In the meantime, here are the ones that I did manage to complete.
This one doesn't look like much. It's pretty basic, just a whole lot of knit stitches. The beauty of this blanket is the yarn. Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick. It is thick and has a great weight to it. Perfect for a cuddly, warm blanket. The pattern is called Plush Throw and is available for free on the Lion Brand website. (You need to set up an account to access the free patterns, but believe me, it's worth it.)
Same blankie. Folded and ready for the gift bag.
This one I am really proud of. (Ignore the unfinished-ness of it. I finished weaving in the ends before we gave it to them.)
The Cable Comfort Throw, also from Lion Brand, looks complicated, but the pattern is quite easy to knit. New knitters are terrified of cables. But they are so easy! Just follow the instructions. The first time I knit cables I thought, "That's it? What are people so freaked out about?" For me the challenge with this one was sewing the 5 panels together. I generally avoid patterns that require seaming. I'm just bad at it. But this one wasn't horrible. After this experience, I may even feel brave enough to knit a sweater!
A close up of those scary cables.
The recipients of these blankets were genuinely appreciative. It's nice to be able to give practical, homemade gifts. Now if I just had more time for knitting...