Monday, January 31, 2011

What's In My Crochet Bag - Baby Poll Edition

A friend of mine is having a baby. She is cute and sweet and stylish and the baby is a girl. I found a really cute sweater pattern that reminded me of her and then I tossed it. Because, you know, I never shoved my kids in those baby sweaters. They were kind of a pain and as my mom says, "Little finger and crochet don't always make a good match." So, I decided to do a blanket.

I found a blanket pattern that I really liked and began searching for yarn. This pattern has seven colors. You know, I hate color changes, but this seemed like so much fun. Anyway, the thing with seven colors is that you are going to have to buy at least seven skeins of yarn. And her nursery colors are green and brown. Kinda. Anyway, those are the colors I was going to use.

But in searching for the yarn, I discovered that I wasn't going to be able to make this blankie for any amount I can currently afford. I need yarn that is easy care and comes in a large selection of colors so I can get all my green and brown shades. And I just can't find what I need. So, now I am stymied.

I have a lovely sweater pattern that I think would be super cute, but probably not all that useful (especially since the baby is due in May and probably won't need a sweater for much of anything for a good long while). I have a blankie pattern that I can't afford to make. And of course, I have Ravelry, so it's not like I couldn't find a million other things to make.

But I want you all to weigh in. First of all, parents, did you dress your kids in pretty little sweatery things or was anything more complex that onsie plus sweatpants lost on you for the first six months or so? How did you feel about blankets that didn't match the nursery? Was there any other home crafted nugget of joy that was more useful/loved than blankies and sweaters? Secondly, crocheters, what is your go-to baby gift? What about your go-to baby yarn? Is there a simple solution when yarn selection and cost gets in the way of your vision? And thirdly, for anyone, should I go back to the sweater, come up with a different blanket pattern or just make something else entirely?

This shouldn't be as hard as it is.


Becca said...

I have a boy so I cannot comment on girly things, but I can say that I was gifted several adorable outfits that unfortunately, he never wore. Either they were too small, too fussy, or frankly too nice for him to wear.

We were given a beautiful crocheted blanket of super-soft butter yellow yarn that I adored. It got stained by spit-up that was too stubborn to be removed by hand and then destroyed by the delicate cycle of the washer. I cried over that.

For me, the blanket and the clothing were nice thoughts but not practical. Now that the boy is six, what has survived is the flannel blanket he received in the hospital and a couple stuffed animals.

A few thoughts off the top of my head for beauty and practicality--perhaps a crib bumper, rocking chair cushion, or diaper holder for the baby's room? Maybe a small bag that mom could use to hold her personal effects and toss into a diaper bag? Would a cute, stylish diaper bag be out of the question--something that would hold a few diapers, a change of clothes, and a travel pack of wipes and not look like luggage?

Joni said...

My two cents is very similar to Becca's. I never EVER put Elias in cutesy outfits until he was at least 1. And even then he'd wear it to church and then we'd take it off. It was just too hard to do all that work to get it on him, then it didn't look very comfortable anyways, and I hated to see something that cute get puked on. And Elias was born in May, and he didn't wear anything but a onesie for 6 months. All to say, I probably wouldn't recommend the sweater as a practical gift. (As above, though, I may have done it differently with a girl...)

And like Becca, I didn't use the hand-crocheted blanket we were gifted either out of fear of it getting ruined by puke. So once again, although special and very much appreciated, it wasn't practical. (I wouldn't have cared, though, if it didn't match the nursery...)

I was also thinking diaper bag... Pacifier clip? I've seen patterns for crocheted teddy bears or other toy animals... And there's always a hat. I've seen stylish people (a.k.a. not myself) put cute little headband thingies on baby girls - I've envisioning a band around the head with a really cute flower on the top?

Suze said...

Well, as an avid knitter, I loved and appreciated every single handmade gift I was given for my kids. They wore everything as long as they could (which wasn't long, because you know how babies grow). I think blankets are incredibly useful for all kinds of things like tummy time and covering up in the car and wrapping up to nurse or feed. That said, if the mother in question is not a hand-crafter herself, she may not see the value in a hand-crocheted item. And while I don't care one bit about whether a blanket matches the nursery (I'm not so much into color-coordination, as you know), she may care very much.

So here's my vote: make a toy. There are oodles of adorable crocheted toys out there, and I imagine several are free, though the ones that aren't free are usually inexpensive ($3-5 per download). If she's a funky type mom, find one of those cute monster patterns, but there ought to be plenty of plain old puppy/kitty/bumblebee patterns out there, too. Ravelry is a goldmine for this.

We've gotten several birth announcements lately from friends I'd really like to knit for, but I'm faced with limited time (these babies have been born already, and we'll be out of sweater weather soon enough, and blankets take me ages to finish), so I think I'm going to go for the knitted toys. They're easy and adorable.

As for the yarn...well, I have to admit I'm a total yarn snob. I don't much like acrylic, even for babies. I know it's washable and all, but it's also going to melt in a fire (wool is naturally flame-retardant) and it just seems kind of hot and uncomfortable. I also know that wool in Kentucky isn't so practical, so I would go for cotton or a plant fiber blend - washable and breathable. has some lovely options, definitely a step up from craft store dish cloth cotton, but not as expensive as going to a local shop.

I hope this helps!

Cindy S. said...

A crochet blanket would be perfect for summer months when you want to cover them in the air conditioned restaurant. I never minded if blankets didn't match the fact most of my favorite ones didn't. If it were me I'd prefer not to have blue (for a boy) or pink (for a girl)....I'd like something different like green, purple, yellow, etc...

ON a related note...I wish I had more time to crochet. I used to know how but I haven't done it in YEARS :(

Mrs. Allroro said...

That's a good idea! If you are sold on that blanket pattern and already have yarn in OTHER colors that are cute, call it a car blanket! You could even use a car shaped gift tag to reinforce your theme :-) And I was also going to suggest the toy idea, because that is something the child could use at home or carry to daycare, even into the preschool years.

Another idea might be wall art for the nursery... I've seen frames at Dollar stores (as in the "everything for $1" dollar stores).

I really liked the basket you made for Joni. That would be cute for a little girl's room. You could pack it with baby lotion or bibs or pacis or something. So then you'd only have to buy one thing of green yarn, right?

And if you DID want to go with a sweater, maybe you could size it up so she would be ready for winter. Many people don't receive larger baby clothes at their showers, right? And maybe by that time mom might be more willing to dress the baby up?

Go with your instincts. You're creative, thoughtful, and generous. It'll be lovely.

Suze said...

Oh, here's a random idea: a roll-up changing pad. A friend of mine made one for me when Daniel was born and it was so nice! Nice soft terry cloth on one side, and a pretty cotton print on the other, plus an elastic loop on each end to keep it rolled up. The pad wasn't big, maybe 20"x20", but it was the perfect size for a little baby who needs changing everywhere and all the time. It wasn't waterproof, but so what? It was washable and very soft. I'm not suggesting you crochet one (impractical, too hole-y), but depending on how much you hate your sewing machine, I think it would be an easy project.

Orlandel said...

Let me teach you to quilt....