Sunday, June 30, 2013

Knitting a Blanket for my Daughter

I’m working on another knitted blanket for my daughter. I made her one before she was born, which she loves and uses daily. I hadn’t really intended to make her another blanket, but she saw me starting this one, and she asked who it was for. “Who do you think it should be for?” I asked her. “Me!” she said. “Should I make it for your birthday?” I asked her. “Yes, it can be my present!” she tells me. I did actually have someone else in mind when I started the blanket, but that’s okay. I guess this one is for her now.

I do try to knit her something for her birthday and for Christmas, but so far I’ve made toys. Her first Christmas it was a simple stuffed bear. Her first birthday I made a platypus, which I still think is one of the coolest things I have made. Her second Christmas I made a stuffed toy dog which hasn’t been a big favorite, but perhaps she’ll grow to love him more eventually. For her second birthday I made a reversible turtle/frog toy that was absolutely delightful to make and which I actually made a second of for another friend’s child, because it was so much fun. And last Christmas I made her a reversible doll, which lately has become more interesting for her. I had planned to knit another toy for this birthday, but it appears she wants a blanket instead.

It’s interesting, knitting something for her now that she has some input into the gift. One thing that is different is that I am actually knitting in front of her now. Up until a few months ago she would get into my yarn and make a mess if I tried to work when she was awake, so I saved my knitting for after bedtime. Now she’s able to either play with something on her own or, if she wants to sit with me, respect the limit I set about not pulling on the yarn. I have to admit that I’m pleased she’s so interested. “You knitting it?” she asks me. “With the knitting needles?” I tell her “Yes, I’m knitting with the knitting needles.” We talk about some of my other tools too, the scissors and the row counter and the yarn itself. She looks the yarn and looks at me and asks “I knitting it? With my yarn?” and I smile. I definitely want to teach her to knit, although at 2 months shy of three years old I know she isn’t ready yet. The fine motor coordination just isn’t there and won’t be for several years. “When you’re bigger,” I tell her, “I will teach you to knit with your very own yarn.”

She has an opinion on how the blanket should look now, too. I am working in the log cabin style, which means I work a block in a color and then pick up stitches along the edge of the block in a new color, working in a new direction, to create the next patch. There are different ways to do this; you can be very mathematical and precise to make a very structured looking design, but with this blanket I am just having fun creating different size patches of bold colors. I was thinking summer when I was putting the yarn colors together so I have plenty of yellow and orange and turquoise and pink, bright colors that make me think of days on the beach. But as my daughter is watching me she’s suggesting “put more green in it” and “put more pink in it.” She clearly has her own sensibilities and style.

She’s also quite impatient. Even a small blanket takes quite a while to knit. After all, if I knit 120 stitches across 240 rows (which, depending on the thickness of the yarn and the size of the needles, will come out to about a 30 by 30 inch square), that’s over 28 thousand stitches. It just doesn’t come together all that fast. But yesterday while I was working she asked me every 5-10 minutes if I was done yet, very much like a child on a car trip asking “are we there yet?” It reminds me how different time seemed to me when I was a child, how each day stretched on and a month seemed like forever to wait for something. Now as an adult my time just flies by, regardless of the amount of fun involved. It feels like my baby has turned into a little girl overnight. So I’m grateful for quiet moments to knit when I can find them; moments that allow me to see my daughter in this fleeting moment while she is crossing the threshold to childhood, dragging a hand knit blanket behind her.