Saturday, October 7, 2017

Baby Blankets

Or Toddler Blankets, or Toddler Drag Blankets.

This, my best and most patient, client and I go way back, pre-my-first-digital-camera and pre-Unravelling, although I recall having a few pics on my first website years ago. Back then, she was one half of the company that made my cloth labels, and in need of a wedding present. Since most folks in New Zealand, (OK, people around me,) don't use such delicates as table centers and cloth napkins, I proposed a couch blanket, which was also my first double-width weaving. I used two kinds of pale beige/taupe wool in the warp and undyed with-scale merino in the weft.

When a few years later she asked me for a boy baby blanket for her first grandchild, I gave it some thought: I'm very slow and the baby would probably be walking by the time I delivered; I wanted to make something a child would know, use, and remember rather than make a delicate/beautiful gift for his mother; and he lived on a farm. So I proposed a toddler blanket, imagining a small child dragging behind him a blanket bigger than him. And so it was for him, and his three siblings. All of these pieces have been roughly 140cm by 140cm.

Toddler #3's got thrown in the dryer by a German au pair, and I was glad to gift a replacement I happened to have had on hand from the same warp. When #1 felt sad #3 had matching blankets for herself and her doll, I was super glad I had warp-end fabric from his, although slightly worse for wear as I used to sit on it when I needed fine-tuning of my bottom position while weaving on the big loom; said child got a big kick out of me posting said warp-end piece addressed to his doll; firstborns, we're on similar wavelengths sometimes, even when separated by decades and kilometers.

These two new grandbabies were from a different stock, living in a stylish, urban, uncluttered home in much warmer climes. The order was something more towards the first couch blanket.

12 years after the wedding present, however, the foreboding was hard to shake off; I had been looking for good-quality/affordable merino/merino-mix here for some years. In the first instance we were looking for pale-to-mid grays, but with-scale merino at any size, any color was out of the question, as was good quality NZ merino, especially around 2/18. I looked all over the web, consulted Dianne, looked online and printed catalogues and a few shops in Japan when I was there for Mom's exhibition. Nada. Either they were prohibitively expensive, too fat, (mainly for knitting,) or charcoal gray.

I had merino boucle and possum/merino/silk, but the client never liked them. Mohair was a no-no as well. So I went back to the drawing board, consulted with Deanna at DEA, had another look at my stash, and chose Merino/Mohair 50/50 mix in 18/2 for the warp, (which I had enough of rather than 100% merino, and because that little bit of mohair produces a fabulous sheen in contrast to 100%, and I expected this little bit would be OK by her) and 2/30 merino called Saxon, doubled up, in the weft.
The cloth drapes like a sleeping baby or puppy, if you know what I mean. The little bit of sheen is wonderful, especially in the gray piece. The fold is tight and the finer weft was far less forgiving than in the previous blankets; the pieces, the blue in particular, I honestly can't call rectangular. But if the Baby Mommy isn't impressed, perhaps the client and Hubby can use as nap/couch blankets? Ben wouldn't mind if the blue came back, I'm sure. (And there was no way I was going to even try to get the colors right in the picture today. Sorry.)

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Because of the softness, size and available colors, I kept telling myself if I were to keep weaving, this new-to-me merino is perfect default wool; it worka well with many in my stash, but, oh, on their own, they make dreamy thin wool pieces. I've been learning to balance this "being kind to one's old body" thing and being realistic/productive and get cracking. Then it dawned on me, Mom started weaving at 59.5 and produced such a variety in her first 20 years, (and spun and dyed,) so I can't be seen to slack off now.

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It's going to be a rainy weekend; even national radio's coverage highlighted Nelson, and we've had to adjust the telly volume every 20 minutes or so while watching UK upcycling programs, and switching the light off and on. It's perfect for reworking one hem on the blue blanket and fringing one end of the gray knee rug, then a vinegar bath for both?

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EDIT: One funny thing about these baby blankets is I don't put my woven labels on them. Regarding babies, I imagine possible accidents from my babysitting days of yore, and I've cringed at the thought of tiny fingers and toes getting caught or, heaven forbid, toddlers swallowing tiny labels.
EDIT: I'm working on MegWeaves Facebook page v2, and in the process found the aforementioned wedding gift pics.

2 comments:

  1. I will order toddler blankets from you when someone gets busy here in the US. I love this blog. I want a reason to order toddler blankets!!! Ian and Soren are paired off - Soren is the more settled of the two and has actually discussed children - so it could happen before you give up weaving. I hope.

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    1. I had to meditate on this a while. I know it was I's birthday yesterday. I've been thinking your kids would be next in line among the young'uns I know, spreading M's smarts, O's twinkles in his eyes, and your bottomless kindness. And yet, and yet, goodness, time passes so quickly; it was only yesterday we were thinking kids' names ourselves. And kids or not, I do so wish all yourthree, and you and L, and O and A and J, as much love and happiness you lot bring to this world. Now, take note, these blankets usually take 2-3 years from inception/conception to delivery. LOL.

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