As I was learning to knit, I was eagerly anticipating knitting blankets for hopeful future babies. When we found out that we were expecting, one of my first orders of business was finding the perfect baby blanket pattern. It didn't take long to settle on the Shale Baby Blanket by Jared Flood!
This was, by far, the largest knitting project I've yet undertaken:
Large, but very rewarding. I really liked having a long-term project that I could take with me -- and it didn't take long to memorize the pattern, making it the perfect "mindless" project. The yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Cobblestone Heather. We knew the baby's gender before I made my yarn purchase, but I still opted for a neutral color; I didn't want anything too bold, and I'm very happy with the color. It's lovely and soft after blocking, and was fabulous to knit with (very little twisting while knitting!).
Well, sort of mindless. My biggest grief with this pattern is that unless you're very on top of counting sttiches as you go, you don't discover your mistake untill four rows later -- at which point it is virtually impossible to fix said mistake. Can you guess how I know that? It actually took me quite a while to get the hang of the pattern in the first place, to the point that I almost gave up. Fortunately, I persevered, and after frogging back several inches and restarting the lace pattern, it finally stuck. I had my share of mistakes along the way, but this is probably my first "perfect" project because I took the time to fix each one. That sounds as if I exercised great strength of character; in reality, the pattern just doesn't tolerate mistakes!
I thought the pattern was straightforward and well written -- my only change was to do 52 pattern/row repeats, instead of 58. As it was, after blocking my blanket came out to 35" by 43" (instead of 32" by 40"). I'm glad it came out a little larger than the pattern indicated, and also glad I stopped when I did! By my calculations, there are over 30,000 individual stitches in this blanket -- not counting all of the stitches I had to tear out due to mistakes.
It's satisfying to note progress in my knitting skills as I undertake new projects. When I first started, it was hard to even identify mistakes, much less know how to fix them without just starting over! Now I recognize mistakes much faster (usually before they're catastrophic), and can even correct simple things (like a purl stitch instead of a knit stich) without having to tear out a whole row -- or even several rows!
Now, the dilemma is to know which project to start next! I'm thinking it might be the Fleurette cardigan -- I have a beautiful linen yarn to use, and I think it will be relatively conducive to Guam's tropical climate. At any rate, I need to find something soon; my fingers are itching for something new!