Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer craft series: double feature/Lauren's baby blanket

I unintentionally skipped last week's highly anticipated post in my summer craft series.  I received countless emails from you all begging me to post something that I had crafted, and I felt really bad about it because I didn't get around to it.

(Just kidding! None of you emailed me about anything.)

Anyway, I did skip last week but not because I had nothing to post. I desperately needed to finish a baby gift for my friend, Lauren.  I started a baby blanket for her the week I finished Steph's ... and then I left it completely untouched upstairs until a week before Lauren's shower.  I was so behind that I had to bring it to school with me last Monday and work on it while my student's took their final.  I felt really weird about doing this, so after I passed out the blue books I asked them, "Will any of you be offended if I work on a baby blanket up here? Because I don't want any of you to think that I scheduled this exam just so I could squeeze in an hour of doing this."  Nobody cared, so it worked out pretty well.

Not only did I want to finish the blanket, but I had already bought fabric so I could make one of Martha Stewart's Menswear Bunnies.  I found this idea in her Encyclopedia of Sewing Projects, but you can see the instructions here.  So I had to finish the blanket and make a bunny ... in the space of three or four days.  Can you see where this is going?

Voila' :

I should also explain: Everyone probably knows that it's a popular thing to include a baby book with one's shower gift.  Lauren's sisters went a step further and assigned you a letter (for the first word in the title of the book) so that there wouldn't be too many repeats.  So, if your letter was "M" you could choose something like Madeleine, or if your letter was "G" you could give The Giving Tree.  My letter was "D," and I was totally, utterly stuck. My friend, Molly, did some homework for me and concluded via text message, "It's lookin like Dora the Explorer for you."  I've never watched/read Dora the Explorer, but from what I've seen, I think I would've hated that show when I was little.  No Dora for me.

Imagine my elation when I stumbled upon the relatively recent The Daring Book for Girls in the same color as the fabric I had already bought for the bunny.  Perfection!  I have to say, this is a pretty cool book. I really might buy myself a copy.  It teaches you everything from how to wrap a sari to basic facts about every country on the continent of Africa. Basically, the moral of this book is, "Hey Girls: It's cool to be smart and to have an extraordinary breadth of knowledge."  Love it.  Can you handle it, Dora? Explore that.

(Sorry--I have no idea why I'm being so mean to a cartoon child.)

Then there's the blanket, which I miraculously finished in time:

Is this blurry or are my eyes tired?
I used the same pattern that I used for Steph, but I switched out the color to pink since Lauren knows she's having a girl.  Lauren's nursery has light green walls and (I think?) white furniture.  Last I heard, she wanted to use pink as an accent color.

I stuck with the ropey reverse single crochet as a border because I like it so much. I thought about doing a frillier shell pattern, but I ran out of time.

I know it's pretty selfish to craft this whole gift around my favorite colors, but I couldn't resist.  I saw the (polyester) herringbone suiting at Jo-Ann, and I had to have it.  In a split-second of insanity, I thought to myself, "This would make an awesome shift dress" before remembering: 1) I already have a turquoise shift dress and 2) I don't know how to make a shift dress. Finally, I decided to use it for the bunny since I needed suiting anyway.

I already had the pink ear fabric at home. (Some of you may have received it on your Valentine months ago.)  I used the faded "wrong side" of the fabric as the "right side" for the finished bunny's ears.

Maybe next time I'll add whiskers?  I thought about it at the last minute, but then I decided that adding them may botch it up and I had T minus 24 until the shower ... so I didn't mess around and chose to keep it simple.

I would say the hardest thing about this project is sewing around the corners.  Trust me, this project is easy: It's just a tiny pillow. But working around such small, tight curves is hard even when you go really, really sloooooww.  I had to reinforce many portions by hand so that it didn't split open when I turned it inside-out.

I have a lot of this fabric upstairs, so everyone I know can count on getting a turquoise bunny at some point in the future because I am definitely not doing a shift dress.

The final thing Lauren should know: This baby blanket is 100% kitty approved.  Nugget and Maddie need not worry.

I apologize for the bra straps and, yes, I swear I have bottoms on.

Next up, pictures from the actual baby shower.  Talk about a craft series: Wait til you see what the baby shower guests completed on a Sunday afternoon.

1 comment:

katherine said...

ok - you need to know that your blog and general creativity inspired me to ask for a basic sewing machine last christmas (i think i already told you this). i finally got around to opening said sewing machine's box last weekend (i know, i know...that's pathetic). i successfully threaded the bobbin and needle AND sewed a practice hem on an old dishcloth to get the feel of things. it took me two hours to figure out how to do this and get rid of the stupid error message on the machine (manny actually figured that part out). what an exciting way to spend a sunday afternoon! prior to my big splash into the sewing world i bought a tablecloth from homegoods in hopes of turning it into napkins (per one of your earlier posts). manny was with me and asked why i didn't just buy the matching napkins that were also for sale. i then went on a long-winded explanation that he clearly wasn't understanding. i told him it would be cheating. he asked if it would be cheating if HE bought the napkins. needless to say we only bought the tablecloth. it will likely be a while before i successfully complete that project but a girl has to dream, right?! ;) anywho, your baby blankets and bunny are absolutely adorable!