Big sigh of relief. This pattern is finally complete! It’s the most challenging pattern I’ve written to date. That is, challenging to write, literally. Hopefully, I’ve devised a pattern that is easy as pie for you to read and knit. There are detailed instructions for less experienced knitters, and those of you who have a few more miles of knitting under your belt should be able to take it and run. Lots of pictures (and big thanks to Sara Jensen Photography for the best ones!), helpful links, and in the end you will have one cute topper for your favorite babe.
I love a good design challenge. It gets the blood flowing and exercises lazy neurons. It all started with a simple request from a wonderful photographer, Sara Jensen. She was looking for something vintagey—rough around the edges. Lots of texture (yes! that’s my department!) . I mulled and turned things over in my head for a while. Had a glass of wine. I had visions of burlap and the vintage hand crocheted lace I found in an antique store in the Catskills. But really, I wanted to do something for her that was rough, yet fragile. I wanted to create a foundation from which you could tell a myriad of stories, whether they are real or make believe. And then I remembered…
What seems like a lifetime ago, I designed a sweater that was knit entirely from torn strips of muslin. I don’t recall what prompted me to do that, but it was fabulous. I don’t mind saying. So—and trust me, I am not digressing—we bought a couch a few weeks ago off of Craigslist. It’s divine. Restoration Hardware. HUGE savings. We will leave it at that. But the crazy lady we bought it from also gave us a really nice sheet to help protect it in its travels. I dug it out. I tea stained it in the tub. I ripped it into strips, sewed them together, and knit a bonnet. Then I cut ribbon. And I melted it, and I burned it. I made a flower. Then I drowned it in tea. Because it wasn’t fully distressed, it was simmered in coffee. More ribbons and delicate branches, and I’m lost in a woodland reverie. A fairy tale comes alive.
Can you tell that I’m excited about this design? I already see it in so many different colors and variations–personalized in so many ways. I see this bonnet on the most precious babe for her first voguing moment before the camera or adorning the littlest flower girl at the wedding. I see blooms that perfect soft shade of blush cherry blossoms or as vibrant as the deepest red rose.
What makes something an heirloom? This is a question I typically ask myself when I start any new design, but especially when it is for a newborn. When a child enters this fast paced, do it yesterday, mechanized, computerized, factoried, harried world, it seems to be all the more important to have one little piece of quietude to wrap them in. Something that was made slowly, meticulously, and with great care.