When a colleague of mine announced to me that he and his wife were expecting their second child, I knew exactly what I needed to do: knit something special. My colleague has earned his place in my Knitted Gifts Court of Honor, because he’s told me many times how much they appreciate the hooded baby blanket that I knitted for their first child, and how often they used it. Note to those who would like to receive knitted gifts: Tell the knitter how much you love, appreciate, and use whatever knitted thing you’ve been bestowed, and you may well be showered with more.
I began thinking of a gift for Baby No. 2 straightaway. I thought back to when I was expecting my second child. Gifts are fewer, particularly when that second kid is the same gender as the first. Sure, there are the diaper showers and the like, but isn’t it nice to recognize that the later-born kids are important, too? Even if you know there are plenty of hand-me-downs to be had? One of the few special gifts I received for my second child was a handknit lace baby blanket in off-white mercerized cotton.
Now, when I say “lace,” it wasn’t crazy-intricate, but it was a nice openwork pattern that didn’t look too fussy to use everyday, nor too plain. The mercerized cotton had a lovely sheen and a nice heft. It was a substantial blanket with a certain calming weight to it. Because it was cotton, it breathed better than synthetic or synthetic blends. It was the perfect weight to use for a baby born in late spring, and was well-nigh indestructible. The color, off-white, was practical, too.
For those reasons, the blanket was in near-constant use for several years. It was my go-to nursing blanket. When it wasn’t being used in our innumerable nursing sessions, it was either folded up on the arm of the glider rocker, or covering my son in his crib. It accompanied us on our family travels. Later, when he weaned, it was a three-season crib blanket. Only when he grew too tall to be covered by it did we ever put it away.
I figured out about how much yardage I’d need and stopped by my LYS to check out their mercerized cotton. I found what I needed in off-white, and then set about deciding on a pattern. I was very happy with Jared Flood’s Shale Baby Blanket. The pattern is nicely laid out and easy to follow. It’s easy enough to knit while socializing without being boring.
I’ve finished the blanket, which now awaits blocking. Jared suggests using blocking wires to perfect the edges, and that’s just what I’ll do. Blocking is going to have to wait, however, until I finish this year’s fleece hats for the Boy Scout Klondike campout next month. When the blanket is blocked, I’ll post more photos. Yarn: Mouzakis Butterfly Super 10. Pattern: Shale Baby Blanket, available here.