Let me just say this right at the start: I do not knit baby blankets for just anyone. I am currently at an age when and in a place where everyone seems to be procreating. And I am happy for them all. But no matter how much I like my colleagues (three of whom are pregnant just this very moment, with countless others having recently become parents), or how much I care for family ties (my cousin’s baby is very cute indeed), baby blankets are way over the top to be just your ordinary I-m-so-happy-for-you gift. No, I save my baby-blanket energies for those special babies, for whom I hope to be called an honorary auntie, about whose colics and pooping habits I hope to be hearing on a daily basis, and whose small and great achievements I hope to be sharing in for years to come. Those babies – they get the best I’ve got to give. A thoughtful plan, a good-quality yarn, and loads and loads of patience and love built into every stitch.
When it comes to choosing the perfect baby blanket pattern, however, things get kinda tough. Apart from the mother telling you that he or she likes to kick a lot, you really have no idea about who the baby will be or what he or she will like. The only thing to do, then, is to come up with something that the parents will love. For this baby, I spent hours and hours browsing blankets on Ravelry. I came up with a few I-guess-that-will-dos, but nothing that really made me light up. And then I spotted the Sleeping Baby’s Castle Blanket and my heart stopped. This baby’s parents are into fantasy (literature, movies, games, you name it). The search was done.
Now, I have a lot to say about this project, and it’s all great. So get ready for a wave of positivity here.
The pattern was an absolute pleasure to knit, and working on it got me excited, no, make that thrilled, about knitting after a full-on 6-month-long break. That’s got to tell you something. The pattern is simply awesome. It is superbly written, and completely error-free. Even though I am comfortable with charts in general, I very quickly decided to follow the written instructions on this one because the chart is huge (it spreads out over two full pages). I did not find a single mistake in the whole written-out instructions, which I believe is amazing. I really appreciate and admire the effort that went into this pattern.
I knit everything exactly per pattern, apart from eliminating one turret pattern repeat at the bottom and one at the top, as many Ravelers commented on the blanket coming out too long. The final measurements are 80 x 92 cm, which is a pretty perfect fit for a baby cot.
As for level of difficulty, it is really mostly just knit and purl, with the occasional yarn-over and cable, very simple. You do have to pay attention to what you’re doing when you’re on the castle motif, but it never gets overly complicated. And there are some really nice details thrown in there, little stitches that are so clever and so well placed that you just have to smile to yourself and marvel at them.
In terms of what yarn to choose, I hesitated for quite a long time. An Aran weight for a baby blanket?! It just sounded like it would be waaay too heavy and unmanageable. (I am happy to report that it is perfectly fine.) And then not that many companies make Aran-weight 100% superwash merino yarns. (I am happy to report that Drops came to the rescue, as usual.) And then which colour to choose? Something not too conventionally baby-like, yet something bright enough to show off the beautiful motif. I settled on this grayish-blue. (I am happy to report that the parents were delighted to have finally received something blue for their boy, it was the very first!)
In the end, I am absolutely thrilled with how the DROPS Big Merino worked out. As I learn again and again, Drops provide amazing quality for a very good price. I have only words of praise for them. And I can hardly believe how crisp those stitches are!
So that’s it. We’re ready for you, baby Aleks!