More Baby Rugs

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Jenn Kiarsis made this braided rug for a friend’s first grandchild

My friend Jenn Kiarsis sent me some photos of two baby rugs she braided for a friend of hers when the friend’s first grandchild was born. Aren’t they adorable?

I am – intermittently – working on my own “baby rug”… although I put that in quotes because, as often happens, my rugs tend to wander a bit from their original intentions. I have completed 3 of the 6 braided square spirals, but now I’m liking it enough that maybe I want to make something a bit bigger? Maybe a hall runner? I like the idea of braiding these smaller pieces and putting them together to make a bigger rug. And, as usual, I am leaning toward bright turquoises and greens and less toward baby blue, so it’s becoming less of a baby rug, and more of just a rug.

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Anther baby rug braided by Jenn Kiarsis

The only problem with the square spirals is that they seem to take forever to lace. I’m sure it’s not that the shape has any extra lacing to do, though… it’s just that right now my life is an endless stream of being interrupted, again and again, and again, by workmen. There are incessant questions and adjustments and additional invoices and unexpected quirks to my house that require alterations to plans. The kitchen is nowhere near being finished: still no sink, no countertop, and only half the cabinets are in. The refrigerator and non-working stove are still in the dining room with the microwave.

This kitchen/back porch renovation is just interminable.

People have told me to just take the long view: in another month or so (probably the “or so” is more accurate) I will have a nice new kitchen and everything will be in its place.

It’s just really difficult to even be happy about that future, though. Right now I am detesting the whole process so keenly that I kind of long for the days when I had my old kitchen: I’m nostalgic even for the ceiling with the hole in it that plinked bits of plaster down on me when I was washing dishes at the sink. At least the place was my own, and had not yet been invaded by all of these men in dusty boots parading through my house, demanding my decisions and my compromises, and yet another check for additional expenses.

The continual disruption has made it difficult to focus on any one thing, and difficult to settle down and braid, or even to write.  In the midst of writing this one page, I have:  gotten the kitchen guys to plug an extension cord in for the back porch cement guys, been called out to view the siding and approve something weird about where the kitchen bump-out joins the house, and decided to have a strange piece of plumbing in the kitchen ceiling boxed in rather than having the beam slant outward to cover it.  (Have you ever seen a straight beam that then slants?) All three things were separate questions and separate interruptions… which shows you why I can’t keep a coherent thought in my head these days.

In fact, the one thing that does stay in my mind is something that I don’t want:  that Snow White song:  “Some day my prince will come, some day we’ll meet again, and away to his castle we’ll go, to be happy forever I know…”  Now why would I have that bit of nonsense stuck in my head?

 

 

 

Braids for Babies

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Dianne Tobias made a hooked and braided baby rattle for the 2015 “Just for Kids” rug challenge.

Christine here. This past Friday I went to what was probably my first baby shower in… 15 years? Or more? Having been rather late to the baby adventures myself, most of my girlfriends had kids ages before me. Maybe there was a shower for my sister when she had my nephew about 13 years ago (sorry, Valerie, I can’t remember).

My most recent job (which, given the salary, I thought of more as a volunteer work than anything) was as a secretary for the local borough. My boss was a young woman whom I both liked very much and yet… I didn’t really have the personal maturity to accept orders from her. After all, she was young enough to be my daughter, and I had to advise her on work basics (Council is never going to listen to you until you make yourself look older: glasses, low heels, slim skirt, pearls, and a hair cut or at least pull your hair back, and modest make up). She was terribly competent: a Master’s degree in Government from Pitt, and a father who’s a Borough Manager in a nearby larger and more-moneyed borough to tap for advice.

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Kris McDermet made a baby beach ball of hooked and braided pentagons for the “Just for Kids” 2015 Challenge

Once Julie dropped the college student clothing and wore glasses and heels, she really did get some more respect and authority, but I just wasn’t that good about accepting it from her. I realized it was me, mostly, and not her… but that didn’t make it any easier to put up with, so because of that and a host of other reasons, I left the job after 3 years (and the loss made no appreciable effect on our standard of living, which tells you why it just wasn’t worth it.) Since then we’ve kept in loose contact: I drop in to harass the code enforcement manager about my deadbeat neighbors with 3-foot tall weeds and horribly peeling paint, and I always stop in to see how Julie’s doing.

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Eileen Collegian made a bear rug for the “Just for Kids” challenge in 2015

I was absolutely delighted when I ran into the current secretary while we were both out walking our dogs, and she invited me to Julie’s baby shower. I realized that I just wouldn’t have enough time to make a rug as a present, and none of my former rugs rolled up and stashed in a corner were sufficiently baby-looking. So I got to go to Babies R Us for the first time in many years, and had way too much fun picking out baby boy clothing.

The shower was a lot of fun, but since then, I’ve been thinking, if I’d had enough time… what would a braided rug for a baby shower look like?

The “challenge” in 2015 was “Just for Kids.” There were wonderful rugs there, with all sorts of game-themed ideas… but not too many of them were really specifically for babies: they were more for older kids. The only real “baby” oriented ones were: Dianne Tobias’ rattle, which was hooked and braided; and the baby ball of hooked pentagons connected by braiding, which Kris McDermet made. These braided items weren’t rugs, though, and I’ve been thinking about a RUG for a baby. Some of the other rugs from the 2015 Challenge were more “baby” oriented: Eileen Colligan’s bear rug, Deb Lynch’s Mickey Mouse rug, and Pam Landry’s round rug of crayon colors.

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Deb Lynch’s Mickey Mouse Rug

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Pam Landry’s rug of crayon colors

But still, not exactly what I have in mind for a baby rug. I guess I was affected too keenly by all the pink and pale blue in the Babies R Us store. I googled, “Braided rug for baby” and got about a million images of those t-shirt cotton rugs in pastels stitched together with machine zigzag stitching. Cute, but I like working with wool. There also were a whole lot of crocheted rugs that came up: again, cute, but not what I was looking for (I find it very annoying that crochet rugs are being “tagged” as braided rugs: I love to crochet, but the technique is DIFFERENT from braiding and should not be lumped in there).

So, I’ve decided – for some hopeful date in the future… or at least the next baby shower – to make baby boy rug and baby girl rugs. I’ll work with heavily felted wool to make thick, soft, plush braids – no thin or tweaky wool, and a preference for fuzziness. Although a round would be easy, I always have to have something a little extra complicated to keep my interest.

The baby girl rug is easy: a big pink flower with a light yellow center, and 5 short spokes to make the rounded petals. The baby boy’s rug… for some reason I’m attracted to the spiral square pattern, maybe 6 squares lined up in a 2X3 grid, with a million blue, turquoise, and light green scraps used up, something like this:

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Plans for baby boy and baby girl braided rugs

I’ve gotten started on the spiral square one, which is a fun pattern IF you are comfortable with counting loops and IF you are perfect about doing so. I’m using up all of my turquoise and baby blue and light green scraps, which is fun. I’ll keep you posted.

Anyone else have any braided rugs for babies that they’ve made?