Birthday Blanket

Well hello there! I’ve been so excited to share this blanket with you. I have to keep quiet about all the things I make as gifts now because all of my friends and family read my blog, and I do really like things to be a surprise. Even if the recipient knows that I’m making them something I prefer to give it to them before they see photos on here.

I started working on this blanket when Tiny Tin Girl was about six weeks old. I’m not quite sure how I managed to get it all done, mainly by sneaking in a square any time I had five minutes with free hands, a few in the evenings, and one rather wonderful weekend when my father in law came to stay and entertained Tiny Tin Bird for ages and I managed to make a whopping FOURTEEN squares in one day. That was such a good day!

The blanket was made for my friend’s little boy’s third birthday. He is one of TTB’s best friends and we think he’s rather wonderful and definitely deserving of a birthday blanket.

I made this blanket to the same dimensions as the Cottage Squares Blanket that I made back in February, so I knew that I needed 120 squares. I used most of the colours that feature in the Big Elmer Blanket that I made for my son, but I omitted the “Shrimp” and added “Spice”, “Sage” and “Lime”. I used my Elmer Squares pattern like usual, and made each square 4 rounds in size, using a 4mm crochet hook.

As usual, I used Stylecraft Special dk, which is just perfect for making blankets from, especially for children. It has a wonderful range of colours, is soft and easy to work with and washes well at 30 degrees. I used the following colours:

Meadow, Lime, Magenta, Plum, Pomegranate, Fondant, Sherbet, Cloud Blue, Spring Green, Aster, Aspen, Saffron, Sage, Clematis, Violet, Lavender, Lipstick, Turquoise and Spice. I can do a chart showing colour placement if anyone would like one.

I didn’t measure how much of each yarn I used because I work from stash rather than starting with full balls of yarn each time (I’m all thrifty and that), but you’ll need a ball of each colour and will probably have some left over. You’ll probably need two of Lipstick if you’re joining and bordering with that colour.

I chose the red “Lipstick” as my joining colour. It’s sometimes hard to choose which colour to join with but I feel like this red is a very neutral colour (and I don’t mean neutral like for a girl or a boy), in the same way that black and white are. There’s a proper explanation for it but I can’t remember what it is. The red here doesn’t detract from any of the colours, it simply sits as it’s own colour, framing them all. This is the back of the blanket and I like the effect it gives. It would also look nice on the front, but I prefer it on the back.

I like to go around the blanket once in the same colour as the joining colour so that all of the edge is framed. I did a round of slip stitches in red here before I’d decided what to do about the border. I deliberated about it for a while but eventually decided to just keep it simple and do a round of UK TR stitches in the same red. If I had decided that beforehand I wouldn’t have done the slip stitches, but actually I really really like the effect: it makes the border sit on top of the squares rather than going into them. It makes the squares look really square!

I tried something different on the corners as well. Instead of making a chain space like you would do in a granny square, I did 2TR in each stitch of the corner, and those three increases made a nice neat corner.

 

 

I’m really pleased with how the simple red border frames the blanket neatly, without detracting from all of the different colours. I had considered doing 7 rounds and making a rainbow border of Magenta, Violet, Turquoise, Lime, Saffron, Spice and Lipstick but I’m glad that I decided against it as it would have been far too fussy.

The blanket measures 94 x 114cm and is a perfect fit for a toddler sized bed but as you can see it sits nicely on top of a single sized bed too. I hear that it is currently being used as the roof for den building! I really love it when things I make are appreciated.

 

And there we have it: one Birthday Blanket for a lovely little boy. A pleasure to make and give!

 

Perfectly Companionable

 

My boy and me. Oh how he’s grown, and I have too. He was my first baby, the one who made me a mother. He broke me down and built me back up and taught me how to be a mum. I look at him sometimes and can’t quite believe that he is the same boy that I saw on my scan photos, grew in my tummy and held as a newborn. We’ve been through a lot together and it certainly hasn’t always been easy. It’s been wonderfuland I’m truly privileged and honoured to see him grow, but it hasn’t always been easy. Being the mother to a strong, independent, clever, cheeky and brilliant two year old has been exhausting and amazing at the same time. He amazes me with his intelligence, curiosity, love and compassion every day but I often find myself desperately trying to stay one step ahead of him in terms of setting boundaries and making sure I stick to my word while at the same time trying not to squash out all of the wonderful spark that makes him him.

Lately we have turned a corner and out from a chrysalis of tantrums and stubbornness has emerged a beautiful butterfly of a boy. He’s a delight (mostly). We have proper conversations and we do things together. He’s helpful: fetching a pack of wipes or nappies or a muslin for me if I ask, and he loves to help me cook and bake. I cherish this time of being one of his favourite people to be around, and someone he thinks has all the answers. Or at least, the person with access to Google and YouTube who can find an answer quite quickly …

Yesterday we were chatting about what we wanted to do with our day. Shall we go to the park? Catch a train to Saltaire, or Bradford? Or a bus to Ilkley? A bus please! So we did. We waited in the bus station and he sat on one of the little seats without me having to hold his hand or the reins on his bumblebee. He told some old ladies that we were going on a bus adventure and they thought that was a fun thing to do. He climbed the stairs on his own and we sat on the top deck so we could see everything. He pointed out all of the things that he could see (farms, tractors, wind turbines and animals) and was so good. He came into shops with me and I bought him an umbrella. I’d been promising him one since we went to Harlow Carr back in February and this was the first child friendly one I’d seen that didn’t have Mr Tumble/other characters on it. He was thrilled and insisted on having it up even though it wasn’t raining!

He sat on the benches by the bandstand to eat his snack and then have a drink before we headed off for a wander through the ghyll on Wells Road. Looking at the water and the waterfall, the leaves of the trees, the bridges, gates and paths, picking up little conkers that had fallen off too soon and asking questions with every breath. As he stood on the bridge to peep through at the water I realised that I hadn’t been to that part of Ilkley since I was 37 weeks pregnant with him. Oh what an adventure he has led, and continues to lead, me on! I was a different person before I had him and I much prefer the person that I am now. How he has grown. He’s perfectly companionable and marvellous in every way. What a lucky mummy I am.