It seems appropriate to blog about this project today, the day my baby boy turns six months old (how the heck did that happen?!).
When you’re a knitter, fall is really the best time to have a baby, and this past winter made it even better — the extra snow and cold were perfect excuses to put Jesse in any of the myriad knitted things dear friends and family made for him, and to wrap him cozily in the wonderful blankets he was given as well. He had a sweater for every day of the week, booties and hats made by my wonderful (and talented!) mother-in-law, and it’s a good thing he liked being swaddled, because we had a whole bunch of lovely knitted blankets to choose from each night.
I only made him a few things before he was born. Partly it’s that I was focusing on finishing Girasole before a baby made that edging impossible to tackle, and partly I think I didn’t want to tempt fate too much. One friend gave me a pattern I had been eyeing for a while — the Tweed Baby Blanket, by Jared Flood. I also had a special yarn to use — the blue bulky wool I picked up on a whim when we were on Inis Mor (the largest of the three Aran Islands) on our honeymoon. I only had one skein, but I wanted to do something special with it and something that wasn’t just for me or just for James. This blanket seemed like the perfect opportunity to use it as a special gift for our baby.
There were however, a few snags along the way. First of all, when I had happily queued the pattern on Ravelry, I somehow failed to notice that it was definitely not written for bulky yarn, but rather a light worsted. No problem, I thought. It’s a garter square with some edging, easily adaptable (and so it was). I used a friend’s kitchen scale to measure out half of the ball of yarn so I could just increase until I was halfway through with the yarn and then decrease to form the square. Problem solved!
Another problem was that I definitely did not have enough to do the entire blanket out of the one skein of blue, large skein though it was. Last year, when I was pregnant, my friend Katie hosted a yarn swap at Harvard, and I came away with a lovely off-white skein of Cascade Ecological Wool. Eco Wool is much softer than the Irish blue I had, so I figured it would be perfect for the edging. Then came Girasole, where it was clear I was going to run out of brown wool long before that edge was complete. I was on bed rest and couldn’t get to a yarn store, so I decided to use the yarn I’d gotten at the swap for that instead. So, when Jesse was about two months old and I found myself in Lexington for a Boston Babywearers’ Group meeting across the street from Wild & Woolly, I popped in and found a lovely soft gray that was (bonus!) on sale. Second problem solved!
The third issue was time. I was able to work on the center square for a while during some of Jesse’s marathon nursing sessions, but that quickly got to be harder and harder on my wrists. My return to work was fast approaching, and I was sad to be leaving my little boy. James suggested thinking of ways I could try to stay connected to him throughout the day, even when I didn’t have him with me. Pumping milk was the obvious answer, but pumping also gave me a fair amount of otherwise non-productive time. I decided to knit Jesse’s blanket during my pumping sessions at work.