Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Deja Blu (All Over Again)

Dear Ann,
Our Memorial Day weekend was good this year. Strenuously good.
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It started (after the traditional Costco Run for a season’s worth of toilet paper and tortilla chips) with a vigorous workout for my quilt-binding chops. SO SATISFYING. But I’ve spoken of this before. When I go to heaven, St. Peter will welcome me with stacks of quilts that need double-fold bindings attached, and I shall sew them down by hand, with lovely mitered corners, for all eternity. Occasionally sipping a diet beer. (I’m trusting that the diet beer will taste better in heaven. Or should I say, EVEN better.)
But things quickly got out of hand. Can you believe that this is a photo of me and mine, amidst 30 or 40 of our neighbors and friends?
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The neighbors and friends have been biking from Southampton to Montauk, with frequent stops for refreshments and Ultimate Frisbee, for over 25 years. (Like a bunch of Kennedys, they are, always with the photogenic, youthful romping.) We decided to shock them this year by showing up, at 8 a.m. Sunday morning, in our stately, sedentary glory. Maggie, Joseph, and I did the 25-mile zig-zag to Amagansett (also known as lunchtime) (also known as Mom’s Legs Won’t Do Right Anymore); Carrie was stopped short by a minor gravel encounter somewhere between Bridgehampton and East Hampton, but did a solid 20 miles. (We got rides home.)
We’ve pretty much checked off “biking” for 2010, and possibly 2011. Just kidding! It was super fun! We were moderately good at it! I never even saw Joseph. He was up ahead with the wiry guys in racing maillots, aka The Brotherhood of the Well Defined Calves. Undeterred by his youth and inexperience, or the fact that his sister’s old bike was a little too small for him. Live strong!
Back to Blu
But by far the greatest accomplishment of the weekend was the finishing of a pair of Blu baby jeans that was knitted circa 2006 as a possible sample for our Book 2, but stalled at the point where elastic needed 2 seconds of machine stitching, and Adorable Details needed embroidering. I was a little rusty at my embroidery-on-knitting. I ended up doing 3 versions of the back pockets.
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Whoopsie. Only noticed this when I joined the back seam. Do-over!
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Straight now, but still not Doing Right. I found myself rummaging through a drawer full of blue jeans. (Oh, like you never cut up the clothes of family members. Don’t judge me.)
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Here’s the result. I cut the coin pocket, whole, out of a pair of boys size 12 jeans. (“Um, those were too small for you, right?”)
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At the time, this felt like a Major Artistic Achievement.
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If you do it right, it’s an actual functioning pocket. Not that a 6-month-old needs a functioning back pocket.
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Inevitably, a baby whose name has the letters “den” in it, is going to get a corny label like this. Sorry. Company policy.
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I went minimalist on the front. No fly, no button. Not sure it was the right call. I blame embroidery fatigue.
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After all these years, I finally found some maker-labels I like. These are from a Knitty.com advertiser whose name I can’t recall. [EDITED TO ADD: The labels are from NameMaker.com.] They take a while, as they are woven labels that come all the way from Europe. Very reasonably priced, especially considering that one order is pretty much a lifetime supply. (Always nice to patronize a Knitty advertiser. Thanks for making those fab free patterns possible!)
I still think this pattern is the cutest thing I’ve ever had a hand in, and that Cristina’s way of encasing the elastic in the waistband by sewing down live stitches, like a hem, is the most elegantly invisible, and also practical, finish ever (it stretches with the knitting). Hope I get to see the baby in them!
Love,
Kay

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. So cute! I saw a pattern for some baby overalls, too, and my brain exploded with cuteness! These are going on the list, too.

  2. Very creative with the coin pocket repurposing. How did you affix it to the knitted pants? Hand-stitching or machine? Or Gorilla Glue?

  3. But Kay…it’s heaven. Why would you need to drink *diet* beer? Go bold. I mean, it’s not like it’s going to matter. Right?

  4. Do I spy a Joel Dewberry woodgrain fabric in the first photo? I have looked for the brown color everywhere for my first baby’s nursery quilt, but Google failed me and I had to settle for the orange color. I love his fabrics! You gonna give us a full shot of the quilts later this week (I hope)??

  5. A.dorable. The scavenged fabric pocket is especially wonderful. Definitely a Major Artistic Achievement.

  6. Doesn’t everybody save their kids’ outgrown jeans, just in case there might be a use for them someday? My kids are in their 30s now, and I still haven’t found a use for them yet. (The jeans, not the kids–the kids produce beautiful grandchildren for me!) But, as my granny used to say, “Waste not, want not.”
    I’ve got those woven labels, also–one set for my knitted items, and one set for my sewn items. I ordered mine from an Australian company (way before the days of Knitty.com). You’re right; they’re a lifetime supply!
    Mary G. in Texas

  7. Cute, cute cute! I need to make these for my granddaughter. Are you SURE you don’t remember where you got those labels? They’re perfect.

  8. Cute, cute cute! I need to make these for my granddaughter. Are you SURE you don’t remember where you got those labels? They’re perfect.

