Over the spring break last week, I kept busy with a crochet project. I tend to pick up smaller crochet projects in spring and summer, fun things like toys and decorative household items. I made this matryoshka pillow last week, from a pattern I bought a while ago on Etsy, from the designer-blogger behind Annaboo's House. Annaboo has a lovely blog with lots of creative crochet products and helpful tutorials. I was drawn to the matryoshka doll. You know how much I like matryoshkas.
I made this pillow for my husband's aunt Jill. She is a businesswoman, owner of an aircraft company. She builds custom airplanes for collectors. She is also a pilot and she used to be a wing walker. Have you ever seen a wing walker? I have, and it's terrifying. Jill is a very special woman. Her aircraft company relies heavily on parts manufactured in Russia and she travels there frequently to meet with business contacts and make purchases. She learned to speak Russian for her business. She often brings back interesting souvenirs from her travels in Russia and has given me two beautiful, handpainted matryoshkas, which I keep in my china hutch with other treasures. Jill likes matryoshkas too; her office (inside her airplane hangar) is full of them.
We visited Jill and the Bear's uncle in December, when we went to Arizona. They were wonderful hosts, taking us to see the London Bridge in Lake Havasu. Jill took us on a tour of the regional airport where they work (and live, in an apartment above their hangar). She led the small Bears on a scavenger hunt, helping them find interesting artifacts lying on the airfield since World War II. They filled boxes with old glass and metal bits, screws, wires and rocks.
Jill even let the small Bears help with simple tasks in her hangar (yes, that's Vladimir Putin on the bulletin board). Here, she had made a treat for them after our morning on the airfield, hot chocolate with whipped cream. They were in heaven - airplanes, a hunt for junk, "work" in the hangar and now cocoa! Jill doesn't have children of her own but she has many nieces and nephews and she's an amazing aunt. After our trip, I decided to make her a matryoshka pillow, just because we love her so much.
I really enjoyed making this pillow. The pattern calls for two identical crocheted pieces, which were easy to make. I did a better job with the second piece, the one on the right. My tension was better and I had mastered the two-single-crochet-together stitch used for decreasing. I'd only done a 2dctog before this project and I'm glad to know how to do both now.
The face and embellishments were really fun. Like Annaboo, I made the face from felt, cutting out one large circle for the face and two smaller ones for cheeks, along with a shaped piece to look like the doll's hair. I made the "dress" from a small piece of rosy fabric. I pinked the edges, as suggested by Annaboo, to help prevent fraying, stitching the dress onto the crochet with small overhand stitches all the way around. I also glued a bit of pink polka-dotted ribbon along the top edge of the "dress" fabric, sort of like a belt.
I stuffed my pillow and slip-stitched the edges. Here she is on the GB's bed (the light is always good in her room). I'm happy with my pillow. Her neck seems a little long, but it's part of her charm. I really like her face and the dress. I also added red heart-shaped buttons at each end of the ribbon; I thought it needed a little more finishing. It looks cute, I think. I like her!
I'll send the pillow to Jill soon. Here, she poses with the matryoshkas given to me by Jill. I adore them both. The one on the right has nicer painted designs but the one on the left has a huge number of dolls inside, all the way down to the smallest at about half an inch tall. My children, especially the GB, are fascinated with that tiny innermost doll, which has a hand-painted face just like the others. The GB says, "This doll just keeps on going!" She really does, and it's wonderful.
Yarns: Stylecraft Special DK, in Aster and Pomegranate
Hook: Clover G/6 aluminum
Fabric is from the Lecien Flower Sugar line
I have exciting news - the Bear and I have begun recording our own podcast! It's called Thistle and the Bear. We're having a lot of fun with it and we're ready to share it with the world! We'll be talking (and talking...) about topics of interest to us - hobbies, parenting, family life, etc. Our podcasts will be available on the Bear's own website, Ink of Park, and we'll add more as we record them. Our first podcast is about bread-baking. If you'd like to listen, just click the button on my sidebar, near the top.