I think I was excited

When Meg was packing up Elliot’s stuff to come over here yesterday, I asked her if she would put his baby blanket in the bag. See, it occurred to me as I sat down to start the blanket and knit a bunch of swatches to get this thing figured, that since I’m using the same yarn for this baby as I did for her brother, that I already have an actual full size swatch to go by.  This, let me tell you my knitters, felt pretty darned clever. Perhaps, I thought, as I anticipated the blanket’s arrival, I could cut the swatching time down considerably. All I needed to do was look at the blanket, make a few measurements and calculations, look back at the blog to see what size needle I used to knit it, and… shazam. This blog was going to pay off like never before, I told myself. (I admit “pay off like never before” is a wild and gross overstatement.  This blog has given me some pretty amazing things over the years, like you and lots of jobs and the feeling that I belong in the universe, which is some pretty big stuff and hardly compares to saving a few hours on a big project, but you understand that avoiding a swatch is like knitter catnip and well… heady stuff.)

So, the blanket arrived -and Elliot too, who had less excitement for this project than I did, and played puzzles with Poppy and Poppa while I took some measurements, interjecting more than occasionally to make sure that I knew it that was his blanket and had no designs to give it to this new interloper. Notes in hand, I popped over to my own archives, deftly searched up the posts where I was knitting the thing three years ago and… do you know that in the two months it took me to knit that, I never wrote down my needle size?

Oh, sure, I took lots of pictures (which I have tried zooming in on and squinting at to see if I can tell what damn needle it is) but I never actually wrote down the size. So much for that, I tell you. A crushing development.  I looked at the blanket, looked at the yarn, thought about how big that blanket is and what I was likely to have done, and swatched on a 4mm needle.  I have no picture of that because I ripped it out after two rows.  I didn’t need to go any farther to see that it was too big.  I got out the 3.5mm.

Well, that was too big too, and I didn’t even finish the swatch, just ripped it off the needle in disgust and tried a 3.25. (Result also not pictured because the heartbreak was too real.)

I ripped that out and sat there, looking at my needle collection, asking myself all kinds of questions.  First, why the H.E.double-hockey-sticks didn’t I write this down? Second, I feel sure that I would have used a 3.5mm needle. Why wasn’t that working? Was it the stitch pattern? Have I changed? Has the yarn shrunk in the cupboard? (Don’t panic that’s not a thing. The other things are all possible, but that’s not.)

In the end, I had no choice. Even though I cannot believe for one crazy moment that I knit that whole blanket on a 3mm needle, I swatched with it.

Guess what? I ripped that out too.  Knitters, it would appear that I knit that huge blanket on a 2.75mm needle. (That’s a US size 2.  I think. So many of those US size charts are different. The gauge I have in front of me says it’s a 2, but it also says that a 3mm is a 2 so I give up.  Accuracy isn’t possible in a system like that, so I’m just going with the metric.)

I knit the swatch, rather agog that it was such a little needle, and when I was done, it was perfect. Just right, and the gauge almost matched the original (a little different but that’s likely the stitch pattern change) and I did the math, and then I did the math again, and then I washed the swatch and did the math again and yup.  I knit that thing with a 2.75mm needle, and in my mind it didn’t even take that long, which is a bit of a shock, because as I look ahead of me now I can only assume that the powerful JuJu of first time Grandmotherhood got me though, and now that the excitement is at a near normal Grandmother level?

Whoo-boy. That’s a lot of knitting.  Hang on Granddaughter, this is going to take a little longer than I thought.

Note to Self: You are using a 2.75mm needle, a circular Addi, not the one with the dent in it but the good one.  The Yarn is Juniper Moon Farm: Findley. Colour: Fresco, and you have five balls.  You’re welcome, future Steph.

62 thoughts on “I think I was excited

  1. You are an amazing knitter. Left in my hands, I would knit the entire blanket on 7 mm–because I love that needle. Is there any other number. And I may even use garter stitch. No probably seed stitch–because is there any other stitch pattern. But, of course, I would not end up with such a drop-dead-beautiful blanket as pictured above. You are… (need I repeat?)

