Today I am so happy to be sharing my no-so-secret secret crochet project- the baby blanket I’ve been working on since September. Anyone with even the slightest interest in video games is likely to recognise the pixel heart from the Zelda games.

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This blanket is made of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I used 19 balls of yarn and had almost none left over at the end. That is pretty much 1.5 MILES of yarn.

This yarn is extremely well reviewed on Ravelry. I wanted something soft enough for a newborn’s skin, but also suitable for everyday use- i.e. washable and durable. This is an item that I hope will be used. The final row of the crochet edge is made of acrylic, partly for added durability and partly because I couldn’t face ordering another ball of yarn.

Speaking of the crocheted edge, it really turns seventy-two somewhat wonky granny squares into a cohesive whole. It took three hours in total, but check out how neat this corner looks now.

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Sweet.

There were several reasons I went with the heart design, other than cuteness. At Cayleigh and Dave’s wedding, we bridesmaids had pixellated hearts for our fascinators. Here I am modelling mine.

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After the wedding, Dave finally allowed Cayleigh to tattoo his name on her body and this is what she got.

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Are you sensing a bit of a motif?

Trigger warning: Readers who are sensitive to sentimentality should look away now.

Cayleigh and I have been best friends since we were about thirteen years old and our friendship has weathered many storms, including my short-lived emigration to Jamaica, going out with the same guy (not simultaneously!) in our late teens, and the usual buttload of teenage angst. We have the kind of relationship where we might not see each other for a few months (I live in London while she stayed down on the coast in and around Portsmouth after she went to University) but whenever we meet up, it’s like no time has passed and we always find something extremely silly to laugh about.

For many reasons, I am not an effusive person. Most people who know me also know that if I hang out with you, that means you’re okay. I’m not amazing at giving or receiving compliments, or communicating my innermost thoughts. Making things and giving them away is a really important way for me to express how I feel. This blanket is comprised of seventy-two granny squares. Each one took about half an hour to make, and then sewing them up took many more hours on top of that (GIF here).

Each square comprises about 250 double crochet stitches, plus the chain stitches linking them. I’m not saying this to emphasise the ‘work’ of craft. For me, making is a Zen-like experience that gives me a bit of space where my conscious mind is semi-occupied and my unconscious is more active. In the process of hooking a loop of yarn through another loop of yarn repetitively, thousands of times, I reflected on my relationship with Cayleigh and how important it has been in my life. She and Dave are a truly lovely couple and I remember their wedding day with unfading fondness, and happiness at being a part of it.

As a child psychologist, I regularly come up against the sad fact that many babies and children are not wanted, or those around them lack the resources- financial, physical, psychological, social- to give them what they need. This child- whom I will call Little Bear- was loved before he even existed, and I believe that Cayleigh and Dave will be there for him unconditionally. That is not an easy thing, and I salute them.

Well Little Bear, someone else who will love you is your mad auntie Monique. And she made you a massive heart so that you can be wrapped up in love from the day you’re born.

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