Honeycomb Baby Blanket
A couple weekends ago I went to a friend's baby shower. The Monday before I was contemplating what to get her as a present (I had previously promised to crochet a stuffed animal for her baby girl, but knew I wouldn't have time to finish it before the shower). I looked through her registry on Babies-R-Us and declared to my husband that we would be going shopping for a baby gift on Saturday. He looked back at me and said "Why don't you make something? Weren't you thinking about making a baby blanket of some sorts?" I was (and baby blankets are my number 1 gifts for baby showers - see the previous two blankets I made here and here). But that was months ago when I thought I would have plenty of time to make one. With less than a week to go, I wasn't so sure I could pull it off. However, since I already had a few ideas in my head from lazily thinking about it, I didn't want to dismiss this possibility. The rest of Monday night was spend brainstorming ideas further, picking one - a honeycomb blanket, drawing hexagons (which involved revisiting such trig concepts as cosine and tangent), setting up my knitting machine to facilitate the process of making these hexagons, and looking up hours of a local yarn store. I went from being unmotivated to do anything to being completely consumed by my new project in a matter of minutes.
Tuesday night started with a mad dash to the said local yarn store to pick up the nicest brightest yarn for the blanket. I got a few skeins of Tree Frog Yarn in golden yellow and carrot orange because they had the most vibrant colors. Who says baby blankets have to be pastel? Back at the house, I embarked on the process of making 19 hexagons - that took 3 days (6 pieces on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday, and 8! on Thursday). Thursday night was also devoted to getting more yarn (I couldn't estimate from the start how much I needed and ended up having to get more), getting felt from a local fabric store, designing bees (first on the phone at the store, then on paper, then on a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet, then on paper again for final touches), and finally cutting bees out of the felt. I would not have had such awesome bees had it not been for my husband, who put an artistic hat on and dove into designing and later into sewing them.
Saturday came and I needed to get cranking on assembling the pieces - both hexagons and bee parts. It took some time to figure out how to join the pieces together. I knew I wanted to crochet them together with a contrasting color so the final blanket could look like a real honeycomb instead of sewing them with an invisible seam, like I did with the soccer ball. Looking online for ideas, I came across this page and immediately knew that a seam involving a combination of chain and slip stitches was worth trying. And it looked amazing when I joined a couple of pieces. As I stitched hexagons together (and mind you, it's a looooooong and somewhat mindless process), my blanket slowly transformed from a pile of rags into a beautiful whole (check out the timelapse slideshow below). After the pieces were all put together, it was time for the border. Turns out, 19 hexagons (well, ok, only 12, 7 are enclosed in the middle) have a really long perimeter, and making a scalloped edge (which means crocheting every 4th stitch 3 times) took hours. I sewed the bees onto the blanket on Sunday morning and finished with less than an hour to spare. Talk about time management!
It wasn't until the mother-to-be started opening the presents at her baby shower that I realized that not only did I nail the execution, but I also nailed the theme - Winnie the Pooh... Honey... Honeycomb... It was perfect! (Maybe next time I'll save myself some trouble and pay a little more attention to the items in the gift registry). The blanket was well received and greatly appreciated. I hope the baby will like it too.