Monday, September 29, 2014

Pine Tree Lace Baby Blanket

Some time back, I purchased an e-booklet of patterns for lace baby blankets from a designer. I downloaded the PDF files to my computer and set about knitting the projects as gifts for friends who were expecting babies. The blankets ranged from simple to challenging, from impressive to spectacular. I became a fairly good lace knitter in the process, learning to follow charts, to make time-saving lifelines, to repair mistakes, and to do all the increases and decreases that are the hallmark of lace knitting. I made one blanket in particular - a white lace christening blanket - that took weeks of knitting and ripping to complete. The finished project was worth every minute of agita - it was gorgeous.

Because I had become a lace enthusiast, when Mother's Day rolled around, my husband purchased for me a copy of Barbara G. Walker's classic reference book, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I thumbed through the book with enthusiasm and nearly dropped it on the floor when I saw in the book the exact lace pattern that had been the basis of my white christening blanket.

The designer had simply taken the lace pattern, put a border around it, and repackaged it as her own design.

I didn't - and still don't - know much about the ethics of writing knitting patterns, but my reaction at the time was a combination of disappointment and anger. I had paid for a pattern that I could have created myself. It wouldn't be that hard to just take one of Walker's charts and transform it into a blanket of my own unique design. I can do that, I told myself.

And so I did. My dear friend Stephanie announced her pregnancy last spring, and I wanted to make a spectacular and one-of-a-kind gift for her. I flipped through my copy of A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, looking for a pretty lace pattern that would look nice as a baby blanket for Stephanie's newborn daughter.

I settled on a pattern called "Pine Tree Lace." I added a seed-stitch border around the lace, calculated my gauge, and cast on a crib-sized blanket (about 32 inches by 42 inches). I worked on it all summer. The baby is due in November, and she'll be sleeping under the very first blanket that I designed all by myself (with a little help from my pattern reference book).

Click here for the link to the Ravelry project page, which will give you needle and yarn information. Click on the links above to purchase Ms. Walker's wonderful dictionary of lace stitches.

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