Saturday, 18 March 2017

Blue Skies and Blue Satin

Blue satin hanging on the washing line, viewed from beneath. A blue sky with white clouds can be seen behind the satin. Other shapes in the background include the edge of a fence along the bottom, a roof ridge in the bottom left corner and also the tips of some lavender flowers in the bottom left foreground in front of the fence.
Blue like the sky,
Pretty in the breeze.

My baby blanket has been at a standstill.
The hold-up? Fabric to line the reverse side.

How hard do you think it could be to find some basic satin in pastel baby colours?

In my town, it is very hard because few shops stock large ranges of  anything on their shelves.  With the growing popularity of online shopping and the increasing costs for retailers of rents and floorspace, the variety of goods on offer is reducing.  I'm also noticing a reduction in the general quality of goods these days.

Everybody wants to cut costs.  Is that happening in your part of the world too? 

Maybe I'm old-fashioned.  I believe in investing in good quality.  Cheap solutions can be false economy if the product doesn't last or wear well.

Over the years, I've come to realise my personal ethos:

"If you are going to do a job, do it well, do it properly."
(or at least to the best of one's ability)

That is why I could not continue the Teddy Bear blanket until I had found just the right fabric.  All I wanted was a pretty pastel cool blue satin that would be smooth to the touch and coordinate with the crocheted blue, tan, white and yellow.

A close-up side view of the blanket with all the squares joined together. The seams are noticeable blue ridges of double crochet stitches. A blue stitch marker and a white stitch marker are attached to the edge of the blanket and can be seen in the foreground. The tan teddy bear ears can be seen raised above the surfact of the blanket..
All the squares are joined and waiting for a fabric backing.
For ridges on the right side of the blanket, use double crochet stitches
to join the squares with wrong sides facing.

When colour is critical to the finish of a project, I need see the materials with my own eyes. Online shopping doesn't cut it with me because I don't trust the colour reproduction on computer screens.  All it takes is for a monitor to be poorly colour calibrated and what you see on screen may not be what you get.

When time is of the essence, I don't want to be waiting days and weeks for a postal delivery.  I want to get on with my project!  What if the item arrives and it is not right and needs to be returned? More time (and energy) wasted.

At the first opportunity, I raced to the local haberdashery only to discover that their satin range had no pastel colours whatsoever! The classic, standard baby pastels of blue, pink, yellow and green were nowhere to be seen!  Everything was 'dance satin', designed for costumes, in rich jewel colours with glitters and sparkles.

My heart was set on a pastel blue but the blues available were too deep and warm for the cool colours in my crocheted blanket. Will I resign myself to yellow?  While yellow is a light colour, the yellows on offer were also bright and sparkly. I tried to find the least sparkly one to match as best I could and brought it home but the next day, in the daylight, it was plain that the yellow was too deep for the pastel lemon.What a setback; and the next best fabric suppliers were across town!
A sample of the teddy blanket is placed upon the satin to check colour compatibility.  The satin's shiny texture highlights the grey quality of this cool pastel blue. The mid blue, tan, white and yellow of the blanket are also cool colours.
A classic, almost neutral,
pastel blue satin.

A cross-town journey is an apprehensive undertaking for me and my MCTD / lupus.  The mental effort of concentration and the physical effort of driving, plus the UV radiation exposure through the car windows, will trigger a chain reaction inside the body resulting in fatigue and flaring of symptoms.  The results will hit rapidly either the same day or the next.

Forget spontaneous travel with my autoimmune disease.  Everything needs to be planned in advance taking into consideration energy levels, stamina, fatigue and activity levels across the week (and often across the entire month allowing for rest days); all extra delays in finding my fabric.

Good news this week: I sourced some pastel blue satin and was well enough to travel across town to make sure it matched; and it did!

Better news this week:  Baby has arrived!

I will not share too many details to preserve the privacy of the family but I can tell you that a happy, healthy baby boy has been welcomed into our circle and everyone is doing well.

Guess who was privileged enough to hold a gorgeous newborn!

Shocking news:  blanket is still unfinished. Fortunately, the days and nights are still warm so baby won't be needing it immediately.  

That's just as well because the satin has been on the line to dry after an initial wash to pre-shrink and wash out any excess dye.  It would be a shame if the dye were to run out and stain the front of the blanket. Fortunately, this satin is a good quality and there was no dye leaching at all. It was worth the extra travel for sure.

I plan to stitch the satin backing tomorrow, taking notes and pictures to document the process for you. I'm so excited!

Have you done any baby crochet recently?

A swathe of shiny pastel blue satin. The deep shadows show traces of the blue. The shininess reflects light and makes the fabric look cooler and lighter in the photograph than it actually is. It is a pastel, cool, grey blue.
The shiny smooth satin will contrast the textured crochet stitches;
a tactile experience designed t
o stimulate baby's senses.
It will also be warm and easy to wash.

