Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Miss Elly, a Knit Toy Elephant


Life has many hurts and challenges along the way. One of the most difficult things each of us will face is the loss of a parent, regardless of whether the relationship was good or bad. I am fortunate and both my parents are still living but Steve has lost both his mother and father. When his mother died several years ago it was devastating for him and left many unanswered questions. No matter what age you are when you lose a parent, the sense of loss is profound.


But perhaps a little more so when you are young. After a long battle with cancer Steve's dear cousin, Ellen, passed away at the too young age of 45. She left a bereaved husband and two small children, a girl age 7 and a boy age 5. What can be said of such a sad thing. Nothing material can replace a mother's love but a little pink elephant is at least something to cuddle on the difficult days. So I knit Miss Elly for the little girl to have and hug.

Stuffed animals are great companions, no matter what your age. They can join you outside on a garden bench.  Or keep you company for a cup of tea in the afternoon. As an aside, since this is a Summer in which I am exploring new teas, I'm going to suggest that you try Lady Londonderry to perk up your afternoon tea.  Lady Londonderry is a black tea with hints of strawberry and lemon and I've found that adding a dash to a pot of plain black tea makes it a little extra special.  I think you'll like it.


I now need to come up with what I'll knit for the little boy.  Some type of monster, maybe?  Any suggestions as to what  I might make for the little boy would be greatly appreciated! 



Particulars:  Elijah by Ysolda S. Teague; Stray Cat yarn in colorway Tea Rose by Wandering Cat Yarns; hand-painted yarn; super wash merino; 8 ply sport weight yarn; US 3 DPNs;  This is a well designed pattern that was a pleasure to knit. My only modification was to embroider the eyes in satin stitch rather than make french knots. If you aren't familiar with Ysolda's knitting you will enjoy her blog.  I'm certain this will not be the last pattern of hers that I knit.


You may have noticed that I knit Miss Elly a shawl, exactly like the one I made for Matilda the Mouse.  To knit a small shawl for a toy simply knit a basic triangle as follows:

CO 3 stitches
R1: K1, yo, knit to last stitch, yo, K1
R2: knit
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until desired length.  BO stitches.
Finishing: add a small button or bead as a closure.


BEWARE OF DOG  It has a yarn fetish.....


I hate to tattle.  Really I do. But this is in the way of a public service announcement. Simcha has a yarn fetish.  On several occasions Miss Elly had to be literally pried from his jaws.  He even stole Miss Elly right out from my hands while I was sitting and knitting away on her. I'm surprised that you didn't hear my yeowls of distress.  It's a miracle that Miss Elly has survived.  So be warned and approach dog with caution.  Incidentally, I understand Monika's puppy, Denny, also has a yarn fetish.  I hope it's just a passing phase. 

Until next time, be well and love well, and why not knit a toy this Summer?  Either for yourself or someone who needs a hug.

39 comments:

Andrea said...

What a terrible loss. Forty five is much too young.

My dogs don't have a yarn fetish but tend to enjoy sticking their snout and getting a really good whif of what I'm working on in my yarn basket!

Monika said...

Oh my goodness, this Miss Elly is the cutest elephant ever! I love the color you choose, and the yarn looks great! :o) But's a big smile on my face, and now I want to knit a toy too!
Yarn fetish indeed! But he's also after my tea now, and David's coffee cups from Starbucks, that little addict! :o)

bekkah said...

I'm so sorry for their loss. As you said, it doesn't really matter what age you are...the hurt is still there. My father died when I was four years old, I think the only thing different would be mourning for the voice you can't remember and all of the childhood memories that have a sense of loss attached to them...as opposed to things left unsaid or regrets. Both painful.

Miss Elly is precious! Such a sweet idea :) I bet he'd love a monster, dinosaur/dragon or maybe a snake???

CelticCastOn said...

miss Elly is soooo cute! You should make a danger crafts monster for the boy. Maddox or Daphne and Delilah are cute ones.
Naughty naughty Simcha :) I'm sure it was all in good fun!

Wanderingcatstudio said...

Miss Elly is ADORABLE!

