Several months ago I finished making gifts for my new nephew, who was due on 31st May. He was born 10 weeks early and spent several weeks in the Special Care Baby Unit. While he was there I was not allowed to see him. It was a tough few weeks being the only immediate family member who wasn't allowed into the Unit, but they have to draw the line somewhere and aunts are on the other side of the line. I was really sad about this, but it gave me a little longer to finish off some baby gifts.
As you might remember from last year, I made my niece a crocheted bear, when she was born. I decided that her brother should have a similar stuffed toy, but slightly different. I chose a pattern from my book, Crocheted Softies: 18 Adorable Animals from Around the World
. As Stacey Trock (the author) designed my niece's bear, the toy I chose for nephew matches in style. I chose to make La La The Panda.
He is a little boss-eyed, but this is the nature of sewing yarn onto crocheted fabric. I couldn't use safety eyes because this was for a baby, and babies can chew the eyes free of the fabric. I used Cascade 220 Superwash which is great for baby things as it is wool, but it can be slung in the washing machine without fear of felting.
His arms are curved, which wasn't as easy to do as I anticipated. This panda is crocheted at a fairly small gauge and crocheting black yarn in a poorly lit room (which mine was) is not fun. However, the result is. When my niece "helped" by unwrapping her brother's gifts she grabbed hold of the curved arm straight away. It is a perfect child handle! The panda had to be smuggled away whilst she was distracted by her birthday gift. This panda is pretty small, but as it's owner is only wee, I thought it an appropriate match.
As well as the panda, I, of course, decided to make a blanket. All new babies need blankets. It's the law, or something. As I was on a crochet kick I decided to make a crocheted blanket. I wanted to make squares for the blanket, but I wanted to make them fairly solid. After some trial and error and searching I found this free pattern. It was the perfect square for what I had in mind. I bought lots of different bright shades of Sirdar Snuggly DK and some dark blue in the same yarn, as contrast, and crocheted each bright square before crocheting them all together with a dark blue border round each one.
I decided to single crochet the blocks together with the wrong sides facing to make ridges on the right side of the blanket, to create texture for little fingers to play with. I edged the whole blanket in the more of the blue.
The first round of the edging was only crocheted into the back loop of the stitches. After finishing the edging I then slip stitched into the front loop of that first round to create a matching ridge to create a frame that matched the inner squares. I think it worked quite well.
As I had some brightly coloured yarn left over from the blanket I decided to make a short sleeved Beyond Puerperium, by Kelly Brooker. I made a long sleeve version for my niece and I think it has had lots of wear. As we are supposedly in the warmer months, I thought a short sleeved version would be appropriate. The good thing about short sleeves, is that the cardigan should last longer, as most babies get longer before they get wider.
I love the bright stripes, but there were an awful lot of ends to deal with. I wove in as I went, but the ends still needed a bit of tidying up.
I made the 3 month version of this pattern, again in the hopes that it could be worn for longer. Having short sleeves means it should be ok to be worn straight away, and last well past the 3 month mark. Full details of the cardigan are on my Ravelry Project Page. I love this pattern and I think my niece and nephew will be getting several more versions of this design as they get bigger (unless my SIL and brother tell me to stop!)
So, at last, now I've met my little nephew, A, I can share his presents with you. I think they were well received.
As it is Friday, and these are finished objects, I'm going to hook up with Tami. Click the button to get more crafty inspiration.