I started back up knitting seriously in May of 2005. (I had learned, but never did it continuously, always picked up my sticks for a winter, then put them down again after project stalled/spring came...)
I went to a "real" yarn store, where I bought a size 8 circular and 4 jillion balls of Sirdar aran weight. I used a real pattern for my blanket, (Ann Norling's Baby Blocks, as found in the Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber) tried to make a gauge swatch and failed miserably, returned yarn when sticker shock set in, bought some of it back when I realized my gauge was completely crazy, ended up altering the pattern to make it sideways, and finished with a month to spare before my baby was born October 2005.
So, from start to finish, it took me about five months to do a very simple project.
I also was trying to work on a hat, mittens and newborn socks. The socks and thumbless mitts were way too small on the day he was born, and I could never get the right gauge on the fingering weight yarn I was using for the hat. Making a sweater was laughably out of the question!
But I did finish the blanket, and I'm very proud of it, and it's washable, and we actually use it on his bed.
If I had it to do over, I would have gotten some Plymouth Encore, size 10 1/2 needles and made a diagonal blanket, where gauge matters not.
And my son is almost two and still sweaterless. I'm a bad mommy! But in my defense, El Paso's high was 88 today, and I suffer when I wear my wool sweaters anyway like a stubborn idiot. I don't make my son share my folly.