Hey guys, how’s it going?
I’ve been very busy with my dissertation, which is why I’m so inactive. Earlier this month I took a break and went away for a couple of days to hang with my brother and his family. It involved a lot of walking, driving around various countries, following some people cycling around in some important bike race that was going on at the time and counting baby toes in the evening. Wait…what?!
Yes, for those who don’t follow me on instagram: I am now an aunt! My brother’s baby, Luca, was born extremely prematurely while he and my sister-in-law were on holiday in Italy in late May. You can about imagine the sheer disbelief and panic when we got the news that my sister in law had to be ushered into the hospital and the baby was in danger. What followed was a mad (and chaotic) dash through the house to find and light all the candles for good luck (I’m not even joking) and clamping on to my phone. My sister in law had to stay in the hospital for about a week, and my nephew had to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks, but all things considered things went really well. He wasn’t supposed to be born until somewhere in mid July, which was something we joked about when we found out because my whole (extended) family has their birthdays in this one month of summer and my theory is now that he just wanted to shake things up a bit in that department.
At the end of June they where driven half way across Europe accompanied by a nurse to finally enable them to come home. I was sent regular updates on how it was going, and somewhere when they in Luxembourg, my brother, proudly messaged me that the baby had not cried for more than a minute during the whole journey. Tough little fellow, our Luca!
Way back in January, when they first found out they were expecting a baby, they asked me (in a very polite and respectful and non-forcible way) whether I’d like to make the baby a toy, to which I said yes, of course, as I was planning to make him something anyway.
I never before had a knit- or sew-worthy baby close enough to me, so this is all new terrain for me. I’ve been doing a bit of research on baby clothes (how tiny are babies!?). In the end I went with the Elijah pattern by Ysolda. It’s a charming elephant pattern that came out when I was still a knitting fledgling (this also tells you how out of the loop I am when it comes to toy patterns!). Elephants are obviously awesome animals and as an added bonus he has lots of limbs and ends for him to grab and hold on to, and later he can just play with it.
Anyone whose followed my making for a bit longer knows I’m not a big toy maker. I like seeing them, and I know there is a huge community and much excitement around stitching little toys but so far I haven’t really made a lot of them. I was a bit nervous to be honest. Nevertheless, the elephant was finished rather quickly, and even though my nephew arrived a bit earlier, the elephant was right on time.
And then the pictures came. Pictures of a little guy, bundled up in a blanket in the Italian heat. My heart melted, and before I knew it, I’d cast on another project for the little fellow. This time I was to find out how tiny babies really are: I made him a little cardigan. I used a pattern by Drops but modified the colourwork to my tastes. It’s based on one of the favourite jerseys of his dad; a black, woollen cycling jersey with a rainbow, the markings of a cycling world champion, across the chest.
While all of this was going on, my boyfriend was looking at me and taking it all in. He looked at the pictures of my brother in his rainbow jersey. At the cardigan I was making for my nephew. And finally at the naked, green elephant sitting on the table. We looked at each other and an idea was born. Although my boyfriend knows how to knit, in theory, he’s never finished any project he started, but this tiny-tiny jersey was just the thing. I think it took him longer than it took me to knit the baby cardigan, but he finished it and it looks great on the elephant, who now joins the rainbow club!
For now, little Italian Luca is too small for either the cardigan or the toy, but that will change soon. We see him grow and change every week. It’s sized for about 6 to 9 months, so come winter, I hope he’ll appreciate the gifts.