Friday, March 31, 2006

The Power of Crochet

By Christina VanGinkel

I receive several newsletters each week in my email related to different hobbies that I participate in on a regular basis, such as beadwork, crochet, photography, and others. Mixed amongst the emails this morning was one from Lion Brand yarn. They often have interesting links to patterns for clothing and household items, and ideas for creating items to donate. The email this morning though was filled with ideas for knit and crochet toys and just as fun items for the upcoming Easter holiday.

The patterns were all adorable, and any child would be lucky to receive as a gift one of the patterns made up. This newsletter also brought back memories though of one of the first items I ever crocheted besides a blanket, a mop style doll for my then pre-school aged daughter. I was a new mom, on a tight budget, and loved to spend my evenings crocheting useful things like blankets, washcloths, and even doilies. Then a new magazine hit the newsstands called Hooked on Crochet. In it was easy to follow patterns for everything from outfits for babies and kids, to slippers, to useful items for the house including the blankets and washcloths and doilies I already enjoyed making, but also patterns for items like hot pads and runners. There were also tons of fun patterns for toys for kids and even items for adults that I would never have imagined making up with hook and yarn. Flowers for bouquets, doorstop covers, toaster and tissue covers, wall decor, tree ornaments, Easter baskets, even golf club covers! Some of the designs were a bit on the impractical side, but others were not only useful, by making them I saved money over store bought versions, which was extremely beneficial to my meager budget back then.

My daughter had been begging for a new doll, and not just any doll. She had seen a fancy bed doll at a friend's house, one that sat atop a pillow on a made up bed during the day to dress up the bed. The doll was all frilly and lacy, and was the epitome of a girls' room, the perfect finishing touch. My daughter was too young to know about brand names back then, all she knew was that she thought that the doll was as pretty as can be, and she wanted one for her bed. I did ask the mother where she had found such an exquisite doll, as I knew she was on as tight a budget as I was. She had made it! She had taken apart an old doll form from her own childhood that she had saved, and had sewn the dress part.

I have said this before, but for those of you who do not regularly read my blogs, I love to craft, and feel competent with many types of handcrafts, but I am in no stretch of any imagination able to sew. I can crochet, with both thread and yarns, I love to bead, before my hands gave up on me, and cross-stitch was a favorite pastime. Thread and needle for sewing though have never been my calling.

It was at about this time that a new issue of Hooked on Crochet arrived in my mailbox. In it was an ingenious pattern for a flower and beaded mop doll! The doll head, body, and arms were made up of mainly single crochet stitches, with the bottom of the doll a configuration of single crochet chains forming multitudes of loops. Mixed into the loops were a wild assortment of beads and flowers. The resulting doll was stunning, and also had a halo of flowers on her head and held in her arms a bouquet of matching silk flowers, which finished her off just perfectly.

I worked on the doll every chance I got that, at time when my daughter was not near, so that the finished doll would be a surprise. As a stay at home mom, this was more difficult than you could imagine, and ended up with me crocheting and slipping on beads for several late nights in a row. I finished the doll in time for her birthday in April, and that doll made the day! She showed her off to everyone, and she actually started making her own bed each morning so that she could 'decorate' her room. To this day, she still tells people about her doll. Make some child dreams come true by creating them a toy of their dreams.

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