I have started a baby blanket for my friends soon-to-be baby.


Pretty good? It’s going to take some perseverance. For starters, you might be able to tell that it’s cotton. (Patons Berber cotton, now discontinued, but living on in my stash. Please note my use of stash materials. I’m proud of that.) I know I said I didn’t like to knit cotton, and I don’t, but this cotton is better than most, and I’ve decided to knit just a little each day to avoid killing my hands or coming to hate the blanket so much that I would wish to be kicked hard by a yak to get out of it.


Also, it’s a blanket. A plain, good blanket. Blankets are hard to knit. They go on for a long time with no parade moments. You know what I mean? With a sweater, you knit for a while and then TA DAH! Throw me a parade, I finished the front, or a sleeve or something. Sweaters are a series of wins. Blankets? Knit until you are done. No hurrah, no parade, just stick-to-it-iveness.

I know myself pretty well. You know me pretty well. What are the odds that this simple pattern, done over and over and over again, in an old stash yarn is going to hold my interest? Yeah. Me too.


Therefore, I’m going to bribe myself. I’m going to work one pattern repeat on this every day, just enough to get it done, not enough to hurt my hands, and at the same time, to make sure absolutely no-one dies of ennui here at the blog (Mostly me…) tomorrow I’m going to start giving out the Knitters Without Borders gifts again.

I’ve somehow managed to get caught up, and I believe that I’ve written everybody a thank you note, and the total is absolutely current. (If you didn’t hear from me and you think you should have, please send me another note, the amount of mail was a deluge there, and I have to beg forgiveness for anything that got lost.)

Take a minute, read the total you have raised for MSF and then sit yourself down and feel the love. That’s the feeling that you get from making a real, profound, actual difference in the world. That’s the feeling that you get when you support people risking their lives to save others. Look at the amount. Know that knitters did this, and that I’m proud and deeply awed to know all of you. You don’t get to $72 435 without a whole lot of knitters (I assure you. There are almost a thousand.) I hope I’m never finished adding it up.

We are knitters. Hear us roar.

69 thoughts on “Roar.

  1. So will you be honest when you get tired of the blanket and put it off until a very exciting and stressful rush when the baby gets here?

  2. Had a nice chat with someone from MSF yesterday. One thing they really need is ongoing committment for long-term planning. So if you’re planning to donate again but need to budget you can commit to donate a wee bit each month and that helps EVERBODY. Sort of like the way Harlot budgets her blanket . . . Grace

  3. You deserve congratulations on pulling the MSF thing together and using your blog to allow people to do something for others.
    I love the baby blanket…hope you’re able to keep to your plan…sounds very reasonable to me!

  4. My friend and I used to have “mini-celebrations” when we would get together and knit. Usually we’d have them at a milestone, like you said, but we’d sometimes have one after a prescribed number of rows were done. A mini-celebration usually consisted of a couple of grown women squealing “yippee!” like schoolchildren and then having a celebratory drink. I assure you, it makes boring knitting so much more fun….till the next day when you spot the errors caused by too much celebrating.

  5. Ugh, cotton. I’m giving myself pain with cotton, too, but doing it in a far less sane way than you. I’m knitting a panel of lace with size 5 DMC pearl embroidery cotton, on 3mm needles. Every few rows my fingers scream at me “Big chicks with chubby fingers should not be doing this! Stop freakin’ killing us! Idiot!” Not friendly, my fingers. What is my relief knitting, you may ask? A summer tank – in cotton. Sigh. Yup, commit me now. I’m done for.

  6. Do you know what other cotton yarn isn’t so bad? Garnstudio’s “Paris”. It’s thick and softly spun so it’s fluffier than cotton yarns tend to be. Too thick for summer clothes, but useful for blankets and sweaters for those sensitive to wool. I just sampled it for a sweater for my partner, and really liked working with it, even though I don’t like cotton much in general.

  7. Vroom! Vroom! (wrong kind of roar?) Love the cotton, love the blankie. I have to get you some Calmer to try. It doesn’t hurt your hands one tiny bit, and it would be awesome in a baby thing. It’s got a bit of stretchy substance in it and takes cables beautifully, too. (Don’t be prejudiced against lycra…it’s very good in my yoga wear…makes me look thin…or something) πŸ˜‰

  8. I’ve just started working extensively with cotton. It doesn’t hurt my hands and it suits my climate. Plus, it’s cheap. However, it opens up a big, stinking question: to machine dry or not to dry. Are you planning a blanket that can be machine-dried, and if so, how much shrinkage are you going to plan for?

