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The hungriest of them all

When I found out one of my closest friends was pregnant with her first baby, I knew exactly what I wanted to make… Or the theme at least: The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is my friends’ favourite children’s book of all time – so much so, that her now-husband had a custom, Hungry-Caterpillar-themed engagement ring made! It was glorious!

So at the time I was still new to crochet, but I knew I wanted to make something for her baby (heck, I wanted to crochet all the things for everyone!); and I knew it had to be Hungry Caterpillar themed. But what…? I searched Pinterest and was really disappointed with the selection – or lack thereof… I mean, the ideas that came up were cute, but there weren’t many crochet patterns in this theme and none of them really stood out to me at the time. Lots of newborn photoshoot props, beanies, soft toys… What was I looking for!?

All very cute ideas, but not what I had in mind… Although I did end up making the toy in the bottom right corner for his 1st birthday!

So I kept searching and decided to look for baby blanket inspiration… Again, nothing amazing – until I came across the Hooded Baby Blanket by Lion Brand. That was it.! I *had* to make it! And my imagination could see it as a Hungry Caterpillar blanket, to boot!

Finally! Inspiration!

The next step was choosing yarn… This was really hard. I didn’t have much crochet or yarn experience at the time so I didn’t know what to buy. Spotlight didn’t have anything that interested me, so I headed to Lincraft. Gees, that place can be expensive… Still, they have great sales – and I just happened to be shopping right in the middle of one: #winning! So I looked around for the colours I needed in a yarn that was thick and soft and discounted…

I remember finding a nice chunky yarn that was all different shades of green in the one ball. It looked great! And seeing as the Very Hungry Caterpillars body is different shades of green I thought it’d be perfect! *Nope* It looked awful once I started to crochet with it. It was so bad that I don’t even have a photo of it… It turned out looking like army camoflage! That was *NOT* the look I was going for!

So I rushed back to Lincraft, returned what I could, and had another look around… Until I found the Mondial ‘Merino Special Superwash’ range: 60% Merino wool, 40% acrylic, 100% soft yarny goodness! The colours were perfect; so I grabbed one ball each of the lavender and red, and many many balls of the sage and moss (plus a ball of gold Cleckheaton ‘Country Harvest’ for the eyes)…

It worked! The greens looked awesome together!

*Success!* (Oh, and how cute are my Ugg boots… Just sayin’)

But then it came time to sew in the ends, and I learned two lessons that day:

  1. Don’t worry about saving yarn – leave *long* tails at the beginning and end of each colour change to sew them in properly!! 1-inch is *not* enough… I still feel nervous thinking about the ends coming loose…!
  2. I. Hate. Sewing. In. Ends!
So. Many. Ends.

This was the biggest crochet project I’d attempted so far, and there were so many ends to sew in! *Argh* It felt like it took me forever… But clearly it didn’t because I eventually finished and got started on the hood – which was going to be the Hungry Caterpillar’s head!

That part was pretty simple to be honest. The *hard* part as a beginner was figuring out how to do the eyes, nose and antannae… These parts weren’t in the pattern!

Lucky for me I had recently made an oval shaped Batman logo by Louies Loops which was a perfect base for the eyes; and a Stripey Giraffe from the I Love Buttons blog which had the antannae shape I was looking for! So I put two and two together and realised I could pull all these patterns together to make something new…

Again, without realising it, these were some of my first steps towards designing my own patterns!

The final step was the red border. This was mostly pretty straight forward – but working down the sides (i.e. the ends of the rows) was a bit tricky as, at first, there doesn’t seem to be set stitches to easily work into… But you get the hang of it with practice. With more experience comes a better understanding of the different parts of each stitch and how they all fit together.

And finally, it was ready. I was so proud! The finished size ended up being 28″ x 28″ / 71cm x 71cm square. This was my first big crochet project that I’d kinda made up all by myself! Almost…

Two years later and my friends’ little boy still loves his Hungry Caterpillar blanket. Pretty chuffed!

And apparently my friends’ little boy still loves it – he just turned 2! He is such a sweet little boy – so happy and so full of energy. When he was first born, he was so tiny – one of the tiniest babies I’d ever seen. But since then he’s grown so much – not just because he’s a 2-year-old now, but because he’s discovered food! He’s the real life Very Hungry Caterpillar, and he is the best!

Have you ever *made* anyone a gift? Which of your handmade items makes you most proud still to this day? How did the gift-receiver react when you gave it to them? 

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