Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Isabella means "beautiful one"

OK, so something happened today that was really neat. And since I'm never one to tell a short story when a long one will do, I have to wind back the clock first.

A couple of years ago, most of the community service crafting I did was for the neonatal unit of one of our local hospitals. I was up there one day to drop off some things I had made for the little ones, and I happened to see a baby in her tiny crib, wrapped in a small pink knitted blanket that I had made a month or two earlier.

It was the first time I'd ever seen one of the things I'd made in actual use. I had so enjoyed making that little blanket in a lacy feather-and-fan stitch, but that was nothing compared to the joy of seeing this sweet little girl wrapped up in it!

This little baby had had a tough time for many months, but the nurses told me she was finally up to five pounds in weight and nearly ready to go home. Her name was Isabella Rose, and indeed, she looked like the sweetest, most beautiful little rosebud in that tiny pink blankie.

It was an unforgettable moment. And I have thought of that sweet little girl so often in the past couple of years, hoping she was doing well.

OK, fast forward to today.

I was away from my office for a lunch meeting and indulged in a stop at my favorite quilt shop on my way back. I needed some flannel for some receiving blankets I wanted to make for my nieces Amy and Susan, both expecting babies this summer.

Another shopper was also looking at baby flannel and we started to chat, as quilters do. She was working on some projects for her little great-grandsons, and mentioned she also had a great-granddaughter. She mentioned that this little great-granddaughter, now two years old, had been a premature baby and spent several months in the neonatal unit. Her name was Isabella.

By now you can see where this is going. A couple of questions later and I confirmed that Cora's great-grandaughter was the same Isabella Rose that had touched my heart in the fall of 2004. Cora remembered the little pink feather-and-fan blanket and was happy to fill me in on Isabella's doings these days. She's happy, healthy, lively, and according to her proud great-grandma, "a real little corker!"

Neat, isn't it?

I have no pictures of this sweet little girl to share, so the best I can do is tell you about the feather-and-fan stitch and encourage you to try it yourself. Use a baby yarn and size 4 or 5 needles - keep the total size about 20 inches square, so as not to overwhelm a tiny baby - and have fun!

Feather and fan stitch blanket

Cast on any stitches in a multiple of 18 - plus eight stitches, which allows for four stitches of garter stitch border.

Knit four rows.

Begin pattern:

Row 1: K across
Row 2: K4, P until last 4 stitches, K4.
Row 3: K4, *K2 tog 3 times; YO, K1 6 times; K2 tog 3 times* - repeat to last 4 stitches, K4.
Row 4: K across.

Repeat to desired length, and finish off with 4 knit rows for garter stitch edge.

That's all there is to it - and as you knit, may you think lovingly of special little ones like Isabella!


Joe said...

Anne, what a marvelous story!! And what a gift little Rose is to her family and what a gift the blanket was to tiny Rose!!

Zoanna said...

Dear Anne,
I found my way here from 25 Things. What an amazing story! I got choked up just reading it. I can only imagine what the experience was like firsthand. What an encouragement to keep doing these labors of love! You should post this story on 25 Things. I think others would be so inspired.

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