I'm so excited to share this project with you because it has been finished since March!  
The more I knit, the more comfortable I am altering patterns.  I mostly find my patterns on Ravelery, and when I find a pattern I like, I scroll through other people's projects to get a feel for common improvements.  I hardly ever do a test run (a swatch).  I usually just cast-on for the project and if it is coming out terribly I take it apart, and then again, and then again.  I love to jump into a project and then I like to look at the item as it develops and respond to inspiration as it strikes.
At any rate, the net result of plowing ahead is sometimes ending up with a shopping bag full of kinky yarn when you pull the whole thing out.  I think it is important to emphasize how many times I take things apart.  I know a lot of people view un-knitting as the end, but to me it is just a step towards a project that I will find really satisfying.  When I ask someone what they think of a questionable project in progress and they say "yeah, that's fine, you won't notice when you're finished," that drives me nuts, because I will notice, and I don't want to spend hours on a project that is fine!  On the other hand, I love the line "no one will notice that from a galloping horse."  and I hypocritically give this advice to people all the time.  You know if you'll care later, and if you will, rip it out!
This blanket is mostly from a free Lion Brand pattern.  For this project, the main divergence from the pattern was doing a wide moss stitch border instead of the more fussy leaf shaped border in the pattern.  Deciding about the thickness of the border was one of the reasons I had to take this blanket apart so many times.  I also framed out each section of design with stocking stitch and moss stitch sections.  These changes made the blanket slightly larger than written, a plus in this case as the groom of this couple (as all the grooms this summer seem to be) is quite tall, and I think the framing of each section made the whole blanket design more modern without losing the heirloom quality.  
I made this pattern because I fell in love with the intertwined trees.  They are such a perfect wedding symbol, especially for this couple who has grown, both individually and together, through the years.  The flower panels were another story, and there was much ripping back, much searching of Ravelry, much testing of different techniques, and much uncertainty.  Ultimately I do like the way the floral sections balance the arboreal sections, though I'm curious to hear in a year if there is a problem with snagging . 
This blanket is knit with 100% wool, Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool which is an amazing bargain, and so blocking was a must.  For the blocking process I took a cue from my recent experience blocking shawls, and wove crochet thread along each edge.  That gave me a firm, sturdy string to pull tight to make the edges straight.  I did this instead of trying to pin out all the edges strait.  So instead of using a gazillion pins I used about 20.  I also recently read that the first time blocking is the most important, because it teaches the wool its new shape, and that treatment after subsequent washing doesn't need to be as labored.  That makes me feel slightly less guilty about giving 100% wool items.   (I can't find that link now though, so don't quote me!)


I love the final result and I hope the happy couple can love it for years to come.  
 
In March I started making a pair of socks for my husband.  I came up with a pattern that I thought I liked and made most of one sock while on flights back and forth to the East Coast.  I finished the toe of one of these socks over the 4th of July and didn't like it any more.  I had started at the top, working towards the toe, and the self stripping yarn had ended in a color that I didn't like on the toe.  I put the sock away.  
I recently had the chance to be with my father for his birthday.  I wanted to make socks for him, and so I started, again, to discover a good formula for a men's sock using self striping yarn.  The self striping yarn puts on enough of a show, and so, I think, challenges the knitter to come up with something simple to let it shine.  I like the Felici yarn from Knitpicks because it is soft and seems to be long lasting (also it is not too expensive, especially as the color ways are retired.)  I'll be linking to the tutorials I use for each section of the sock formula.  I've been using some of these tutorials for years.
Before knitting, I pulled enough yarn out of each ball so  that I could match up the colors, and then trimmed one off so they matched.  
I needed a place to start, I could feel myself getting overwhelmed, so I turned to Toe-up Socks for Every Body by Wendy Johnson for some help on how many stitches to start with for the toe of a man's sock.  I did toe-up so I would have more control over the toe color, and after all, on the leg, you can just keep going if you don't like the color it is ending on.  
Using the toe from the Manly Aran Socks pattern I made both toes and loaded them onto the needles so that I could make the socks two at a time so I would be sure to finish them.  I suffer greatly from Second Sock Syndrome, which isn't really an acceptable excuse to not getting a birthday present finished.  For a 9 inch diameter sock, I had 36 stitches on the front and on the back.  I didn't want to do a simple 1x1 or 2x2 ribbing, and after poking around online, I found inspiration in a ribbing that had thin and thick sections.  I devised something that had thin and fat ribs and would fit into the allotted stitches.  
I decided I wanted to use the Jo-Jo heel because it has a similar appearance to a short-row heel, but is a little deeper to accommodate a man's larger foot.  The difference is that in the Jo-Jo heel, there are a few rounds that go all the way around all the instep and heel stitches half way through the heel, so there were a few very skinny stripes of color on the front of the ankle, but I'm at peace with them.  
I kept going up the leg, and then finished with 1 1/2 inches of 1x1 ribbing, and used a sewn bind-off so everything is extra stretchy.  
I was so pleased with the result when I finished my father's socks, that I immediately re-started the socks for my husband, same toe up, two at a time technique.  I didn't bother taking the other sock apart, I just knit the yarn as it unraveled.  The sock made with the unraveled yarn looks a little looser right now, but one washing and the socks will look the same.   I'm sure there might be some tiny difference in tension, but I can't believe that my husband will notice it.