Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Variations on a Taro Theme

Over the summer my good friend Katie announced that her family would be increasing by one in January, and I was so excited that I immediately announced that I was making a blanket. A good, sturdy, heirloom blanket. Katie had requested Mum and Baby Aubergine hats (I made a little pumpkin cap for a colleague at work that K really liked), and after I recalled that those Brits called eggplants aubergines, I set to work. Those guys were easy, and got a surprising number of oohs and aahs at the shower. Kinda embarassing.

I'd admired the Taro Blankie that Kay made a while back, and thought that Katie would love something along those lines for her REAL gift. Katie is big on color, and I've become a big convert to bold color for babies. I used to love the pastely blankets and sweaters in baby pattern books, but I'm over it in a big way. Why hold back? So I stocked up on Rowan Denim, Tahki Cotton Classic, Kay calmed my fears about the shrinking issue, and I started to mitre away. My baby blanket was square, so I feel that all little one's blankets should be square. I decided on 16 different squares, with four quadrants of similar patterns. Then I started to run out of Denim, and ordered some Den-m-nit from Elann. Then I was bored with the primary/secondary colors I picked out for the zazz, and headed off to buy some variations on that too. Kay donated some colors as well, and pretty soon I was cranking along.

What I didn't expect was the length of time it took to sew all of those @#%#$%$ little squares together. The main problem was that they weren't that small. (I cast on 74 stitches for each square.) When I was in the middle of the sewing up, I met Katie for lunch and mentioned that the fun (knitting) part was over and all I had left to do was lose my eyesight while sewing the darn thing together. She said, "The sewing up is the part of making that I like!" I was seriously tempted to drop the whole mess in her lap and flee Brooklyn, laughing all the way. However, it didn't feel right to drop such a mess into the lap of a woman about to go into labor, so I sucked it up and started sewing.

I'm very happy with the finished product, as is Katie, the hubby, and the little one. Once the squares were all together, I debated about putting on a border, but thought that another square thrown in the mix might make the kid dizzy. Laziness won, I washed the blankie a few times, and wrapped it up.

I learned to not knit blankets in squares until I learn to love sewing them together. There's nothing wrong with squares per se, but I think it's time to test the log cabin waters so there are only ends to weave in when the knitting is through. Of course, there's another friend with a baby on the way (well, two, actually) so I've got my chance.

I think that I'm going to be knitting baby blankets for then next 15 years or so.

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