Sometimes we makers long to make something, not because we have a need of that something, but because it so absolutely and perfectly meets our dreamtime aesthetics, that our desire becomes overwhelming.
And so it was with Twig and Tale’s leaf blankets.
Twig and Tale have a beautiful imagery associated with their brand. It’s the barefoot, woodland-wandering, free-child style that I just adore. The leaf blankets fits into this perfectly and through them I have images of children playing on the grass, making stories out of their leaves, cuddling under a leaf at the campfire: dreams of a sustainable future.
So, I longed to make a leaf blanket. I just didn’t know how to justify it for myself. The requirement for fabric leaves is pretty slim in my life, sad as that sounds, so I would just sometimes gaze at the website pictures with heart-eyes, and dream of making one, one day.
Then, my friend announced her pregnancy. Maureen is a wild-wanderer (and an extremely talented wedding photographer) and she and her husband are the types that would definitely understand the leaf blanket story, and thus I was delighted to realise that I could make one for a baby present. We’d had a conversation about how people were pressured into needing unnecessary stuff for a baby, and that they themselves were planning a very pared down parenthood. However, a leaf blanket has so many uses – playmat, changing mat, cuddle blanket – that I had no fear that it wouldn’t find a good place. It also has the hallmarks of becoming something that could be treasured for years (not that that is a requirement for anyone receiving a handmade gift from me!).
At the time, Twig and Tale only had the New Zealand leaves on offer, and I chose to make the Makomako. They have since released European leaves, but I chose the Makomako for both my next makes too – the classic leaf shape is just perfection, in my eyes.
The fabric is the first fabric I ever ordered from Fibers to Fabric on Etsy. I’ve admired the beautiful prints and ethical production for years, and longed to make some my own: this special leaf deserved special fabric, so after a lot of deliberation I chose a tree print on an unbleached cotton background (currently not available), and a blue geometric print for the contrasting side.
The fabric arrived promptly and I put them straight into the wash. Well, once dried it was some of the most glorious fabric I’ve ever experienced (for doubters, cuddling fabric is definitely an experience!), and I just could not get enough of it. The making of the leaf blanket went very well, and before too long the finished article was decorating my couch.
The fact that it was the most squishable, delicious item I think I’ve ever made meant I had to get it out of the house sooner rather than later: if I waited until the baby was born, well, I don’t think I would have been able to part with it. Later that week I delivered it to a heavily pregnant Maureen, alongside well-wishes for a successful labour.
I knew already that that wasn’t the end of my leaf-making life. And shortly after gifting Maureen’s blanket, I begged my family to ask for a leaf blanket for Christmas. My mum, ever-kind, volunteered and so I got to planning.
This time I knew that I’d be making one for myself, ostensibly as a cat bed, (but you know it’s really not turned out like that!) and so ordered fabric accordingly. Unfortunately, the fabric only arrived at my house once I’d already left it for our Christmas holidays, so mum’s had a wait for her leaf, but hopefully it’s been worth it.
I made both in the same day, cutting out together and then stitching one after the other. I made the veins of the pink blanket first and then started on the yellow. Before long I was completely pulling my hair out: I could not get the layers to stay together – the yellow was warping all over the place. As a timely distraction, my sister called just when I was about to give up in despair and as we were having a chat I started to hand baste the leaf together, intending then to sew the veins once that was done. Once completed, however, I was charmed by the look of the vertical running stitch – it gave the blanket a really unique (and entirely lovely) appearance.
Taking it through to speak to my boyfriend, I knew I’d be doing this hand-quilting on the yellow blanket, and indeed I wished I could on the pink too. I’ve since come to terms with the pink; it is so irresistibly squishable that I wouldn’t change it for the world, but the yellow is just spectacular, however I am happy to gift it on, for I am just delighted that the leaf blankets have become a part of my world. I still imagine more: I think this may become my baby gift of choice (shh!!), but also I would love a big one to use on the grass, maybe with a waterproof lining, so that we could lounge and relax next to the fire pit. Who knows?
Can you see a leaf blanket becoming part of your life?
Because what could be better than just a leaf blanket, each blanket sold plants a tree via One Tree Planted. This is the brainwave of a seven year old girl from New Zealand, and people all over the world have been making leaf blankets off the back of her idea.
Find out more on Twig and Tale’s fundraiser page.
From Scotland, with heart.