See this blog? It should probably be renamed the Don’t Try This At Home blog. Because whether it’s knitting, crochet, running, or general adulting, these pages sometimes feel like a catalogue of mild inadequacy.
That baby blanket I mentioned last post? Well I knitted my portion, and all was good… or at least as good as you can expect for a blanket knitted by three different people using three completely different kinds of stitches. Let’s call it… unique (but it is plenty snuggly enough for a baby).
But that’s not where today’s inadequacy comes in, oh no. Having completed my portion (late), I had some yarn left over, so I began crocheting the border, which would at least unify our three knitted panels. A simple scallop stitch seemed like a good idea. As I hooked, I kept an eye on the size of the remaining heap of yarn, because as we all know, crochet gobbles yarn. It seemed OK, though.
You can tell where this story is heading, can’t you? Shall we just skip straight there, right past the ooh-this-is-starting-to-look-like-it’ll-be-a-close-call stage, past my renewed optimism when I discovered the remnants of yarn from the portions that my friends had knitted, past the nervous hooking as I faced the fact that this was turning into a pretty hardball game of yarn chicken. I tried everything to escape the inevitable. I scavenged extra inches from as-yet-unwoven ends that my friends had left on their portions of the knitting, I worked my stitches a little tighter…
And then I ran out of yarn, about four scallops before the end.
So the poor baby still doesn’t have her blanket. Various solutions have been suggested by well-meaning people… and by the Stoic Spouse. These include (i) Finish it off with vaguely similar yarn (such as the wool in the final picture of this post) and hope that the new parents are too sleep-deprived to notice. (ii) Finish it in REALLY BRIGHT RED and call it a design feature. (iii) Shout ‘Hey look, a squirrel!’ to distract the baby’s parents whenever they’re about to notice the flaw. But really, I should take the sensible-but-tedious approach and rework the entire border in a less yarn-ravenous stitch, shouldn’t I? Sigh.
On a more positive note, Baby is by all accounts doing marvellously. Baby is beautiful. (I’ve seen photos, and am working up to asking the mum whether she can face receiving visitors yet.) Baby has a just-perfect name. Baby is busy getting on with the important business of figuring out How To Human. But listen, kiddo: some of us are in our 40s and we still haven’t got that stuff worked out, so don’t try telling me you’ve got it sussed already. Yeah yeah, you weren’t born yesterday – you’re a whole nine days old. Your mum MISSED PUB KNIT-NIGHT to go and give birth to you, so heaven knows what’s happened to her priorities. I just hope that at the grand old age of nine days, you don’t yet consider yourself too old to accept a handmade baby blanket made by your mother’s friends. It may not be a perfect blanket, but it was made with love.
Oh, and I might have accidentally bought yarn to make myself a warm cardigan. I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA HOW THAT HAPPENED!
ANN M. says
I love the sweater yarn. I really feel your too short border pain. I haven’t learned my lesson well enough in that area, yet. In 1 of the projects that I ran short on I did find an almost identical yarn and all was well. At least that is what everyone said. The other, I had to frog back. Maybe put an in search of out on Ravelry. I wish for you the Best of luck.
OH NO!!!… What did you do? It really is a beautiful blanket… I think the baby will love it no matter what… Mom will be sleep deprived and just happy to have something that smells nice. Happy thoughts from this side of the pond 🙂
Ms Sue says
I enjoyed your tale and feel your pain. It turned out to be a lovely blanket and I am sure the parents are going to love it regardless of how you solve the dilemma. I vote for sharing a few yards of your sweater yarn, which is beautiful – maybe that’s why you had to buy yarn anyway??
To solve the problem of the small patch with no border, why not do something out-there… put another color on, and do something different like about 5 rows of a pyramid of shells, like in a bright raspberry colour… maybe end it with a green stem, just up there in that one corner.
Terry Lee says
Hello. I would frog the border and start again. You will figure out the perfect border. Playing yarn chicken stresses me out so I really try not to go there. Lol
Use a piece of satiny material in one of the shades of blue. Make a template from the scallops completed to fill the space. Mark it on fabric, might even put a layer inside to help the dimension. Attach. Embroider initials of baby. Now u have 4 crafts in one blanket and so unique.
Sarah L says
When I run just barely short, I will rip back a ways, and modify random shells earlier on by decreasing them by one stitch. If you decrease enough of the earlier shells by one, you should gain enough yarn to finish the last few shells. Unless the mother is really looking, I doubt she’ll notice that some of the shells are one stitch short. Good luck!