  9. I think your baby blanket goal sounds very reasonable and you won’t drive yourself crazy with it at that rate. Very pretty stash yarn by the way. So, what else do you have planned to take up your time after that one repeat on the baby blanket?

  10. Ugh, cotton. I hear ya. I’m trying to learn to love knitting with it, since I love wearing it so much, but the jury is still out. That looks like a rather soft and fluffy cotton, and I think your dilute-the-blanket-knitting plan is just perfect.
    Over 72,000…!?!!? Whoa! Hear us roar, indeed (in numbers too big to ignore!)

  11. Your blanket plan sounds reasonable, which, I must say, does not convince me that it will stick.
    My dilemma is always that baby blankets sound so fun and easy, but then take forever. I always lose interest and never finish them in time for the baby. So, my realization: people are gonna keep having babies. I will not run out of babies to knit for. So I might as well knit baby blankets when I feel like it, and hopefully build up a little stash of them, and when someone has a baby I can just pick one and send it along. It, umm, sort of makes sense, right?

  12. Very pretty pattern, very impressive total.
    After putting down Cozy (knitty, fall 04, rectangle shawl)I picked it up again a couple (cool) nights ago and am within 2 balls of being done. The ta-da moment was when I could actually wrap it around my shoulders, the quandry is to stop at the recommended yardage or keep going with the extra 2 balls I have…. yeah, right!

  13. Pretty baby blanket. I predict it’ll either be done or cast aside (in true Harlot fashion) within 3 days.

  14. That blanket looks like an excuse to rent/buy all of the movies you’ve been wanting to watch, but haven’t yet. Even better, it looks like an excuse to rent or buy the DVD set for a TV series. One needs motivation and distraction to work on those rectangular things, eh? Get thee to the DVD store!
    I try not to set row per day goals, as I know I’ll just put off a day’s rows until the next day, and end up with 8 feet of boring knitting to catch up on by the weekend. That’s why I prefer distraction. Or even better, shying away from blankets. πŸ˜‰

  15. you know…i always said that about certain projects…like two stripe rounds and i’ll stop, two of this then i’ll stop..I tend to get addicted to it so i do more than get bored three days later. Cotton is a pain but it’s also washable..a bonus for baby things! Just could be acrylic! *gasps*
    Also, that’s so awesome about the charity! I’m gonna start saving up!

  16. Kicked hard by a yak?
    Does that sort of thing happen often in your neighborhood? Often enough that you could reasonably wish for it as a mode of happy release?

  17. Shopping the stash….impressive. And almost a thousand donations…that’s more than impressive, that’s something else.

  18. I just found out that my daughter is expecting twins. I like the blanket pattern very much, can you share? God…I’ll have to make two won’t I?

  19. Can you tell me where to get that baby blanket pattern? I have a couple of them to crank out in the next few months and I love the look of the one you are working on.

  20. You should be very proud for having pulled together 1000 people. Good job, well done! Thanks for doing it.

  21. I think that is such a cute baby blanket…are you making up the pattern yourself? I just started a baby blanket that I feel pretty mediocre about…Can you share any ideas of places to get good patterns? (I bet “Harlot’s brain” is a good place to start, huh?)

  22. Roar! I’m feeling the love. And I know that MSF is as well.
    Congrats on reaching escape velocity with the birch, btw. πŸ™‚

  23. Wow! The MSF total is amazing. Hats off to you for getting the whole thing started, keeping and posting a running tally, and somehow managing to find the time to thank each individual contributor, do a book tour, have a life, and knit prodigiously. Amazing.
    As for cotton, I’m working on a tank in Elann’s Endless Summer “Lara.” It still splits, but it’s got great drape, and is easy on the hands. I also used it to do blankets for newborn triplets. The new mom requested three identical blankets. That was truly a labour of love : )

  24. I was just wondering the other day when the mittens that started it all might be given away. Of course, I already won a prize, but someone’s gonna be very excited. Good luck with that blanket. Not only does it not have discrete parts to finish, there isn’t even like, “Yaay, I’m finally on the increases” or anything. This is why I haven’t attempted a throw yet. And they take a ton of yarn.

