Elephante

Once upon a late-night high school shenanigan, my friend Deidre and I discovered an abandoned childhood game: Elefun!  The game consists of an elephant who blows butterflies out of his trunk (naturally) for all the boys and girls to catch!

Though my sisters were still young(ish) and may have searched for the game on subsequent Saturdays, we decided that it was time to send it off to its retirement.  The scheme was laid out, an outlandish poem about a magical “elefante” written, and we giggled all the way to a randomly chosen classmate’s house (the “random” choice might have had something to do with how good-looking said classmate was).  We placed it in his yard, inflated his trunk, so the “heavenly butterflies” could rise up to his bedroom window, and left the poem for him to read with perplexity the next morn.  It was ridiculous.  And, to seventeen year old girls – hilarious.

Fast-forward 10 years (hard to believe).  Deidre now lives with her husband in London, and they are expecting their first child!  She is quite possibly the CUTEST pregnant woman EVER.  Do those cutest baby photo contests start in utero?  Because she would win, hands down.  I was fortunate enough to visit with her last weekend at her baby shower, and gift her with an homage to our dear old friend.

IMG_0979IMG_0981This might be my favorite stuffed animal that I have made.  I used a pattern from Zoe Mellor’s Knitted Toys.  He is made from some leftover cotton (not sure what brand), buttons for the eyes, and some denim patches (meant for jeans) for his flappy ears.  Of course, he is stuffed with fluff, and I used embroidery floss to frame his ears.

I can only hope that this toy provides as much entertainment as the elephant that inspired it.  Congrats, Tom and Deidre!  You will be AWESOME parents.  Much love.

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Baby Sister Slippers

My baby sister (who is 22) spent six months in Finland this past school year, and learned a new tradition almost immediately: when indoors, it is expected that you take your shoes off and replace them with slippers. This wasn’t completely unfamiliar to her, as we were never allowed anything but brand new, “never-been-worn” shoes in the house we shared at one time. Still, when we visit our parents, this rule is enforced, usually by our nephew (for a visual: Every Boy a Dinosaur). He points to our shoes disapprovingly and says, “Mimi doesn’t like that…”But the second part of the custom – the slippers – are not a part of our household culture. Instead we tend to walk around barefoot, stubbing our toes around each corner. Slippers are a nice addition – something we should consider.  Lucky for Baby Sister, I sent her on her way with the perfect pair of hand-made slippers to wear in her dorm room and the abode of a new friend.

I honestly don’t remember the name of the yarn that I used, but I do remember that it was made from the very first skeins of yarn that I ever purchased. In fact, it was supposed to be knit into a scarf, but my first attempts were sub-par, ugly, unwearable. I bought it at Michael’s and it is acrylic. I found the pattern in the magazine Knits Weekend, put out by Interweave. It was designed by Amy Palmer, who gave me quite the challenge (I had to frog it several times and start over). But, as it goes, it was one of the more satisfying projects to complete.

You can’t really tell in the pictures, but it has this luscious, soft fuzz inside created by needlefelting: an added detail that kept Baby Sister warm and cozy and, hopefully, feeling at home.

Socktopus

What has no backbone, a prominent head, and the ability to squirt ink?  That’s right!  A cephalopod!  This little guy is probably the most popular cephalopod: an octopus (socks=socktopus)!     

With just a few clicks of my mouse, I discovered that cephalopods are a bit of an underground obsession these days, being featured in tattoos, jewelry, t-shirts, tote bags, buttons, and, shall we say, some less tasteful items.  Made you google it!  Perhaps I should use the sea creatures in more of my knitting.  It seems it might actually make me cool.

The item in question – Socktopus – was created for my godson’s first birthday.  I would love to try my hand at him again, giving him buttons for eyes, some different sock variety, and a new smile.  Perhaps I will work on that soon and we can have a side-by-side look at the two.

I honestly don’t remember the yarn I used, but the pattern is by Laura Edwards is on Ravelry.com.

Every Boy a Dinosaur

My nephew has the uncanny ability to suddenly and dramatically transform from a sweet, innocuous child to a ferocious predator on the hunt.  Sometimes his animal of choice is the lion (Simba or Mufasa to be exact), but most of the time it is the T-Rex.