You gave me a good laugh. Babies, happy they’re from someone else. I make the blanket and you get the baby deal here. Mine our huge man and I’m happy they don’t wake me up in the middle of the night for a breast feed, they want a desert or bread now. Or fetched from the train because the missed the last connection, or overslept at a friends house and if mom could pick them up because they miss college. Oke, babies are way easier I have to admit after I wrote this. Yarnchicken, I can’t advise you in that. I buy way to much yarn for projects.But it does look lovely, the yarn for the cardi will have to do.
Katie Writes Stuff says
OK, that’s it – I need to learn from your example and just order extra wool to finish the cardigan I’m currently knitting. I’m pretty sure I can finish the sleeve, but then I have a button band to finish and I was in the process of spouting phrases such as, Oh, I’m sure I’ll have enough wool to finish it and 25 grams is MORE than enough to complete a wider-than-normal button band and If I do run out, I’ll just use a contrasting colour… But underneath it all, I was pretty sure these were all lies. Plus, I don’t want to use a contrasting colour.
So thanks for sharing your story. Some good has come of it already!
I hope you find a border that works…Because we know you won’t just hand it off or add in four shells of a similar color…especially once you’ve slept off the loss to yarn chicken…and it is a gift, after all. The baby will wait for it (and may even have something else to snuggle under in the meantime);-).
I agree with Katmandu — use a different yarn to finish, then put a little label over that part on both sides, with the baby’s initials or the makers’ names.
OK, really radical here, frog the border and your basket stitch rectangle and remake your contribution as a wide border around the 2 squares knitted by your friends
Nicola Nicholson says
Couldn’t you just put a ” made with love” type label there? Babies love labels,well mine did,then you have created a beautiful present with added texture feature. Or swear at it a lot whilst frogging, that’ll teach it. Lovely yarn.
I would totally go for the bright red option, but I guess I can see how that wouldn’t appeal to everyone!
Baby will love the blanket, but yarn chicken is a nuisance. I have problems with yarn just arriving in the post, I think there is a gremlin in my computer.
Cricket Fox says
I usually dont have good luck with Yarn chicken
Yarn always wins. Always. That’s why we always have to go and buy more!
I love THIS border!? finished the final shells in white or red, and use the other color to put Baby’s initials, or frog enough to have a shell for each letter of Baby’s first name with a plain one on each side.
how annoying! But yes, reworked in a less hungry stitch makes sense.
But I am really writing to say that I LOVE that yarn you got for a sweater, can’t wait to see it worked up. Yummy!
I have often played yarn chicken with varying results. My theory is always that if I just knit faster and faster and do not stop knitting for any reason, I will not run out of yarn. The fact that this makes no sense does not stop me from using that strategy every. Single. Time.
Why not leave that lovely border and make (or buy) a small label that fits that empty space with something like “Handmade with love” or something like that on it? You could double the fabric over and sew it down so that it fits in with the size of the border nicely or maybe you could use the piece of fabric to attach a cord that could be used to anchor the blanket into a pram with? Either way, don’t unhook the border, think out of the box 🙂
A sleeve for an anchoring cord to the buggy -what a great idea! I really love her suggestion of turning a “mistake” into a lovely design element.
The issue with creating an anchoring cord is that this might create a hole that beautiful baby can get fingers and toes caught into unless you can safely solve that. As for the border, I’d just frog it and make the shells more stretched out. Using all those bits of left-over yarn just creates problems down the road. One thing I’ve learned from 4 kids, now grown, is that they pick their favorite blanky, not the parents. (One of mine has a VERY threadbare blanky that will not survive another wash, so is left at the head of the bed. She’s 30 years old, and the blanky was never intended to last that long. But she loves it and it brings her comfort, so there it is.)
Patricia Lloyd says
I do feel for you! Especially as I know, if it was me, I would HAVE to frog the whole border and do a different one, and I suspect you are the same. Grit your teeth, do it, finish blanket and then reward yourself with a lovely cardigan. You will deserve it.
P.s. I always enjoy your blog. Thank you.
I have no advice. Except perhaps just leave it and let the child figure out in the end.
My daughter had four small blankies that were striped in the same pastel colors. One got ripped so I darned it with some red thread. That was her favorite one: her ‘blankie with red’. She still has itstuffed somewhere in her dresser at the age of 43. So I agree with others that you should just use another yarn to finish the last few shells. It will make it unique and may become the favorite blanket of all time.
Oh no! How frustrating… I think the border really looks lovely… What about adding a “handmade with love” tag in that spot? You could stitch baby’s name and birthday, or a special saying on there.
The Snail of Happiness says
I’m currently playing yarn chicken whilst edging a blanket… I’m bracing myself for some frogging.