Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Bicycle Baby Blanket

My close friends Brian and Gillian were recently blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Maia.  Maia's parents and have had many bicycle adventures together, so naturally a gift for their first baby had to have a bicycle theme!  I did a lot of searching for a pattern for a baby blanket with bikes, but I didn't find anything so I decided to design my own.  I came up with a block pattern, with a bicycle in the middle of each block:

I chose a five-color block scheme, leaving the same color bicycle in each vertical row and altering the background behind each color. I also changed the direction of bicycles in each horizontal row, to give the bikes a feeling of motion.  I used a 3" wide seed stitch as a border.
This was one of the more challenging knitting projects I've undertaken.  It includes both intarsia technique (where you switch from one color block to the next across a row), as well as fair isle knitting (which I used for the bicycles in each block).  It took me awhile to figure out the most useful technique for carrying yarn across the back of the blanket- also, it was really a challenge to manage all of the different yarn balls hanging from the back of the project.  For these reasons, the blanket wound up being many months later than Maia's arrival, but it was a great learning experience for me.  

When I was done, it occurred to me that I'd need some kind of backing, to cover up all of the yarn colors running back and forth (and to keep Maia's fingers from getting tangled in all of that madness).  With the help of my favorite local fabric store, Stitches, I found the perfect print cotton fabric- bicycle gears!!  I first tried just stitching horizontal lines across the back, but it looked awful, so I developed an impromptu quilting pattern, using different features of each cog as a guide. For the edges, I used a blind stitch (one that hides in the fold of the fabric), a trick I learned from binding quilts.  

All in all, I'm pretty excited with how it turned out.  If I could re-do it, I'd probably use a hoop to stitch the fabric to the knitted project, as the fabric came out a little baggy, but I guess that adds to the home-made aesthetic.  Here's a picture Maia and her lovely mama with the new blanket:

<3 <3 <3.  Can't wait to meet this little lady in person.

Knitters: If you'd like to knit something with this bicycle pattern, feel free to use my bike chart! 
I'm also working on writing out the entire pattern for this blanket- if you'd like a copy, please leave a comment and I'll pass it along to you when it is complete.  While you're at it, if you're a knitter and a cyclist, let me know if there are cycling-specific items you'd love to knit.  A teammate and I are working on a collection of bicycle knitting patterns and we'd love some inspiration.  Thanks for reading!


Rel Koz said...

I am impressed! Good work chica.

Unknown said...

i love the blanket