I decided just after Christmas 2011 that I wanted to teach myself how to knit. I am an avid Pinterest pinner and I had seen so many cute knitted items on there and always though "oh, if only I could knit" then one day it hit me...teach myself! I had knitted when I was a little girl because my Nan was hands down THE BEST knitter in the entire world. She would sit at the table, watching Eastenders, knitting away, without so much as looking at what she was doing, and everything came out perfect and beautiful. To me it seemed that all she did was to click the needles together, because she did it so fast that that's all you could see! So she taught me how to knit at various times while I was growing up, but as with most things (apart from riding a bike, as we all know) I forgot how to do it because I didn't keep it up as a regular hobby.
When I decided the learn how to knit again, my first thought was naturally of my Nan, and how sad I was that she is no longer around to teach me. She passed away in 2001 from a lung condition and I miss her very very much. I knew I couldn't afford to take lessons, so I decided I would have to look to my friend and tutor of EVERYTHING, YouTube! With the help of some fantastic tutorial videos from people such as K1P1TV, The Knit Witch and Knitting Help I learnt how to knit, at a very basic level. Once I had learnt the Knit and Purl stitches, I wanted to have a go at knitting an actual pattern. I had seen the diaper cover from ezcareknits on Pinterest and so I had a look at her Etsy shop, and came across her cloth squares. They were the perfect first pattern for me, as they looked simple but fun and creative. I went ahead and bought some of her patterns, and went about knitting up the little squares. I had a few random balls of yarn lying around so I just did the squares in those various colours, and was thrilled with the results!
Once I had knitted my first six squares, my Mum said to me "Kate they're fantastic, but what are you going to do with them?" I hadn't thought that far. I was just knitting to get used to following a pattern, but I thought they were pretty cool, so I wanted to make good use of them in some way...
One thought was to get them framed individually and have them up in Beau's room as some wall art. Then Mum suggested that I should make some more, and sew them all together into a blanket, what a great idea! I love blankets, and what could be better than hand knitting one for my first born baby? So it was decided, and I set about knitting more and more squares.
I had long been obsessed with anything fair isle, and decided that I wanted to learn how to do that myself too. This time, my Mum taught me. We sat at her house one evening, with a simple little heart pattern I had drawn up, and Mum recounted the story of how she had once knitted a fair isle jumper for my Dad (under the watchful eye of my Nan, who taught Mum how to knit too) and she won first prize for it at the Rusthall Village Fete in the late 70's/early 80's. To my surprise, fair isle knitting came pretty easily to me, and it wasn't long before I decided that I wanted to incorporate some into Beau's blanket. I would use the ezcareknits patterns as a template for size, so that they all coordinated on the blanket, and I used excel to create my patterns. This was the first one I did:
Then I made one with his name on it:
I also adore cable knit, and once again I was determined to learn how to do it so I could put some into the blanket. Trusty old YouTube served me well, and after a couple of botched attempts, I got the hang of it and designed a little square to fit in with the others I had already knitted. This was halfway through the first one I completed, and I have to say I was pretty thrilled with how it turned out!
Eventually, 6 months after I had started the project I got to a point where I had knitted enough squares to make a decent sized blanket, and in the process I had taught myself a number of invaluable techniques and found a new hobby which I absolutely loved!! Next on the curriculum was learning how to sew it all together...
I spent HOURS agonising over the layout. I knew how the fair isle row would look but with the rest of it, I knew I didn't want any of the same two colours or designs next to one another and it was a lot harder than I had imagined to find a layout which fitted all my self-imposed rules. Becs (my sister, who has a keen eye for detail and design) helped me shuffle the pieces around and around like one of those frustrating jigsaw puzzles where the squares slide up, down, left and right until the picture is complete, until eventually we got it right, and I pegged all the rows together and numbered each stack so that they didn't get out of their perfected order.
I used a couple of different YouTube tutorials to learn how to sew seams, and once I started, it actually progressed really quickly. Once it was finished, I wrapped it up and gave it to Beau as a birthday present on his first birthday :o)
Here are some photos of the finished article:
During the process, Becs asked me to make one for Ivy and my friend Jemma asked me to make one for her daughter, so I'm now working on Ivy's and will do a post once it's all done!
If you would like any of the fair isle patterns or the cable knit pattern please ask in the comments section and I would be happy to share them with you. The patterns for the other squares are all available from ezcareknits Etsy shop.
Please let me know what you think. Would you like to make one for your child or someone else you know?
Knit on, Knitters x