February 19, 2014

Sweet Home Chicago Baby Blanket

This has to be one of the easiest blankets I've made, and also the most popular.  I made my first one a few months ago while planning to make a collection to sell at a store in Chicago.  As I got busier and busier studying, then working, all while searching and applying for a full-time nursing position I didn't seem to be accumulating as many items to sell as I had hoped.  Between giving items to loved ones and making presents for the holidays I didn't seem to have extra time and yarn to spare for my little collection.

So a few weeks ago I decided that someone should be appreciating it either way and gave it to my dear friend and Chicago-native, Stacey.  She absolutely loved it and posted a picture to Facebook.  This led to a commission for a friend of hers to give as a baby gift.  And while exchanging the blanket in a nearby Starbucks, the woman next to us asked for my information to order one as well.  This baby is taking off!  

And of course it's a popular one, Chicago is a very unique place.  Although every city has love for their home and pride in the struggles and accomplishments of their home, Chicago has a fierceness in their loyalty.  You only need to watch two minutes of the local news to realize it's not the easiest place to grow up.  The weather is hot and muggy in the summer, cold and snowy in the winter.  It's not particularly forgiving. But for all those negatives, it forms strong and powerful communities.  

For us, it's been through Joe's rugby team.  They are as diverse a group as you can get- in age, race, occupation, and financial situation.  Yet not only do they come together to play as a team, they invest in their community by coaching local high school teams, helping each other find jobs, and encouraging their success.  They help and look out for not just each other, but their community as a whole.  It's amazing to be a part of this team. 

And though I would love to say that we are exceptional as a group, I don't think that's true.  I think you can find this community commitment throughout Chicago, whether you live North, West, or South.  We have only lived here for 2 years, but we've been welcomed into our community in so many ways- by rugby, by our neighbors at block parties, by friends we met through school.  Chicago has truly become a home.

Not to mention, Chicago brought us to our favorite Chicago-born dog.

Let's take a look at what that flag represents.  The white bars are the North, West, and South sides.  The blue stripes represent Lake Michigan and the north branch of the river for the top, and the south branch of the river and the canal for the bottom.  Each star represents a historical event in Chicago:  For Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, the World's Colombian Exposition in 1893, and the Century of Progress Exposition in 1933-1934. Within each of those stars, the six points also denote a point of pride related to the star's focus, ranging from their Latin motto "urbs in horto" (city in a garden) to values like Justice and Beneficence.

Keep reading to find the patten to make your very own Chicago blanket, or buy one here from my Etsy store!

The Pattern:

For the base blanket, I chained the desired width of the blanket.  The stitching is just a single crochet in each stitch, with a chain at the end of each row when you turn.  Super easy!  You can always shake it up by using a different stitch to make a more interesting pattern.


Each blue stripe is 1/6 of the height of the blanket, the middle white stripe is the height of two blue stripes.  I made my blanket about 36 inches wide and 24 inches high, making it a 2:3 ratio of height to width.  If you make yours a different size, just take your width as you crochet it, divide by 3 and multiply by 2 to get your full height.  Divide that by 6 to get your ideal stripe height.  For a 36" wide blanket, the stripes are 4" high.

The Stars:

Ch 6 into a magic ring to start.  

Round 1:  make 2 sc in each stitch, sl st into last stitch (12).  

Round 2:  Ch7, sc into 2nd stitch from hook.  In next five stitches, sc, hdc, hdc, dc, dc.  Sl st into 2nd stitch from where chain began, skipping one of the stitches.  Repeat until you have 6 points. Bind off.

Make 8 of these stars.  Evenly space 4 on each side and tack top and bottom point in place.  Line up the remaining four stars and tack in place on the opposite side.  I did this using a piece of yarn that I tied through both sides, and then removed once I stitched.  You could also tack with a permanent knot or temporarily with a marker.  Then stitch around perimeter of star, lining up both sides.

I hope you enjoy this pattern!  You can find it on Ravelry here.

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