The Spirit of Gifting-The Foundation
With the first week of Ravelry’s (hopefully annual) Indie Gift-A-Long behind us I’ve been thinking a lot about handmade gifts. I’ve made number of them over the years; from the traditional macaroni necklace I’m sure I made as a child to some of my own crocheted designs in more recent years. However, without a doubt, my favorite handmade gift is the blanket I designed for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.
I began the concept for the blanket on their 49th anniversary. I wanted to make them something special and unique, they deserved it. But at the time, although I had “winged it” on a couple of different hats, I hadn’t made or designed anything so huge. The design needed to represent them and the foundation they gave me and my siblings from which we would build our lives and relationships. To me, the design was obvious, a family tree. Someone I knew directed me to Lion Brand’s Tree of Life knitting pattern and although beautiful, it wasn’t personal enough. So I did as I so often do, I made up my own pattern. I learned how to do front post stitches as I wanted my design to POP and learned how the front post stitches worked with flat stitches and graphed out the tree. I learned after much trial and error, that a crocheted stitch isn’t always as square in real life as it is on graph paper. Online I found a make it yourself graph paper where you can determine the shape of the “squares”. I searched high and low for the perfect yarn and ended up with two types. One cream with gold metallic for the 50th anniversary to use as an accent and a soft, easy care cream yarn for the main afghan. The colors had to be an exact match. After finding the perfect yarn I had a hard time finding enough of the same dye lot. By complete luck someone was selling an entire paper box full of the perfect yarn (eBay). And bonus, they were only about 30 miles away and therefore, no shipping. An unbelievable and perfect find.
I remember re-doing the graph a number of times and so pleased I was able to find my final graph from which the blanket is made. The trunk represents my parents-their foundation of love and support for each other and the family. The three main branches are my brother, my sister, me and our spouses. The six smaller branches are our kids, their grandchildren; my brother’s son and daughter, my sister’s two daughters and my two sons. And the branch turning into a bird is our special angel, my son who died shortly after his birth. Very much a part of our family but whose life was cut way too short.
Many variations of edging were worked. I wanted a little gold to represent the 50 years and wanted to frame the design. I’d never done a puff stitch before this and not even sure if that’s the stitch I used, but the result is perfect.
My parents were and still are great examples. For my brother, my sister and me, they provided a strong foundation as parents should. They taught us marriage is about love and support and with this foundation we have survived – as couples – some of the toughest days of our lives. I’m so very thankful for that. Next month they celebrate 56 years. How very lucky they are. My mother, my #1 fan, has often encouraged me to write down this design and self-publish it. I can’t, it’s too personal. Maybe one day I’ll create a similar design but for now it will remain as my favorite gift ever.
Read other stories about gifting here: http://www.heartstringsfiberarts.com/gal.shtm