Thursday, February 26, 2015

UFOs No More

Every knitter has a few unfinished projects shoved in a closet. We lose interest, or maybe it's just not turning out right and we can't bring ourselves to unravel the damn thing just yet. So we shove the thing away and never look at it again.

Some knitters wisely go through their UFOs (UnFinished Objects) and deal with them every now and then. But, as with everything else in life, most of us die with unfinished projects. Our loved ones don't know what to do with them either, and so the UFOs remain stashed away somewhere.

Until decades later, when some poor knitter inherits it all along with ancient yarn and needles and notions. This knitter also leaves the UFOs untouched for years because of course no one ever stores the patterns with the damn things, so it's impossible to figure out what it was supposed to be.

Then one day, the knitter screws up her courage and discovers that some of the things are close to being finished.

So she finishes them.

And this is how I was able to give my brother and sister-in-law baby shower gifts from both our grandmothers.

One died 20 years ago, the other 40 years ago. The state of yarn being what it was in the 70s, 80s and early 90s, the acrylic projects are better suited for doll clothes than baby clothes, but I have no doubt my impending niece will be subjected to them for a brief photo op. 

More importantly, my super surprise mystery gifts* made people cry. I win! I win at presents!

* My mother had seen the patterns for the things I knitted from scratch, but no one knew the grandma presents existed until they were unwrapped.

And now the pictures:

My maternal grandmother (who died in the 90s) made this. All it needed was the button band. There was also one (1) baby bootie with it and something that was almost a hat, but not quite. Since I couldn't figure out how to finish the hat, I repurposed that yarn. Buttons are from Grandma's button stash. I gave them the bootie too since they have slightly more use for a lone bootie than I do. The cool that ends up wearing the sweater can also wear the bootie.

A baby bikini! Made by the same grandmother. Apparently, it's not the only one she made. Because why make one baby bikini when you can make 3 or 4. It was finished except for the weaving in of loose ends. I lengthened the ties because they seemed a little short. It's acrylic, so I can't imagine the baby comfortably swimming in it. But I can't stop picturing this outfit on a teddy bear because it would be so wonderfully wrong.

My paternal grandmother, who died in the 70s, set out to crochet a tablecloth.  I've stopped crocheting since you actually have to look at it (as opposed to knitting, which can be done by feel most of the time) and my poor vision just can't deal with it. This work is so fine that I'm relieved to know better than to try to continue it. She stopped when it was about baby blanket size. It's cotton and machine washable, so why not wrap a baby in it? All I had to do was finish off the one live stitch, weave in the end and throw it in the washing machine. Booyah.

Grandma #1 also made this weird random thing. The council of aunties determined that it was an egg cozy, meant to be placed over an egg on Easter. The ears don't stand up on their own, so until very recently, I thought it was a sheep. But it's a bunny.

My brother and sister-in-law beholding the wee tininess of the wee tiny sweater. Just like I did every time I picked up the sweater while I was working on it. 

BTW, this was not at the actual baby shower, but at the pizza dinner the night before. They live in Texas, so NY pizza had to happen. I gave these gifts early because I'm not an asshole. How is anyone supposed to follow up, "Here's a handmade gift from your long dead grandmother," with "hey, I bought you some onesies"?

There was, of course, a diaper cake at the baby shower proper. The addition of little cardboard baby feet made it look like the diaper cake was eating babies. Because a diaper cake isn't weird enough on its own. I had a picture of the whole diaper cake, but my phone seems to have deleted it because that shit's just freaky.

This one I made. It's the rainbow chain carriage blanket, made to match the pictures, not the pattern since even the corrected pattern doesn't match what the designer actually made. I made it with dishcloth cotton for maximum color choices and maximum tolerance for being spit up on.

And this is Anouk, a clever and adorable pinafore designed by Kate Gilbert. I've wanted to knit this since I first saw the pattern 10 years ago. It's open on the sides so that the baby has room to grow. It starts as a dress and can be worn as a tunic as the baby gets bigger. I used vintage butterfly buttons I bought at a shop in St. Louis.

Now I really need to go through my own UFOs. None of them are worthy of Gift From the Great Beyond status. And no one should be stuck figuring out what to do with the partial child's vest I stopped knitting because the yarn was just too awful to force anyone to wear. The pieces may work as microfiber cloths for cleaning up the kitchen counter. And no one is going to do that with the knitting of a dead woman.


  1. Great story! I hope the baby enjoys all her presents.

  2. I've read this twice now and I cry anew each time. The blanket is beautiful on the crib - the first thing you see when you walk in the room and I have a special place in mind for bunny! I'm so in love with all of these creations - infinite love and thank yous.


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