Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordy Says, "Look Into My Eyes"

Meet Wordy the elephant. He's a talented little guy who hopes he can be the first elephant to chair the Chicago Symphony Orchestra trumpet section. Wordy plans on auditioning some time in 2009 and, if his playing doesn't impress the CSO's new conductor, he's hoping his "begging face" (which he's been practicing almost as much as his repertoire) will get him where he wants to go.

I will give Wordy to Traci Nelson, one of my student employees in DePaul University's Department of Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse. Traci is preparing for graduate school auditions this quarter, so I have a feeling that she'll need someone cute, soft and squishy to travel with her around the country.

Traci is both an amigurumi recipient and one of my benefactors. For her birthday this year, I decided to make her a "Mini Me", complete with a fully-hooked head of hair and golden trumpet:

Traci also commissioned me to make a full tea set for her roommate and best friend, Olivia. I found this to be a great challenge, and I made everything freeform. The result: I fell a bit further into amigurumi madness, and she and Olivia ended up with a crocheted, full-sized tea set, complete with spoons and sugar cubes:

I do wish that I'd taken notes while creating the teapot (which Traci and Oliva named "Christina," in honor of me;)--I like her shape. . . and I also like the fact that I built a storage "core" that goes all the way down the inside of the teapot's body.

Prior to Wordy, I've made two other elephants. Frank was a pink elephant who wore a top hat (and never sat down once he put on his pants) . . .

. . . and I made Hansa for the Woodland Park (Seattle, WA) elephant keepers upon learning of the sudden death of their super cute baby elephant.

I was living in the Seattle area when Hansa was born, and she (the baby elephant) brought me back to the zoo again. (I hadn't gone in about a decade.) Hansa was a playful little stinker who would run around the zookeepers (and knock over the tub, wrap her trunk around the water hose and steal reward carrots) while her mommy received her morning bath. When I learned that Hansa passed after only six years, my heart sank. Because I'd since moved to Chicago, I didn't know how to honor her life or how to communicate to the elephant keepers how much I appreciated their efforts and educational outreach. I crocheted this elephant and sent it to the zoo with a small thank you note.

These two previous elephant creations had caught Traci's eye. She loves elephants (almost as much as she loves playing the trumpet and drinking tea). In fact, for quite some time, she had her eye on Frank. When someone purchased him at a craft fair, she was bummed. I think Wordy, her New Year gift, will make up for my selling Frank before she could buy him. Anyway, Frank was more of a "Rat Pack" wanna be of an elephant; Wordy is more Traci's style. I imagine the two of them playing pieces together and talking "best practices" about everything from breathing techniques to the most efficient ways to clean a spit valve.

Welcome to the world, Wordy!

**Wordy is a variation of a pattern found in Amy Gaines' book, Cute Little Animals. The other elephants came from a pattern I found in a crochet magazine quite some time ago.

The Traci Trumpet "mini me" and teaset are my original (Dekvenga Delights) patterns.

Hooking Into The New Year,

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