Going Stealth

I have about twenty rows to go before I’m done the centre part of the blanket. I don’t know how that can possibly be true, because at the beginning of the weekend I had about eighty to go, and I know for a fact that I’ve knit at least 398 rows since then.  I feel like once again one of those invisible knitting black holes has formed near my work, and is sucking the rows into deep space as quickly as I knit them.  I’ve taken to tying a piece of yarn to every tenth row, just so I can hold a little faith.

When I’m done the centre, I’ll pick up stitches all the way around and begin the border.  I wanted that border to have motifs and a pattern that represent this baby’s heritage and the families it comes from, and to be wonderfully unique, so this weekend I finished charting it, and knit a swatch to make sure it works.  (I’m making this blanket up as I go along, and since I have no time for mistakes, I’ve taken to desperate measures like swatching and that "planning" that I hear so many good things about.)

I’m also going to warn you, that when I start knitting the border, I’m going to stop giving you photos of the blanket –  or at least I’m going to stop giving you photos that show anything discernable. This isn’t because I don’t want you to see it, it’s because I want it to be a surprise for the family, and even if I could get the parents not to look, I happen to know that I have a mole. (That’s right Kelly, I’m looking at you.)  The only way I can keep security tight and avoid leaks is to go dark.

Maybe I’ll think of a way to make blurry blanket photos interesting.  Perhaps it’s all in the lighting.

102 thoughts on “Going Stealth

  1. It’s going to be a unique masterpiece – I’m sure the parents and baby will be thrilled – well Ok maybe the baby won’t be thrilled, but I’m sure you’ll see a sigh as he/she is engulfed in the softness. I can’t wait to see what you do with the border! Good luck and keep on knitting!

  2. Will you show us the finished blanket afte the baby arrives and the family has all enjoyed it? We have a baby coming to our family too and I would love some inspiration, although you knit way beyond my expertise!

  3. “If it’s ginormous and splendiforous like the ‘other’ baby blanket – you know, the one you did for Jen? – it will be marvetacular, and hopefully you will be willing to post pictures of it for us AFTER you have given it to the parents/baby/families…,” she suggested, wistfully. Til then, May the Knitting Faeries Favor Your Fingers.

  4. Nooo! Can’t you just give us all a secret site to go to to see the pics? We won’t tell Kelly.

  5. I am so inspired by your work on this blanket, I may start another one for the newest baby in our family – just not quite so complex as yours!!

  6. Distraction knitting. You’re going to have to offer us something else to look at….

  7. Not only pictures of Gwendolyn, but pictures of the vest for your daughter. And earlier there were some rumblings on the Blog about Joe’s gansey. Lots for fodder for photos in that lot!
    Cheers and happy knitting. Tell the babe to hold on just a while yet.

  8. Wow.. swatching AND Planning! I’ve heard about those things, but together in the same room? I hope it’s not dangerous. Good luck knitting your way out of the black hole, I’m in a stockinette sweater body black hole myself right now.

  9. You could do that “bokeh” type of photography. where you focus on ONE thing and everything else is blurry. Like have some colorful yarn in front and focus on it so the blanket lying around it is blurry.
    Regardless – I’m sure we’ll all waiting with bated breath to see how it turns out!

  10. The planning thing is highly overrated. I’d like to follow up on the earlier comments from Cathy and Trish. Gwendolyn please. On you. Thanks.

  11. Just tuck the edges underneath when you take photos and you could draw arrows or something along the perimeter to indicate how far around the blanket you’ve come. And I’ll start doing shots of espresso for every half-side you complete. That will keep it QUITE interesting for me even if I don’t get to see the actual edging. ^_~

  12. Gauze. Sheer draperies. Foliage. (No wait — it’s winter.) There are probably all sorts of ways to camauflage the blankie. Though I admit that going dark is easiest.
    You could have a 2nd knitting project on the go that you can provide progress pictures of. You know, in your spare time.

  13. Want to hear a really sad blanket story? Of the beautiful, feather-and-fan, crib-size blanket for my great-nephew-in-waiting, lovingly knit of Malabrigo Rios in the insanely wonderful Solis colorway?
    That I spent two months knitting, then carefully wrapped, along with matching little hat and socks in Malabrigo Sock, and mailed to my niece, and then discovered
    I’m dying, waiting to discover if it comes back to me so I can redirect it to the correct address.
    Baby due in 7 days.
    I know this has nothing to do with Kelly’s baby blanket, but I needed an audience that would understand and sympathize.
    Thank you.
    Pro-tip (as Steph would say): Before you mail packages, DOUBLE CHECK the address!

