July 18, 2005
So there I was Sunday afternoon, hanging out the knitting on the clothesline. Happy as a pig in a blanket, because I’ve finished the denim blanket for my friends’ baby, Taro. I took a few pictures, because when you have an FO, it’s all about the bragging, isn’t it?
I love the way Belinda’s space-bleached patch (lower right) throws everything off-kilter. Your eye doesn’t get what it expects. I think the squares will blend more as the blanket fades and mellows. At some point, it will seem like it was meant to be.
I love the spots of color in the block-and-sashing. Especially the pink one. May Taro be a boy who does not feel excluded from pink or any color. I don’t approve of that pink/blue baby-labelling thing. When a new person comes into the world, he is entitled to all the colors we’ve got.
Technical details, I sewed the mitered squares together into the 6 blocks using mattress stitch. All the other bits–the ‘sashes’ and mini-blocks, were picked up and knitted on. The seams between the blocks, and the long one down the center, were made by picking up stitches on one edge of each piece, and then doing a 3-needle bindoff. I now think the 3-needle bindoff makes a superior seam on a blanket. It is extremely flexible and strong, and it is neat on both sides. The only trick is making sure you pick up the right number of stitches on each edge, so that the join is even and you don’t have stitches left over on one side. I did the narrow border by picking up along each edge separately, and then knitting a few rows of reverse stockinette; the four edges were tacked together at the corners. The edge curls toward the back of the blanket, and looks like i-cord or piping.
One more thing: the colored blocks are Tahki Cotton Classic. I had no problems with the denim shrinking and the Cotton Classic not shrinking. It all worked out fine, with no puckering or pulling. Over short distances, the denim’s 10-15 percent shrinkage is not very noticeable, and I believe the Cotton Classic also shrinks a bit in hot water.
Bragging for the Blogless
As long as I was hanging stuff on the line, I figured I’d show off a little. To the right of Taro’s Denim Blanket, we have: Apron From One of My Grandmas (Which One, We’ve Forgotten) and Quilt Made By Charlie’s Grandma.
The apron is fun. Although I had assumed it belonged to my apron-wearing grandma, Mabel, my mom thinks it belonged to my non-apron-wearing grandma, Pearl. Pearl was a case worker for a social work agency. Her job was providing services to a large group of ‘seniors’, some of whom were younger than her. (Sometimes I got to go with the seniors to bingo, where I learned Speed Card Marking.) They showed their affection for Grandma by making her stuff: ceramics, crochet cozies for toilet paper rolls (the hoop-skirted doll ones), and other handmade tributes including aprons. This was funny because Grandma really REALLY was not the Apron Type (she was the Taking-People-To-Bingo Type; once when I was about 10, she picked me up, told my mom she was taking me for ‘a ride’, and took me to the Ozarks for several days, but that’s another story). But I’m guessing you are more interested in the quilt.
I got the quilt at a silent auction for the kids’ nursery school a few years ago. It was made by Charlie’s Grandma. At the auction, I basically parked myself within eyeshot of this quilt the whole evening. Luckily everyone else was bidding on spa days and restaurant dinners, so I did not have to engage in Antisocial and/or Unladylike Behavior to get the quilt.
There are only three kinds of houses, but each one looks different. When I bought the quilt, I didn’t know whether it was from a pattern, or if Charlie’s Grandma had designed it herself. Later I saw another version of it at a quilt show in Glens Falls, New York, so I guess it must be from a pattern. Charlie’s Grandma did a wonderful job selecting the fabrics–I hear a steel drum when I look at the colors.
As you get closer to the sea, the houses give way to cabanas. The cabanas remind me of Kaffe’s ‘tents’ intarsia pattern — which, for all I know, may have been inspired by a quilt. Fun fact: cabanas are totally knittable; Barbara Walker’s 4th Treasury gives instructions for how to make cabana-shaped pieces. (She does not explain WHY to make them. We just make them. We don’t ask why.)
The waves are really clever, and there is a nice bit of quilting in the sand. As I’ve learned a bit more about quilts, I’ve realized that this quilt has very little quilting on it. I think it would be particularly nice to quilt in the skies above the houses, and in the strips around the border.
But I love it just as it is.