Related Posts on Lupey Loops

"Stashbusting to a Deadline", 21 February 2017:
Includes details of the "Bear Necessity" pattern.

"Yarn Chicken", 24 February 2017:
Includes a quick description of intarsia technique and a detailed tutorial about the mathematics of calculating yarn amounts.

"The Inevitable Time to Unwind", 2 March 2017:
Discussion of design choices.

"Blocking for The Edge", 7 March 2017:
Blocking tips for the neatest shapes and edgings.

"Ear, Ear!", 9 March 2017:
An example of appliqué technique plus tips for avoiding simple mistakes.

"Put on a Happy Face" 11 March 2017:
A first glimpse at the teddies' embroidered faces and a decision about the border.


  1. Ah, well done you! Look forward to seeing the finished item.

    1. Thanks, Cat! I really liked your idea of having the centre teddy winking but by the time I had read your comment, the eyes were already finished on that square. As an extension to your suggestion, I thought about maybe modifying the mouth; perhaps it could be cheeky with a tongue sticking out but we (my family and I) decided to just keep it the same as the others because, even though the pattern was the same, the nature of handmaking is that there was enough of a difference, between the expressions on each teddy, to keep some interest.

      I'm looking forward to seeing the finished blanket item too! Thanks for following along and leaving your comments. xx

  2. good for you to hunt and finally find just what you wanted. Congratulations to all on the baby boy. I haven't crocheted a baby blanket lately but I am knitting seems never ending, but it is for a baby sometime in the future for someone who will have that baby. Who knows who or when!

    1. You have the right idea, Mary-Anne. Be prepared. I am not that organised and I should be. I find it difficult to stick to plans like that because there is always something new coming along in the crochet and craft world to distract me! Just to emphasise your point, I also found out this week that someone else in my family circle is expecting. Please give me a kick up the backside to make sure that I always have a baby item in the wings so I can be as organised as you! As you say, it is never ending but a new baby is so special and deserves a warm welcome with lovingly handcrafted items to celebrate their arrival.

  3. You effort is wonderful, getting that satin and just in the nick of time. I love the blanket and that new baby boy will also. There is nothing like holding a newborn, so precious. I am making my granny square baby blanket for my new niece or nephew. I ordered more yarn today, hope it comes in soon. I already looked at the store closest to me, there was not any that would work.

    Hugs to you and hope you are feeling well.

    1. Hi Meredith,

      It is frustrating when our closest yarn shops don't have anything to suit our projects. I'm glad you were able to order the right yarn and I hope it has arrived by the time you read this.

      Knowing you, you have probably received the yarn and are busily working, giving in to granny-square-itis, and almost finished your baby blanket by now!

      I am a week behind schedule with my sewing because of health and household issues that arose and, with them, the fatigue. On the one day that I had all to myself, the brain was in such a fog that I did not trust myself to go near the satin.

      Satin has its own challenges and after receiving conflicting advice from various friends, I was also feeling a little intimidated and wanted to make sure I knew exactly what I was doing before starting.

      I just want to get it done now! I look forward to swapping notes when our baby blankets are done. Have fun! xx

  4. Well done Jodie! The blanket is going to look gorgeous. I agree that when you're hunting for a specific color to match it has to be done in person not online. I have just completed a baby blanket myself. It was a test crochet project (the first one I've done) and I really enjoyed it. I'm going to give it my brother and wife who are expecting their third baby this summer. Aawwhhh. Hope you are feeling well when you read this.

    1. Congratulations, Tamara, on finishing your first test project. It is lovely that you can help a designer to polish a pattern. It's excellent that you are all ready with a gift for your expected niece or nephew in plenty of time (unlike some other people we know ;-) not looking at myself ...much!)

      Thank you for the well wishes. It's been a swinging pendulum between feeling very well and ready to take on the world, and being overcome by pain, fatigue and frustration about things I would rather be doing and being unable to do them. The upredictability is a problem but for now, I am making an effort to focus on some crochet after neglecting it for a while due to all of the other pressures of life.

      My happy thought of the day is how precious little babies and young children are and how lucky we are to have them in our lives and be able to spoil them with presents made with our own hands and hearts.

      All the best with your next crocheted project and your teaching gigs. Enjoy! xx

  5. Baby has arrived! Yey! Congratulations.

    1. Thank you for your kind congratulations, Amalia. Baby is sweet, adorable, cute, gorgeous, happy but most of all healthy and loved very very much.

      I've had so much going on since I wrote this post that I am still behind in finishing the blanket and blogging about it. Then I shall catch up on everyone's news and fill in the rest of mine. It shouldn't be too long, fingers crossed!

      It is nice to be able to celebrate happy news with each other in blogland. Keep smiling xx