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I don't have any specific suggestions for a knitted toy for the little boy - yet, but your blog was so heartfelt and Miss Elly so breathtaking that I had to comment in some way. Susan Anderson has a wonderful knitted toy book out. I don't have it but I was struck by her imagination and the polish of her designs. Some of the Odd-bod bunch are very endearing also, maybe the little dachsund? Or maybe a dinosaur? there's one in Zoe Mellor's book. I'm sure someone will suggest just the thing. And your knitting talents and choice of yarn will elevate it even more. I know I'm gushing but I just love that Elly!

Willow said...

I am so sorry to hear about Ellen! I cannot imagine the sadness of the little ones.

How about a bunny for the boy? A boy bunny. fuzzymitten.com has a pattern that I adapted a bit. Or a dog, one with floppy ears?

At Home Mommy Knits said...

What a lovely and thoughtful present. Love the bright color. I am so sorry for your loss and the family's loss. Terribly, terribly sad.

subliminalrabbit said...

oh claudia, i'm so sorry for your family's loss... and what a wonderful gift to give.

Channon said...

What a beautiful yarn-fetished imp he is though...

Oh. I'm sorry. You mentioned a new tea I must try, AND the post was really about that lovely toy that is sure to bring comfort and joy to said little girl.

Frankly, I'd knit the boy the same in blue. I'm almost positive another knitting friend has knitted or is knitting a blue elephant for her nephew... Unless you want a new pattern?

Renee said...

Mis Elly is lovely! She'll bring much comfort to her new mistress.

Kelly at Celtic Cast On knit the most adorable monster for her baby girl, it'd be great for a 5-yr old boy.

Simcha has good taste in yarn, you have to give him that! Nina brought me a ball of Rowan just yesterday. I didn't realize she'd be able to reach up that high to get it. Will have to keep an eye on her too. lol

Emily said...

Love the toy! That's also really funny that your dog loves yarn! So do my cats ;)

Rhonda said...

Wow, what an elephant. What a perfect gift.

knitomi said...

What a tragic loss, especially for the children ;-(
For a 5year old boy perhaps a puppy might be more comforting!
I really like the patterns from Barbara Prime http://www.ravelry.com/stores/barbara-primes-fuzzy-mitten
She also has a very cute hippo pirate,
but one of my favorites is the "pupster" - anyway -
definitely worth checking out what she has!
Hope that helps,
Ingrid

betty said...

My condolences to you and all the other family members.

Miss Elly is very cute indeed.

I don't know if this is a suitable toy, but I've always liked the nautilus from knitty: http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring06/PATTnautie.html

Knitting Out Loud said...

My heart goes out to your cousin and his children. It is heartbreaking.

Bridget said...

I think the little girl will enjoy the elephan now to cuddle, and later for the thoughts and feelings behind it.

I'm not sure what to knit for a boy of that age. I've made lots of things for my great-nephew, but he is younger and frankly, likes just about everything ...

That tea does sound nice.

Tell Simcha that her face is too cute. Way too cute.

raining sheep said...

What a wonderful post Claudia, and Miss Elly is so pretty and cute, hopefully she will become a little bundle of comfort to a hurting soul. What a loss to such a young family, no words can express how sad that is. Maybe a little knitted monster of some kind would be the perfect thing for a little guy.

...and as for Simcha, well, animals seem to have a thing for yarn. Tencents goes crazy for anything I knit or crochet...I think it is because they somehow are aware that we spend time on this weird thing we are doing and we are not paying attention to them?!! So they want that special thing because then we might pay attention to them again :)

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your family's loss. You are thoughtful to knit such a comforting toy.
My dog, Maggie, stole my sock knitting in the middle of the night! Maybe there is a secret society of canine knitters out there!

Tracy said...

Oh, my... I almost can't write for crying... Miss Elly is a little love, Claudia! She will be a wonderful companion for a little girl's time of loss. Elly is ever so cute--pink the perfect color. ;o) Though I cry, I smile too. As you know, my father is ravely ill, so this post really touches my heart. I think I will hunt something to knit for my Dad... and maybe for me. A little comfort... I am so sorry Steve's family has been touch be so much death and passing. I hope those young ones will be all right... Oh, I saw this blog not too long ago, which has LOTS of knitted toys and knitting sources for knit toys, have a peek: http://knittedtoys.blogspot.com/ So funny about Simcha & his yarn fetish! Our Charlie loves yarn. I have to keep anything yarn related well shy of him. I make him play balls of leftover yarn and this helps! So we have yarn all over the house in one way shape or fashion--LOL! So good to stop by here. Thank you for this special post, Claudia ((HUGS))

knittergal said...