  2. A note to your future self is like time travel. Also helpful is a filled-out Ravelry project page. I do one about 1/3 of the time…

    • Your Ravelry documentation rate is far better than mine, Which is ridiculous, because I’m on Rav daily, looking at patterns & dreaming.

      Ha – my verification image is the camera! The internet has a great sense of humor.

    • I was going to suggest this, but then remembered I had to guess the needle size for a replica Christmas stocking this year after I filled in 3 different needle sizes on the Ravelry page and didn’t explain in the notes which I used for what! So may I add, an accurately filled out Ravelry page, with some sort of comprehensive notes section!

  3. I always forget to put my needle size on Ravelry, too. Gauge doesn’t matter to me with blankets, but for everything else I’m hopeless.

  4. One word: Ravelry.

    I always put enough information on my ravelry about my projects and see my notes. Ravelry is handfuls. 🙂

  5. If I had a dollar for every time I forgot to note my needle size, I could buy some yarn. This is particularly vexing when knitting for my identical twins, I am currently on a second sweater for which I wrote out tonnes of notes re patterning, and never once the needle size first time around.

    So looking forward to watching this blanket develop, 2.75, sending you extra grandma juju for that!!

  6. The Beach Boys GO GRANNY GO is running through my head now. I’m not sure how much time you have until the wee one arrives but I’m certain she will give you an additional couple of days or even weeks to finish it. She will never know. Shhhhhhhh!

  7. I was going to say, I don’t remember you ever mentioning needle size. I don’t think you generally do that. Sorry you didn’t have it in other notes either. But, Holy Schmokes Bat Man but those are tiny needles for a blanket, that if I recall base on past blankets, will be nearly queen size when done!! May the knitting force be with you!!

  8. I had been madly swatching to come up with the right yarn/needle combination for Andrea Mowry’s Shifty sweater and after 4 attempts and two yarn changes I got it! Then I started a last minute Christmas project and put off starting the project. Now ready to start the sweater I had a near panic attack as I did not remember if I noted the final needle size that worked. I was thrilled to see that I had written it down. The thought of a fifth or more swatches was more than I could face. The struggle is real! Good luck with the blanket!

  9. One bonus of having the world’s crappiest memory is that I KNOW if don’t note things down somewhere I won’t remember them in a couple of minutes, let alone a couple of years. This is particularly useful, as I often put things down for a moment and don’t pick them up again for several years.

    There are still inexplicable gaps in my notes, but it’s not as bad as it could be. Good luck, and knit fast, Grammy.

  10. I so relate to this post.

    But far more importantly, congratulations on your coming granddaughter!!! That’s wonderful news!

  11. You only have FIVE balls of the yarn for this blanket? Did you check your notes to make sure that’s enough?? Are they all from the same dye lot??? (Mmm, this popcorn needs more butter…)

      • She mentioned that the huge blanket for Elliott took 2.5 kilometres of yarn. That would work out to 500 metres per ball. For such fine yarn, that’s not unreasonable, and the math is not so difficult that one would miscalculate grossly. And I am an optimist.

  12. Oh the pain. I have swatches – yarn identified, stitch, pre and post blocking measurements, even the date sometimes – no needle size. What does go on in our brains?

  13. Maybe you did the thing where you swatch several times with different needles and tie knots in the extra cast-in yarn to denote which size and then … misplace half the swatches and don’t do anything to show yourself which you chose and does that one with two big knots and one small mean 2-1/2 or 3 or what …

  14. Like how I have knit my brother 17 hats over the last 13 years, and every time I start a new one I think “will this be enough stitches? He has a sort of large head… Oh, I’ll go look at Ravelry and see how many stitches I have cast on for his hats before in this weight” and then discover that I never wrote it down? Sigh.

