1) Don't attempt a new pattern when you only have a few weeks to produce said blanket
2) Don't fool with the gauge on a Terry Kimbrough design unless you plan to leave off the elaborate edging. Go with a heavier yarn than called for if you want a more solid look rather than changing hook size. I forgot I had done this with the first of her designs I crocheted, and should have done so again here!
3) Make the center big enough that if you decide to bail out and do a more simple edging, the blanket will still be of a usable size. It turned out lovely, but I'm just not happy with it being a smidge under 2 feet wide. It will be OK for use in the car seat or as a drag around, but little else.
4) Lion Brand's Baby Soft is a nice yarn to work with. It is a little thicker than the Bernat I generally use and is a blend of acrylic and nylon. Although not exactly rough to start with, it was nicely soft after killing. (I was trying to get some more width out of the blankie!)
Would I use this pattern again? YES! I love Terry Kimbrough's designs. They are fun to stitch and beautiful. I am making a promise to myself that the next time I do one, I'll go all the way through and add the amazing edging!