Story last updated at 11/4/2009 - 12:22 pm
A momentous occasion occurred this October, for my family at least, when my sister popped out a little baby boy. Not only am I now an auntie, but I know at least five other pregnant women out there! What was going on nine months ago? Oh, right, Valentine's Day! Of course all these lovely ladies and their tiny tots will need lots of handmade gifts for the upcoming holidays. And fortunately, I have a few crafts up my sleeves for all.
After visiting with the new nephew I found out a few key baby gift concepts to share.
First, you never know what size they will come out, so crafting clothes can be a bit of a hassle. Instead, try small items that have some give to grow with them, like hats, slippers, or even legwarmers. Don't worry if your first try doesn't come out quite right. Mini hats craft up so quickly you'll have time to make more. Also, try using yarn plied with elastic to keep snug fits and to stretch with growth.
Second, moms really love the useful stuff (and so will the toddler!). Blankets, towels, and burpees are endlessly helpful and can be cleverly crafted. Embroider a set for baby and they'll be sure to get more use than a silver-plated rattle would. Check out purlbee.com for fabulous baby blanket ideas from the owners of The Purl Bee - a crafty haven filled with knitting, quilting and the like.
Third, think soft. Toys, books and animals can all be made soft and many fabrics come pre-printed with easy-sew instructions. Blocks are an easy and quick stitch, which can be personalized with the tot's initials on each side. At spoonflower.com you can upload your own fabric design (like a doll, or giraffe or picture of yourself) and they will print it at comparable prices to retail fabrics.
For my newest family member I fashioned a special softy humpback whale. Out of necessity, I created a gender-neutral Alaskan animal that could be chewed, chomped, thrown and stomped. Since I've already done the hard work (you should see the 20 wacky versions it took!), I'll pass it on for you to craft a little whale of your own.
Supplies: Blue top fabric, fun belly fabric, matching thread, scissors, baby-safe stuffing, needle, whale pattern (printed below)
1. Cut your contrasting whale fabrics - Two top pieces of blue and one belly piece of a fun fabric.
2. Pin the belly pieces to the body, right sides together starting at the tail and heading toward the nose.
3. Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the 2 body pieces to the belly using a straight stitch from dot to dot (nose to tail).
4. Sew the two body pieces up the back with a straight stitch, leaving open the space for turning the whale.
5. Turn whale right side out and stuff.
6. Sew whale closed with a slip stitch. (Optional) Pull thread through whale and knot tight to create a "blowhole" indent.
Tanna Peters is a crafter and designer from wonderful, rainy Southeast Alaska. View her latest creations at suiteliving.blogspot.com and her shared crafting sitecraftaddicts.blogspot.com. Send local craft inquiries and info to firstname.lastname@example.org.