Tuesday, January 31, 2006
The Wrap That Baby in a Community of Love Blanket is done and delivered and Before the Baby's Birth!! We are grateful that the baby is late rather than early, however. Can you see the tired eyes and hands in this photo or are you blinded by the beauty of the blanket???
Made of Baby Ull, the blanket is soft and cuddly. However, to make the blanket stronger and to give it a longer life, I backed the blanket (after blocking) with light weight soft polar fleece. I've done this before and learned that you need to block the blanket first, spread out the polar fleece on the floor and then try to center the blanket on top of the polar fleece. Step 2 is to tie to tack the corners of the squares to the polar fleece. Step 3 is to pin the edges of the blanket to the fleece. Then, step 4 is to flip the blanket over, trim the polar fleece, fold under the edges and hand stitch the fleece to the edge of the blanket with tiny stitches.
Beware the over eager knitter who tries to assemble this in a different order!! I have unstitched the tiny edge stitches three times in a queen size knit blanket/backing combo and have only barely lived to tell the gruesome story.
Here are photos of the blanket in more close up, for those who want to see the stitches used in the squares. You can see that I used a crocheted shell lace edging. I applied the edging after blocking and before applying the fleece backing. I stitched the folded fleece edge to the bottom edge of the shell lace.
And, here I am with Diana Rose Diamond, my 14 year old's favorite doll from her childhood. Diana is a great model for baby clothes, including the hat and booties made to match the blanket.
Since the real babe has not yet showed its cuteness to the world, I don't have a photo of the real thing. However, the mother is thrilled beyond words with the blanket, the love and the dedication that went into the project. She is impressed with the variety of stitches, patterns and creativity that went into the project. I taught her to knit 18 months ago and for Christmas 2005 she knit her husband a pair of socks, teaching herself to do so from Sally Mellville's book!!!
Everytime I organize a group project blanket, I begin the event with great anticipation and excitement. Then, about 80% of the way through I hit a wall. It's hard enough to assemble pieces knit from one's own hands. We all know that pieces are identical only in theory! Each piece, knit with the same number of stitches, same number of rows, same gauge, same yarn seems to take on a character and shape of its own!! Pieces knit by many individual hands take on the characters of each knitter. There always seem to be some squares that refuse to be square: they are rectangles that snub their noses at the required dimensions. Only with great ingenuity, slight of hand and frantic crocheting around the edges is it possible to piece the thing together in something that will resemble a large rectangle rather than a multi-sided polygon.
Blabbering and muttering at this point in the assembly process I promise NEVER to take on this type of project again! I force my daughter to promise that she will prevent me, by force if necessary, from ever again even suggesting that I will take on such a project!
Next, after assembling all the pieces in an artistic order, I mutter to myself that edgings are out of date, that I should let the item stand alone! Who am I kidding?? Edgings, lace or fringe, hold the piece together, provide stability, show off the inside with pride. And, so, I apply a frame.
Then, I look at the creation and it is dazzlingly beautiful! More beautiful than the sum of the parts. More beautiful than anyone imagined. The love, perseverence and pride of all the assembled knitters and crocheters shine through. And the recipient tears up, feeling the love of each person in each square. She will think about each person whenever she picks up the blanket from a different section. She will always know that Alice made her first center-out lace on this square, and that Diana dedicated herself to every stitch of that purple square, and that Joan's heart square is a symbol of love, and that Gerda's more than 80 years of knitting experience assembled and joined the squares, and so on.
And I can't wait to start the next group project!!