Intro: A Flowered Baby Blanket.
Kiteman has been on at me to write an instructable, so the fortuitous coincidence of the flower contest and our neighbour giving birth to a little girl gave rise to this cute little blanket and a last-minute contest entry.
It's based on a "proper" pattern (Sirdar 1771), but with a couple of tweaks.
Step 1: The Basic Blanket
The blanket itself is just a rectangle, knit in Sirdar Snuggly Snowflake Chunky, using 5.5mm needles.
Cast on 65 loose stitches, then alternate rows of knits and purls (aka "stocking stitch") until the blanket is 61cm (24 inches) long. You can, of course, change the size of the blanket to suit your needs. This blanket is aimed at a newborn babe in her car seat.
It's the next stage that's more interesting.
Step 2: Starting the Flower
Using 4mm needles (USA size 6), cast on 51 stitches and work four rows of stocking stitch.
On the fifth row, knit one stitch only, and then cast off the next nine stitches.
Do not cast off the next stitch - leave it on your needle.
Repeat cast off nine, leave one four more times. If you get it right, you will have only six stitches remaining on your needle.
Step 3: Gathering
Cut the yarn, leaving a few inches spare to work with, and thread the end that was connected to the ball onto a sewing-up needle (the exact size of the needle is not important, just make sure you can fit the yarn through the eye).
Carefully slide the six stitches off your knitting needle, threading the sewing-up needles through each stitch in turn.
Gently pull the threaded yarn to gather the knitting piece into a classic flower shape, then fasten off the yarn to hold it in shape. Do not trim off the excess yarn - that will be used to fasten the flower to the blanket.
Step 4: The Flower Centre
Switch back to the same yarn you used for the main blanket.
This step is quite small, and the yarn is fluffy, so the photos are hard to decipher. I have asked Kiteman to draw a simplified illustrative diagram.
With the 4mm needles, cast on one stitch, then knit another stitch on the back of the 1st stitch, then knit a stitch on the front of the first stitch. Do this twice more to make a row of four stitches, all on the same first stitch.
Knit three more rows of four stitches.
Knit "two together", twice. That is, the needle in your working hand goes through two loops at once. This turns your rows of four into a row of two.
Knit these two together as well, making a "row" of one stitch.
Tie off this last stitch, and snip off the yarn a few inches from the work.
You are now ready to put the flower together on the blanket.
Step 5: Assembling the Flower.
The pattern calls for five flowers in a row. You need to make all the parts before you assemble any of the flowers.
Lay the larger parts of the flowers along the top edge of the blanket in a pleasing line.
Use the loose end of yarn to sew them in place. If you are careful, you can sew through the stitches of the blanket so that the back side of the blanket remains plain.Lay the centre parts of the flowers in place, and stitch them in place using both the loose ends of yarn.
Don't be afraid to sew through the centre stitches of the outer part of the flower.
Runner Up in the