  15. Note to people around Steph- find out the yard lot and start hunting now. Shall we take bets about needing a sixth ball? Did she write down how many balls the original took?

  16. Well, it IS a laceweight yarn…..and that is very thin and typically uses a small needle. Your future self will thank you however and your future great-great-great grandbabies.

  17. If it were anyone else, I would say knitting a baby blanket on a 2.75 mm needle was nuts. But you’re not just anyone. The blanket will be spectacular — and if you need to knit another, now you’ve documented the needle size!

  18. If there was a Dr Who episode on knitting, it would be this. I’m pretty sure Future Steph is thanking you profusely all the while wondering who is crazypants enough to knit a ginormous laceweight baby blanket on size 2.75mm needles?

  19. You see, some of us could probably have told you how long those rows got and how you seemed to think the blanket was going on forever, but you probably wouldn’t have believed us…

    Knitting lace. It’s like childbirth. Once we are done we forget the pain of it all because it is just so worth it.

  20. You need to keep a knitting journal. Problem solved! Plus, think how interesting it will be for your family to look back on it after (one day far, far into the future) you are gone.

  21. Oh I usually write all that information down and then misplace what I have written down. Just as bad as not writing it in the first place. I have some notes on Ravelry but often done after the fact – more often I record the yarn info and wait til I’ve swatched to add the needle, which may or may not happen.

    Best of luck in the finishing -with the time before the babe arrives and especially with before the yarn runs out

  22. You aren’t the only one to neglect to write down the needle size. Did you not create a Ravelry project for it? They prompt for the needle.

  23. Oh my, how I needed that laugh this morning. I almost wet my knickers over your phrase “ju ju” as I often think of knitting as creating magic for the recipient(s).

  24. Like many other people before me, I recommend making notes on needle size, skeins of yarn, and gauge on Ravelry. I try very hard to do that, but, honestly, the prompt for needle size is easy to forget, and if you change your mind, rip out, and change needle size, it is even easier to forget to do that little update.
    That said, I want to say I SO AGREE on the subject of American needle sizing. I have two pairs of size six needles. One is marked 4.0mm and the other is 4.25mm. The clincher is that they are both from the SAME BRAND. Metric is the way to go. Now please excuse me while I go check ravelry about my current project. Have I updated?

    • I didn’t know 4.25mm was even a thing!
      I have metric, imperial and US sized needles from various inheritances. A needle guage is essential!!

  25. This doesn’t need saying, but I’ll say it anyway. ALWAYS write down the critical details of a design. We’ve all been guilty of getting so caught up in something that we forget to commit the essentials to writing, but don’t let it happen. Life is too short!
    P.S. I use good old Hilroy notebooks to keep track of design details. I have two giant binders full of these notebooks, including design “failures”. You never know when you might want to re-visit something. Yes, there’s Ravelry or other forms of digital record management, but for some things I find pencil and paper still win.

  26. I don’t always write a lot of information down on Ravelry, but I do for the baby blankets. Why? Because there always seem to be more babies! And I always use the same yarn—Tanis Fiber Arts DK. Good luck on your project!! So thrilling to wait for a grand baby.

  27. I often take the tail end of the swatch and put little knots in it for the needle size. Of course that only works here in the US where every size 6 needle is a different size depending on the manufacturer ;).

  28. I am so excited that we will get to watch another blanket adventure! And I already know that the blanket will be wondrous!
    But Was there also a tiny little promise to show us a tiny little sweater?

  29. One of these days I out to figure out how to show you the blanket I knit for my son, inspired by your blanket for Elliott. Until then, kick butt! Youve GOT this! The powers of knitterly love for bebes is real. Even if the maths are monsterous.

  30. All the pics from Elliot’s blanket knitting look like Addi Turbo Lace. If it was me, I would only use Addi’s if I needed a needle too small for Signature Needle Arts…

  31. Ya know, that’s why god invented Ravelry, and project pages. The two minutes is worth it, as i have found myself. (Single sock syndrome anyone?)

