FO: Black Nutcracker

My friend Steven is a Christmas Eve baby who loves decorating for the holidays. And he was complaining because he couldn’t find a black nutcracker that he loved. So what did I do? I MADE HIM ONE!
Untitled
I’ve been calling him Nutcracker Tyrone. LOL And he’s one of a trio of nutcracker toys you can knit as ornaments. So I asked Steven to send me a picture of the nutcracker he already owned.
Untitled
And I modeled Tyrone after what he already had. He told me he wanted him to be wearing all white with black boots. Now to be honest, he looks a little bit like a little chef to me but he fits the bill and I think Steven will be happy.
Nutcrackers
It’s 2018 and we still live in a world that doesn’t always include everyone. Why can’t nutcrackers be black? Or Latino? Or Asian? Why can’t we see ourselves in everything we do? When I was little I only thought Santa was black and would let anyone know that who tried to get me to take a picture with a Santa who wasn’t black. I saw myself in my Santa. So doing little things like this with my knitting makes me happy. We get to make toys and things however we envision them.

Advertisements

FO: Dolls and Diversity

While I was in Chicago I got the chance to finally meet up with an online friend in person. I’ve known my girlfriend Pem since back in my old blogging days. She worked for a brand I loved and we just clicked so we’ve always emailed and kept in touch via social media. She has two children and one day I saw a picture of her daughter holding a doll that looked nothing like her and I said to myself that I needed to make Leia a doll that mirrored what she saw in herself.
Little Leia
I made what is now affectionately known as Little Leia. This is the same doll pattern from the Susan B. Anderson Mary, Millie and Morgan doll I made previously for Maddie. I ordered the Knit Picks Brava Sport in the color almond to get a skin color close to Leia’s and when I did her hair I decided to cut it in a choppy little bob to mimick her own haircut.
Little Leia
For the record, growing up all the dolls in our home were black. These are my sister’s Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls (my sister’s name is Anne so clearly she had to have an Ann doll).
Durham
I didn’t even know Raggedy Ann and Andy were white until I saw a cartoon version of them and I thought, well that’s odd because our Ann and Andy are brown at home. That’s also how I felt about non-black Santa Clauses LOL. My mother believed that the dolls you play with should look like you and they should. I’ve taken that to heart and love making dolls when I can for friends. Seeing yourself in everyday things makes you feel more like you belong, like you’re the norm. And sadly in 2017 we still don’t have as much diversity in our products and mainstream culture as we should.
Untitled
So here’s Leia with the death grip on her doll. She was so excited. And here’s the great thing about when I gave her the doll, she looked at it and said, ‘that’s me!’ with such excitement and joy it made my heart want to explode. She pointed everything out to me and said, ‘that’s my hair, those are my eyes, that’s my button nose…’ She knew that doll was meant for her and Pem told me that when we left and they went to a museum later she told everyone that was her little Leia and fell asleep clutching her doll.

I can’t make a doll for everyone but I’m happy that I can make some of the little girls in my life dolls that show them how beautiful and special they really are in this world. Diversity matters. Representation in the world matters. And sometimes all it takes is seeing the joy in giving a little girl a doll to realize it.

Stitching Status: Lots of Pieces

Happy Friday! I’m currently working on a couple of things right now that are taking up a lot of my time and brain power. I realize that once August hits, I typically spend a lot of time preparing for school to start: emailing possible speakers, reworking my syllabus, updating PowerPoints and even rereading my text book. And since that’s mainly my weekend and evening work I have to get in as much fun as I can before that all starts. So we’re thinking of popping up to Chicago to visit my cousin. And if I go to Chicago that means I have to bring her something I knit, I feel like it’s an unspoken rule.
Untitled
I decided on the Lucia Hoodie from the Madder Anthology 2: Simple Pleasures. This will be the 7th time I’ve made a project from this book. SEVEN. I really do love this book of patterns. So far I’ve made Lila Top Down (and I photographed it while I was in Chicago), Lila Winter (for Safia), Lillian (once for Safia and once for myself), Liv and Louise Top Down. Now of course I don’t just stick with a simple solid color palette like in the pictures. I’m going bold and fun.
>Untitled
You work this pattern from the bottom up and create pockets. So for the bottom garter I’m using a hot pink, the pockets and a little garter ridge I’m inserting are in teal and then the main body of the sweater is in Safia’s favorite shade of purple. All of these are with the Lion Brand Heartland yarn that works up into a nice soft garment (I used the teal for my Lila Top Down and the tweed version for my Mountain High ) and it will be easy for her to care for and not have to worry about air drying. Plus since it’s always kind of chilly in Chicago she can wear this piece all year round and I think she’ll appreciate that I’m making her a hoodie to hold up again that wind. I love the cute little pockets and I’m about 10 inches into the 14 1/2 inches for the body already. I’ll be taking a break from the body to work on the sleeves this weekend and I intend on doing them two at a time on a long needle so they’re both the same. In addition to seeing Safia, I have a long time internet friend whose daughter I’m making a doll for to give to her in person.
Untitled
I ordered the almond colorway of the Knit Picks Bravo Sport that I used for Maddie’s doll to match her skin tone and I’m adding in black hair and cutting it into a cute bob cut like her daughter. I just love making something that can resemble a little girl. Working on these small projects is so fun but adding in the hair is the most tedious task out of the entire project. You have to do lots of strands and you want to make sure it’s secure so it holds up to washes but it’s totally worth all the work. I’ve got super colorful yarn with peach, purple and turquoise to make a dress and tie in all the colors on the body. I love creating stuff like this.
podcast graphic
And finally I’m working on a Yards of Happiness podcast. Thanks for the feedback in comments and via Instagram! I’m going to play around with the equipment I have and see if I can pull together a video podcast because if we’re talking about knitting and yarn I think you want to actually SEE what I’m talking about. Plus it may give me a chance to show what I’m working on while I’m in progress. I don’t know where all I will make it available or how often I’ll do it but I’m going to give it a shot and see how it goes because, why not?

So that’s everything that’s got me busy, what are you working on?