A Transatlantic Blanket

It was almost a year ago when my girl A. and I conspired to make a very special crafts project happen, for a baby that would make us Aunt and Great-Aunt respectively. The parents had decided they’d name him only after they’d had a first look at his face, so at the time we just called him J.’s baby.

We’d decided early on we wanted to give the young family something hand-made, pooling our respective crafts skills: A. knows how to sew (boy, does she ever) and I know how to crochet. We agreed on a play blanket for the floor, for the many hours they’d spend lying, rolling, crawling and cuddling with their new son. I fondly remember those days :-)!

There was tremendous searching of crafts blogs, Ravelry, etsy and Pinterest, making suggestions and swapping ideas, and finally we agreed the blanket was going to be navy blue, with little crochet animal appliqués. Once A. was done sewing in California, the blanket was mailed, in good time too, some time in September. We reckoned it would get here by mid October, well before our fall break, during which I was planning to make all the animal appliqués. The baby was due end of October, so we thought we were being good planners.

And then the package didn’t come. The American PO couldn’t tell us where it went, the German PO couldn’t find it either, it was a total mystery. We had the receipt, so we could file a complaint and have it searched for (the least they could do considering the outrageous shipping cost), and thank goodness they ultimately unearthed it again. It got here some 4 weeks late, in a heavily damaged package, that had evidently been opened by customs, or the DEA, or who ever must have deemed it suspicious; even the blanket itself had been unseamed in one corner, and rudely not been stitched back together. Repairing the seam by hand took some swearing, and careful stitching.

Then came the really scary part: sewing the appliqués in place. You can’t screw up doing that, because undoing those seams would be a literal nightmare. So I enlisted help, and with my son and my friend M. sewed the animal appliqués on. Then I took the pics you see below, wrapped the finished blanket up again, and prayed it would arrive in one piece when I mailed it, and it did.

If you’re wondering how the appliqués are made – I didn’t really have a pattern. You basically make a round shape for the face or body, and then smaller, black and white ones for the eyes. Other extremities like ears and such I just winged. It was a lot of trial and error, and waaaay to much stitching together for my taste, but it had to be done. My personal favorite is the jellyfish :-). Looking at the pictures again, I’m really pleased with how it turned out. A very successful two-continent collab, right there!

Since we didn’t get to see much of each other this year due to travel and health restrictions, we sadly didn’t get the chance to play with young K. on the blanket in person. And it’s only now, one year after the fact, that I realize I never wrote about the project at all. It’s only fitting to do it now, with his first birthday only a matter of weeks away.

It seems bizarre how fast the past 12 months went by. But then, there’s really not much that doesn’t feel bizarre these days, is there? Despite all the weirdness, there were many good things. After the terrible start into my work year, I’ve been fortunate with being assigned a series of cool book projects, one after the other. We have so far escaped getting infected, knock on wood. My daughter sang solo in front of an audience for the first time. My boy got his license and enjoys driving us around. My husband has successfully led his team and done excellent work from a distance, while keeping a healthy work-life balance, for the first time in years. We said goodbye to a cat, and, after a few weeks of mourning, took in a new one. We spent a great deal of time out in the country – which has been the ultimate blessing. All in all, we’ve been very fortunate, and it’s always a good thing to remember that.

Leaving here today with a picture of my latest brightly colored color block socks:

I look forward to wearing them. Have a good weekend, and thank you for reading!

Fall Post

Gorgeous shades of red, right? This is our kitchen window framed in luxurious fall colors, as every year, for a couple of weeks. It makes me very happy that I got lucky with the light and the angle, and caught it exactly as it looks like. 🙂

As the year starts drawing to an end, I’m looking at a trip of a special kind. I’ve written about my parents‘ grave site and its imminent expiration date before. If you don’t feel like reading an old post: My family’s time in the place they were buried is up – after being granted two additional years as an exception. I’m planning to go there one more time next week, to find closure, pay my respects, say a prayer, and then a stonemason will come and remove the construction. Said stonemason will also be kind enough to cut a piece off of the headstone for me, which I can come pick up and put in my garden, so I’ll have a memento I actually get to keep, and maybe give a final place of rest – for now.

Time off, for me, also means crafts, as you are aware if you’re here. I’ve had a long hiatus due to my broken elbow, but started again as soon as I was allowed to ditch the cast :-). I consider it to be a very effective type of PT, exceptionally good for the fine motor skills. As it is, both my orthopedist and the PT lady have been impressed with my healing process, so I guess I’m lucky on that front.

My current WIPs are:

The dog sweater is done,

the socks are not (but a few episodes of the latest Queer Eye season will rectify that). As for the blanket, you all know that is a process. Some take years to finish,

others are done more quickly:

The Waffle Blanket is turning out to be one of the former category.

Finally, a word on overalls. I’ve worn a couple of these over the decades, and it’s completely my old friend M’s fault who was famous for wearing them in the early Nineties. He also had an egg slicer necklace, which he always said was proof he was a crazy ass mofo :-)). He was the sweetest boy that lived in Frankfurt when I was young. He was the yin to my boyfriend’s yang, and we hung out a lot, the three of us. We took a long road trip all across the States, transferring a red GMC Sierra truck from Massachusetts down to the Tucson airbase. It was a great trip, and a wonderful ride. His dungarees were OshKoshs, and he lived in them, much as I lived in my 501s, then. Anyways, I blame him for getting me hooked on them. I got my first pair not long after.

My favorite pair were from a GAP store in Manhattan. They were forest green corduroys, and I wore them for years, but unfortunately lent them to a pregnant lady I knew, who never gave them back to me after she had her baby :-(. Then I had a pair made of black twill, which were great for the summer, and I wore those to death. My last pair were also lent out as pregnancy garb, which people evidently never return, and I guess I forgot how much I loved this Most Comfortable Garment in the world. Now that I finally have a pair again, I’ll try not to forget that again :-). They make me really happy.

I have no new revelatory recipe to share this time, probably because we haven’t been cooking elaborate meals lately. I was busy, so didn’t pay a lot of heed to what went on our plates. We had a lot of pasta, which is not great for my quest of minimizing my carbs intake, but it’s the best overlap with the kids‘ tastes, and also doesn’t take long. I tried to have more vegetables than pasta, at least :-).

Now, I’m off to this place with Charlie. Here he is in full speed:

Have a great October, and thank you for checking in!


Mornings doing crafts in bed are a precious and rare indulgence!