  32. I don’t like to rely on online project notes. I can’t imagine how I would feel if one day I woke up and Ravelry was GONE! I’ve downloaded most of the patterns I have bought or saved but maybe not all but the loss of all my project notes would be unbearable. Mine go into a notebook and very useful it’s been. I even put a strand of the yarn in the book for better recall.

    Knitting a lace baby blanket on 2.75mm needles on a deadline is too scary for me to contemplate. I am filled with admiration for all that you do. Good luck with the project.

  33. I’m in this with you. Swatching today for my beautiful niece’s wedding shawl. I’ve got 1500 years of some gorgeous silk/merino that came from a sadly gone friend’s stash. I’m doing Bad Cat’s sampler study which calls for 1000 yards but I still have a plan for if I run out. Looking forward to knitting lace along with you. Cheers!! Baby girls are such fun to dress.

  34. Yup, a lot of stitches. But baby and mom will be just as grateful if you are a little late and, upon reflection, you will have knitted that number of stitches over the same amount of time anyway whether on this project or two others. Its not like you ever stop knitting.

  35. I’m sure you ended up using the wee needle because all your others were in a project wip. ..I recall one trip where you could’ve sworn you packed one size and packed even smaller….and you weren’t going to waste flight time not starting this blanket.
    I love Ravelry for keeping all those much needed details for future me.
    And the yarn skein shrinkage..I wish! I’d wrap my hips in it every night! Lol.

  36. I’m now on my third start for the City of Fountains scarf, and the I-Cord edge is looking much better now, thank you. Although I think I’m on the right track, I wanted to go to the afternoon casting-on party. Alas, the weather had other plans.

  37. Okay, I have to admit that I, so far, have knit ONE (1) baby blanket, and that was a relatively small one from a pattern with aran weight yarn and 4.00mm needles … Knitting everything on 2.75mm (or 2.5mm, because I don’t get 2.75mm easily) is … something else.
    Good luck!! I know it will be beautiful, but WOW. I’m looking forward to seeing pictures!

  38. I have been thinking for a while now that it it is so inexpensive to have individual books made. Why not document something like this and include the pattern for the recipient? So in this case, also include photos of the baby, wrapped in the blanket, being held by the knitter. Because that blanket is an heirloom.

  39. I re-read this post and, sadly, the part about how the gauge on the 2.75mm needle is still a little different and likely because of the stitch pattern stands out to me. I have a sinking sensation and fear that the 2.75mm needle is still too large… hoping I am wrong. This blanket might turn out even larger than anticipated, and eat through yarn more quickly than anticipated. I have learned to trust the sensation in my gut that goes ‘clunk’ when something comes into place. It hasn’t happened yet with the 2.75mm needle. Sigh. Although, this blanket doesn’t have to be an exact match to its predecessor so a slightly larger blanket could be alright.

    In my world these days I am working on 2mm needles with cashmere yarn on the edge between cobweb and fingering weight . Lovely stuff and I could actually have used a smaller needle as well though am quite content with the fabric being produced. It is a shawl so gauge is not critical in this instance. I will knit until the yarn is nearly used up and then cast off.

  40. Juniper Moon Findlay is my favorite lace weight! I won my very first blue ribbon with it…the blanket will be beautiful, even though it may take awhile.

  41. Any yarn shrinkage as the previous blanket was off the needles and blocked? Would 3.0 mm be safer than 2.75? I’ve been making notes on the paper file copy of the pattern, each version.

  42. Your swatch looks lovely. These comments are a hoot! I’d forgotten how much fun they are. Your blog has given me (and all of us) tons and tons of good spirits. Thanks forever. Dond’t run out of yarn… heed all those warnings in the comments above. You and we know you’re gonna.

  43. Oh I so love that Findley! I knit myself an Orenburg warm shawl with it, which of course is square and could so easily double as a baby blanket. Quite frankly I wear shawls because it’s a socially acceptable way for an adult woman to have a blankey in public.

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