A Transatlantic Blanket

It was almost a year ago when my girl A. and I conspired to make a very special crafts project happen, for a baby that would make us Aunt and Great-Aunt respectively. The parents had decided they’d name him only after they’d had a first look at his face, so at the time we just called him J.’s baby.

We’d decided early on we wanted to give the young family something hand-made, pooling our respective crafts skills: A. knows how to sew (boy, does she ever) and I know how to crochet. We agreed on a play blanket for the floor, for the many hours they’d spend lying, rolling, crawling and cuddling with their new son. I fondly remember those days :-)!

There was tremendous searching of crafts blogs, Ravelry, etsy and Pinterest, making suggestions and swapping ideas, and finally we agreed the blanket was going to be navy blue, with little crochet animal appliqués. Once A. was done sewing in California, the blanket was mailed, in good time too, some time in September. We reckoned it would get here by mid October, well before our fall break, during which I was planning to make all the animal appliqués. The baby was due end of October, so we thought we were being good planners.

And then the package didn’t come. The American PO couldn’t tell us where it went, the German PO couldn’t find it either, it was a total mystery. We had the receipt, so we could file a complaint and have it searched for (the least they could do considering the outrageous shipping cost), and thank goodness they ultimately unearthed it again. It got here some 4 weeks late, in a heavily damaged package, that had evidently been opened by customs, or the DEA, or who ever must have deemed it suspicious; even the blanket itself had been unseamed in one corner, and rudely not been stitched back together. Repairing the seam by hand took some swearing, and careful stitching.

Then came the really scary part: sewing the appliqués in place. You can’t screw up doing that, because undoing those seams would be a literal nightmare. So I enlisted help, and with my son and my friend M. sewed the animal appliqués on. Then I took the pics you see below, wrapped the finished blanket up again, and prayed it would arrive in one piece when I mailed it, and it did.

If you’re wondering how the appliqués are made – I didn’t really have a pattern. You basically make a round shape for the face or body, and then smaller, black and white ones for the eyes. Other extremities like ears and such I just winged. It was a lot of trial and error, and waaaay to much stitching together for my taste, but it had to be done. My personal favorite is the jellyfish :-). Looking at the pictures again, I’m really pleased with how it turned out. A very successful two-continent collab, right there!

Since we didn’t get to see much of each other this year due to travel and health restrictions, we sadly didn’t get the chance to play with young K. on the blanket in person. And it’s only now, one year after the fact, that I realize I never wrote about the project at all. It’s only fitting to do it now, with his first birthday only a matter of weeks away.

It seems bizarre how fast the past 12 months went by. But then, there’s really not much that doesn’t feel bizarre these days, is there? Despite all the weirdness, there were many good things. After the terrible start into my work year, I’ve been fortunate with being assigned a series of cool book projects, one after the other. We have so far escaped getting infected, knock on wood. My daughter sang solo in front of an audience for the first time. My boy got his license and enjoys driving us around. My husband has successfully led his team and done excellent work from a distance, while keeping a healthy work-life balance, for the first time in years. We said goodbye to a cat, and, after a few weeks of mourning, took in a new one. We spent a great deal of time out in the country – which has been the ultimate blessing. All in all, we’ve been very fortunate, and it’s always a good thing to remember that.

Leaving here today with a picture of my latest brightly colored color block socks:

I look forward to wearing them. Have a good weekend, and thank you for reading!

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