02 January 2012

2011 Christmas Makes 1: Mammamade Goodness

When I first found out I was pregnant, I couldn't wait to start making things for my baby.  I was thoroughly impatient to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl so I would know what color yarn to buy.  At 18 weeks, I saw Judah for the first time and instantly fell in love.  But Jason and I had only agreed on girls' names.  So right after the ultrasound, we went to Panera, and I said we weren't leaving until we agreed on 3 boy's names that we both liked.  We decided on Jacob Alexander, James Richard, and Judah Benjamin.  Once that was settled, we headed to A.C. Moore for some yarn.  I picked out a few and started crocheting blankets.  I wanted to experiment with variegated  yarn because I love colors but hate having to weave in the ends when I switch yarns.

The first one I started remains unfinished because I ran out of yarn and can't decide what to do with it.  But even in its unfinished state, it came to the hospital when Judah was born back in March, and it was the first mommamade goodness that ever wrapped him up:

The hat was made by my lovely friend Heater, artist and crafter extraordinaire.  You can check out her blog here.

The second blanket I started for Judah presented several challenges:
  1. It took me forever to decide on a pattern. I searched and searched: google searches, ravelry searches, crochet book searches...but nothing was quite good enough for this yarn that I was so in love with.  So I decided to make up a pattern of my own: just a simple shell stitch.  It was perfect for how often my yarn switched colors.  In the end, I decided to add a half-double crochet border, which also worked nicely with the rate of variegation and gave it a nice finished look.  Problem solved.
  2. I ran out of yarn.  (I've learned my lesson, and now I know to buy way more yarn than I think I need for a project.)  It took several months and several desperate trips to A.C. Moore before they stocked it again, and when it finally came in, it was a different dye lot, so the colors were slightly different.  But I dug through the bin to find one that was close enough that I don't think anyone would ever notice.  Problem solved.
  3. My new skein of yarn had the colors in reverse order.  So I had to pull from the outside of the skein instead of the inside.  Granted, this is not a big deal, but it did result in some nasty, time-consuming tangles.  Luckily, next to my impeccable hand-stitching, untangling is one of my most advanced skills.  Problem solved.
  4. My beautifully variegated yarn was naturally creating a perfectly randomized spattering of color.  But then, out of nowhere, for No Good Reason, it started patterning!!  Looking down at the blanket, I was horrified to find about six inches of very distinct stripes.  I pulled it out and did it all again.  Same thing.  I tried varying my tension.  No difference.  I pulled it out and tried again with even weirder tension tricks.  Still striped.  I walked away and tried again a few days later.  Stripes stripes stripes.  I must have pulled it out and tried again a good half dozen times.  Maybe more.  I finally settled into defeat.  The blanket would just have some stripes in it that I would probably be the only one to notice.  Problem accepted.
  5. Judah was born, and I ran out of time to devote to crocheting.  But I decided that 9 months was long enough to wait for a complete mammamade present, and I determined to finish it for Christmas.  And I did.  Problem solved.
And here it is:
Do you see the stripes?  Even now they drive me a little crazy.  I have to force myself to not think about them.

Half double crochet border.(For those of you who are not crocheters, I am not being redundant--half double is different from a single crochet.)

And here's Judah opening it up on Christmas morning:

Momma, you made this for me?Yes, Judah.  Yes I did.  It only took me about a year.

That's great, Mom.  But this box is ever cooler!!

Where's Judah?

There he is!

Cozy up, little man.

 And there you have it.  Judah's first completed mommamade present.  I don't think he's very impressed, but I'm quite happy with it.  I love how the shell stitch shows off the colors.  And it's a good size for the crib and for a little playmat.  Despite all the issues it presented, I really enjoyed making it, and I've decided that it's going to be my go-to pattern if I ever need to make another baby blanket.  And now that I have it all figured out, I just might be able to finish another in less than a year.


  1. Simply beautiful! I'm so impressed with your homemade Christmas this year! Well done, Robin!!!

  2. I love this blanket. Judah does too, even though it seems like he just likes boxes and paper.

  3. Oh my goodness, Robin. I can't stop staring at the stripes!!! (Just kidding. ;o) It's all in your head. It's gorgeous! Great job, and I'm sure Judah is going to enjoy the snuggly goodness.

  4. hooray crochet! also i'm glad your blog is back...it makes me happy :)
    what yarn is that? i can never find the right yarn for baby blankets- good texture & not hideously pastelled- and that yarn appears to fit the bill!

  5. Both blankets are Bernat big ball yarn. The unfinished blanket is in chunky, and the finished one is just worsted. It's not super duper soft, but it's definitely still soft enough for a baby. (Consider yourself forewarned: you'll need TWO skeins for a blanket.) :o)