By Paula O’Kray
A few months ago, I found out I was going to be a Great, Great Aunt. After getting over how old that made me feel, I decided to get to work on a baby blanket for a shower gift.
I had a pattern for a gingham style blanket that I’d always wanted to make, and now I had a reason! I noted the type and color of yarn I needed and headed to the local Narnia (or perhaps I should say, “Yarnia”) known as Herrschners.
Not that I needed a reason to visit. I drive past the store several times a week while I’m working, and it’s hard to resist thinking about popping in and grabbing something I really don’t need on my way home from work.
Not that it’s on my way home from work, mind you.
Anyway, back at home, I happily began making baby granny squares in the colors the pattern called for. The pattern called for 225 of these little suckers, so I had to stay organized.
Then I had an idea.
The parents-to-be are big Kenosha Kingfish fans. In fact, they got married last summer right on the field where they play. I figured a baby blanket in Kingfish colors would be the perfect blanket.
I headed back to Yarnia to buy more yarn, since my color scheme had changed considerably. I continued on my goal of 225 squares in the new colors.
Then I had another idea.
When I went to the Kenosha Kingfish website, I stumbled across the schedule for the 2023 season. I found myself staring at little squares in different colors for home and away games, bye days, and the All-Star Series days.
It was a baby blanket waiting to happen.
I knew it would drive me insane, but I had to do it. Good thing I don’t have a man in my life, because he would’ve forgotten what I looked like.
You guessed it, back to the store to get more yarn, for what I hoped would be the last time.
Being the geek I am, I pulled out my graph paper and colored markers and made a visual guide of the schedule. I made several versions until the (retired) graphic designer in me was satisfied with the color balance.
I purchased some thin foam mat interlocking floor tiles so I could lay out the little granny squares in the proper pattern. I wanted to make sure I could “proof” the squares against the schedule before I started assembling this beast.
Occasionally I would update my friend Amy with photos of my progress. She was always very encouraging and supportive, and when I told her I was losing my mind, she said she had absolutely no doubt.
I worked on the blanket for several months before it began to take shape. The squares had to be sewn together in rows, and the rows had to be sewn together in the proper order for the blanket to be accurate. I must have checked and re-checked, to make sure there were no mistakes in the schedule, a hundred times.
Then I had to figure out how to best make the letters for the months and numbers for the year. I must have made nearly a dozen prototypes until the German parts of my DNA were satisfied, always sending Amy a new photo when I’d made some decent progress.
With the baby shower rapidly approaching, I had to really stay on task, even though I was getting tired of sewing in what was probably about 500 yarn tails.
When it was finished, I documented it by taking several dozen photos, and then wrapped it up so I couldn’t obsess about it further.
Showers have changed a bit over the years, but not too much. It was a great time to enjoy family I haven’t seen in some time, not to mention the typical baby shower fun and games and food.
Many beautiful handmade blankets were given as gifts, but I knew no one was crazy enough to do what I had done.
To my absolute delight, the mom-to-be recognized the pattern and shouted it out to the shower guests. I told her, “I sure hope she likes baseball!” with a wink.
I asked my oldest sister, the soon-to-be Great, Great Grandma if she thought they were planning on having a big family, and she responded, “Yes, I’m pretty sure they are!”
Hello, Herrschners? I think I’m going to need a bigger shopping cart!
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