Like most people, I was deeply affected by Colleen’s story of her and her husband’s losses and how The Airborne Toxic Event’s music had helped her through those agonising times. Each episode ended with me longing more and more for a happy ending for them both. So when the forthcoming birth of their son was announced, I joined many others in being delighted for that happy ending that they both so deserved.
When I was approached to take part in this cyber baby shower, it was a no-brainer that I would take part. I was originally asked to do something photographic as that’s what most of my fellow TATE fans know me for. However, I’d already had my own plans of knitting the baby something unique, I just hadn’t got round to it as I hadn’t wanted to tempt fate. Glen gave me the deadline of 19 January and that gave me the focus to design and deliver my gift.
The design choice was simple. It had to be La Sirena, the mermaid from the Mexican game Lotería that Mikel has tattooed on his arm. I knit a lot of hats, so a baby’s hat was the next decision I made. Colour? I decided to go for orange. I hunted online and in shops for an orange similar to Mikel’s guitar pick which also features La Sirena. I eventually found one that was close-ish and made my order. I was surprised when it arrived vacuum packed!
I mentioned I knit hats, they’re usually single thread of yarn, in-the-round seamless beanie or beret style hats (because I dislike sewing up!), but I’d never done a hat with an intarsia design before and I couldn’t figure out how to do that in-the-round, so I changed my design to two rectangles knitted on straight needles.
Now the most difficult bit, creating the design of La Sirena in a 20 x 20 grid! I must have had about 6 goes at trying to do this. Either the body was too fat, the out-stretched arm didn’t look right, the mermaid’s tail was flipper enough.
In the end, I had to knit it up to see what it looked like. Even then, I wasn’t happy with it – I’d stared so long at the design, it no longer looked like what it was supposed to be! I knitted the back of the hat plain, sewed up the sides and did a 6-stitch 3inch long i-cord for the corner knots and shared a picture of my creation with others taking part in the shower. Their reaction was very generous and gave me the confidence that the project was complete.
I didn’t want to stop there tho, I thought I’d do a Steven’s Pac-man ghost hat too. The geometric nature of that image was much easier! A ‘Noah’ hat is next, but I ran out of time for that – I hope new baby doesn’t choose bass first 😉
The final problem to solve was how to photograph the gifts. I don’t have a baby to model, I didn’t think my cats would like to take part and a bag of sugar just didn’t work! So, I dusted off Arundel (an old teddy of mine) and he did the honours.
Colleen and Andy, I hope you enjoy this unusual baby shower and that the gifts we’ve made give you as much pleasure as we’ve had designing and making them.
For those interested, I used acrylic double-knit yarn so the hats are machine-washable. 4mm needles were used. My Etsy shop will soon be launched here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Woolandotherstuff.
Be sure to check out the rest of the fun of The Airborne Toxic Baby Shower: