This is NOT a modern project for an old fashioned Nana. It is as traditional and old fashioned as it can be, made of 100% cotton Swiss pique and hand embroidered with enough French knot sheep to fill an Irish hillside. But I loved making it and love seeing him in it.
This design is from Wendy Schoen’s book, Embroidery for Boys. From the moment I laid eyes on “Counting Sheep” when the book was first released about 15 years ago, I knew I had to make it. Finally, Alastair, the baby boy of our dreams, wears the gown of my dreams.Wendy recommends using a Sarah Howard Stone daygown, which I did. But frankly, any raglan daygown (unsmocked) would work.
The contrasting gray Madeira border is machine pin stitched (pointe de paris) with Madeira Cotona 80 wt. thread, but the feather stitch is done by hand. Rather than Wendy’s ruffled, tatted edge sleeve, as per SHS’s pattern, I mimicked the Madeira applique’ border in miniature and used it for an elastic casing. I know someday long before this garment reaches the status of “family heirloom,” the elastic will go limp and die. But I can replace it for another family babe.
Wendy’s lambs were shadow embroidered but I chose to use French knots for the body and bullions for the legs, top knot and tail. Each lamb took a long time so I planned to stitch a lamb at every other peak on the Madeira applique border. But……..
After the gown was constructed and two lambs were embroidered, I put the daygown aside. I stashed it in my “waiting at the hospital for the baby to be born” bag and planned to work on it while we awaited Alastair’s arrival. Since he is my daughter’s first baby, I expected to have 12-18 hours for embroidery.
Instead, I camped out at the hospital and the young couple’ s home for nearly 3 weeks, through three false alarms and finally the 43rd week C-section. I ran out of Madeira peaks before I ran out of waiting room time. So I did sheep at each point. I felt like the OctoMom of lambs! They just kept coming and coming.
On the sleeves and down the front, French knot flowerettes accentuate the feather stitching at every Madeira border peak.
Of all the things that I have made for my little grandson, this has to be my favorite. It could easily be made into a modern project by using an cotton/poly blend pique and machine embroidered lambs. But for me, indulging my old fashioned Nana background was very satisfying.
Posted in Air Your Laundry Friday.