I finished the little something I've been working on . . . the project you peeked at here.
I've been wanting to crochet Forrest a blanket for months. I made a quilt for him while I was pregnant, which was so fun and fulfilling for me to create . . . and it has never really been used. I think its greatest accomplishment was its brief stint of hanging over the crib rails as nursery decor before Forrest was born. It did a great job, but Forrest has no interest in that quilt, the poor neglected thing. I kind of thought the two of them might have a special bond, since Forrest always kicked around so happily while I sewed it. No such bond seems to have been forged.
He is, however, completely enamored with the crochet blanket pictured below, made for him by my dear friend and former boss back in Iowa:
Merciful heavens, these two are inseparable. Their tender and emotional reunions, when separated by the necessity of an occasional trip through the washing machine, are rather heartwarming. He wants to bring it everywhere, and must have the company of his precious blankie for naps and bedtime. (And you'll notice that he sucks his fingers in every photo taken of him with the blankie . . . it's Pavlovian by now. Blankie in hand --> fingers in mouth.)
And you know what? It kind of bothers me. I mean, really. His very favorite thing in the entire world is a crocheted blankie . . . made by someone else. I know it's petty to feel competitive with a baby blanket, but there you have it. I just want him to love and adore and cherish something that I made for him. Is that so terrible?
I spent--literally--months searching for the perfect blanket pattern to use. Nothing seemed right--I found plenty of patterns that are adorable and sweet and would probably be a pleasure to make, but I was waiting for the one that would really speak to me. I finally found it, browsing through the crochet books at the library (all three of them)--the All-Star Blanket from the book Crocheted Gifts: Irresistible Presents to Make and Give. I assume that each person on earth only experiences a few true epiphanies in life. The moment I saw this pattern was a nearly-spiritual one: this was the pattern I'd been waiting for.
I shut down my etsy shop for 2 weeks to give me time to focus solely on his blanket. It was a relatively simple and straightforward pattern, but I did experience a few hiccups along the way. I think the pattern could have been written more clearly, but I was always able to figure it out . . . until it came time to join the squares. Good heavens. I'm assuming my issues were unique to me--no one else online or on Ravelry seemed to have any problem with the pattern instructions--but for some reason, I simply could not figure out what I was supposed to do. So I kind of made it up. It seems to have worked out just fine.
And I don't mean to toot my own horn here but . . . toot toot. I think I really hit the nail on the head with this blanket. It has exactly the look and feel I searched for in all those weeks of browsing crochet patterns. It's playful and fun and sweet (like my baby!) while staying classic and simple. I love it.
I made it as a Christmas gift for Forrest, but couldn't resist offering it to him early, just to see if it could potentially usurp the coveted spot held by his precious other blankie.
You may have to squint to see my blanket.
Yep, there we go. He obviously loves it a lot. (I don't think blankie #1 needs to worry about being replaced.) The hours hard at work, crocheting my fingers to the bone to create a meaningful piece for my beloved child were clearly well-spent.
Nah, I'm just kidding--I'm really glad I took the time to make this for him. I still treasure many of the handmade items created just for me when I was a little girl (more on those later!). For me, there is no gift more special than one planned out and created by hand by someone who loves me and spent hours hard at work, making something they hoped I would love and treasure. That's what I wanted for Forrest--I wanted to give him something that maybe 25 years from now he'll be wrapping his own little baby in, that will always remind him of how much his mother loves and adores him. Of course he prefers his original blankie now, and I'm happy he has something that helps him feel comforted and safe, but maybe (hopefully) when he's a little older this new blanket will mean something special to him, like the handmade items in my life mean to me.