I have finally finished a mobile for a friend’s new baby. This took about three months to complete and I am always pleased when I’m able to get my act together sufficiently that the baby gift is given before the child in question finishes high school. With that said, three months seems like an awfully long time for what appears to be few lazy evenings worth of knitting.
Let me explain.
This all began when I was looking for an excuse to try my hand at amigurumi and decided to make a mobile for a then-very-pregnant friend. After several hours of Ravely research, I had found four cute little animals to knit: kitty, bird, fish, turtle.
I knit them up over the course of about a week and found that my fish could have eaten that little turtle for breakfast. Also, the mobile would have been about two feet across to accomodate the size of the little critters. They were small, but not small enough. Alrighty. So I knit another fish and another cat, the same only smaller. The pattern for the bird was too complicated to re-size so I found bluebird instead (who is red since I already had a blue fish).
So then I had four wee animals, but incomplete since none of them had any eyes. I had been looking for eyes around Vancouver for a few weeks with no luck. I am absolutely certain that someone in this city sells safety eyes for adorable toys, but they are very well hidden. Even Dressew, the most amazing crafting store I have ever set foot in, did not have any. Actually, that’s not entirely true. They did have one type of safety eye and I bought two pairs in green and two in orange. There were a few problems with these eyes including (1) being much too big (3/4″), (2) being translucent rather than having a solid backing so that the stitches sort of glow through the eyes in a highly creepy way, and (3) containing perfect fingerprints of whoever picked these up while the plastic was still cooling. (If you are embarking on a career in international espionage and require the fingerprints of a Chinese factory worker, please contact me discreetly.)
So that was $1.28 down the drain, but my trip to Dressew wasn’t without benefit. I found a nice metal ring, about 8″ in diameter that would be a perfect base for the animals to hang on. I also found a four-pack of smaller rings. Perfect. And while I was there I also picked up a pin cushion, a couple packages of pins, a couple sewing needle cases, Grand total? About $10. Dressew rocks. The quality is never great and the packaging is often in Spanish or German, but the selection is absolutely incredible and the prices can’t be beat. I nearly walked away with a few hundred buttons (having narrowed it down from the 5,000 available) and some clasps for overalls (because, I mean, think of all the possible uses) and a Viking helmet (just in case) but willpower prevailed.
Anyway. Eyes. I found 6060’s shop on Etsy and bought eyeball after eyeball, plus a few noses for good measure. Ridiculously cute. I challenge you to look into the eyes of any of my little creatures and not want to feed them a cookie.
One lesson learned is that tiny changes in eye placement changes the personality of the toy. For example, I miscalculated slightly on the fish and ended up with angry eyes rather than eager wide eyes. Ah well.
The final hurdle was deciding what to do about the structurally appropriate but visually unappealing “gold” ring. I ended up knitting a long striped rectangle, about 7 stitches wide, and stitched it into a tube around the ring. Finally, a similar covering for the small ring and some crochet chains to connect everything together.
Overall, I’m really happy with how this turned out and am trying to find excuses to incorporate more safety eyes into my day-to-day life.