I discovered one of the most wonderful children's books, titled Sophie's Masterpiece: A Spider's Tale , written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Jane Dyer. Sophie's Masterpiece is a beautiful tale of a spider named Sophie who spins extraordinarily lovely webs of very fine lace which awe everyone who comes across them. Sophie moves into an old boarding house where she meets a young pregnant woman who is in the process of knitting a layette for her unborn baby. The woman cannot afford to buy any more yarn for a blanket for the baby, so Sophie, now old and frail, weaves a very special blanket for the new arrival. A heartfelt and sentimental story (aka, a tear-jerker), Sophie's Masterpiece is also openly homebirth friendly, as, and the culmination of the story, and without any further description, Sophie describes finally hearing the newborn:
She was down to the farthest corner of the blanket when she heard the cry of the young woman's newborn baby.Sophie's Masterpiece is now one of my all time favorite picture books, up there with Welcome With Love, written by Jenni Overend and illustrated by Julie Vivas, The Napping House, written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood, and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Sophie's Masterpiece has beautiful artwork, and the (undeclared) homebirth and the knitting/weaving references made my week!
The book also reminded me of all the blankets I have knit with love as gifts for others. I have made a number of baby blankets and one or two full sized throw blankets. Some of the blankets were very simple, some rather complex, but all were fun to make! Blankets are one thing I have a passion for knitting, that's for sure.
The very first blanket I knit was from JoAnne Turcotte's pattern Building Blocks Blanket, which I call Blocks of Love. I knit this blanket for Evelyn when she was two years old. Now, I'm not so crazy about the color or the yarn, but you live and learn, right? This was a very easy beginner pattern to follow.
The second baby blanket I knit is Feather and Fan Baby Blanket, also by JoAnne Turcotte, and was one of the more complex patterns I had followed up to that point! This one was also for Evelyn at two or three years old. I was very pleased with myself, and I call this one Light as a Feather!
With Lion Brand's pattern Diagonal Comfort Blanket, I knit two or three blankets as baby shower gifts, one out of a cotton blend in tan, brown, and green stripes, one out of a lovely yellow and green variegated wool-blend, and one out of Lion Brand Homespun. The Homespun was my favorite yarn to use, as it draped perfectly, plus I love bulky yarns; here is a picture (the only picture of any of them that I can find right now!):
One of my very favorite blankets is featured in the book Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick, and the pattern is Fluffy Afghan or Lap Blanket by Nicky Epstein. I picked up Lion Brand Homespun for this project because I wanted something bulky and fluffy, but I was somewhat doubtful about the texture. I need not have worried, though, because now that the blanket is done, I am very happy with it. It is extremely soft and relatively thick, good for cold winter nights curled up by the fire and is super soft and fluffy!
As a holiday gift for Esme, I knit a Bunny Blanket Buddy from another Lion Brand pattern. This Snuggle Bunny is knit out of light blue cotton and is destined to have a set of eyes, a little nose and whiskers. I still have a couple months to add the finishing touches!
The blanket I am working on now is Evelyn's holiday gift. The pattern is Joseph's Blankie of Many Colors from Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne's book Mason-Dixon Knitting.
When I was knitting the third block on the blanket, Eva came in and asked what I was making. I told her it was a present for her. She kept guessing various odds and ends that it could be… a scarf… a hat… a pocket… a bonnet (she said, “I don’t really want a bonnet, but if you make a bonnet, I would try to like it, so it would be ok, I think”)… a flag… I was laughing my head off! Then Esme came in, took one look at my knitting and said, “Is that a blanket, Mama?” Hahahaha!
I am making headway on the Blanket of Many Colors, but here is the project as of about two weeks ago (I have another complete row of various colors around done now):
I have a queue of projects to keep me busy for a year from now, and three of those projects are blankets for various destinations. It seems like I never knit anything for myself, although hopefully after the holiday season, I will get something done!
Oh yeah, sign up for Ravelry, a free knitting and crochet community, if you are not a member yet, and check out my page to see my latest projects!