Diy versus store-bought
A few years ago, some sort of baby boom hit my “office family”, with an average of 2 babies brought into the world every year from my female colleagues. When the first one was about to be due, I found myself in Denmark on holidays, walking on the beach with the kids, when I suddenly thought to myself: Well, this time, I’m going to do something special! I won’t simply buy something from the wishlist for the new baby, but make something specially for the baby itself. That day on the beach of Ebeltoft, what would become a neverending series of baby blankets was born. Little did I know that once I’d started this “tradition”, I’d have to make an average of two blankets a year. And let me tell you, blankets take a loooong time to make!
I had made one many years ago for one of my friends, a chevron blanket that afterwards was passed on among my friends until it was worn threadbare. Which is, in my opinion, the best thing that can happen. Knowing that you’ve made a present that is useful and brings joy, is the best feeling you can get. And since usually, when people have their first child, family and friends are only too keen to buy everything that’s on the list of the soon-to-be-parents, I guess that if you have certain crafting talents, you should definitely put them to good use and make something special!
Which is my new basic rule: If you can think of a handmade present that will give more joy than anything you can think of buying, just so you have a present for a certain occasion, then make it yourself!
So for little Jacob, I went with the Chevron Baby blanket from Purl soho, one of my go-to patterns which I absolutely adore. I used a double strand of a simple, machine washable cotton blend, and since I was on holidays, knitting it up was a breeze. Soon after, the next baby was due, little Julie… so I quickly whipped up another one. But by now, the chevron pattern was getting a bit boring, and also, I almost had a bad conscience at not doing something personal for little Julie. (By the way, Julie is quite happy with her blanket and finds it very comforting to stick her fingers between the knits and purls …)
Luckily, there were a few months until the next baby was due, so I could actually start sitting down and thinking a bit about making a dedicated pattern this time around. I fiddled around with rainbow patterns (but let me tell you, trying to transpose a rainbow onto a blanket is NOT an easy task – to make it short, I failed!). The end result of a lot of trial and errors was the Victoria blanket, an intarsia pattern with diamonds in rainbow colours.
Who is afraid of intarsia?
Since I had put so much work into drafting the Victoria Baby blanket, I guessed I could just as well put it online for others to use. And altough I thought that the intarsia part of it would put most knitters off the task, it has been downloaded more than 5.000 times in less than a year! Which means, there are a lot of really crazy knitters out there ready to take up the challenge!
Soon after that one was done, you’ll guess it, another baby was about to pop out, little Zoe. And since I’d started this crazy tradition, off I went for another blanket.
And since I am the kind of gal that quickly looses interest in doing the same thing more than once, I knew I had to come up with something a little different to make it work in time and still be satisfied with the result.
On the other hand, the rainbow theme is one that I really really like as you can see … there’s just something about these gorgeous colours that makes my heart skip a beat and think of sunshine, spring, and all good things wrapped up in one simple blanket. Also, I feel that as new parents, you need something to brighten up your daily life when sleep and me-time are a distant memory and will be for a long time to come (experience talking here, since I myself did not have the pleasure of producing any babies that slept throught their nights…).
The Zoe blanket : hearts and rainbow all in one
Keeping with the Baby cashmerino yarn, which is just the right kind of soft you want for a newborn AND is still machine washable (!), I started testing and trying out a few design ideas, and stuck with the heart theme. It took a while to get the curves just right, and the perfect spacing between them in both directions, but the result was definitely worth the sweat!
The finished blanket measures 90 x 100 (35.5 x 40″) and is composed of 7 rows of hearts, and a seed stitch edging.
Ready to take up the crazy intarsia challenge once again? I’d love to see your progress! Share your work using the hashtag #zoeblanket !
Download your copy of the Zoe Blanket in English, French, German or Danish and subscribe to my newsletter if you want to be the first to know when a new Baby blanket – or other pattern – is out! (spoiler alert : there is another one in the making… I told you: baby boom in the office family…)