All Aboard!

November 20, 2013

My vet, having not learned her lesson the first time, had another baby.  Since I had stitched a birth announcement for #1, it seemed only right to me that #2 should get something as well, and I really did start looking for something almost as soon as I heard she was expecting.  Honest, I did.

I eventually decided on a Janlynn kit called “Kitten Express” (so she’d know it came from the crazy cat lady-in-training), but the name appears to have been a bit of misnomer.  It was really more like “Kitten Take the Scenic Route, Sign Up for a Couple of Boring Industry-Specific Classes, Stitch a Christmas Gift and Anniversary Sampler, and Generally Forget About It for a Year”.  Ahem.

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I felt somewhat better when I dropped it off at the framer’s and saw hanging on the wall someone else’s commemorative birth announcement with a date of birth in March.  I mean, that’s almost as late getting things done as I was!  My cat had no complaints: her annual shots got delayed by a month while I furiously stitched and waited for framing, because no freakin’ way was I going to show up at the clinic empty-handed.

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This really shows off the purple frame to its best advantage!  My initial thought for framing had been either yellow or blue, something typically boyish, but when my framer pulled out the purple and held it against the piece, everything just – fwoom! – came together in ways you wouldn’t believe.  Between the engine, the name and date, and various flowers and bottles all in purple, it worked no matter where in the picture you looked.

I did make a few changes from the pattern, though.  I left off a full double border that would have taken foreverrrrr to finish (and which had the advantage of fitting the finished piece into a smaller frame), and I left out a few clouds and a really limp-looking spiral of steam from the smokestack.  Unless you looked at the original packaging, you wouldn’t even know anything was missing.  I also changed the lettering on the engine and flatcar from pink to glow-in-the-dark white.

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This will either enthrall young Scott when the lights go out, or cause his mother to wonder why he’s suddenly afraid of the dark.  I forgot to mention this groovy aspect, and will have to tell her when next I see her.

I have been assured that the second is also the last, and can now get back to something a little more grown-up.

Lo, the much-hyped birth announcement has been completed – and less than two months after the actual birth.  Go me!

It’s an Anchor kit, designed by Margaret Sherry (love her stuff!) called “Little Bundle”.  Much like the lovey-dovey Solo the Cat cross-stitch in the last post, this one is full of backstitch that starts and ends at funny places, and would have been easier on evenweave.  Despite that, I’m quite pleased with how it turned out; it really was an enjoyable stitch despite the vast areas of green and white.

Please excuse the rather dreary appearance; this is what happens when one waits until natural daylight is gone to take a picture.  Rest assured, the fabric and the diaper are white…ohhh, so much white…

It has yet to be washed and framed, but I’ll be holding off on that for just a little while.  When you hear the neighbours having a shouted conversation across the street: “Hey, Bill, how’s your water over there?”  “Brown!  Yours?”  “Yep!”, the prudent thing to do seems to be to wait for the municipal waterworks department to finish their water main repairs before attempting to soak what will hopefully be an heirloom piece.

After all that crazy backstitch, working on a perforated-paper ornament kit feels like some sort of dream…

One of my coworkers is pregnant with her first child.  There’s been some dispute over whether it’s a boy or a girl, but we do know that it’s definitely a baby of some sort (I mean, it can really only go one of two ways, right?), and that she went Mickey Mouse-happy when choosing nursery decor and clothing.

I swore up and down that I was going to stay uninvolved in all the baby craziness – though I somehow got appointed Baby-Pool Collection Agent – but then I got a flyer for Fabricland and saw Mickey Mouse fabric front and centre on the first page.  I knew I had to do something with it, but what?  Quick and simple would be good.

Enter Simplicity pattern 4225 and its plethora of cute, easy projects.  I dug the bib, so I made two, and had enough fabric left over to make a small drawstring bag to package them up in.  Cute and “green”!

I managed to centre a different Mickey pose on each one.

My favourite part is the way the flannelette on the backs contrasts with the binding tape.

The stylish and practical bag.

She was surprised and delighted, especially when she found out I had actually made everything myself.  Now we just have to wait and see whether she has a boy or a girl to wear them – only two weeks to go!

How appropriate that they’re for the same person, n’est-ce pas?

Okay, so when I found out in the summer that my coworker was going to have a baby, I was excited.  Not because I like kids (I don’t), but I do like her, and this was an excuse to stitch something different!  I chose a design by Cinnamon Cat called “Pitter Patter”, which I liked for its colours – she wasn’t going to be finding out the sex beforehand, and this one wasn’t full of your typical pastels.  (It was a boy, by the way, born Boxing Day.)  I finished the bulk of it in December, and just before we left work on New Year’s Eve, the e-mail came around with a name and date.  It might be a sad comment on my social life that my New Year’s Eve was spent at home stitching, but to this I say, “Bah.”  It was too cold to go out, anyway.  I put in the final stitch just shortly before 10:00, effectively making it my final project of the year.  I spent the next two days applying coats of purple spray paint to a black six-inch frame, and voila:

I cannot begin to tell you how glad I am that she chose a short name.  “Ren” means “lotus” in Japanese, according to her e-mail, and I thought maybe a stitched card would be a nice touch.  I Google-searched the Japanese symbol for his name, and hope against hope that I’ve charted it correctly and haven’t called him something offensive in the process:

First project of 2010, w00t!

And now…now it sits, wrapped in vintage baby shower paper, in a bag under my desk so that if she should swing by the office for an impromptu visit, I’m prepared!

I took a break from my many U.F.O.s (on which more at some later date, assuming I actually manage to finish one) to work up a couple of onesies for a girl in my bowling league who is very, very pregnant – due April 22, our last night of the season.

What else but Sublime Stitching’s Bowling Betties pattern sheet would fit the bill?

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And since I managed not to screw that one up, and had a spare one (get it?  Spare?) left over, I found a cute kitten pattern from the Sublime Stitching book, and made it as gender-neutral as possible.

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If nothing else, this experience has taught me that although they may meet the length/weight requirements outlined on the hang tag, cats are not crazy about being stuffed into onesies (this was before I washed them, before I got to the actual embroidering).  It does something to their balance, much like putting a harness on one for the first time, and will cause them to fall off the couch onto the floor, and they will not understand what they did to deserve that.  She’s okay, she was just a little surprised, I think.  🙂

Oh, but back to the subject at hand: I presented them to her on Wednesday, in case she decided to pop early, and she loved them!  Her teammates were cooing over them, and they couldn’t believe I had done the embroidery by hand.  I love it when a few stitches can wow an audience.