It was this:
I crocheted this from the American School of Needlework pattern leaflet Original Fisherman Crochet for the Family by Anne Rabun Ough (LA #151):
Well, sort of. Actually I took the poncho pattern in this booklet, expanded it a bit in both length and width, adding extra panels of texture stitches, and edged it with a two-knot macrame fringe. (I tinkered with patterns even before I started knitting). It ate yarn. Crochet uses more yardage than knitting to make an equivalent sized piece. The finished blanket weighs a ton. Even though crochet is usually faster than knitting, it took a long time to make. See those fake cables? Those were done as little semi-detached bits, anchored at the tip several stitches away. The solid parts were panels of slip stitch or single crochet. The narrow, wandering cable was applied slip stitch worked after the piece was finished. The bobble section took forever and a half to finish. I can safely say that I haven’t crocheted a bobble since.
I made this piece as a thank-you gift for my mother, for all that she did in handling our wedding preparations. That was roughly 27 years ago but the thing has aged well, surviving washings and daily sofa or bed-throw use for all these years without pilling, discoloring, shrinking, or snagging. I’m not quite sure which 100% wool yarn I used, but I do remember it had an Irish-inspired name (possibly Plymouth Galway). In any case, here’s yet another example of the lasting power of quality materials.
Why did it inspire me to finally learn to knit? Lots of reasons. For one, bobble exhaustion. Plus at the time there were (and still are) comparatively few attractive, interesting, wearable crochet patterns compared to the wealth of knitting patterns out there. The crocheted faux Aran imitators were certainly interesting to make, but like the ones on the cover of the leaflet, cursed by that "loving hands at home" look. I wanted to make more than just fine lace, fancy tablecloths, and heavy blankets. I envied the style and wearability of knitting. Yes, I know that crochet can be used for far more, and that it can be wildly attractive, but especially at the time it was pretty much limited to tablecloths, blankets, baby things, odd lumpen pullovers done in yarns far to thick for comfortable wear, and granny square ponchos.
So I was primed for learning how to knit. From a book even. But that’s another story.