Storey’s fiber arts editor knits a record of the days leading up to her grandson’s arrival.
The sky is such a constant in our lives that we can easily ignore its impact on us. Where I live in New England, it’s not only constant, it’s also constantly changing. I’d never been so conscious of this as when I was captivated by the concept of knitting the sky (which inspired the title of Lea Redmond’s new book), choosing yarns that matched whatever color the sky was on a given day. Last spring, when I discovered that our son and his wife were expecting a baby in the fall, I had the perfect excuse to take on the challenge of a Knit the Sky baby blanket — and I loved every minute of it.
The logistics were simple, all outlined in Lea’s book in a section called “A Bundle of Joy.” I gathered a basketful of lightweight yarns in the colors I thought I’d need to knit the sky in all of its variability where I live: several shades of blue, grays, and even whites. I often held two strands of different-colored laceweight yarns together as I knit, to create even more shades.
Lea leaves the choice of stitch up to the individual knitter and, though I could have just knit garter stitch, I knew I’d get bored doing that. Instead, I decided to knit my way through Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, working a 3-inch square every day. So that I wouldn’t have to stitch dozens of squares together when the blanket was finished, I knit 13 strips of 15 squares each, and blocked and attached each strip as soon as I completed it. The result is a somewhat funky, patchwork quilt sampler with completely random colors: sometimes I’d have 4 or 5 gray days in a row, and in other columns, there are long stretches of blue. I especially loved the days when bright white, puffy cumulus clouds in a deep blue sky inspired me to work 2-color stitch patterns, or throw in a square with a little intarsia-knit whale or sheep.
As the weeks went by, I found myself absentmindedly looking at the sky several times a day, planning what color I’d knit with that evening. Now, my grandson Julian is 2 weeks old, and I still check out the sky color each day, but with the new thrill of knowing he shares that constant, yet variable, sky with all of us.