Having become an auntie again twice, I’ve been knitting like crazy. My big baby brother and his bride presented me with a dark-haired niece at Easter, and my baby-baby brother and his had a (second) son 10 days ago, also dark-haired – I mention hair as we’re all blondes who’ve married dark-haired people, but the first 4 babes are all blonde, and number 5’s initially-black hair has faded to dark blonde at age 2. What happens with #6 and #7 is anyone’s guess right now.
The most recent CP is a teddy for my nephew. It started out as Lion Brand’s free Scott the Bear, but, urm. Due to a combination of a printer out of ink, a 21-month old who likes pressing buttons (especially off-buttons on computers), and deciding I wanted some things to be different anyway, Sprot the Beer is not entirely as indicated. Who needs a stinkin pattern anyway?!
He is made with a TINY amount of multi-coloured yarn of unknown composition for the head and body. I think it is self-patterning sock yarn, though I have no idea how it came to be in my stash, it just was, being offensive and vile*. The black yarn is almost certainly wool, of a strange, ply-less, slubby nature, which I bought unbanded to make a sweater for Tiny Husband, as he has had nothing since his lovely purple pirate fingerless gloves (which reminds me, I really ought to get another pair on the needles for winter, possibly with a mittenly ‘hood’ for his fingers), and the white is some acrylic left over from my new niece’s matinee outfit (of which cuteness, later).
The idea for the stripes is that newborns can only see light and shade – a lot of newborn toys are only black and white as a result. But as colour vision develops randomly, through accidental firing of the retinal photoreceptors which eventually – and amazingly quickly – tune in to specific colours, I always think it’s best to combine colour and stripes to a) help the process along and b) prolong the interestingness of the toy.
I don’t think he’s suitable for munching on, but as a slappy toy he’ll be fine. The head and body more or less follow the pattern, but I made the legs and arms longer so they would flop about more as nephew bats it. There’s no tail, but I chain-stitched a length to tie him to an arch. Also finished off with my new craft labels from GB Nametapes, very reasonable and a quick turnaround. They read “hand made by Subh Milis” in olive green on a cream background, with a teddy symbol to one side.
Subh Milis (sue milish) is the title of a poem by Séamus Ó Néill, an Irish (not Gaelic, please!) writer from (now) Northern Ireland. At 8 lines, it’s practically a haiku in Irish literary terms. I learned it in primary school and it’s stayed with me since. Even as a child myself, I recognised the evanescence of youth expressed so sparsely in the poem – I suppose it’s why I’ve spent so much time refusing to grow up… Here it is in full – the translation just doesn’t do justice…
Bhí subh milis
Ar bhas-crann an dorais
Ach mhúch mé an chorraí
Mar smaoinigh mé ar an lá
A bheas an bhas-crann glan,
Agus an lámh bheag
There was jam
On the doorhandle
But I smothered the vexation
That rose up in me,
Because I thought of the day
That the doorhandle would be clean
And the little hand
* – I don’t even like flecked/tweed yarn. If I want colourful, I’ll do Fair Isle, intarsia, etc. Liking sploodgey colours on the same yarn evidences an advanced dementia at best, or hopeless sociopathy in the case of hand-dyeing afficionados. The stuff looks like a migraine made string-like.