  14. A mystery — how exciting! This blanket is going to be stupendous! Uh, in the meantime maybe (if you have time) you could dredge up pics of Christmas knitting that we never saw? — said wistfully…

  15. I can wait!
    However – it might be fun to do a super-up-close pic of a stitch or two and let us speculate.
    Martha Stewart posts pics on her blog of the inside of her peony flowers – so there has to be a camera that can capture a “stitch” well.

  16. YH, you have our sympathy, our empathy, and our wishes for a knitting gods to align with you! And the same to you, GeniaKnitz @ 5:42p.m. May the package return to you, and may you have the correct new address ready and waiting! (Do you insure the package for thousands of dollars, just in case it goes awry?)

  17. Go Stephanie Go! I agree with the ideas of close-up pics, or blurifying them, or how about this: throwing a unwound hank of very colorful yarn haphazardly over the blanket and then taking a picture.
    Or you could use the blanket as a backdrop for another shot of the pretty and colorful mittens…

  18. Oh, geniaknitz? I’m crossing my fingers for you as well that the package makes its way back to you safely!

  19. Here’s a bad thought. How would you tell if one of the other balls of yarn is a Bad Actor like that first one?

  20. I have a baby black hole here too caused by sock yarn at 7 spi. I knit and knit and knit and it’s no longer tonight than when I started this morning. It’s struck me that the 12-18 month size was a bad idea, they’re small people by then rather than babies. Just tell yourself that it’s all downhill to the finish now.

  21. @GeniaKnitz: shudder. I almost did that too once–but that feeling grabbed me by the shoulders and I doublechecked the address with the recipients.
    Meantime, go Stephanie go! It’ll be perfect, whatever it may look like.

  22. whatever. this is clearly a poorly veiled attempt to justify casting on something new since the blog must be fed.
    i’m on to you p-mcphee.

  23. I have one of those “making it up as I go along” blankets going, too. I wasn’t considering it a baby blanket… altho it IS for my little granddaughter… since the puppy ate a hole in my mohair shawl that she likes to wrap up in when she naps… and she can’t use it until I patch it (which I hate)… so I decided to make a mohair afghan… but I still have to dye the yarn for the border…
    When I make it up, I REALLY make it up… at least (this time) I don’t have to spin the yarn for it before dying it. 🙂 And neither do you.

  24. All things considered 20 rows isn’t that very many. Well, you think they are but that is because you’ve knitted a bazillion rows on this. Can’t wait to see the finished blanket and the wee one wrapped up inside it!

  25. I have knit only one baby blanket before and it was in stockinette stitch with a bulky baby yarn on large needles. I do know how to knit but I have done much more work in crochet, especially when I want my project to be circular in manner. But then again I have been crocheting in a more consistent way since I was 16 and I only did that with knitting in my late 20’s.

  26. Well you could place the cat in specific spots so as to hide the design….. well maybe not, dark cat hairs on that gorgeous white blanket and all. 🙂

  27. I am so curious! How long did it take you to knit the 60 rows? How many hours? That amount of knitting would be soooooo many hours of knitting for me.

  28. Geniaknitz! My heart did flip flops when I read your story. I’m praying the knitting gods were watching!

  29. Isn’t there a cloak of invisibility for knitters? Just so you can hide underneath it with your knitting and make sure no one knows what you’re doing.

  30. Hang in there, Stephanie. You think you’re in a black hole (like winter) and suddenly you emerge (like, into spring). It will get finished. And we will be amazed.

  31. I love black holes ( not) i knit for hours on the arm of a sweater it goes nowhere. Then 2rows later it looks like it should just about fit an orangutan. Lol. At least with the blanket you just get a better blanket- think nap blanky for the 2 year old. How’s the yarn supply holding out? Kate

  32. Making it up as you go. Motifs that reflect the family’s heritage.
    This is why we spin, knit, crochet, do needlepoint etal….
    We can make up ANYTHING as we go!! There are new and fabulous things to be made. We just have to find them in us and make them come out!

