Swap Package: The Hobbit

May 27, 2011 § 5 Comments

I’ve mentioned before that I participate in a Folklore & Fairy Tales group on Ravelry, and that we do seasonal package swaps, which I always love! My last package had an owl theme, inspired by my swappee’s screenname.  This time, however, our seasonal discussion and knit-a-long topic was The Hobbit. As you may have noticed, Tolkien is one of my favorite things, so I enjoyed putting this package together.

Here is the package! ...except that those three copies of The Hobbit? Those are all mine. They're just in the picture to hold other things up in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. Yes, it is necessary for me to have three different copies of The Hobbit, why do you ask?

My first idea for the theme of the package was for it to be a collection of the things that got left behind during Bilbo’s journey–the buttons he lost while escaping from goblins, a handkerchief he probably dropped, etc. Then things just sort of…rolled along, and before I knew it I was writing a letter under the name of Thistle Took (yes I gave myself a hobbit name, because I am cool), a hobbit historian researching the history of Bilbo’s journey in order to write a book about him, and sending some of the artifacts she’d collected to be housed in a museum of local history in the Shire.

The artifacts are:

-Bilbo’s lost buttons

-Bilbo’s lost handkerchief (embroidered with his monogram by me)

-the silver tassel from Thorin’s hood (I couldn’t find a silver tassel, so I made my own)

-a crown of elf flowers that will not fade from Rivendell (made by me)

-a copy of Thorin’s map (…printed out by me)

-a silver pony charm (I didn’t make this one, but I did make up a story about it! If you’ve read The Hobbit then you may have noticed that Bilbo and the dwarves manage to go through several sets of ponies in the course of their journey. They start out with ponies, lose them all, borrow ponies and are (wisely) compelled to return them, borrow more ponies and lose most of them–being a dwarf’s pony is not a safe position at all.  Surely, I thought, people would have given the dwarves grief about their inability to keep ponies–a little gentle teasing. Surely. So I decided, and Thistle Took recorded in her letter, that among the people of Dale something that was likely to be lost or broken was often called a ‘dwarf pony’, and that charms like this one would be attached to protect whatever the object was from its fate of certain destruction.  It makes perfect sense to me!)

-wooden dolls representing the dwarves and Bilbo Baggins, a popular children’s toy among the people of Dale (made by me!)

The dwarves and Bilbo in their box

The dolls are my favorite thing. I am so happy with the way that they turned out!  They’re very simple, but I think they’re very cute, and fat Bombur is so adorable that I might just die.

Thorin Oakenshield & Co., plus Bilbo Baggins (burglar)

The dwarves can be identified by the colors of their hoods as follows:

Thorin – sky blue with a large silver tassel

Dwalin – dark green hood

Balin – red

Kili – blue

Fili – blue

Dori – purple

Nori – purple

Oin – grey

Gloin – brown

Bifur – yellow

Bofur – yellow

Bombur – pale green

Ori- grey

Bilbo, of course, had to borrow a dark green cloak, and has no beard.

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A Parliament of Owls

February 4, 2011 § 6 Comments

If you knit or crochet, or do any other fiber related crafts, then you’re probably on Ravelry (and if you aren’t, then you should be! You’re missing out on a fantastic resource and community).  I spend most of my Ravelry time on the forum of the Folklore & Fairy Tales group, and every season we have a swap.  This winter’s swap was ‘Straw into Gold’, a theme that was all about creativity–we weren’t supposed to buy anything for our swap partners, and instead we were supposed to put together a package using things we already had (yarn from our stash, things that we’d made or happened to have, etc.)

My swap partner loves owls so much that they’re part of her screenname, so I made a couple of owl crafts for her:

First I made fingerless mitts, because everyone always needs fingerless mitts! I managed to improvise this pair, without following a pattern (so of course they aren’t perfectly symmetrical), with cabled owls that have been featured in several different patterns that I’ve seen–I don’t know where it originated, but you can see other patterns using it here and here, and in my favorite here (scroll down to find the pattern ‘owls’).

Do you see the owls?

They’re knit from a soft and cuddly angora/bamboo blend, with shirt buttons for eyes.

But you can never have too many owl friends, so I made a little owl out of wool felt as well:

He stitched up by hand really quickly–perhaps an hour or so.  I think that this style of soft owl originated in a Japanese craft book, but I was inspired by this tutorial.  If you follow that link you’ll find a template to download, but the owl is such a simple shape that I cut mine out freehand (…so of course he isn’t symmetrical either!).  It’s just a teardrop shape with the point folded down, and voila!   I used pinking sheers to cut out the red piece and the yellow circles that I added around his button eyes, and for a little detail I embroidered his chest.  I’m so pleased with how he turned out–I think he’s darling!

And he would, by the way, make an excellent pincushion.

Knitting Doll & Book Box for TARDIS Day

December 6, 2010 § 2 Comments

I made this little doll–she’s about the size of my hand–for a TARDIS Day gift swap. She’s handsewn out of wool felt, her knitting needles are toothpicks with beads glued to the ends, and the Doctor Who scarf that she’s working on was knitted (by me, of course) out of embroidery floss on size 0 needles.

TARDIS Day was on November 23rd, so I think it’s safe to show her to the internet without ruining anything for the recipient!

The pattern for this little doll is from Nuno Life, a blog full of cute patterns for handsewn dolls.

There aren’t a lot of detailed instructions (Runo, the creator of Nuno Life, is not a native English speaker) but the pattern and the pictures are pretty self-explanatory.  This little knitting girl was quick and easy to make! I think it would be a good project for someone sewing a doll for the first time.

To go with her, I got a paper-mache box in the shape of a book and painted it to match the diary that River Song carries on Doctor Who:

I filled it with nommable goodies–two cookie recipes that I’ll be posting very soon!  In fact there will probably be a series of cookie posts, because I have been on a cookie making spree in the last several weeks and ended up with my own variations on a few recipes.

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