Handmaking Gifts for a New Bambino
It’s always a great feeling when you finish up a project – especially if its a gift for someone.
I’ve been working on a little crochet blanket for a new baby. Baby makes are so satisfying – they are quick to make, not to mention cute.
One of the first questions I ask parents-to-be on the announcement of their happy news is whether they have a baby colour theme picked out. I know that might sound odd – most folks want to know things like possible baby names, due dates or even birth plans. Nope, not me. I want to know if these Mamas and Papas like traditional pinks, blues or buttery yellows. Or if they want something more contemporary – charcoal and mint or latte and vanilla. Whether they have a jungle theme picked out for the nursery or if they are picking a fairytale wonderland.
I’m pretty sure that these sort of questions are a little bit unusual, but this is how I work out what would be the best handmade gift. While it’s lovely to spend time on a handmade gift, if it doesn’t suit the taste or style of the recipient, you can be left in that awkward place where the gift doesn’t seem to hit the mark.
When people know that you’re a little handy with a sewing machine, or are well practiced with a pair of knitting needles – or even like to make things themselves – they can come right out with it and ask or a sweater and bootee set, a crib quilt or a hat and scratch mitts. This is great. You know that the items you’ll be gifting will be well received, and as they’ve been specifically requested, will be much needed amongst the raft of plain white newborn onsies and plush toys that they will no doubt be showered with.
So when folks don’t come right out and make a request, working out their favourite colour combos for the new arrival is the prefect way to gauge what design to make. One of the toughest things to remember when making a gift is that you need to remember that the items isn’t for you but from you. So yes, it needs to reflect your personal style as the craft person whose hands create it, but at the same time it need to be something that the recipient will want – and hopefully cherish.
Personally, I’d rather not knit up a candy pink sweater for a new baby girl. Or make a crib quilt in 52 shades of blue for a wee lad. But, if thats what people prefer, then that’s just fine with me. I get to pick out the style or design that is more in keeping with my creative ideas…creating something that is as enjoyable to make as it is to receive, hopefully!
What is my favourite response to my standard issue baby announcement question? I love it when people say, “I think that this baby is just going to be a really colourful baby!” Now, this is what gets me excited.
When I think of bright rainbow colours I straight away knew I wanted to make something with this glorious yarn! Mini Mochi in Intense Rainbow fits the bill perfectly. I mean that name says it all – Intense Rainbow – could it be more perfect than that?
When it comes to really colourful yarn, it seems silly to pick out or design something that is really fussy. It’s a pretty fine line to make sure that the colours work well together in a piece – pick out something to frilly, to fancy or with an overly complicated stitch pattern and you could end up with a finished piece where every element is fighting against each other.
I wanted something that was classic, maybe slightly retro when paired with this vibrant mix of colourways. So, deciding to make a granny square blanket was pretty much a no brainer.
I decided to let the colours of the yarn guide me on the size and construction. After a little experimentation [read: crocheting and ripping back] I realised that the yarn created brilliant rainbow designs when kept of a smaller square – rather than working one huge granny square.
After nine granny squares, each ten rounds in size – I had the perfect components for the blanket.
With each one carefully blocked and laid out to create the best design of squares, I joined them all together with a simple double crochet seams. Wanting to ensure that there was no fighting with the many (MANY) colours of the squares, a clean white yarn is the perfect match. To give the whole blanket a really finished…erm…finish, I decided that two rounds of double crochet would border the blanket and frame the crazy colours in style.
When your handmade gift is all finished, every last end has been neatly woven in, all you want to do it gift it, gift it, gift it! But you know want? This blanket, has be toted around with me for the last few weeks, working up a new square here and there to make sure it’s finished on time. But, you know what, that’s the last thing I want folks to think when they unwrap it. So, it back to blocking this time as a finished piece, so that on the big day it looks like a blanket – well worth the final effort – much better than trying to pick off a bit of grass from where you were working on it in the garden, or flick off a dust bunny because it’s been toted about on the bottom on your handbag for a month!
All that’s left is to wrap it up with a pretty bow and hope that they love it as much as you loved making it!