Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tadpole Tuesday: Blankets for Baby

My work-life balance has been pretty heavy on the work side lately, so I'm even more behind than usual in responding to blog comments. Replies are coming, I promise.

Rachel reminded me that I haven't even mentioned what colors I'm using for stripe study. I actually have a picture for this one but I haven't gotten it off the camera yet (or double checked to make sure it came out clearly since the battery was just about dead when I took the shot). So I'll just give a quick answer for now: dark blue for the thick stripes and vibrant green for the thin stripes and wide boarder.

And try to distract you from my lack of evidence of stripe study progress with some baby pictures.

Better now?

I knit a bit on my latest garter stitch-based baby blanket for Tadpole during a break from work this weekend (yes it was one of those weekends) and that got me thinking about baby blankets more generally.

I've knit two blankets for Tadpole and we use two handknit blankets for her, but they're not the same two. As I typed that I could have sworn I've knit three blankets for her but I must be counting the one on the needles in that list (or the several I have in my mental queue, although you'd have to discount each queued project by the likelihood of completion in order to have the several equal one . . . but I digress).

I'll start with the ones we use. First up is a great reversible, machine washable wool blanket that my sister made for Tadpole (pictured above). It's mostly a "going out" blanket that we use with the stroller or car seat because it squishes up nicely and doesn't take up a lot of room.

Mr. Tinks and Frogs also uses it as an extra layer of warmth when Tadpole goes out in the Bjorn. It's a fabulous all-purpose blanket. (Thanks again, M!)

Next up is the bear claw blanket that I made a few years ago. I was a bit hesitant to use this one at first because, not to put to delicate a word on it, babies tend to get fluids of various sorts everywere. And I really like this blanket. Yes, I know that Baby Ull is machine washable but I know happened when I machine washed my Baby Ull socks: they shrunk and pilled and got all fuzzy. That's fine for socks that had a too tight-bind off on the cuff to be a favorite pair anyway, but not what I want in a blanket that took me over a year to complete.

So we started off slow and easy: it's tough for a sleeping baby to get a blanket dirty (ok, that's not entirely accurate but we have lucked out on that front).

Then we took her to the appropriate setting - our LYS.

Babies just need more yarn. Or at least their parents do.

The bear claw is still a sleeping blanket.

It's showing a bit of wear - the ends are starting to come a bit loose and fray on the wrong side. That's understandable since there's nothing sticky about a machine washable wool to keep the ends secure. I'm not worried about the piece unravelling. It just looks well loved, as it should.

That's two blankets, one I made and one we received as a gift. The third we've used only for pictures. I'm sure you'll understand why.

The Honey Baby blanket is filed under "baby knit" but it's much more for me than for her. All those yarn overs would be lots of fun for little fingers to investigate, if I were willing to suffer the accompanying distortions to the stitch pattern. I knit this piece as a work of love for my daughter before she was born and it's a beautiful manifestation of the feelings I had for someone who was more of an idea than a reality for me at that point. This isn't a blanket to catch spit-up and drool or cheerios dropped during a car ride home. It's a keepsake that I get to hold onto until I'm ready to give it up; a reminder of the tiny baby who is growing up much faster than I ever expected.

The fourth blanket - the one I inched forward this weekend - falls somewhere in between "keepsake" and "every day." I'm making this one as another crib blanket, something a bit lighter than the bear claw, and as such it can be a bit more intricate than the stroller cover. But I want to make sure we actually use it. So it can't be too delicate.

That's the balance I like to strike with blankets for baby. You really can't have just one. There's the every day, use it anywhere blanket that's your go-to piece as you're heading out the door. Maybe you have another one or two in the same category or a bit more delicate that you use for quiet time. And then you have your heirloom piece that's purely sentimental. And knowing that you have one exquisite piece to represent all of your warm, snuggly, clean, and sleep-filled thoughts about the little one lets you roll on the floor with the everyday blanket and wear it threadbare with use.


Jonah said...

Love your comments about the Honey Baby blanket. (And all of the blankets) - you're an amazing mom!

kristenmakes said...

I agree with Jonah, I love how you write. I just found the bear claw blanket on ravelry and faved it. I love how it looks quilty. I wonder if it would work with a fabric backing sewn to the WS...

Sel and Poivre said...

What a great story to read about your baby and her blankets!

I've recently been going through and getting rid of baby stuff (made for my first "baby" who is now twenty-something.) Interestingly, the pieces with the most stained are the ones that for me, are hardest to part with.

Darling Daughter pointed out though that if I was keeping "those things" with an expectation that she would use them on any babies she might be lucky enough to have someday, I should brace for disappointment.

In other words, keeping a pristine keepsake definitely makes good sense!

lauren said...

Tadpole looks so much like you in that first picture! And I love - absolutely LOVE - that bear claw blanket. That pattern is so classic looking. It's something I'd love to make but have never mustered up the energy for.

Jodi said...

These pictures make Rowan look like the most content baby in the world! So cute, all peacefully snuggled up in her handknit blankets. The Honey Baby blanket truly is a work of art.

Kathy said...

I can completely understand wanting to save knits. I'm not sure how I'd come out with my one little. I crocheted an afghan for my friend's first (and I thought only!) baby. she said she'd save it, but I really hope it got used. For the second baby, I made a 4x4 foot blanket in DK on sz 4s - OpArt. It is called the 63,003 stitch blanket for a practical reason. I like the idea of baby fingers sticking through all the holes and playing. Not so much bodily fluids.

And I agree with everyone's comments - wonderful prose, loving mama, contented-well-loved and beautiful babe.

Brendaknits said...

All those blankets and baby sleeping under every one of them. That's one contented baby.

Rachel said...

Ask and you shall receive. Okay, now I know what colors you are using for Striped Study so my next request are FO pictures for Catkin!!! ;) BTW -- I bet your SS will be beautiful with those colors...and if my family takes hints at all, there is a chance I may be casting on for one late Christmas morning...keep your fingers crossed!

Lovely lovely blankets all of them and I love that first picture of Rowan! (what sweater/hoodie does she have on...did I miss that somehow?).

Your writing in this post...perfect.