Handmade things get a lot of judgments thrown at them, both fair and unfair. Some people think that anything handmade is automatically misshapen, inferior, and cheap. Other people associate handmade with unique design, superior construction, and natural, high-quality materials.
The truth, of course, is that both extremes are true, and all points of opinion in between too. It all depends on the person doing the crafting... and the project.
My nieces like to cuddle up on the couch under blankets, and they're outgrowing the ones they've had since they were toddlers. I found this free mermaid afghan pattern, got approval from the recipients, and bought the yarn right away because hey, it was on sale.
It's an example of what I call "Red Heart crochet", because it uses up kilometres of yarn, and so may only be done inexpensively with Red Heart acrylic. It also uses a large-ish hook for worsted weight (6.5mm instead of the expected 4.5 or 5). In this case, that's a good thing — otherwise it would be too heavy and warm.
Since I took the photo above, I've got about twice as many rows done. I've also modified the pattern a bit. More on that next post.