35,112 Stitches Makes . . .

Draped on the Couch

Draped on the Couch

A Bronco Blue Baby Blanket!

Living in (Denver) Bronco territory yields loads of options when crafting something for even the littlest Bronco fans.  Behold a tasteful blanket that shows team spirit while not being too overtly Bronco (not that it is necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes — and some in my family will disagree with me — it is nice to tone down the pride to a more subtle level).

Baby E. W. F. was born a few months back and although I have yet to give him a snuggle in person, I want him to experience a bit of my love from afar in the form of a cozy blanket.  He will be a Bronco fan because he was born into a Bronco fam and this yarn is a perfect Bronco blue to complement his blue eyes.  The pattern (Free Sunny Baby Blanket Knitting Pattern on ravelry.com) created a fun checkered pattern texture while being simple enough to knit while zoning out to a movie or a podcast.  The pattern is done in rows of 18 so a click row counter is a great help, although the old method of pen and scratch paper works well too.  At only 5 1/2 skeins of good washable yarn, this blanket was affordable to make as well.  I was able to work on the blanket during many lunch hours and chill out sessions at night.  With a glass of wine and my yarn skein, I am a relaxed being.

I enjoyed this project so much that I am making a larger version for my nephew in a different shade of blue for a rival football team.  I am expandeding the pattern to be bigger and will detail that adventure at a later date.  Right now, my cozy chair, pea quilt, new project and a glass of pinot are calling my name.  Knit on!

Modeling the Blanket -- Our Childhood Stuffed Animals!

Modeling the Blanket — Our Childhood Stuffed Animals!

Proven: Crafting is Good For You!

I’ve long known that crafting has beneficial properties, but now even that giant of breaking news (CNN) has substantiated this belief.  Quoting a study looking at the benefits of knitting on your brain, specifically in PTSD patients, CNN reports that the results are almost identical to those of meditation.  The activity of knitting creates a quieting response to the parasympathetic nervous system (fight or flight).  In an additional British study, knitting acts as a natural anti-depressant by releasing dopamine both during the creation of the project and at the culmination of the project, either during the admiration of the completed work or when given to a loved one.   There is additional work being done to learn if crafting keeps the brain younger by activating memory, problem solving, etc. and thereby preventing atrophy.

Anyone who creates, whether it is music, pottery, gardens or food knows that there are inherent, intangible benefits that come from the process.  I have always called my creations therapeutic, and one can see that during times of trial, my output of handmade stuff increases.  On a bad day, I’ve learned that curling up in bed doesn’t make me feel any better, but chopping up vegetables or sewing 1/4″ inch seams sure can boost my mood.  Science is just substantiating what many of us already know.  Crafty diem!

Yes, Towels Can Be Cute

Embroidery dresses up the mundane

Embroidery dresses up the mundane

Even the smallest, most useful things in our lives can be beautiful.  Take the humble towel, existing solely to mop up our messes and dry off our bodies. Thankless towels spend the majority of their existence damp and in service.  So, let’s do something to make these utilitarian instruments more aesthetically pleasing.

Let me state that I love embroidery!  It is a mixture of sewing and painting and, as evidenced above, can liven up the standard.  I am a fan of the old  iron-on transfer patterns that you find in any general craft store.  There are myriad themes from the super kitschy to the sweet.  Embroidered tea towels make perfect housewarming gifts that can be personalized to your recipients tastes, from steelhead to martinis to pastoral scenes.  These towels are both useful and charming.

Ready for service

Ready for service

Complimenting the embroidered towel is the knit towel.  Made with 100% cotton, these towels are very absorbent and quick drying.  There are many patterns online, or you can create your own very easily.  If you love flat two-dimensional knitting projects like I do, then you’ll love making towels.  And, washcloths.  Knit washcloths are awesome for dishes:  soft, reusable, non-smelly (like sponges), and scrubby.  Washcloths are another super easy, meditative knitting project that elevate a utilitarian tool to something more.