necklaces :) and I hope to include some in my etsy shop eventually (though they're not a priority just yet!)

This lace scarf was not really a Christmas present, but it was something I had been working on for a while and finally finished in time to wear to church on Christmas Eve. For this one I used a pattern I found on Ravelry: Simple Lace Scarf. Made with one skein of Patons Silk Bamboo. It's a lovely yarn!

Last up on my show and tell is this baby blanket for my dear friends' little girl! (I've always been a blue and green fan myself, so why not make the blanket in those colors instead of pink??) I made this with Bernat Baby Blanket, which I'm now in love with. They make a version of it in "grown-up" colors and if I didn't have so many other projects in my queue, I just might make a blanket for myself with it! 

My Favorite Baby Blanket Pattern

I used one of my favorite blanket patterns for this. I love it because it looks nice, it's easy, and it's very versatile. You can use any type of yarn you'd like and can make pretty much any size square. I've made it with both this yarn, as well as Lion Brand Pound of Love. Some of you may recognize it as a typical dishcloth pattern, but it translates very nicely into blankets, too.

Decide on your yarn. The needle size and amount of yarn you'll need will depend on what you've chosen. I recommend going with the suggested needle size for your given yarn (which was size 11 for this one). You'll need circular needles for this (or very,very, long straight needles. But I recommend going with the circular ones!)  I used about 260 yards of super bulky yarn on this project and the blanket is probably "stroller sized". If you need help estimating how much yarn to buy, I recommend Jimmy Beans Wool knitting calculator. This will give you a good place to start. 

Cast on 4 stitches. That's it. Just four :)
Row 1: Knit 4.
Row 2:  K2, yo, knit the rest of the row.
Repeat row 2 until the blanket is a triangle that is half the size you want the full blanket to be (you will basically complete the square.)

Row 3 (when you've reached the halfway point): k1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, knit the rest of the row
Repeat row 3 until there are 4 stitches left on your needles
Row 4: knit
Bind off

And that's it!

What about you? Did you make any gifts this holiday season? 

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