02 July 2012

Judah's First Birthday: Part Two

Secondly, the Mama Makes

I had all sorts of plans that didn't happen.  But given the time that I had, I actually got a fair amount done.

We didn't have a party, but I still wanted to decorate for Judah's birthday.  So I made some garlands out of circles I cut out of felt and sewed together and another with some wool felted balls stung up on yarn.  I also used some pom-pom fringe I had on hand.

I forgot to take a picture specifically of the garlands all hung on Judah's birthday.
They looked better then, but this gives you an idea.

Here's a [terrible] picture of everything all decorated.

I made Judah a birthday crown loosely based on this pattern.  I'm hoping that I can just replace the elastic as his head gets bigger, so I just tacked the 1 on a felt diamond that I can easily replace with a 2 next year.
Spoiler Alert: You'll see more pictures of the crown in the next post in the context of the day's festivities and (more importantly) on the head of one very adorable birthday boy.

Crochet Ball
For Christmas, I crocheted a blanket for Judah.  I had some yarn left over, so I decided to crochet a ball for him to match.  I used this website, which I found on pinterest.  But the website is in German, so I had to improvise a bit here and there because despite taking 2 years of German in high school and 2 semesters in college, I was never taught crochet vocab.  Can you believe that?!?  I feel a little cheated by the sub-standard quality of my education.  (Sidenote: In adding this website, I just noticed that google chrome can translate it into English for you.  That would have been helpful to know 3 months ago.  Also, I just realised that I probably could have easily found another pattern for a crochet ball with a simple google or ravelry search, but this also did not occur to me.)

Draw-String Bag
Back in the fall, Jason and I scored a bunch of books and toys for Judah at a yard sale that we saved for Christmas and his birthday.  We got this set of blocks for 25 cents, but they came in a ziplock, which I thought was unacceptable.  So I made Judah a drawstring bag to put them in.  (Sidenote: no matter how many bags I make with flat bottoms, I always sew the corners wrong the first time and have to rip them out and redo them.)  And speaking of ripping things out and redoing them...

The Quilt Saga that Epically Broke My Heart
I finished the top of this quilt before Judah was born...so that's over a year ago.  It was loosely based on this sewing machine cover design in this book by Malka Dubrawsky.  I used a log cabin strip quilting technique to make 120 little blocks.  I pieced it together beautifully.  This thing was perfect...every little block perfectly squared.  But I never got around to quilting it.  Because I had this baby, and the rest is history.  Still, it was just so pretty that I used it in Judah's monthly photo shoots.

I was determined to have it finished for his first birthday.  It was going to be his big special gift made especially for him by his mama.  I worked on it all week...adding the borders, laying out the backing and batting, pinning every few inches, and finally, quilting it all together.  It was hard to pull all the layers through my basic singer sewing machine, but it was a matter of will.  I got to the end and inspected my work, and here's what I had done:

My perfectly squared blocks were all askew.  The back was all ripply.  I had ruined my masterpiece.  Apparently, the reason it was so hard to quilt was that my tension was off, and I didn't have a quilting presser foot.  I called my mom to ask her what I should do.  She said, "Well, you have two options.  You can just add the binding and call it done.  Or you can rip it out, bring it down to Jersey, and quilt it on my Elna 6003 Quiltmaker's Dream.  Do you want it to be finished, or do you want it to be done right?"  Boo.  I was hoping for "It's not that bad.  You're being silly."  But she was right.  This was Judah's baby blanket, and I wanted it to be an heirloom.  So I put it aside with a frowny face, feeling like a total failure of a mother, artist, and person in general.  Nevertheless, this was Judah's birthday.  And I wanted it to be about him, so I put the quilt out of my mind and moved on to the celebration.

[Edit: Since then, I did take the quilt down to Jersey, where my mom and I patiently ripped out the quilting.  She gave me a new piece of backing fabric, and we pinned it together.  Then she set up her Elna 6003 Quiltmaker's Dream, and I went to town.  And it turns out...it wasn't my Singer's fault after all.  I'm just a bad quilter.  I think I hold the fabric too tightly as I pull it through.  Because Judah's quilt was still ripply.  Jason and my mom both said it looked better, but if that's true, it's a minimal improvement.  I wasn't about to rip it out a second time, so I let my mom sew on the binding fabric, and I proceeded to hand-stitch it to bind the quilt together.  Finished.]

[Edit 2: But then I ran it through the wash, and the batiks bled onto my beautiful, clean, bright white fabric.  My mom says that if I keep washing it, eventually, the fabric will stop bleeding, and the stains will go away.  But the machines in my building are $3 per load, so that's just not going to happen any time soon.]

So for now it lives on the back of Judah's little recliner...wonky, wavy, and splotched.  So very far from the perfection of my original vision for the project.  But he is my sweet little boy, and he has compassion on his mama, and he's started taking it down and playing on it just to let me know that he likes it and that he loves me, despite all my insufficiencies.

Thanks, Judah.  I love you, too.

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