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At the beginning of September, Zach’s brother announced his wife’s pregnancy. I was slightly less surprised than the rest of the family, apparently (just the circumstances leading up to the announcement)…but Zach and I are going to be an aunt and uncle. So I decided to try something I’ve been wanting an excuse to knit–a checkerboard baby blanket! And since neither of them know this blog exists, I feel safe sharing it with you…since it’s their Christmas present. 😛
It took me about a month and a half, but it’s finished now! It’s adorable.
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I went with a grey and white stripped baby yarn, since they won’t know the gender until shortly before Christmas (assuming they decide they want to know). I used acrylic yarn because I kept reading that it’s easier to clean than other fibers (though I don’t really know why). It’s also warmer. Since the baby will be due around the end of May, I’m thinking of making a second blanket out of cotton. I’ll wait and see if they reveal the gender first, though.
The pattern was actually very easy. It starts and ends with a garter stitch border and then the checkerboard pattern just switches between stockinette, reverse stockinette, and seed stitch. The pattern was written by Premier Yarns and it is free to download. I just want to clarify a few things and bring up a few issues I ran into.
First, the pattern just says to knit garter stitch until you reach about 2 1/2 inches. If you don’t want to have to constantly bring out your measuring tape, just knit 24 rows of garter at the beginning and then 24 rows of garter at the end. Gauge isn’t extremely important. Your finishing length should be roughly 36 inches (mine is 38).
Second, I didn’t use one “Big Ball” like the pattern suggested. I used three skeins (362 yards each) of Bernat Softee Baby in Grey Marl (though I also love this version of Little Mouse. Though that price is ridiculous considering I got my skeins for $4.99 each). I used US 6 circular needles (29 inches long).
I’m loving circular needles. They feel so nice in my hands. I wish I could knit everything on them.
Now I did run into one problem. One group of blocks is achieved by switching between stockinette and reverse stockinette every 7 stitches…which means you knit 7, purl 7 through the whole row. Switching between the knitting and the purling can result in some laddering. Especially if you’re using acrylic yarn (cotton yarn is better about holding its shape, fyi). Most baby yarns are acrylic or acrylic mixes, so you may have this problem if you use that fiber. However, the next group of blocks is done in stockinette and seed stitch. Somehow, those stitches forced the laddered stitches to tighten.
Just to be sure, though, I pulled my yarn really tightly when switching from knit/purl in the stockinette/reverse stockinette rows. That seemed to also help.
The finished blanket doesn’t show any signs of laddering. So if you see some in your own project, don’t freak out. Just keep knitting and see what happens.
Anyway, you can download the pattern for the Seed Stitch Checkerboard Baby Blanket for free. It was a lot of fun to knit, so I definitely recommend giving it a shot!
What fiber do you prefer for baby blankets? I’d love to hear why in the comments!
Chelsey, I used to knit when I was much younger and now seeing these gorgeous pictures of your labor of love I’m tempted to take out those knitting needles out again. Inspiring, useful and ADORABLE! Thank you again, you creative diva you. Have a great weekend, Tanya Freedman w/a Gloria Silk.
We have a women’s sewing/knitting group at church. I’ll be sure to share your blog with them!!!
Aw, thanks! I hope they find something that interests them. 🙂