I issued myself a Christmas knitting report card last post and let's say, by the numbers, my 2016 performance was a little disappointing. But, as with real report cards, the full picture is sometimes obscured in the details. In actuality, I concluded that it was all worthwhile all because of one response to one of the gifts I had knit.*
I have a theory that a maker whose handmade gift is received with true happiness experiences tenfold happiness themselves. Of course, there is the joy we derive from the making itself and the love we put into each minute of that process, but we can only hope and not expect or demand that the recipient will love that thing as much as we do. And even if the recipient is a three-year old child who would likely have been delighted with just about any gift, sweet kid that she is, I feel just as much satisfaction as if I had been judged worthy by a panel of experienced knitters. Maybe more.
For a good friend's daughter, I decided to knit a polar bear girl from Julie Williams' (aka, Little Cotton Rabbits) Girl Bear pattern and some clothes from the various LCR animal clothes patterns. I was really taken with the beautiful winter-themed animals Julie posted on her blog and I convinced myself that a little dressed polar bear was just the right thing for this particular little girl, whom I will refer to as "E". So, I made Polly Behr:
Making Polly and her little travel set was almost as fun as seeing E open her present. Polly is knit with an Ontario grown-and-spun alpaca yarn I purchased from the lovely Alpaca Avenue shop. The clothes are knit with various yarns I had in my stash. The nice thing about doll clothing is that you don't need much yarn so I could dip into my collection of partials and singles and make a wardrobe, although it did limit my colour palette. I made a few attempts at knitting some of the Fair Isle dresses Julie published, but unfortunately, stranded knitting is not my forte, especially under time constraints, so I settled for simplified colourwork and accessorised instead. It wasn't intentional but all the accessories are of Danish design (which I deeply love, so probably not really a coincidence). The little suitcase is made by Maileg (purchased from Kolkid, here in Toronto but available online). The gift box, a red tin mailbox, and the teddy passport (how could I resist?) are from a Flying Tiger store in NYC, (which is where I happened to be last month).
My little friend has a great imagination and I decided to give Polly a little back story about having travelled from Greenland to attend nursery school in Toronto and needing a nice place to live. E, who is many wonderful things, also happens to be none too fond of nursery school. I think (I hope!) it helped her relate to Polly because she seems to have taken Polly's "care" to heart. E's parents tell me she puts Polly to bed in her house (the red mailbox) at night and tries to keep her warm when they go outside to play. I already thought it was a great triumph that E was so excited about Polly's removable "shacket" (aka, jacket, aka, cardigan) when she opened her gift but the update from her parents really made my day. :D
Needless to say, E has earned herself a lifetime appointment to my knit-worthy list for this alone!
*This post may have the slight stench of the humblebrag. Try to forgive me this weakness, but E was so happy. I'm just going to bask in this for a day or two.