I didn't really have a design plan when I started. All I knew was garter stitch, so that was how I did the first four squares. I then learned how to do stockinette stitch, so I did a few squares of that. I got a book for Christmas that taught me seed stitch, moss stitch, and basketweave stitch. By this time I had expanded my color palette and had squares in eight different colors.
I had started my first square in April 2007. I worked on squares for several months, but then wanted to try some other things. I worked on my blanket off and on for the next year and a half. In June of 2008 I got engaged and decided to finish the blanket as a wedding surprise for my fiance, who had seen me working on it the whole time we had been dating. (He probably thought I would never finish it.) The wedding was planned for June 2009, and I wanted to finish making squares by mid-May so I would have time to sew them together.
I found a book at the library that had stitch patterns from several different countries. I used designs that were Scottish, Irish, Swedish, French, and Arabic. I also added a few more colors, for a total of 11 different yarns. I decided I needed to complete a square every two weeks in order to finish on time. However, as my knitting improved and I got faster, I was knitting a square every week. I learned how to use a cable needle and did cable designs for the last two squares. My last square I knit in two days. It used cableing and two different yarn colors.
I love my blanket because it reminds me of my journey as a new knitter. I learned so much in those first two years of knitting, and it is all reflected in my blanket.