The first time I picked up a pair of knitting needles, it was to make a baby blanket for my firstborn. A dear friend of mine taught me how to cast on, knit, and purl. At the time, sonograms were not a part of routine prenatal care, so I didn’t know if I was expecting a girl or a boy. I chose a gender-neutral yarn of pastel colors and started knitting.
I made some mistakes in the creation of my first knitted project, but I did complete it. When my children grew out of the baby stage, I tucked the blanket away in my cedar chest where it stayed for a few decades. I saved it to give my son when he had children.
I put away my knitting needles years ago because my friend and knitting teacher moved away. Last year I decided to enroll in a knitting class, and I completed a sampler scarf and hat. When we learned of the baby on the way, I felt confident in my improved knitting skills to tackle another baby blanket. This time, I wanted to try a simple lace pattern.
Unlike the first blanket I knitted, I had access to thousands of patterns online from which to choose. I picked one out and bought the yarn, a lovely white acrylic/washable wool combination. (Yes, I have learned about yarns too.)
I purposely chose quality yarn for a couple of reasons. I was the one handling it in order to create a beautiful blanket. I wanted something soft to the touch. I also wanted something easy to care for, which meant it had to be washable. When creating an heirloom, saving money on cheaper skeins of yarn was not an option. It makes no sense to scrimp on yarn for something that may last decades and be passed down to another generation.
I started knitting the blanket about four months before the baby’s due date. The pattern was a good choice, simple enough to do while I watched TV. Knit 1, yarn over, knit two together. The yarn overs made the holes which created the lace. Every four rows I completed the lace pattern. I did it over and over again until the blanket was the desired size.
The lady at the yarn shop recommended I double strand it since it was a sport weight yarn. As the knitting progressed, I was concerned about the weight of the blanket. I joked with my husband, “I hope this blanket isn’t so heavy the baby can’t turn over!”
His response, “Well, she will be living in a cold state. She’s going to need a warm blanket.”
The baby shower would be held some time in October, and I knitted furiously to complete the blanket in time. Even when I tired of the project, I pushed on, knowing if I laid it down and started something else, I might not finish in time. “I’m creating an heirloom,” I told my husband. And he would admire my work as the blanket grew longer day by day.
I finished the blanket mere days before the shower. I pulled that first knitted baby blanket out of the cedar chest for inspection. The mistakes I made left visible holes, and I had tried to fix it years earlier. One corner looked like it was about to unravel. I took it to the yarn shop to ask if it could be fixed. One of the ladies fixed the corner, and she showed me how I could weave a piece of yarn in and around the holey places to camouflage my mistakes.
Once that was done, I carefully folded it, placed it in a gift box and wrapped it. I attached a gift tag explaining this was my son’s baby blanket and I was passing it on to his family as a keepsake.
The new blanket went into another gift box. As I tucked it in the pink tissue paper, I felt a little separation anxiety. Coming to the end of the heirloom project tugged at my heart. I ran my hand over the soft folds of the blanket and said good bye. My husband reminded me, “The next time you see the blanket, it will be wrapped around our new granddaughter.” That made me smile.
Waiting until the blanket was finished to send the big box of presents wasn’t my best idea. It was important to me that it reach the mother-to-be in time for the baby shower, so I paid the piper the big bucks to express mail it.
In a separate box I shipped my son’s first teddy bear (see photo above) dressed in the outfit he wore home from the hospital. I’m so sentimental. I told Stephen he could do whatever he wanted with those items, but he’s pretty sentimental too.
It took about two months to knit this lovely, lace blanket, but I am so glad I took the time and effort to create this heirloom. I look forward to holding my baby granddaughter very soon, nestled in the folds of the blanket I knitted for her.
This post is part of my 31 Days of Family Joy linking with http://www.thenester.com.