Find out how I invented an animal blanket design that turns into a toy that didn’t exist before!
Today, I’m here to tell you where the idea for my all-time favourite Cuddle and Play baby blanket designs came from!
Why am I telling you this story today, more than 4 years after I created this unique design (in March 2018) that had never existed before?
As with anything that creates a buzz and goes viral – you’ll always attract the attention of an unexpected kind. It’s the same with my original designs, which are constantly used as inspiration to create similar versions of my cuddle and play blankets by other designers; my original sheep blanket was replicated by someone else in just six months!
Because the person who was the first to create copies of my designs now has more animal blanket patterns than I, and has a large social media following, I was recently accused, in the comments under one of my Facebook ads that ‘my designs are suspiciously similar to the ones from the other designer.’ Few others commented the same under that comment, and some weren’t very nice about it, causing me quite a distress.
I got worried that this could repeat more and more often in the future, and I have to say it wasn’t the nicest feeling, taking this design idea was my ‘baby,’ so I thought I’ll put this article together to tell my story of how I created something so unique and original, so there is some record of it on the Internet.
Now, in case you have not seen my animal crochet blanket patterns before, check out the photo. It’s a unique combination of crochet blanket that folds into a toy with a separate head and legs that are based on the Japanese art of #amigurumi, meaning ‘crocheted’ and ‘stuffed toy’. I even invented a name for this creation – AMIBLANKETS but sadly, it hasn’t picked up.
Cute and super snuggly, I can tell you now, that children and their parents LOVE them to bits and guess what? The patterns are easy to follow too!
So, where did it all begin? Around February 2018, while out shopping one day – in B&M, as it goes – I spotted a lovely-looking sheep cushion and blanket set (photo below).
My first thought was ‘Wow, a blanket that turns into a sheep toy with a separate head and legs? That’s a genius idea!’ I got all excited so I quickly started examining how the blanket folded. On closer examination, though, I realised I was wrong! The head and legs of the sheep were attached on the folded-in-half cushion (something I’ve seen before and even owned one), and the blanket was a completely separate, plain addition to the set that was rolled and inserted in the middle of the folded cushion. Now that’s when the thrills went through my body! Could it be that something like this doesn’t exist yet? Had I just accidentally come up with something unique that hasn’t been done by anyone before, not even in the fabric form?
So, at home, I went to start my research. And, as expected, my suspicions were spot on – there was NOTHING like this available in the world. Or, at least, it wasn’t to be found on the Internet when I was searching for it…! Sure, there were lots of other animal blankets out there, like hooded blankets or the ones that are rolled into the toy with a flat 2D animal’s face embroidered on the front, but none with a separate 3D amigurumi head and legs on the body of the blanket and that folded nicely into an animal toy and also that could be hung over a cot (which looks amazing, see the pic below)!
You couldn’t hang the rolled or hooded animal blanket over the cot, so yes, I believe I created a completely different and unique design of animal blankets that hasn’t been done before.
To say I was excited about my invention was an understatement. I may have even danced my way to the kitchen to share the news with my husband!
There was no time to waste though, and I took one of my daughter’s blankets and a lovely and began folding it in different ways, seeing if I could somehow fold it into a shape to resemble the sheep’s body and at the same time attach the head and legs to certain points. Eventually, after experimenting with pegs for the head and legs (see my original photos from 1.03.2018 below) I found a fold I was happy with. I finally felt confident I was onto something and ready to consider its head and legs for real. An idea for a fabulous sheep blanket crochet pattern was unfolding right in front of me!
After a few weeks of trial and error, I finally had my design ready. And I couldn’t wait to share my idea with other fans of crochet! On posting the photos of my new design online, and receiving lots of positive comments in no time, I knew this one single sheep was soon to become a whole flock!
If I thought old ‘Sheepy’ had proved a hit, I had no idea what my next crochet pattern creation, the cow, was about to do… Talk about a crowd-pleaser, the cow blanket crochet pattern went viral several times over since published and still receives plenty of shares to this day! While it has more competition now from its friends the elephant, pig, monkey, giraffe, horse and unicorn, it remains my best-selling crochet pattern of all time.
What comes next, you’ll have to watch this space. All I can say is, I have some exciting plans to extend the range further this year and I can’t wait to share more animal blanket crochet patterns with you very soon! So, for now, stay tuned to my blog, and my Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest feeds, for news as it comes!
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