Miss Elly is very pretty, and I'm sure will be a welcome comfort her. And I'm sure whatever you choose for the boy will be loved as well.

gMarie said...

What a lovely thing to do. I'm so sorry your dog has a yarn fettish. no suggestions on a boy toy. g

Hilary said...

I am so, so sorry to hear of your/Steve's family's loss. 45 is too young. And my heart goes out to those little kids!! :( :(

I'm sure the young girl will love her new elephant. For the boy, maybe Otto (also by Ysolda)? I also think the Teddy Bear by Debbie Bliss is adorable as well as Maddox the Mischievous Monster and the Loch Ness Monster by Hansi Singh.

Rachel said...

How heartbreaking...but I'm sure Miss Elly will provide some comfort and will be loved fiercely. It's adorable.

As for a boy...perhaps I'm stereotyping but I always think of dragons when I think of boys. There are a number of really cool dragon designs (though most are crochet) on Ravelry to check out. I'm sure whatever you choose will be cherished.

jillian said...

So cute!

Anonymous said...

Oops, forgot to sign my name, the first "Anonymous" who suggested Anderson, Mellor etc. and did a lot of 'gushing'.

Ursula

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Hi Ursula ~ thank you for pointing out Susan B. Anderson. I was familiar with her Itty Bitty hat book but wasn't aware that she designed toys as well!

Thank you all for your lovely comments and ideas. I'm going to make a list of all the suggestions and then show them to Steve and let him pick which one I should make.

Allie said...

Oh Claudia what a tragedy - I'm sure Miss Elly will be much cuddled and loved. I'm sure you could find a monster pattern on ravelry, or maybe craftster.org for the little boy. I'll be praying for them.

My dog has a stuffed animal fetish, period. She doesn't care what it's made of.

t does wool said...

what a sad,sad thing...life is never fair.
You are so exceptionally kindhearted and this elly...will definitely be a hug.
Beautiful indeed,Claudia.

knittingdragonflies said...

How terrible, that is very thoughtful of you to handknit her a gift! She will always remember that.
Lion Brand website has a red horse that is very cute. I've been eyeing it myself for a possible project.
Take care

KnittySue said...

What a cute little elephant, perfect for it's purpose.

Rebekah said...

I think every little girl should have a pink elephant. There was this pink elephant at my grandmother's house I spent a lot of time snuggling because I always got in trouble at my grandmother's house when I was little and it was quite comforting. Pink elephants keep tears and secrets quite well.

Simcha is toooooooo cute!

Murielle Creative Knitting said...

That is the cutest little elephant I've ever seen!!! I want to eat it up! That's so kind and thoughtful of you and I bet it will become the little girl's favorite confidant. I have a rabbit pattern somewhere for the little boy, I'll see if I can find it.

kim said...

That is so sad and sweet at the same time. What a wonderful gift; I'm sure it will comfort her in some small measure.

Carol said...

A very sweet elephant & yarn-loving Simcha!

Echo M said...

I lost my sister last October, to terminal Brain Cancer, she was 14. I taught myself to knit because of her, when she was diagnosed, she wouldnt wear non-handmade hats because they were too plain or scratchy, so I set out on a quest to knit for her. I started on Knifty Knitter Looms, and could do some great large gauge hats. But didn't get myself to pick up needles until about 2 months after she passed. Now I knit for charities in her honor.

Thanks for the great story. I feel for the loss of those two little ones.

Katherine said...

I am finally down to just three skeins of trashed-by-pups yarn that I have not had time to rewind, having already reclaimed three skeins. Yarn fetish does not even cover it. I can't leave a knitting basket on the floor OR a table. I think they want to play with mom's toys because they are otherwise well behaved--expecially Macy who is well trained to "leave it".


I'm so sorry to hear about Ellen. What a terrible loss! My prayers are with the family.

Nantucket Dreams said...

aw, maybe simcha needed a hug too! those poor kids and their poor father, how terrible. i am sure elly will provide some comfort and smiles...and perhaps you can invite elly and her new owner over for tea!

Teddy Rose said...

I am so sorry about Steve's cousin! I'm sure the girl will love Miss Elly. Perhaps you should make one for Simcha as well.

D.J. likes to take my balls of yarn when I'm not looking.