  33. oh golly! I have the center of my bb blanket all done and I’m ready to pick up the stitches and knit out the border and it is just intimidating the heck out of me. maybe if I make this a stealth KAL…

  34. The blanket is beautiful. I’ll look forward to seeing the finished piece. Anticipation is half the fun! Where do those black holes of knitting come from? I know just what you are talking about.

  35. I too have become engulfed in a black hole in respect of my son’s gansey. Now, he’s a big lad so there are lots and lots and LOTS of stitches, but the body and yoke went like the wind. The sleeves, however, are another story and I’m becalmed at the decreasing, knitting like a madwoman, and seemingly finding no fewer stitches on the needle, yea, even unto dozens of rounds further along. Time for a cup of coffee and a face-dive into the last piece of apple pie. It may not solve the problem but at least I won’t feel so strongly about it.

  36. ooooo! it looks so good and squishy. i just want to reach out and touch it! and you could always pixelate your blog photos to protect the innocent! 🙂

  37. Okay, so you’re making this up out of your head. You are forgiven for not posting links with critical design and source information. (Of course, this makes me appreciate it even more.)
    Motifs? I’ll take a black out if we can see it later. Amazing. In the meantime, perhaps there are more pictures we haven’t seen.
    I know about the black hole thing. I wish I could get to work to my advantage. I see you haven’t either. Silly Cosmos.

  38. You can always stack various wool lovlies from your stash around the edges to hide the design…that way, the blanket remains a surprise and we get to see some of the stash!

  39. I love your blog and your books, but this is the first time I’ve commented. I had a question that I wondered if you could muse upon, which is this: what do you do with dead sweaters?
    I’ve found that I have a hard time discarding sweaters I’ve made when they’re stained and the yarn has lost it’s shape, etc. If they’re in good condition and I’m just tired of them or have decided they’re not my style, I give them away. But when they’re worn out – ? Do you just put them in the trash? I’ve got shelves I have to empty…

  40. I can just see this… Witness Protection Program-like photos of the blanket peeking out of a paper bag, with sunglasses strategically placed on top, anthropomorphizing the blanket somewhat 😉
    I’ve also just had a flash of Joe standing in front of a barely-visible, wadded-up blanket, with JOE wearing shades like some kind of security detail.
    Something tells me I’ve had a bit too much caffeine today and I should quit while I’m ahead! BWAHAHAHA

  41. Steph the blanket will be amazing I’m sure! We’ll all be waiting with baited breath for adorable pics of the finished blanket (and the new babe!). Also, any chance we could convince you to put out the pattern for this one? Or perhaps just the main body, as the intent with the border was for it to be personalized for the family. Pretty please? =)

  42. Way to go! Even with your black hole, you’ve come a long way since last week, when you thought you’d have to rip it all out and start over from the beginning!
    I can’t wait to see what you do with the border.

  43. Please, let the Blog wait together for this baby to arrive and then after presenting the blanket, show us a picture, it will be a surprise for us too. Did I see a bit of swatch at the right down corner? Show us the woolskein, the knitting utensills, the bike you will ride, but please, keep the blanket a surprise to us too. I am now awaiting three babies arriving ashgrandchild/niece, nephew, friends child from blogs I read, etoa (is that expected time of arrival?) first of march and there about.

  44. Paula at 11.23. You could use the unstained good pieces for patchwork blankets, pillows etc. Just machinelock and cut out pieces or do the stitched finish-off on your sewing machine like with steeking. If you have enough sweaters, sockcuffs etc. you could even finish with a lovely throw, a blanket for the dog, a seatcover. The rest of the sweaters can be used to layer-stuff pillows that need to be sturdy, just sew them together and fold into a pillowcase, then layer top and bottom with f/i. fiberfill.

  45. That border sounds so exciting, I’m very much looking forward to it! Probably best if you keep it away from us till the baby’s here, although military style photos with blacked out sections would be amusing…

  46. Paula at 11:23, I have felted some old knit things for purses, bags, mittens…and a friend took a wooden purse frame and hung an old piece of sweater on it. Another friend of mine makes stuffed animals–mostly teddy bears–from old sweaters, and they are very cute. I turned one thing I was going to frog into a felted cat bed, and another into little cat toys. This, of course, does depend on them being wool sweaters…:) And I really don’t have that many failures or old cast offs (you would think it to read this!) but I also have some very clever friends who come up with fun ways to never ever let go of yarn. Have fun!

