Monday, December 16, 2013

The weirdest Christmas gift request

Wanna hear about possibly the weirdest Christmas gift request I have ever received?

Well then first I have to tell you about my nephew.  He's 9, has got the biggest brown eyes you ever saw, and freckles and dimples that go on for miles.  He is the middle child of three, and much like my middle child, is a very deep thinker.  We are talking DEEP.  He is completely filled to the brim with facts.  At any given moment he might rattle off to you some of these trivial tidbits that make you stop, cock your head to the side and say, "wow, I did not know that, Jacob, thank-you so very much".

When this picture was taken I am 99.98% sure he was telling me facts about turkeys
He's a funny thing too.  The other day, I am told that his mom was asking all three kids what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Gabe, the oldest and lover of legos, wanted to be a train conductor like his daddy.  Mackenzie, the only girl and baby of the family wanted what every girl wants: A mani/pedi chair and servants (Nice, I think she got that love from her mama).  Jacob was asked the same question and he says, "I want to work where you have those gray walls".  His mom wonders, gray walls??  He goes on, "You know, where you pop your head up over the top and look around?" 

 She stares blankly for a minute... 

"YOU MEAN A CUBICLE?!".  Yes, he says firmly. 

Just typing this story makes me laugh so hard. You've got to love him.  He is totally an out of the box thinker, or wait, I take that back, is he a way "IN" the box thinker, as in WAY INSIDE a cubicle box. What kid says when I grow up I want to be an office cog just so I can imitate a prairie dog?

Fast forward onto Christmas gifts.  Now I crochet.  Once I started crocheting I went way past blankets and hats, I started doing amigurumi, which is a Japanese term where you make three dimensional, stuffed objects that have a lot of realistic detail.  I got pretty good at it, heck I even made some amazing character dolls such as Mario, Luigi, the whole Mario brothers gang actually. 

I made these for my daughter's Super Mario Brothers birthday party a few years back
All of my nephews loved my work.  So I asked little 9-year-old Jacob about what he might like for Christmas, totally expecting he would list one of my Mario guys.  Not even close.  Not even REMOTELY close.  Without even pausing, without even looking up to the ceiling and pondering.  It's like he had this object on his mind already and I had just happened to ask him the correct time.  He simply said, 

"Can you make me a giant macaroni noodle out of yarn?"

Me:  Stunned silence.

Me: Um, macaroni... noodle??

Jacob: Yes.  A big one.

Me: Blinking

Then he walks off. 

Me: Hmmmmmm.

Okay.  How can you disappoint a face like this??:

This boy loves his pasta apparently!
So I went a searching the interwebs high and low for a 3-D noodle pattern.  Guess what people.  Almost impossible to find.  Turns out crocheting a circular curved tube that keeps it's dimensions throughout is plum near impossible.  Let me just break out my M.I.T. degree in advanced engineering and summon all the powers of physics for this one tiny Christmas crochet project.  Goodness!  Literally it was bugging me for weeks.  No matter where I searched for tips or patterns, I couldn't find one that might actually work.  I thought about enlarging a flattened rainbow arch pattern, but I really wanted that curved noodle look.  Finally, I was walking through a store when I stopped dead in my tracks.  There, in front of me, with a heavenly light shining down all around it, was a soft stuffed travel neck pillow.  Curved.  Tube.  I didn't have to figure out as much how to make and stuff a crocheted tube curve correctly, as I had to figure out how to cover an already existing shape! Christmas wishes from a 9-year-old are saved!!

First thing I did was take the cover off the neck pillow.  It was a nice, soft, zippable one.  Hey I realized, this is not only going to be fulfilling the macaroni dreams of a kid, it was at the very least going to be a FUNCTIONAL neck pillow!

I did not have a pattern, I just started a crochet circle with some extra thick, extra yellow, lion heart brand hometown USA yarn.   I kept eye-balling it around until it was wide enough to fit over the bottom of the pillow "leg".

To get the yard to turn 90ยบ I single crocheted in the back loops only for two rows.

Once the yarn was turning "up" I started single crocheting again through both loops, which created a "bowl" that the bottom of the noodle could rest in

After that I slipped it off the noodle, kept doing single crochet around, then pausing so often to try and slip it over the leg of the noodle to see if it would fit.

Then I would slip it back off and work more rounds.

Soon I was at the top of the arch... and it was getting harder to pull the tube on the pillow.  From now on I would have to do the remaining stitches ON the pillow form.  This got a bit tricky and cumbersome at times, but I just kept working at it.

Now, in hindsight, I should have started the process over on the other leg and sewed them together at the top of the "noodle".  However, I was getting some bunches in the first "leg" near the curve and thought I could try and eliminate those. Also I did not want a seam in the middle of my noodle.  So now here is where I tried to get creative. Trying to make a "wedge" shape I stopped stitching in the round and went back and forth just on the top 3/4 of the noodle, turned and came back the other way.  Because it was curved, I could join the circle back up after a few rows.

It took a bit of trial an error, remember I had never done anything like this before.  But as I came to the end, I reversed what I had done on the first leg of the noodle, to give it that finished look.

You can see my wedge shape going over the right hand arch is not perfect, but it did not turn out half bad for a first try.  To a 9-year-old boy I am hoping and praying it looks like a giant cheesy macaroni noodle to him.  My girls, who have never had a neck pillow around until now, have been walking around with this thing around their neck at all times of the day.  So I am thinking that if Jacob doesn't like his miraculous noodle, the girls will adopt it back.

Needless to say, this little request is right up there with one of the STRANGEST, weirdest, most challenging things I have ever been asked to make out of yarn.  This tricky little curved, tubed, arched, stuffed, three-dimensional shape was quite the bear to pull off.  I'm just hoping he LOVES it.  Like I'm his favorite auntie of all time LOVES it. Like years from now, when he grows up and is working in his grey office cubicle, he thinks of me. I hope that when he pops his head up like an over-sized prairie dog and gazes at the other gray people, in their tiny, drab squares, he will still be wearing this bright yellow macaroni noodle, and it might just bring a little ray of comfort and sunshine to the whole office!

I will keep you posted on his reaction on Christmas day and post pictures here.  Stay tuned...


Anonymous said...

Stunned silence... I'm speechless. You are a genius.

Brenda said...

I told you that you could do it, never had any doubt

Grandma of Two said...

I stumbled across your blog this morning looking for a Felt Christmas tree for inspiration and came across this posting. I thought it couldn't possibly be any stranger than my granddaughters request this year. The cutest 4 year old when she is not being the devil himself.

She was asked by my husband what she wants for Christmas long with the two year old granddaughter who replied with presents, Macy the 4 year old asked for a Minivan. No we are not talking a toy minivan. A real minivan.

Now let me say she is also the same child who last night said, "I was thinking we should give some stuffies (build-a-bears) to the neighbours." I said that sounds good but what if we gave some stuffies to the children who might get missed by santa.

I was thinking I would get a no thank you. But instead she said yeah. We should give all of our stuffies to them, we can get new ones and when we are done playing with those we can give those to the kids who might not have any toys.

Grandma has bucket in hand to get rid of about 40 build-a-bears today. And some other toys not played with. Along with a few things we are upgrading at Christmas.

Jenn said...

That is awesome Grandma of Two! I love when kids understand the idea of giving to others in need. That is wonderful!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...