  25. Over $70k? Amazing. And you pulled us all together, which is no small feat in itself. Give yourself a pat on the back at the very least, you started it all.
    As for the baby blanket blues… just picture how pretty a sleeping baby will look, all cozy and wrapped in the blanket. And, if all else fails, take a shot of screech after every ten rows. πŸ˜€

  26. I’m doing that right now with a crochet blanket for a wedding gift- 1 row a day, till October 15th. If I don’t finish it, I’ll have to shoot myself.

  27. Wicked. That total is just… awesome. Hear us roar indeed!! πŸ™‚
    The blanket will be really nice when it’s done, and you’ll be able to add it to your tally of Cotton Knits Survived. I’m with you on the cotton. Ouch! Maybe it’s because the first sweater I ever *EVER* made was a cotton hemp blend that is like knitting with thick butcher twine. Never again. It was almost enough to make me put down the needles for good! The 2 balls I have left will be used to bundle up the old wood from the deck railing…

  28. You should learn to crochet, if for nothing else, than to simply help you rush through neverending baby blankets and Euclidian-geometry-defying shawls.

  29. *I* didn’t hear from you. Oh, wait. I did. Sorry, my mistake!
    Does begging do any good for winning the mittens?
    Nah! I did not think so.

  30. The nice part about having given once to MSF is that they keep you updated on their work. They also make it easy for you to give some more, if you wish. Who could resist? Go – MSF and Go – Stephanie on your blanket.

  31. Oh, man, Steph, do I feel for you. I have knit, to date, one baby blanket in an alternating blocks pattern. It should have taken me maybe three weeks. It was finished over 6 months later, and overnighted to my friend’s doorstep as the baby was born. I lovingly washed it, dried it, packed it up and sent it off.
    Two weeks later, I get an email from my darling, non-knitting friend….’I washed it and stuck it in the drier…it’s not destroyed, but there’s all this white fluff…how do I get it off?’. Thank Goddess I had the foresight to knit it in acrylic (normally it would have to be a pretty freaking cool acrylic for me to be able to justify wrapping a baby in ‘plastic’); if it had been cotton or wool (which wouldn’t have made much sense in Florida), it would have been toast.
    Since then, I have laid ground rules for myself when I hear the upcoming pitter patter of little feet:
    1. CROCHET CROCHET CROCHET, especially if the friend is not one I would throw myself in front of a bus for. This works well with my project-induced Adult ADHD, and
    2. If the friend is a fellow knitter or someone having something at all to do with fiber arts, medium- to high-care yarn/fiber may be used. If not, it’s a Lion Brand baby, baby.
    I’ll be rooting for ya!

  32. I can see (I think) that some of the squares in the baby blanket are done in stockinette stitch, but what is the other, lacy-looking stitch the other squares are made up of? It’s beautiful, whatever it is.

  33. Yey for sweater celebrations! I’m just knitting my very first baby sweater (in Acryl-eek!, for exactly the same washability reasons that RebeccaL mentioned) and the great sense of accomplishment every time you finish another teeny-tiny part is unbeatable. I can’t imagine what it’s like to knit a grown-up version.
    I also finished the Bookbookbook last night, which is no cause for celebration – but Harlot, your book has made it all the way to Israel. Yey for global knitters, too πŸ™‚

  34. It’s a lovely blanket, and something that child will cherish for a long time. My son’s now eight-year old cotton blanket is completely bleached white (it started out sky blue) and is completely shredded in spots, but he still clings to it at night as he falls asleep. May this blanket bring that much comfort to your friend’s baby.
    That MSF total is brilliant! You are such a caring and compassionate person, and I thank you for inspiring me and others to contribute to various causes (MSF, the Dulaan project, etc.). You’re a good woman, Stephanie.

  35. I abhor large patterns. Truthfully, sweaters are almost too much for me. I’m a socks, mittens, and hats kind of a girl. But, when the occasional blanket (baby or otherwise) calls, I make sure it is a patchwork one. That way, the “mini-celebrations” happen as each square is completed, then again as the strips are sewn together, and finally a “mega-celebration” when it is edged and finished.

