I liked the idea of making a zig-zag blanket, so I started searching online for a simple zig-zag pattern. I finally found this pattern, which uses only single crochet stitches (plus increases and skipping stitches), and decided to give it a try.
I figured I would need to make it smaller, but it turned out that this pattern makes a blanket that is pretty well exactly the width that I wanted for a crib-sized blanket. I ignored the colour pattern that they suggested, and decided to alternate between 3 rows of white, and 3 rows of purple, with two stripes of pink about a third of the way from each end. Again, I hate how everything made for babies is so insistently all pink or all blue, so I wanted it to be more neutral than that.
I worked on this blanket during a couple of summer road trips, and seemed to be making good progress - until I realized that somehow my blanket was getting wider! It turned out when I had originally written out the pattern into a notebook so I could take it with me on the trip, I had forgotten to write down one of the skipped stitches, and so I was gaining a stitch every row... I had to pull out about 12-15 rows, which was very painful! And to make things worse, a few rows later I was making the same mistake, so I had to rip out a few more rows! Very very frustrating. But I persevered and finally finished the blanket in time to send it to my cousin for the arrival of new baby.
A couple of months later, I found out that another friend was pregnant! So of course I immediately began planning another zig-zag blanket because it had come out so well. When she found out it would be a boy, I planned a purple, white, and blue blanket with a slightly different pattern. For this blanket I decided to use actual decrease stitches (also called stitch 2 together: st2tog) at each end, instead of skipping stitches. I think this made for a much cleaner edge, and also made it less likely that I would start gaining stitches again!
Here is a picture of that second blanket (unfortunately I can't track down the picture of the baby with his blanket, but if I find it, I will post it here later):
The other cool thing about this blanket pattern, which you can see quite clearly in this photo, is that the pattern is actually somewhat 3-D, it creates ridges running lengthwise down the blanket.
Once this blanket was finished, I was looking for another project. I had found some other colours of the same yarn, and so I was dreaming of making a rainbow-coloured blanket. I've always loved rainbows/the full colour spectrum all together, I just think it's so beautiful! When I go to a paint store or a yarn store or anywhere that sells things in every colour, I am so drawn to all the colours when they're together like that - to me the only way to describe these colours together is to say they're delicious!
Just as I was beginning to think "well, maybe I'll just start to make a rainbow blanket, and either a baby will come along amongst my friends and family, or I will donate it somewhere" - when out of the blue my new co-worker announced she was pregnant, and instantly my problem was solved - thanks universe!
Here is my lovely rainbow blanket (probably my favourite one that I've made so far - see above comment about my love of rainbows), keeping my colleague's baby warm af few days after he was born last fall.
Well I've actually got another counsin-let on the way: a little brother for the little girl in the first picture above, who is now almost a year and a half old! So I'm working on matching zig-zag blanket for him, in white, blues, and green. And I also have another friend whose partner is pregnant and due in June, so maybe another rainbow blanket is in order.... we shall see. Stay turned for pictures of these blankets when they're done.
Sometimes it happens that I hear about friends pregnancies too far along, or when I'm already in the middle of making another blanket, and it just isn't practical to make them a blanket before their baby is born. In this case I try to make something simpler and faster for them, like a tiny touque or little booties... I'll talk more about those in a later post.