Let me tell you about my friend Lee. She is very strong-willed and persuasive. She is also a wonderful friend and in general pretty awesome. So when I asked what I could make for her for her birthday one year and she said "I'd love a knitted blanket for my queen sized bed..." I agreed right away.
It wasn't really until later that the enormity of what I had agreed to set in. A queen size blanket...that is a LOT of knitting, especially for a rather new knitter (as I was at the time). I needed to produce what seemed to me "a never-ending expanse of blanketness", one might say (as Lee described the picture of said blanket on the right). When I asked what she had in mind for the blanket (in terms of material, style, etc), she said that she liked the scarf I was wearing. A simple garter stitch scarf made with Lion's Brand Homespun. We went to the craft store and she picked out a fun pinky-slightly-orange yarn.
I asked if she wanted any other colors or any sort of pattern or design (not like I had any idea how to do something like that at the time, but I figured that I would just learn as I went along as I have done with the majority of the knitting skills I've learned). She said nope, a solid color garter stitch blanket was fine.
Once again, as with the Jayne hats, I did no gauge swatch, (although I seem to remember counting the stitches on my scarf width and extrapolating, if that counts for anything). Of course that does mean the blanket ended up rather oddly shaped (as you can tell from the picture on the left of it hanging minimally over the sides of the bed and excessively over the end). The work was rather mind-numbing. I remember taking a break from the blanket and whipping up a pair of cut off gloves for another friend just because I needed a change of pace. But when it was done I was so happy to have completed something that took a lot of time and effort that I could give to Lee.
You ever have one of those friends that means a lot to you and you have known forever but its really hard to get them good gifts? With this I knew I was making just what she wanted, and she knew how much I cared about her since she knew the effort I was putting into her gift. It was a comforting feeling. Although now that she has moved to Florida I'm not sure how much need she has for it!
I think my knitting as a whole has certainly improved since making this blanket, my most recently knitted blanket (made for my parent's wedding anniversary) probably being the knitted project I am most proud of. I am sure Lee and I will be friends for years to come and eventually I will make her an even better blanket to replace this one. Or maybe something more fitting for a Floridian...
It occurs to me now that Lee's birthday is a week away and I have no idea what to get for her this year. Hmmm.