Ike is one of my favorite kids in the whole wide world. His mom, Emma, is awesome and loves to go on fun adventures, so Sonia and I have been all over Chicagoland with them. Sonia and Ike are almost as close as (and sometimes fight like) siblings! So for Ikey's fourth birthday, I knew I had to find something really special to make for him.
One of Ikey's adorable traits is his obsession with animals. Any animal. He doesn't discriminate! Stuffed animals are his constant companions; he is totally that little kid that you see at the store, dragging a huge stuffed shark with him. He also loves unusual animals-- how many little kids are passionate in their love for cassowaries? During the months leading up to Ikey's birthday, he was loving storks. Luckily, due to the whole "stork bringing babies" thing, stork crochet patterns are actually not that hard to find! I found a really cute free pattern on Ravelry and had a great time crocheting it for my little animal-loving buddy.
Unfortunately, the pattern doesn't call for my beloved safety eyes, and because the head and body are worked in one piece (starting with the head and going down from there), I had no idea which side of the head to place the safety eyes. If I had chosen wrong, the eyes could have ended up on the side or back of the head. So, I had to wait until the body was complete and sew on buttons for the eyes. Hopefully, they'll stay on okay. They're too small to be choking hazards, anyway.
Knowing how hard little kids are on their toys, I shoved a thin wooden dowel up inside the neck in an attempt to keep the neck straight for as long as possible. I love the wings and tail!
The legs were hilarious to make.... You take two 30 cm long pipe cleaners, bend them in half, and then stick them through a 10 cm length of drinking straw, leaving 2.5 cm of pipe cleaner hanging out at the top and bottom of the straw. On the side with the four pipe cleaner ends hanging out, you splay those ends out into the four toes. Then, you crochet over the whole thing (well, up to the top of the straw), stick the remaining 2.5 cm of pipe cleaners up into the body, and sew the legs to the body. If the stork weren't so top heavy, it would actually stand up pretty well! But the merest hint of a breeze knocks it over. Here are two somewhat blurry cell phone pictures I took (to send to Niki, of course) of the legs in process:
So funny.... I love that technique! I ended up crocheting the leg tube first and then sliding the straw/pipe cleaner support inside. Then, I crocheted over the toes. It was tricky and took a lot of concentration, but the result was great! I love the subtle "knee joints" that the pattern includes.
The pattern is actually for a stork who is delivering a baby inside a blanket. I didn't bother making the blanket, but I did make the hat in case Ikey wanted to accessorize his stork friend.
Sonia posed with the stork to give you an idea of how tall he ended up. Love the finished result! I would definitely make this pattern again. (Note the gorgeous t-shirt sundress Sonia is wearing.... Another lovely creation by Auntie Niki!)
Happy fourth birthday, Ike-a-buddy! I hope you have many fun hours playing with the stork (and that the legs and eyes stand up to all that play). Good luck to Emma in figuring out how to make Ike a stork costume for Halloween!