Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Are Little Boys Made of?

A couple of years ago, when we were going through my mother's things after she died, my father found two items that had no identification on them. 

A very ordinary looking, well-worn flannel receiving blanket.  The flannel was thin, and the edging was coming unraveled.

And less mysteriously, a slightly stained flannel baby jacket with a hand-crocheted edge.

The jacket still had three of four ties attached - and the sewist had used blue thread - so this was a jacket made for a boy baby.   

I had several white flannel baby jackets of this same style, with crocheted edges and ribbons for my doll-babies, made by my mother's mother.  So, it's just my guess, the jacket was made by Grandma and the blanket in the cedar chest must have been one of the first Mom had for my big brother Jeff.  Now, they may also have been used by any number of the subsequent babies - at least my other two brothers, but I suspect they were saved because they were gifts for Brother Jeff, the "experimental model" as Brother Roger likes to call him.

As we divided up, and saved or gave away many of our mother's items, these two baby things, in their then nearly 60 year-old condition, had  no value other than sentimental.  I brought them back here with the idea that I might make something of them if Jeff's son, married the year before, ever had a son.  And since he is expecting one of those in August, it was time to make these over.  

Modern parents don't allow much of anything with ties around their infants, so I sewed a row of snaps to the jacket, and trimmed it with a bias strip of a green and blue striped fabric, which also became the binding for the newly lined blanket.  I hope Grandma would approve of my signalling the baby is a boy this way.

The blanket's new green lining fabric is a licensed Golden Books print - which goes both with the 60-year-old theme, and the shower invitation's suggestion for signed children's books for the baby in lieu of cards.   

Here's a closeup of Grandma's crochet - this would be the new baby's Great Great Grandmother's work.  I don't expect his Modern Mom Katy will take this baby out in the old-fashioned jacket, but perhaps when he's teething (it's not a new-born size) he can use it when he's drooled on everything else in his wardrobe, and he will feel the love of the previous generations.

(the greens of the stripe are not really olive and do not clash with the lining in real life, as they do in these photos)

I guess I have to call this quilting, but there's no batting. The flannel layer is just to preserve the blanket for a little while but the blanket is still thin. I chose to use a Patricia Ritter design called "Ribbit" because well -

"... frogs and snails and puppy dog tails".   And it was fun to trace out all those little toes!  The frog is maybe the size of my hand.  

Don't worry, this baby will be getting his own brand new quilt, the white one with blue and yellow zigzags. And now I get to go book shopping!

Monday, June 11, 2012

In Joyce's hands....

The final chapter on my quilting of Joyce's quilt went out in the mail on Friday.  The post office in Cary says her carrier has it out for delivery so she'll have them today.

Above is one of the placemats and below is one side of the runner.

The hardest part of the project was getting all the batting fuzz off the black fabric.

The photo above shows the backing - I took the pictures on a dark and cloudy morning, just before sealing the box and sending these off. It's really a bright and beautiful batik, but the pictures that show the fabric don't show the quilting. Now Joyce, you can pick out a coordinating napkin fabric - two yards!

Friday, June 8, 2012

small version of the big quilt

Last week, Alice came by with the completed Shindig quilt so we could photograph it for an information sheet that can accompany the quilt when they have it out for ticket sales.  I set it up with the photo stand and special lighting...

but taking the photos inside is not ideal.  The flash really obscures the quilting detail.  I took a few closeups

but after all that, for the quilting detail, I sent Alice two of the photos I took on the driveway because the sunlight really makes the best of the 3-D aspect of my thread work.

On Monday, Alice, Ann and I met with Linda from the Folk Heritage Committee to hand the quilt over.  Ann surprised me with this pot-holder!  She used the leftover fabric pieces and pieced half-size Sawtooth Star blocks just like the big quilt's, as a commemorative of our cooperative efforts. Maybe in this photo you can see some of the design features of the fabrics.  Both the blue and yellow fabrics are subtle floral prints. The cream has a sort of swirling design.

Ann used a thermal-insulated batt for our pot-holders, but I'm not sure I can use it to move hot pans - my potholders tend to look grungy in no time and this quilt-lette deserves a more special place in my life.

Monday, June 4, 2012

What I'm working on...

Joyce's placemats are quilted and are in process of being bound.  Meanwhile, I haven't shown any knitting for a few weeks.  In early May, I started on a sweater called Tapestry by Carol Sunday - the link will take you to a photo of the finished model on the designer's website.

 It's a complicated pattern that keeps changing, which makes the knitting challenging.  Progress doesn't seem as quick as with most sweaters I've made because the yarn is fine and I'm knitting the fronts and backs at the same time. It's especially interesting that the background texture created by the seed stitch and reverse stockinette changes as the cables cross and travel up the sweater.  It gives a quilter some ideas about quilting designs.

At the same time, since I knit with a group on Monday nights and want to be able to socialize, I also started this project, by Swedish designer Elsebeth Lavold.  The detail that appears at the waist (this is the back) was the one exception to the "easy knitting" aspect of this shell.  I took several days off working on Tapestry to get that part done and I'll probably have to do the same thing when I do these same knot details on the front.  The front and back on this sweater are the same except for a v-neck opening, where the center cable splits and travels up to the shoulder in the front.

I'm knitting both of these sweaters with the designers' yarns, something I have never done before.  The main trouble with knitting is it doesn't go very quickly and there are so many designs and textures and colors I want to work with.  Some people make hats and socks - but I don't wear hats and I rarely wear shoes, so I wear my socks out too quickly. Sweaters it is!