  47. You could pull a Clara and post photos of your coffee. Though yours, like mine, looks like regular drip coffee and thus not bits of latte art.

  48. Just curious. Are there any other renegade balls in the lot you’ve allocated for this blanket? You might want to check now as part of that “planning” phase. Otherwise, I look forward to your “I’m never gonna have enough yarn to finish this project” post.

  49. I dunno. Kelly doesn’t seem fazed by this. You may need to watch for her trying to sneak into your house for blanket previews.
    Genia- how horrible! Crossing fingers for you in New England.
    Paula- there are some very cool ideas out there for felting old sweaters (assuming they’re of feltable fiber) and then using the pieces to make new things- bags, slippers, blankets.
    Other than that… Take a photo for your craft album if you don’t already have one, take a deep breath, and pitch it. Photos are much easier to store.

  50. I’m sure pictures of the baby swaddled by the finished blanket will be so beautiful, that we will forget all about the time in-between when we didn’t get to see the in-progress shots. Knit on!

  51. It looks fabulous, and like everyone else I can’t wait to see the finished item. Will you be publishing the pattern for the mid-section when it’s done and delivered?

  52. No worries, just show us pictures of what you’re spinning. Because Tuesdays are for spinning anyway. Right? hahaha the best laid plans…

  53. I have a knitting black hole here too, a seamless stockinette cardigan that seemed to be flying off the needles before I attached the sleeves. Now this yoke has about 350 stitches and no matter how many decrease rows I do it still feels like there are 350 stitches. I even checked last night to make sure I hadn’t been increasing by mistake

  54. For blurry blanket photos:
    Turn off the auto-focus on your camera and manually unfocus the photo
    If you have a point and shoot camera, put some saran wrap over the lense and smear a tiny bit of vaseline or chapstick on the saran wrap
    🙂 Happy stealth knitting!

  55. A mole….going dark….??? What will THE BLOG do in the meantime??? I admit I am now addicted to THE BLOG. Yes it is in capital letters. I check each day to see what THE BLOG has to say both original and comments. What will I do during the dark time? Darn the mole(s). But I do understand. If I was going to get a blanket for a gift I too could not stay away from THE BLOG! Please hurry up and finish so that we can all see! Oh, and I guess… the MOTHER must be notified of the urgency of this request. o;-)

  56. Kelly, it’s me, Denny. You know I work at a yarn stow right. We do ship. So if you ever need yarn shipped…….
    I watching too. Just saying. Xoxox

  57. Your posts make my day. I just finished a baby blanket (nowhere near the scope of the one you are doing) but I too felt like the knitting was endless. Luckily I finished it and shipped it off yesterday. Now on to mittens…

  58. Knit on dear Harlot, meanwhile back in
    Salem there is a knitter peeking out of a pile of yarn with a weird Cloisonee’ look in her eye. Now missy see what you have started.

  59. Since you say you are in a black hole with all the knitting – is this one going to fit the top of your bed also???

  60. Maybe ask our fellow Canadian, Kiefer Sutherland, about going “dark.” After all those years on “24” surely he must have some advice …

  61. Oh Genia, please let us know if the package came back to you! Can you somehow get the phone number for that address and call? Or ask the giftee (if they still live in the same area) to drive to their old address and track the package down?
    And I’m going to use the Blog blackout time to catch up on old posts…

  62. There is an online photo editor that I have used in the past called picnik. (http://www.picnik.com/) It is shutting down in April, but till then it’s a great editor. You could upload your blanket photos and then blur the top secret portions of the picture 🙂 I have lots of fun with it, mostly adjusting colours, but it might be just what is required for this mission.
    Have fun with your knitting! 🙂

  63. It’s the lady that still has no clue what my URL IS!!! Ugh!! Anyhoo, I’ve got to get going on my own baby presents. As usual U HAVE INSPIRED ME !!!! THANK U! As always your Russian admirerer(spelling not my strongest suit)LANA PLEASE POST MORE PHOTOS OF ANY UNFINISHED STUFF! Those inspire me the most!

  64. I thought you were joking about “going dark,” but I can see now that you’re taking your stealth knitting very seriously. I can’t wait to see your finished masterpiece.

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