Submitted by Naomi Macioce
When my daughter was in her twenties, Amanda, a very close childhood friend of hers became pregnant, a very big first for us. She had been in our lives since they were both in first grade, with the many play dates, sleep – over’s, and multiple craft and cooking sessions at our house. I knew her family also, because her mother had been an elementary teacher at our school and had my daughter and one son as students. Amanda was a very artistic girl, and used to make my daughter these lovely drawings, and little hand made gifts. Her mom was a basket weaver, and the house was decorated with all of their projects.
I decided to knit her a baby blanket, my first one. Little did I know how much time and yarn it would take! I thought that the occasion warranted a trip to a very fancy yarn shop in Harvard Square. I picked out a basic checkerboard pattern. Somehow, since it only involved knitting and purling, I thought it would be a quick one. The saleswoman helped me pick out some yarn that cost what seemed like a down payment on a house, but being very emotional about this new generation coming, I bought it.
The baby was going to be born in the winter but technically I had until October to finish the blanket, because they were leaving for Germany then; she had married a German guy, who she met while he was here doing an internship.
I eagerly started the quilt in late spring, but became quickly dismayed when I realized that switching from knit to purl every 6 stitches was more stressful than I had realized. However as I knit, I thought about Amanda and my daughter as young girls, about all of their fun projects, birthday parties, and other friends. I sat and knit while listening to many, many, Red Sox games, and worried or rejoiced depending on what was happening. I imagined the little baby, and wondered whether it was a boy or girl, and thought about them being far away in Germany, and definitely needing a little blanket for those cold winters. What seemed like a lot of time to finish it became a mad rush at the end, finishing it a day or so before they were leaving for Germany, and rushing to wrap it and get it over to her. She was so touched and pleased that I had made her something, and genuinely seemed to like the blanket. The blanket made it to Germany, with all of its Boston memories attached, and she had a baby boy. She told me that she had used it so much, and later had it ready for her baby girl. Her son is now about 15, so hard to believe.
I knit each of my lovely grand-daughters blankets to welcome them when they were born, and they have been used as blankets, tents, robes, hiding places, and everything else they could imagine. They are a little worse for wear but still in use.
This year, my husband’s son and his wife were due to have a baby on June 1st, and I decided this time to make a quilt for the baby, my first one for a baby that I would know. I planned to start “very soon” after the New Year, but way led onto way, and as March approached I knew I had to get serious. Naturally I had not anticipated a pandemic, but lo and behold, I was forced to depend on my stash. I picked a pattern that I had saved, and then enjoyed the tour down Memory Lane, as I searched through my fabrics for the right ones. They knew that it was a girl, BUT they were no ordinary parents. She is a fashion designer, and he is fashion photographer, and when I asked them what their color scheme was (I knew they would have one), she said they were planning to create a sense of being in Bali!! I worked very hard planning this quilt, and sewing, and quilting it. A lot of time to think about this new baby to come, having a baby during the pandemic, really learning to make do with what one has, listening to the Oregon rain, and podcasts, and wondering what role we would be in its life. I finished the quilt on June 1st, and decided to embroider the label with the baby’s name, and birth date, and my name. It was very fun to see her name in print for the first time. (My husband, Grandpa for the first time, helped me to carefully print the letters on the fabric, a joy for him.) I had the label on by June 12th, washed and dried on the 13th, and all ready to bring for our first visit with the baby and family on June14th; the baby was 2 weeks old. The parents were so happy that I made it, and loved seeing their baby’s name embroidered on the quilt.