Earlier on this year, on Valentine’s day, my brother and his wife had their second baby. When his older brother, age two, was asked what his new brother should be called, he answered: “Silakka” (which means a herring in English). Why he wanted to call his brother after a small and rather mundane type of a fish no one really knows. My sister tried to ask about the logic behind this, but the answer was so cryptic (apparently it had something to do with parrots) that she was none the wiser. But needless to say, the name stuck. Since then the little boy has been christened Touko, which I think is a lovely name, so hopefully he won’t be permanently traumatised by being called after a fish.
For a christening present I decided I’d like to knit him a teddy bear from a home-spun yarn. I had some yarn spun from Jacob wool, but in the end I thought it wasn’t really soft enough for a small baby so I went with Shetland wool instead as it is soft with a nice woolly feel to it. I had several colours of Shetland available, but I thought Moorit (a lovely medium dark brown) would be the most bear-like shade. I handcarded the fiber into rolags, and while carding I mixed in a bit of fawn (light brown) and white for a slightly speckled look. I then spun it with a long draw for a nice fluffy yarn. I wanted quite a sturdy fabric, so I made it into a 3-ply yarn. I also wanted to felt the yarn a little bit to make it stronger, so it had quite a vigorous finishing process: first I washed it in a very hot water, really agitating it for some time, and then rinsed it with cold water.
The pattern for the teddy bear came from Knitted Toy Tales by Laura Long, a book that was recommended in one my favourite blogs, Crochet with Raymond. I’ve never knitted any toys before but it was incredibly easy. I think I placed the nose a little bit too low, but decided not to undo and redo – it is a part of his character. In the end both Hugh and I grew quite fond of this little bear and it was quite hard to give him away, it looked so lovely and comfortable on our arm chair, like it belonged there.
I also made a patchwork blanket for the baby from some lovely soft children’s flannel fabrics (designed by Valori Wells) I had in my stash. I haven’t got any children myself but I adore those fabrics, they’re colourful and fun and not too twee or “over-cute”.
I really enjoy making these quilts, it’s a wonderful opportunity to play with colours and patterns that fabrics for grown-ups just don’t have.
There aren’t that many babies in the family so occasionally I toy with the idea of making them for selling. Who knows, maybe one day…