Baby, Crochet

Baby Sea Turtle Blanket

Baby Sea Turtle Blanket

I never thought I’d crochet a blanket. I knew it would take a lot of time, a lot of yarn, and a lot of stitches done correctly. But then I saw a baby sea turtle design and fell in love with it. I considered buying one on Etsy, but I already wanted it to be a certain way and knew I had to do it myself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…if I can do it, YOU can do it! I set a goal of 5 rows a day and started early from my due date…some days I did 10 and some days I did none. It averaged out pretty well!

I’m having a rainbow baby this November (a rainbow baby means a baby born after the loss of a child…like my miscarriage). If it was a girl, I would have gone crazy with the rainbow theme for the nursery. But I always loved the ocean theme too, and since it’s a boy, the blue goes perfectly. So the blanket will be my first gift to him!

Another career I’ve always been interested in is a Marine Biologist. I’m pretty sure I won’t ever do that, but I love the ocean and marine animals. It horrifies me how we humans clear out coral reefs without a care, like they have done in Dubai. It’s our responsibility as stewards of the earth to take care of it. I may have this “hippie granola” attitude because I grew up in Oregon, but it’s also just the right thing to do! I want to keep the world as healthy and beautiful as I can for my children and future generations, and I’ll teach that same value to my children, starting with the ocean-style nursery.

And…one of my favorite books is The Last Song, which has a story about baby sea turtles, and I could just see their adorable little flippers scooting across the sand in my mind as I read it…it’s magical. I cried at the end of that beautiful book. The movie was good too. And I need Miley’s vintage purple cupcake dress from that movie, if anyone wants to get me one.

I looked at different designs for the blue water part of the blanket, and decided I wanted to do white waves changing from light teal, to medium, to dark. I also wanted cotton because it seems like a durable and friendly material (you know the jingle: The touch, the feel of cotton…The Fabric of Our Lives), and because it’s a natural fiber and would burn up in a fire instead of melting onto the skin like synthetic yarns would. I used “I Love This Cotton” yarn but I’m not sure I’d recommend it because:

1 – The skeins were MUCH smaller than I expected, so I had to order twice. Paying shipping twice wasn’t ideal. They weren’t available in store so I didn’t have much choice.
2 – Some of the skeins had breaks, some just frayed and some knotted together. I have heard some yarn quality has declined due to Covid; some manufacturers had to close while the demand rose as people took up new hobbies when they stayed home more. People have also complained that the length is actually shorter than what is specified on the label.
3 – I could only find the end of the yarn on 1 skein. So I had to wind the rest into cakes, which I know some people like to do anyway, but for me it was extra work I didn’t want to take the time to do.
4 – SO much lint and fuzz. One reason I chose cotton was I thought it would be durable and not ball up quickly and be so fuzzy. After a lot of scratching my itchy nose and lint-rolling my clothes, I said a literal prayer for the finished blanket and put it in the washer and dryer. Quite a lot of fuzz came off in the lint trap but it’s still more fuzzy than I would like. I understand it isn’t an expensive, high-quality yarn, so you get what you pay for! But I only bought when it was on sale (at Hobby Lobby, just wait until the next week if it’s not on sale the current week). Also, the online reviews seem to be for the “I Love This Yarn” brand in general, so that includes the acrylic yarns and isn’t specific to just the cotton. For the number of skeins and colors, I ordered:

2 – Taupe (sand)
1 – White (waves)
2 – Mint (light teal water)
3 – Aspyn (medium water)
2 – Deep Teal (dark water)
1 – Sage (light green turtle)
1 – Olive (dark green turtle)

I probably should’ve ordered one more Deep Teal to make the blanket a little longer and have a larger section of dark water at the top. I also had to frog (rip it = ribbit = frog, crochet lingo) my last 2 rows of Mint to crochet tighter and make it last as I ran out. My rows were 156 stitches long (chain 156+3 when starting) which with my own tension made the blanket about 3′ wide. I was only able to get 9 rows from each skein, and sometimes only 8. Since it’s for a baby, I could have made it even smaller.

I didn’t use a pattern, just this YouTube tutorial on the Ribbed Ripple Stitch (by Blossom Crochet). It is excellent so I don’t need to make my own! Here’s my advice: Pay attention to the technique at the start AND end of each row:

At the START of the row, CHAIN 3 then DC (USA terms) into that same stitch. Then 3 DC.

At the END of the row, there should always be 3 clear stitches left (for 3 DC), then you DC2 into the chain part.

If I had paid better attention to this, I wouldn’t have had to completely start over after I already did the first 15 rows. My blanket was getting smaller with each row…eep!

It’s also important to know that no matter how wide you make your blanket, it MUST be a multiple of 12 stitches.

I love the ribbed ripple stitch because it makes such a nice texture and also creates shadows on every other row, creating more color dimensions. The number of rows for each color are:

5 – Dark Teal (this is the only odd-number row, so that the top edge is a ‘front’ row and not back. And if I didn’t run out of yarn, I think 7 or 9 rows would look even better!)
2 – Medium Teal
6 – Dark Teal
4 – Medium Teal
4 – Dark Teal
6 – Medium Teal
2 – Dark Teal
6 – Medium Teal
2 – Light Teal
4 – Medium Teal
4 – Light Teal
2 – Medium Teal
6 – Light Teal
2 – White
4 – Light Teal
2 – White
2 – Light Teal
2 – White
2 – Sand
2 – White
16 – Sand

I patterned my own turtle appliqué to give the look of a sea turtle without being exactly correct. There are a few different species, but my research showed me even the green sea turtle isn’t that green, but more brown. So I chose olive and sage for the yarn colors. I started with a free pattern and modified it by removing the tail (yes sea turtles have tails but they don’t seem to show when they are tiny babies), enlarged the front flippers and made the back flippers smaller. Some people suggest filling the shell with Poly-fil (stuffing), but I’m pretty sure if I did that, it would come out the back side between stitches. So I just left the yarn ends attached and used them as stuffing instead. It worked great!

I staggered the turtles diagonally to be more aesthetically pleasing, with the top turtle in the middle so that it will show in baby photos.

Of any work of art I’ve ever created, I would say this is my greatest. Will you make one? Would you feel that way too? Let me know with a comment and crochet away!

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