One of my sisters, C., is expecting a baby (the first great-grandchild in our family) in May. This is, of course, the perfect excuse for me to crochet a baby blanket, and the idea's been floating around in the back of my mind since I first heard the news.
She and my brother-in-law have decided to let the baby's gender be a surprise, so I'm going to try for something gender-neutral. I'd like this blanket to be something that could be used through the toddler stage and on up, as long as it holds together, and I suspect that a little boy might not want a blankie with flowers all over it. So overtly floral motifs are out-- as are too-pink, girly-girl color combos. For that matter, army colors are a no-go, as well, in case it's a girl-- not that I'd really have wanted to make a camo-themed baby afghan, anyway. (g)
There's the standard yellow or green that everyone uses when it's unknown whether the baby will be a boy or girl. Or several pastel hues, including both pink and blue... But right now, I'm leaning toward a combination of several bright, non-pastel-dominated colors-- perhaps even a rainbow theme. Those should be fine for either gender, right?
I can tell I'm over-thinking this, but hey, let's just go with it! ;o)
How big should I make the blanket?
Something too big might not be as convenient to use when the baby's small... But I don't know how much it would be used in the infant stage, anyway. (I'm sure there will be no shortage of blankets-- including many that are easier to wash and transport than an afghan.) Something too small might not be useful for long once the baby reaches toddler age...
I need to just google it and see what the standard baby blanket size seems to be.
What type yarn will I use?
I already know the answer to this one. I want something durable, machine washable, accessible, and affordable, so I'm going with acrylics. I know some people whine that acrylics aren't soft enough, but they seem fine to me. (shrug) If it's truly too rough for delicate baby skin, they can store it until s/he's toughened up a little. ;o)
Heirloom lace or bright and cheerful?
It seems like many babyghans (for instance, this one) are meant more to be looked at than used-- props for very staged portraits-- heirlooms to tuck away in a hope chest and never see again. (g) Well, ok, maybe it's not quite that extreme, but they're so lacy and delicate that they don't look very useful as blankets. They feel like the kind of thing Mother packs away once the baby leaves the crib, because a rambunctious toddler would ruin it. I guess this would be a good excuse to make something like that-- the kind of blanket I'm unlikely to make in adult size... but I think I'd rather make something cozy and potentially useful.
...If I made them small, I could potentially make two little afghans... One bright and cheery and the other elegant and heirloomy. ;o) It's something to consider, at least.
Round(ish) or Rectangular?
I've seen some cute and very unusual afghans shaped like stars and such. (See Little Star, Aztec Sun, and Round Ripple.) They're so unique that they're kind of tempting... But how useful would something like that be? Maybe a plain old rectangle is best... In any case, this ties into my next (and final) question...
Ripples of Motifs?
Assuming I do decide to go with a rectangular blanket, do I want to make a ripple afghan (such as the Attic24 Ripple) or something from motifs-- something like this one based on the Circle of Friends motif, or this lovely Carseat Blanket)?
This is my biggest dilemma: What pattern will I use? I like the look of ripples, but perhaps they're more boring than motifs would be-- and I do really like motifs, as well. Still, sometimes simpler is better. On the other hand, I just got (for Christmas) a great book full of motifs, and this would be a good chance to break it in. Do the motifs I like look too girly? Ripples, at least, are thoroughly gender-neutral, I think...
Ah, decisions, decisions!
There's time to spare, but I don't want to wait too long. I need to settle on something soon!