Royal baby? Pah! While the media have been whipping themselves into a frenzy over Kate’s pregnancy, and now Prince George, over the last nine months, I’ve been going a bit nuts for baby crochet since it seems that everyone I know seems to be up the duff at the moment.
Late last year my best friend told me she was expecting, and my second thought was about baby crochet. My first thought was “maybe they’ll call it Jo(e). It’s such a versatile name.” They called her Anne. I was a teensy bit disappointed.
Crocheting for babies suits my attention span – if you’re making clothes, they’re generally quite small so work up really quickly, while you can return to blankets as and when time allows. When Gillian told me she was pregnant I was itching to get cracking on a project, so I hotfooted it to Amazon and bought Little Crochet by Linda Permann. Not knowing the sex, I was limited on both the project and the colour, but luckily the Sunshine Baby Blanket really caught my eye. It’s a sun-shaped design with a lacy centre worked in the round. What first attracted my attention was the shape. All the other baby blankets I’d made had involved stitching squares and square and squares together and tbh, I often ended up finding it really tedious. Making a blanket in the round made for a refreshing change.
My first challenge was choosing the yarn. I needed a gender-neutral colour in a machine washable fibre (I am all for practicality), and after much searching I eventually found some super-soft cashmerino double knit at a knock down price from Liberty (cheap wool from Liberty! I was as surprised as you are!).
That hurdle overcome, I set about working on the pattern, which was a dream to work with. It was nice to start with a relatively complex pattern for the earlier rounds to produce the centre of the blanket (pictured right), and it worked up really quickly since the spaces do a lot of the work for you, if you see what I mean.
When you get to the outer rounds the pattern becomes more repetitive, but this is also quite nice because you can work out what comes in the next round, such as increases, without having to refer to the pattern too much. And just as you think you’re getting bored with the repetitiveness it introduces a couple of filet diamonds and you start making the prongs of the star shape.
The finished blanket measured over a metre in diameter, so you can imagine that if you’re using 50g balls of wool it takes up a hell of a lot of yarn. In the end I was on to my eighth ball, so I am glad I picked up a job lot of the stuff in the same dye lot. I hate running out of wool then having to use a replacement that doesn’t quite match, especially if it’s a gift for someone else.
I had no problems with this pattern – it’s lovely, it’s easy to follow and it produces great results. The only frustrating thing about it was that Anne was born at the start of a heat wave so she hasn’t had a chance to try it out yet. Nonetheless I would definitely recommend this pattern, so go out and try it! There’s enough in there to interest a more experienced crocheter, but it’ll also challenge an improver. Just make sure the little bundle of joy is born in the winter!