Stars To Steer By

The misadventures of a creative mind

Useful vs Useless: Birthday Presents for a Friend November 23, 2013

Well my life has been beyond hectic – I’ve changed jobs, finished finals for a summer course in microbiology that I took for “fun”, ran around Ireland and toured London with a couple friends, had another birthday, and tried to stay just a little bit sane. I have actually been doing a few of the challenges for Daring Kitchen/Bakers, but haven’t had the time to write, and it’s not going to get better today. Instead I’m going to tell you about my problem with wool.

It all started when a friend of mine had a birthday. I asked what he wanted for his birthday and he said that if I wanted to give him something it should be handmade and useless. Honestly, who asks someone to come up with a useless present? It was like grating nails across glass on my soul. So I decided to compromise – a two piece present, all handmade, one useful and one much less so.

So the useful piece first – a pair of fingerless mittens. Why fingerless you ask? Well because my friend does a lot of hands on stuff -like typing, and fixing motorcycles. So I tried to come up with something that would be wearable, long lasting, handle potential oil stains, and stay warm when he was out working in a garage this winter. Enter the fingerless glove, in a green with hints of yellows, browns, indigo’s and just a hint of teal/blue. And in wool because well, wool wears better than just about any fiber I know of while staying warm. And that’s where the problem started, because of one tiny hiccup.

I’m allergic to wool. Very, very much so. The uncontrollable itching, the rash, even ending in wearing through parts of me if I persist to long. But for really good friends I will occasionally brave the woolen waters and make something special. This project started with my terribly annoying green yarn, the pattern to Berry Hill fingerless mittens, and a set of size 3 double point needles. Two and a half days later I was done – ends woven in, ready to be wrapped. What do you guys think?

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That only leaves the “useless” portion of this gift. To be honest at the beginning I was just going to tell him to deal with the gloves, but when I was buying yarn I saw a remnant of fabric that was simply perfect: white fuzzy fleece covered in giant pastel polka-dots. It immediately turned into an elephant in my head. But alas, the elephant was not to be realized – because a fennec decided to intervene. For those who don’t know, a fennec is a small fox with very, very big ears. And there is a pattern for one on this amazing site called dollmaker. Be warned though – this is a hard pattern, I’ve made quite a few sewn items, quilts, shirts, vests, teddy bears, lots of pajama pants. But this one was really hard – the face never did line up quite right.

But I have to say – I enjoyed making a soft fuzzy item, finishing it with cute little eyes, and adding whiskers made out of…you guessed it – fishing line! And my friend LOVED it!! He started sending me pictures of it attending the weekly poker night which is I must say adorable. No word yet on whether he likes the gloves, but at least one piece was a major hit!

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