Monday, September 8, 2008

Babealu Explained

Most of you know I go by the moniker "babealu", but you probably don't know where that came from, as it seems like it came into being a whole lifetime ago.

I guess the first thing you'd need to know, if you don't already, is that my middle name is Lu. This lead to me being referred to as "Tamalu" in certain circles. A little side story here. The way the family tells it, my mother had wanted to name me Anna Marie - Anna after her mother, Marie after Dad's mother. Dad took one look at me and said, "She's Tammy Lu". Two years later, my mother wanted to name my sister Renee Michelle. Or was it Michelle Renee? Either way, Dad took one look at her and said, "She's Wendy Sue." Now I'm not quite sure what sort of future he envisioned for his little girls when he came up with those sweet, melodious (odious being the working part of the word) names for us, but there you go. I've always suspected he just needed to take some sort of action because his name was Sheldon. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe he thought if he gave us - unbeautiful - names we'd have to be stronger. Yeah. That's probably it.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled story, already in progress.

I used to make a lot of baby clothes for gifts and then, when my own kids came along, I made a lot of sweaters, dresses, etc. for them. I made a gift for a friends baby and her MIL loved it. It turned out that she was the organizer of a huge bi-annual juried arts and crafts show and she invited me to participate. My friend said we'd have to come up with a name to put on the taggers and she helped me turn "tamalu" into "babe-a-lu" and then "babealu". I loved it. I had a pretty successful run while I participated in those shows, but then my kids grew and I decided I didn't like making baby stuff anymore. Knitting and crocheting are so time intensive and part of what made them pleasurable for me was knowing that a gift lovingly made is usually a gift lovingly received. That whole "kiss in every stitch" thing has some merit. When I started making things to sell to strangers, it became less a labor of love and more just labor. So I walked away from it.

I held on to the "babealu" moniker, because when it stopped being about baby clothes, it still made me sound like a babe. To my own ears, anyway. Stop laughing, you are very mean.

Recently my mom was telling me about a friend of hers who was expecting a grandchild. She said the mom didn't want to dress the baby in anything that didn't come from Hot Topic. I said, "I can make that baby a sweater..." This was the result.



I had so much fun making it, it just tickled me. It reminded me why I loved knitting and crocheting baby stuff in the first place. They're small, so there's almost instant gratification. They're small, so I can work with more luxurious yarns than I could afford to work with for a full-sized sweater. They're small, so if I make a mistake, no huge loss. They're small, so I can play with interesting stitches and intricate cables/patterns that I might feel uncomfortable attempting on a full-sized sweater. And last, they're for BAbies, so a little whimsy, which might be too twee on an adult garment is not only acceptable, but generally embraced.

I had so much fun making this one and thinking - "oh! on the next one, I'm gonna..." - then I realized - I'm having all this fun making a sweater for a baby I'll never know. And it didn't matter. Didn't take any of the fun out of it at all.

Eureka.

So I opened an Etsy account/store. I don't have anything in there yet, but I'm going to work up some inventory over the next couple weeks. I'll keep ya'll posted. Till then, make a note of it:

http://www.babealu.etsy.com

It feels nice to be excited about something.

Once I told my sister I'd just gotten a new job. I told her it was my dream job. She said, "Really? Someone's going to pay you to crochet and watch soap operas?" That sounded a lot dreamier than the job I'd actually accepted, so she totally killed my buzz.

Thanks a lot, Wendy Sue.

1 comment:

Denise said...

I haz a baby, I will totally buy a sweater for her! I can't wait to see your inventory!