Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Baby Booties

I have a cousin who has  central nervous system vasculitis and has had several strokes.  The disease has caused the nerves in her brain to tell her she cannot see, even though her eyes can function for sight.  She is transported to physical therapy every week.   She has done a remarkable job in her recovery process.

One of her daughters is expecting a child in June.  She requested that baby's booties be placed on her Christmas tree this year.  Great idea!  I thought I might give a hand with that and finished up the project last night.  They will be in the mail to her today and she will get the booties in a couple days

I wanted to do them in Christmas colors and wanted to use up some of the yarn from Mama's sewing closet that I cleaned out when she died. How did she get so much yarn?   She had a friend who sold her house so that she could live on a boat.  The friend was quite a knitter and crocheter and had big Sterilite storage bins of yarn.  Six of those containers found a home in Mama's sewing closet. (The closet was very big -- in fact, in a life before the Joyners moved in, it was small baby nursery).  

I was so glad to have all that yarn when Mama was sick (and she also had Alzheimers) because it was her task to wind the skeins into balls.  When one wants to use the balls now, they have to be rewound because Mama wound the balls loosely and in only one direction, so they collapse and the yard gets tangled.  But, it gave her something to do.  She had lost the ability to do any kind of needlework.  She remembered that she could do it, but couldn't remember how and couldn't focus. At first when her memory was slipping, I would write simple instructions on posty notes and she used those directions to knit or crochet.   But gradually that didn't work anymore. Making yarn balls was something she thought she could do. She eventually couldn't do that either.

Using up that yarn has been a task of mine.  I used much of it before the house was sold;  the remainder  was moved to my storage.  Two blankets for Project Linus were completed and another one started, which is still in progress).  I made a baby blanket for my grandson.  Then most of the hats made for Coats for the Children have been made from Mama's stash of yarn. 

These two blankets
were made in 2012 completely from Mama's yarn stash.  They were carried to a collection site for Project Linus.
Coats for the Children hats completed in 2012, using
yarn from Mama's stash. (There is no picture of ones
completed in 2011.  That was the year I began working
on using up her yarn.)

This blanket was made for my grandson using yarn
 from Mama's yarn stash.

For the last few years, I have made at least 12 hats for Coats for the children.  This year has been so eventful that time has not allowed for that.  It began with Mama dying in January.  Cleaning out Mama and Daddy's house in Belhaven, NC took a lot of time.  They had lived in that big house for 50 years and filled it with the things they cherished.  Then I helped my daughter and her family move to the farm in Rougemont.  So, I have not had the time to spend making the hats.  I did decide to make hats in memory of the children killed at Sandy Hooks and will continue that project if it takes several years.  I got four of the hats completed this year in their memory.  But most of the yarn for those Sandy Hooks hat had to be purchased because I needed specific colors and types of yarns, especially for the beading of the girl hats.  Some of the hats (below) were made to practice stitches and beading for the Sandy Hook hats.  The practice hats were made from Mama's yarn stash.

Seven hats for Coats for the Children completed in 2013,
some knitted and some crocheted

Now for the Christmas booties -- the most recent project completed using Mama's Stash.  For the red booties with the cable at the front, I used the free pattern on Judit Sogan’s blog.  She described the project as “A Small Baby Project for the Weekend”.  I was able to complete both shoes in two days, working only at nights on it.  I spent two weeks working on free patterns which had terrible directions.  I wanted to spend time rewriting directions but found I was running out of time to get the booties mailed before Christmas.  I was so delighted to find Judit's instructions. There must be a little teacher in Judit because her numbers and exact instructions were very easy to follow.

 Judit’s instructions stated to use baby yarn for the project.  Since these booties were to act also as a Christmas decoration, I decided to use the colors of white and red.  Mama’s yarn stash had some white sport yarn, which I could substitute for baby yarn but she had no red baby yarn.  I found that difficult to purchase without scouting out the yarn shops or searching online.  This was a rush project and time didn’t allow for that.  Besides, I needed to use yarn from Mama’s stash.  The worsted yarn caused the size of the bootie to increase but that is OK because the baby will not be wearing it until next Christmas anyway and will probably need the large size (6 months).

I made a couple of changes though.  I made a mistake on a row because I was careless in reading the directions.  In row 33, I didn't do a K2, so the holes for the ribbon were closer together than Judit's bootie.  (Had to figure where the mistake was so that I could repeat it on the second bootie).  I didn't make the 2 stitch i-cord.  I thought the cabled booties would look more like Christmas with 1/4-inch white ribbon.  

The white booties were made with the white sport yarn using a very easy free pattern from Lion Brand Yarns.  I attached a red ribbon to make it, again, more like Christmas.  I hope these booties cheer my cousin and are what she requested.  Making the booties helped put me in better Christmas spirits.  Love you cousin P.M. and all the Joyners.  I miss you all and wish you a Merry Christmas.

Next project, finish the blanket started before the booties and continue with the Sandy Hook hats.  I have found some perfect patterns and ideas to complete some more hats in honor & memory of the children.  Check back and see my ideas and finished projects.

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