His love for dinosaurs extends beyond the games he creates as a prehistoric beast.   He knows nearly everything there is to know about each type of dinosaur, and he will correct you if you call a Stegosaurus a Brontosaurus.  He finishes your sentences as you read him his massive dinosaur book.

The imagination that flows from this knowledge astounds me.  He comes up with elaborate plots for the dinosaur family, (he’s the daddy, of course, and you’re the mommy, the baby, or the victim) and he stays in character for hours.

But sometimes it is nice to have a prop or two to go a long with your imaginations.  I created this spiky dinosaur hat especially for him.  It is nice during playtime and on cold winter days.

I designed this pattern and used Sugar ‘n Cream cotton.

What does the little one in your life pretend?

Flower Purse and Hair Ties

I know what you all are thinking:  “Gee, I wonder what Quinn made her niece (who she talks about way too much) for her fourth birthday?”

Well, I made her this cute little purse, of course.  Inside were three flower hair ties: pink, purple, and blue.

I used Yarn Bee’s First Love.  The color is “Kisses.”  The pattern is by Mareva Lynde, and I found it in Creative Knitting: Child’s Play, Spring 2011.

Pint-sized Inspirations

I visited my brother and sister-in-law (more accurately, my two precious nieces) in Texas last week.  It was a time for laughter, silliness, conversation, and Settlers of Catan.  I stayed up into the wee morning hours with the adults and sprung to life when Miss Adorable was ready to play.  I sacrificed my sleep because I have this hope that a well-spent visit will somehow fill the spaces where these children have expanded my heart, suspending my wishes to “keep them,” as I say, until our next visit. But this is not what happens.  They just expand those spaces further.  And I miss them immediately.

Go ahead and make fun of me.  I know that I’m a version of that stereotypical auntie who goes around squeezing cheeks.  My siblings’ children can do no wrong.  It is infallible truth that they are, in fact, the cutest humans on this planet.  I am that aunt,except I don’t pinch.  I knit.

Pictured: Purple scarf, KU hat, bunny, purse, pink leg warmers.
Not pictured: cupcake hat, flower hair ties, purple leg warmers.

Miss Adorable is the most frequent recipient of my “pinches” (her sister has only been around for four weeks, and her cousin is a boy who doesn’t quite have her same passion for accessories). So while I was visiting, I thought it would be fun to gather all the items I have given her.  We searched her room for every last item and had her put on as many of them that she could wear or hold.  The photo is charming, I’m certain you will conclude.   

Consequently, Miss Adorable thinks that I make everything.  On Friday her sister was wearing a KU cheerleading uniform that I bought for Miss Adorable when she was a baby.

ASIDE – The year that she wore the uniform was the same that KU won the NCAA Championship.  Here’s to hoping her sister brings the same luck upon our beloved Jayhawks.

Anyway, my brother told her that I gave it to her and now her sister gets to wear it.  She responded with a question: “Aunt Quinn, how did you make that?”

Tell me, who do you enjoy showering with gifts?

“Hop-Hop” the Bunny

I knit this bunny for my niece’s first birthday.  I started this project within days of learning the purl stitch.  Needless to say, I had to start over at least four times and look up countless youtube tutorials to complete it.  I think it was worth it, though.  I progressed a lot and ended up with this vintage-looking stuffed animal that I hope she cherishes.

This pattern was found in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson, along with similar patterns for an elephant and bear.

Confetti-Frosted Cupcake Hat

Let me introduce you to the most charming little girl in the world: my niece.

To compliment her sweetness, I made this little morsel to sit atop her head.  Who knew a cupcake could warm little ears?

Deidre

This is a pattern that I created especially for my friend, Deidre.  She lives in London, and I miss her dearly.  It makes me happy to know my handiwork is keeping her warm this winter.

Since I made this one, I have made four others for friends and family.   It is one of my favorites to knit.

She who wears Deidre has two options: wrap it around the neck and tuck the first loop behind the second,  or let it hang loosely to show off all its beautiful cables.

“Bob”

When my nephew is not acting like a dinosaur, he is reading a book or watching a television show where dinosaurs have the leading roles.  I made him this little blue stegosaurus for Christmas, and his name was promptly declared: “Bob.”

I found this pattern on Ravelry.com.  It was written by Cassidy Clark.   I added the button eye and just used some leftover yarn from other projects.