  36. I agree, baby blankets take perseverance. I just finished one myself and it was without its little points of celebration. Just keep going, and going…good idea to set an easily attainable daily goal. And have something else you love to knit waiting for you.

  37. You know, we NON knitters had a part in that total too. I agree with whomever it was, that said knitting skips a generation. My Mom was a wonderful knitter and I have 4 beautiful baby blankets as proof, as well as countless mittens and scarves. A sweater she made for my daughter is coming apart at the shoulder and I don’t have a clue what to do. Any rescue KNITTERS in West Michigan?

  38. What is this word people keep using – “reasonable”??? This is THE YARN HARLOT!!! She gets her jollies from changing projects daily or hourly, even!
    (On the other hand, that silk tank and Birch flew by pretty quickly. Maybe she is becoming a bit more monogamous (serial monogamy) than she was. H’m.)

  39. I feel the same way about a scarf I’m knitting myself in 2×2 rib. All I think to myself is “do you need to be knitting this in the summer? You can’t even wear it” LOL. Good luck with the blanky. I’m sure you’ll make it interesting.

  40. Howdy, I should be able to figure it out– but my brain isn’t working tonight… what pattern are you using for this beautiful blanket?!? I love it!

  41. Hmmm…I just adore cotton yarn–especially the tubular ribbon kind–and it is what I prefer to knit with. Is that freaky?
    Cheers to those who donated to MSF!

  42. Stephanie,
    Just checked the Harlot on tour page and you will have to drive right through Bellingham, Wa to get from Seattle to Vancouver in Aug, unless of course, celebrities always fly!
    If you do drive, please wave and if you need a place to stay, give a holler, I’m sure I could rustle up a dinner and a few knitters!

  43. oh I love that blanket pattern, so simple and yet pretty and delicate.
    As for cotton.. nothing wrong with cotton, those of us with an allergy to wool are very grateful for cotton.
    Does anyone know if you can get self patterning cotton yarn?

  44. I’m a beginning knitter. At this point, I only knit with cotton and make dishcloths. I have yet to embark on a journey that makes a blanket. However, I have been crocheting for over 20 years (oops, showing my age) and agree with Nadia that crocheting a baby blanket takes much less time. Usually only 2-3 days for me.
    I would love to start knitting something other than dish cloths. Mittens, perhaps (I have 3 boys) or socks! My DH keeps taking me completed stash of crocheted house slippers and he needs some socks. Something easy for me, though. I don’t even know what a purl is. But I know how to cast on and decrease, etc. Any suggestions?
    Stephanie – I rec’d your book, “At Knit’s End” from my non-knitting sister for my birthday and it is absolutely wonderful!
    Kudos for raising all that money as well! ROAR!

  45. I would love to know what pattern you are using. (I know that this has been asked many times 8))

  46. Damn we’re good. πŸ™‚
    Steph, where is the pattern for that blanket from? Or did you just sort of make it up? I really like it

  47. Harlot, dear, I’d like to thank you.
    You see, almost 2 weeks ago, I was laid off from my job of 3 years. I went through the expected bouts of “Why me?”, “What the HECK were they thinking?”, and “What am I going to do now?”. I’m now in the “Oh well, time to move on” spot. But I’m still nervous about job interviews and the like.
    This is where you’ve come in. Catching up on the Harlotty-goodness of the past couple of weeks has had me laughing and smiling for a while now. I’m more relaxed now than I’ve been since this fiasco started – which is good, considering I have another job interview in a few hours.
    So to thank you, I promise to make a hefty donation to Knitters without Borders – just as soon as I have a regular paycheck again!

  48. Pleeeease post that pattern – I have yet another blanket to make and I love mindless knitting…it goes so very well with a vodka tonic late at night…

  49. Stephanie;
    Sorry about the UTI. How well I know that miserable feeling and all the exhaustion, pissed-offness, and crankiness that goes with it.
    The baby blanket is just lovely! And kudos to you for using your stash. If you have the pattern, please do post it as I have a baby blanket to make for a friend.
    And congrats on all that fundraising for MSF. Well done!

  50. Stephanie, I have been known to do the math and include a note with the blanket to the effect of “57,628 stitches, each with a good wish knit in”

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