I've been working on a project for a couple of days now (started Thursday, ignored Friday, finished this evening), and I've finally got a finished project to show for it.
As you may or may not know, I'm a bit of a blog addict (see sidebar for a sampling of my favorites). I have a list of several that I read on a daily basis. All of them are women I have come to admire. They have mad skills in so many areas, and they never fail to lay it on the line for a good cause. Wendy, who does amazing fair isle (colorwork) and has the most beautiful sealpoint kitty, posted about some bears she'd knit to send to another blogger Phyl, who is collecting bears to give to Mary at the Bay Window (which is a yarn shop, I am assuming) in Virginia. Apparently, Mary's son is in the Peace Corps in Jamaica. The children there are frequently very poor and have nothing, and most certainly no real toys. They started a bear drive by providing their patrons with the pattern, and the customers knit the bears and send them back to the shop. When Mary goes to visit at the end of March/beginning of April, she is taking all the bears with her and will be giving them to children at orphanages and schools. Through Phyl's blog, a local bear drive has become a national project.
Phyl commented on how hearing about the children touched her, and she couldn't wait to get started on a bear. She posted the pattern, and, as happens in the blog world, word has spread. After seeing the post on Wendy's page and seeing her bears finished, I knew I really wanted to knit one to donate, though I almost missed out (I almost didn't find out about this until too late!). I can remember as a little girl that my stuffed bears were always a favorite. I had a jointed bear that I dressed like a baby, and I still have a tiny bear (that now is noseless) that was a cuddlefriend since I was a baby myself. My husband (and anyone else who knows me closely) knows of my fetish for Boyd's bears, and decided I would download the pattern and make one to send.
So I told Liam about this project, and how the bear that I knit was going to go to a child in another country who had no toys and how the children were very poor, and some had no real houses to live in and very little food to eat. Liam, bless his big heart, looks at me and says, "Mom...come closer....I need to tell you a secret." Of course, I tipped my head toward his to hear what he had to say. In a hush he says, "Mom...what if we talked to Daddy, and he could talk to his friends at NASA, and we could go there and build the children some real houses." Needless to say, it brought tears to my eyes (makes me glossy just thinking about how sweet he said it and without a bit of hesitation). I had to tell him that going down there to build houses might not be possible, but that we could do other things, and that he could help me package up the bear to send to Jamaica. He brainstormed all the things he could put in the box with the bear. I'm sure he'll have a list of things when it comes time to pack Tallulah up tomorrow!
I named her Tallulah because her colors are definitely feminine, and she needed a name befitting her palette. We're so ready for spring here that I wanted her name to reflect the coming season, and Tulip was the first thing that popped in my head. I didn't think the name fit her well, but Tallulah, well, I think that's just perfect.
So here are the details:
Pattern: Bay Window Bear (available in .doc format on her site)
Yarn: Reynolds Utopia in Brown (leftover from making punkin hats 2 years ago) and two shades of heathered pinks in Lion Brand Wool-ease (also a stash buster!). I didn't use much yarn at all, and I still have enough left that I could make a copycat in the same color scheme for Liam.
Needles: Size 7 metal DPN's (gotta get me some bamboo!)
Deviations from pattern: I followed the pattern pretty much to the T, except that I took the liberty of forming a snout by also doing a running stitch around the face and pulling to form a pucker. I wanted her to have a profile, and I think she turned out just splendidly.
What would I do the same/different: I will be making more of these since it was such a fast and easy knit. There are just so many options for variation that it makes me giddy just to think about it!! I think I'll keep the face shaping that I added, as I think it makes them look polished.
Tallulah has already made fast friends with Ms. Potato Head. I think there may be some separation anxiety for her when it comes time to make her trip south, but I'm sure she'll get over it once she meets her new owner. I think we will send a letter and a picture so the child who gets the bear knows that it came from another child who sends good wishes.
As an aside, Jonah officially turned 2 1/2 today! Time flies when you're tearin' the joint up! He spent the day whirling his way about and playing with Liam. It's amazing to me that he's only 2 1/2, as he keeps up with Liam pretty well most days.
I have a boatload of studying to do tomorrow for another exam on Monday. Joy!