let's get crafty
My latest interest is creating little stuffed animals to give to the little people in my life. My first creation was a stuffed pig for my nephew. I was surprised in how quickly the various pieces came together. I tend to get bored in creating big projects and like the sense of accomplishment that working on smaller ones can bring. Rather than laboring for hours to add a couple of rows to a blanket or sweater, the same amount of time can produce a head, a couple of limbs, or half a body. The pig was lonely by himself, though, and a good friend was having a baby, so of course I had to make the baby a toy and the pig a companion.
My nephew was born in early December, and when my older nephew saw his baby brother’s gift, he wanted something too. He made a very particular request; he wanted a tiger without stripes, with ears flattened down and not sticking up. I am in love with those kids, and I didn’t have anything picked out for him for Christmas, so I got to work, even though I only had a few weeks to do it. Like is seeming to be my tradition these past couple of holidays, I was up late the night before Christmas making final touches–sewing on the eyes and ears. Fortunately, he loved it! Though his special requests made it look so un-tigerish that when he opened it up, he said “A bear!… A fox!” before I reminded him what he had asked for.
With Christmas behind me, I took a bit of a break than was able to crank out a few projects around Easter. I mentioned to my knitting buddy who has made “Prayer Bears” for kids at her church around Christmastime that perhaps we could make some Blessing Bunnies for Easter. I just mentioned that idea once, and before long she had an army of bunnies ready! I helped by painting on the faces and writing a poem to accompany them:
With a week to go before Easter, I realized that I didn’t have enough time to make bunnies for kids at my church. I was, however, working on some ducklings for some friends’ baby when it hit me that I could also do ducklings for the kids at church. They knit up in a jiffy and, since we don’t often have kids at our church, I wouldn’t feel like I put a lot of time into something without a purpose if no kids ended up coming. I thought for a long time about a catchy name for the ducks… Divine Ducklings? Deliverance Ducks? They all seemed to cheesy, so I just settled for putting “Happy Easter” on the cards and the poem (with the word “bunny” surreptitiously replaced with “duckling”). I knit four little ducklings, and we ended up having four kids in church! My only wish is that I would have made one for a new baby in our church, too, but I don’t think he noticed the oversight.
I had originally wanted to do ducks with wheels as a pull-toy for my friends, as the pattern I was using suggested, but as their baby shower approached, time again became an issue, and I wasn’t sure how machine washable ducks with built-in wooden wheels would be. I asked a friend if she could crochet a pond for them, and rather than making a mommy duck and two babies to follow her, I made a mommy and daddy duck with one baby, better fitting the family they were intended for. Here’s the result, nestled together in their little pond:
I was really delighted by all of these little projects, and here is where I must give credit to the author of the patterns (except the tiger): Susan B. Anderson, in the book Itty-Bitty Toys: How to Knit Animals, Dolls, and Other Playthings for Kids. I have checked this book out from the library so many times that they should really just give it to me. Projects like the ducklings knit up in one piece (besides the beak/wings), which was so much more convenient than knitting all the parts separately and then having to put them together. She has a couple of other creative and lovely ideas that I’d really like to try, including reversible toys (a cat on one side and a mouse on the other, for instance). I am taking another bit of a break as I tend to other things and consider new projects. Though it seems like a theme of this post has been a struggle with procrastination, so if I want to continue to give some hand-made gifts for holidays, one would think I should look into starting soon. I’ll get back to you about that when I get around to it. Maybe around December 24th?