Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lily's lacy blanket

I recently finished knitting a feather & fan blanket for my 4-week old niece, Lily. It's funny that I avoided knitting blankets for so long because it turns out I really enjoy it. It is soothing to knit long, simple rows and I just loved seeing my sister wrap the finished blanket around Lily in preparation for a walk.

The blanket is knit with Plymouth Encore yarn, a worsted blend of acrylic and wool that you can machine wash and dry. I used about two skeins for a total of approx. 400 yards.

I have a new appreciation for hand knit blankets for another reason. My mom is in a skilled nursing facility recovering from surgery, and the first time I went to visit her she asked me if I had a knit blanket she could use while she was there. When I said I didn't, she asked my dad to bring her an old afghan knit by her mother decades ago. It was touching that she didn't want any old blanket, she wanted one knit by hand by a loved one. I think it's time to get started on a blanket for her.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Drop Stitch Scarf Knitting Pattern

The first thing I ever learned to knit was a garter stitch scarf. The second thing was a drop stitch scarf. It was exciting to have learned a new trick (wrapping the yarn around the needle two times per stitch and then dropping it on the next row), although back in those days I was so focused on perfection that I usually ended up frogging it. Drop stitch isn't about perfection, it's about ... well, dropping perfection. Knit with variegated Noro yarn gives it a casual, rustic look.

This pattern is a slightly revised version of one I acquired from my local yarn shop. It is a very, very common pattern so I feel okay posting it here. The scarf is knit in Noro Taiyo, which I find softer than Kureyon, and is approx. 70 inches long and 6 inches wide.

Note 1/7/12: Today I saw a similar scarf for sale in an upscale women's clothing catalog. The retail price was $109. Feels good knowing I can make my own for the cost of a skein of yarn.


Noro Taiyo (one skein, 220 yards) or Noro Kureyon (two skeins, 110 yards each). Taiyo is a cotton/silk/nylon/wool blend and Kureyon is 100% wool. Both are Aran weight.

Size US 11 needles

To knit the drop stitch scarf:

With a cast on of 20 stitches, knit two rows.

On the third row, knit across the row wrapping the yarn twice around the needle for each stitch. (The way I do it is insert the right needle in to the stitch on the left needle, wrap the yarn around the right needle twice and then complete the stitch.)

On the fourth row, knit across, dropping the double-wrapped stitch as you go. (In other words, knit the double-wrapped stitch as if it were a regular old single-wrapped stitch and ignore how big and clumsy it looks.)

The scarf will look quite imperfect as you go, but don't let that bother you. Just give the drop stitched rows a gentle tug once in a while to pull down the long stitches.

Repeat the four rows until your scarf reaches the desired length and end on rows two and three.

You can easily modify this pattern by changing the needle size, increasing or decreasing the number of stitches you cast on and/or the number of garter stitch rows between drop stitched rows.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The little one arrived

I'm finally an aunt. My niece Lily arrived last Tuesday weighing in at 8 lbs, 4 ounces. Baby and mama, shown above, are doing fine and came home from the hospital today. I got to hold Lily for the first time. It was heaven.

She smells really, really good and is so soft and cuddly.

I can't wait to get started on my aunt duties ... babysitting and spoiling. ♥ ♥ ♥