  9. Ok. Mega relief that even Gardiner the Great Goddess of the Blu, has a tricky time with the embroidery. My first pair has no pockets, just fly. The second pair finally ended up with decent pockets, but, uh, one leg is, um, well, if Bendy had just had one leg that was a lot shorter than the other, they would totally be perfect. Nice solution with the change pocket. Though I used to think of them as watch pockets, until I quit carrying a pocket watch.

  10. Oh Kay,
    You may have shamed me into finally finishing the nearly-done pair of Blu that I stuffed into a bag a couple of months ago and have since neglected…
    Love, LOVE the pocket idea! Might have to steal it for my nearly-done pair. Now to find a pair of jeans that I can cut up…

  11. These pants are probably the cutest thing I’ve knitted for my grandson. Thanks for the design and thanks, Knitty, for publishing it!

  12. How caaaa-yuuuuuute!

  13. Very cute. I love the idea of rescuing a coin pocket from a pair of overworked jeans.

  14. I used to love the ride from the Hamptons to Montauk (once even did it from Manhattan–but did sleep in Montauk before returning).
    Your labels remind me of my summer camp days with the need to sew or glue your name on a label into every item of clothing so they didn’t get mixed up in the laundry–but much fancier!
    Enjoy the weather.

  15. Isn’t the point of heaven that there are no calories, only tasty goodness?
    Speaking of goodness, Blu2 is delightful!

  16. 25 miles on a bike and you were still able to sit up straight and knit? I am so impressed! Those little Blue baby jeans could not be cuter!!!

  17. Ah, the relaxation of binding a quilt. Best part of the process, possibly because it means you’re done, but still satisfying. Stitch on.

  18. happy days are here again

  19. too cute for words!

  20. Binding is totally the best part of the quilt. Unlike binding off in knitting. I don’t know what this means, but I’m sure the universe is telling me something…

  21. There’s no diet beer in heaven, because there are no calories in heaven!
    I made a pair of Blu back in the day. Maybe I should make another pair for one of the many babies I’m suddenly surrounded by. Love the coin pocket idea!

  22. I like the “minimalist front”.

  23. Adorable!!! I would ask for a picture with the baby in the jeans! You’re so clever!

  24. wow, so much to compliment in one post: your super cycling summer kickoff! your complimenting of a diet beer (really??) ! and those Blu’s are too adorable, it’s the little pocket that puts them over the top. If I had a new baby he’d wear them all the time. Somehow I think a 16 yo won’t go for it though.

  25. Beyond adorable…and in your favorite color, too! I absolutely love them.

  26. hi
    I discovered your blog from the UK magazine The Knitter, and it’s often the very first thing I read in there, but recently you were talking about lace knitting and it made me laugh and how excited you were about more than five stitches to the inch.
    I’m a doll knitter, I often work with upwards of twenty stitches to the inch so the descriptions of you holding the knitting milimetres from your nose made me laugh, eventually it’s only when you make mistakes that this happens.
    It’s just nice to see another knitter that doesn’t work with 15mm needles (I much 1.5mm) so thank you
    and it did make me laugh.
    Leigh

  27. Kay – I LOVE those sandals in the first pic – can you give a clue on purchasing? A brand name?? Anything??? Just sign me – desperate for (and possibly overly-focused on) summer sandals (that’ s not to say I didn’t check out the whole post, mind you!) Take care – be well – live strong – and treat yourself to a regular beer once and a while!!

  28. I love your woven labels. One box really is a lifetime supply; I still have most of a box of similar ones with my name…that my mother bought when I was a child. (Hint: I’ll be eligible for Social Security in just a couple years. Happily, I kept my last name when I got married, or else the labels would be useless, absolutely useless.) I also have boxes from the same maker — in England, I believe — that I got for my own two boys.

  29. I am with you on the satisfaction of the quilt binding, which is way better for the soul than weaving in ends of yarn. A nice binding is like the perfect frame on a picture. Time to go get on my bike. Thanks again for the inspiration, knitting and otherwise.

  30. Your “brand name” label has a double meaning — did you know? Until you explained the pun on the baby’s name, I thought you were calling it “Love Denim” (“Ai” is “love” in Japanese).

  31. i ai love denim!
    The actual pocket is a bit o’ brilliance.

  32. Wow, am I late to the party! I’ve been a knit-blog slacker lately! Blu is adorable (I had them queued and the yarn bought for my little guy, who is edging slowly up on 2, so I’d better get it together and knit a pair for his bday). But I just had to comment on your sandals! LOVE!! You probably won’t even read this, or have the time to respond, but please, do tell where you got those gorgeous sandals!

  33. Thanks for the update/redux on these baby jeans, and the great help via email! Yes, these jeans knit up quick and then sit, and sit, and sit! Made me feel much better that you put yours aside for years. And how much do we love using the Rowan denim yarn??? The light blue is super soft, and it’s funny how the very dark blue turns the needles and fingers blue (like a sign of hard work)! I love, love, love this pattern and will send photos when done!