Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pink plaid and roses

Is there any quilting project more satisfying than a big, sturdy, happy-looking baby quilt? If there is, I sure can't think of one.

I started cutting this one on Saturday afternoon and put the last stitches in the binding last night. It went together in a snap. I need to give it as a gift today, but there was no stress at all in meeting the deadline. Easy, easy, easy.

I read in one of Mary Hickey's great quilt books that she favors doing a very narrow inside border in a strong color to frame the piecework, then adding another wider border and repeating the strong color in the binding. I tend to follow that model whenever possible. Takes a lot of guesswork out of the fabric selection. And in this case, I love how the strong pink sets off the fun, quirky combination of the plaid and the rose print.

I love everything about baby quilts. I love picking the fabric. I love how the colors go together - inevitably, I tend to put green with the pink, and yellow with the blue. I love the simple designs that always work so well, like the classic Nine Patch/Snowball motif here. I love free-motion quilting through all the layers in a haphazard, meandering pattern. Most of all, I love thinking about the new little person who will use the finished product.

If I see this same quilt a few years from now, I hope it doesn't look anything like this. I hope it'll be rumpled from frequent dragging around, corner-chewing, naptime scrunching, and peekaboo-playing. I hope it'll show signs of many trips through the washer after inevitable urps, drools, and tea-party spills.

Could there be any better use of a baby quilt than that?If there is, I sure can't think of one.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar-worthy knitting project

Most movies barely register on my radar screen, but Dan and I did see the DVD version of "Little Miss Sunshine" a couple of weeks ago, and we loved it. So it's fun to see little Abigail Breslin getting so much attention for her Oscar nomination. I have no idea how her performance compares to the other Supporting Actress nominees, since I didn't see any of the other movies -- all I know is, it was nice to see a little girl play a character so completely guileless and genuine.

And when I pulled the Parade section out of this morning's paper, there she was on the cover, wearing the cutest knitted red bolero. Isn't that the sweetest little sweater? The details may not show up in this scan, but if you get Parade as your Sunday supplement, check it out! Looks very basic...raglan increases for the short cap sleeves, ribbed edges, and reverse stockinette for the body. Cute and so appropriate for her age.

I think the pattern looks simple enough to re-create without a pattern. Off-hand, I don't know any 10-year-olds to foist this upon, but I'm sure I can find a willing victim somewhere. This also brings the opportunity to sew a co-ordinating little sundress. Hmmm....I feel a Sunday project coming on....

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More wee quilts, etc.

On Sunday I had time to finish a stack of little items that had been close to completion for a few weeks. I just needed some uninterrupted time to stitch down binding, weave in loose ends, sew on snaps and ribbon trim, and do a few other things. On Saturday I’ll plan to run these -- and a few more like them -- over to the local NICU for the bereavement program director.

The quilt below still needs binding. I want to go with a light blue to make it a boy’s quilt, but haven’t run across the right color yet.

I also read a poignant story online recently about a mother working through a loss. One of her most precious keepsakes was a quilted flannel envelope/pocket folder where she kept her little son’s nametag from his isolette, his only little booties, and a few other items marking his brief life. From looking at her photos, I was able to put this together:

If the NICU finds something like this useful, I’ll make more. I think they could look very sweet and special with a few simple embellishments, flat eyelet trim, etc. And I imagine the soft flannel would be very comforting to the touch.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Warm socks, warm heart

I haven’t completed any blog-worthy projects the last couple of weeks, although I did have a lot of fun knitting a pair of new wool socks for my husband, who is very prone to cold feet.

It sounds like such an old-fashioned activity, sock-knitting. Felt like I should have been sitting in a rocking chair by the wood stove, knitting away by the light of the fire after having just spun the wool with my own hands, and saying, “I’m a-nearly done with these here stockin’s, Paw, you won’t have them cold feet no more, and yer a mighty good man.”

No, the scene last week was more like this:

  • Look up weather report on Internet Tuesday afternoon.
  • Gasp at prediction of 24 inches of snow for Wednesday.
  • Drive madly to Michael’s after work Tuesday to get a second ball of black Paton’s wool before the snow begins, because the single ball I had on hand, as it turned out, wouldn’t be enough to finish the pair. (He’s got some sizeable feet, that mighty good man of mine.)
  • Spend Wednesday evening knitting socks while watching double episode of “Lost” and still not really following the bizarre story line that well. Not caring that much about the story line, either, but caring more about the socks, which are looking pretty nice.
  • Spend Thursday evening knitting socks while watching Grey’s Anatomy, and subsequently worrying that Meredith might actually die, and wishing that Izzie would just stop yapping about everything.
  • Spend Friday evening looking up three different online explanations of the Kitchener Stitch to graft the toes, then growling because my own execution of said stitch looks bumpy and odd, and I am forced to weave resulting holes together with black sewing thread.
  • Spend Saturday evening feeling all full of myself because my husband, having walked to work and home again in the cold and snow, reports warm and comfy feet, thanks to his new wool socks. This, of course, warms my heart even more.

So it may not have hearkened us back to Little House on the Prairie times, but gee, it really was fun to knit some warm wool socks for that mighty good man!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Eyelet gown

This gown is going to the Emmazing Grace Foundation. The pattern is from Newborns in Need. The only change I made was to put a small casing around the edge of the sleeves and put in a little elastic.
There's not much else to say about projects like this that I haven't already written. So I'll just wrap it up and get it in the mail on Monday, with a prayer for the comfort of whatever family ends up needing it.