The ramblings of a working, knitting, writing wife and mother.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let's Talk Gnomes: A BJD Photostory

Sorry it's been so long since my last photo story. My real life has been captivating lately. Anyway, just to give a bit of explanation in case it's unclear in the post, Gryffin is doing his own thing while I'm talking about something completely different. He ends up doing a magic trick and surprises himself with what he pulls out of a hat. But that's not what I really want to talk about. In fact . . .


Let's talk gnomes!


Gryffin: "Did you call me?"
Me: "Um, no. I'm doing a blog post about gnomes. Nothing to do with you." (Not everything does, you know.) "Why?"


Gryffin: "I thought you said, 'Let's talk, Holmes,' like you were trying to be all hip and slang. But if you're just doing your crazy knitting stuff, that's ok."


Me: "Is that how kids talk now a days?"
Gryffin: "Only if you're . . . well, not if you aren't, um. . . "
Me: ????


Gryffin: "Just promise me you won't try to talk that way."
Me: "But what?"


Gryffin: "Ever."
Me: "Then that goes for you too, buster."


Gryffin: "So you said this was supposed to be a gnome?"
Me: "That's right. A Jultomtar designed by Alan Dart. I've knit about a million of them. Apparently they are completely irresistible."


Gryffin: "No kidding. He doesn't even have eyes."
Me: "That's part of his appeal - for me. It means I don't have to embroider a face."


Gryffin: "Right, because you're no good at it." (Thinking: Nice hat)


Me: "I don't suppose you could just go back to whatever it was you were doing before I started my post, could you? I mean, obviously this isn't entertaining you in the least." (And give me my gnome back.)
Gryffin: "I'll be quiet."


Me: "As I was going to say, I've certainly got my money's worth out of this little pattern, which I admit I was kind of worried about when I bought it since it wasn't really all that easy."


Gryffin: "Explain."
Me: "Shh. I'm going to. See. I was shown an Internet picture of a Yuletide Gnome by the lady who taught me to knit since she thought it was the cutest thing ever but knew she'd never knit anything so fiddly and thought that I might be interested."


Gryffin: "Uh huh."
Me: "If you're going to stay, at least don't look so bored. Anyway, she was completely right. It was just the sort of pattern I love, particularly the part about not having to sew a face, so I set about getting myself a copy so I could start churning out armies of gnomes. Except you couldn't get a copy of the pattern that easily because it had been printed in a Christmas excerpt of a magazine that was long sold out and ebay copies were a lot more money than I wanted to pay."


"But then I discovered a way! All I had to do was figure out how many US dollars equaled eight British pounds, write a check for that amount, and mail it to this PO Box in England. Then all that was left was to wait a month for the check to clear, and then another month for a copy of the Christmas excerpt to come to me in the mail."


Gryffin: "You know you'd never let me do anything like that."
Me:" True, but I'm an adult and it was less than twenty dollars, so I figured if I never got a pattern, no one in the family would be actually hurt except me because I would have no pattern and a desperate longing to knit a gnome that would never be fulfilled."


Me: "So anyway, it took a while, but I finally received my pattern. Unfortunately, since I'd been waiting for it so long, I kind of lost my mind a little bit and bought some yarn in gnome colors in preparation for its arrival."
Gryffin: "That's how you got that entire basket downstairs, isn't it?"
Me: "Didn't I tell you to shush? But yes, I had an entire basket dedicated to gnome yarn in nice foresty gnome colors."


Gryffin: "Wait a second. It took you two months to get this pattern and you had to send some random check to England to a PO Box and now you're showing how great these guys are on the Internet? Aren't the knitters going to be mad when they find out how hard it is to get this thing for themselves? Won't they, like, hate you or blackmail you for a copy or something?"
Me: "Ah! That's the best part - well, for them, not so much for me, but I always have to do things the hard way. Now all you have to do is go to Alan Dart's website where you can purchase the pattern with Paypal and download it INSTANTLY. So you see, no one's going to be upset except for me because if I had waited a tiny bit longer I could have done the same thing without having to send converted currency checks into oblivion. He even put in a fourth size on his website one."


Gryffin: "Bummer for you."
Me: "I know, but getting back to the story - After I got my pattern, I started knitting up gnomes."


Me: "And then once one was finished, I had to knit another one."


Me: "I'd spend hours sitting on the floor with the gnome yarn basket just picking out colors for them. What should I knit the mittens in? What color beard should this one have? It was addicting."


Me: "And I wasn't the only one! Your father would sit there with me and think up good color schemes for gnomes. Then we took it even further and started naming them. Good gnomish names like Ebenezer Denroot and Plumford Pepperbeard."


Me: "Each gnome was more charming than the last."


Me: "And I wasn't the only one who was charmed. People started taking notice."


Me: "First I gave a few to close family members - my sister's daughter, the lady who showed me the pattern to begin with, that kind of thing."


Me: "But then word got around. Friends of friends were coming to me even though I had no idea who they were and asking about the gnomes. How much were they? Could I make them one for so-and-so for Christmas."


Me: "Instead of knitting just one gnome, I was knitting batches of half a dozen at a time. Any time I brought a gnome anywhere - to work to display on my desk, to a baby shower, whatever, I'd leave with a dozen orders for new ones."


Me: "So even though I've knit hundreds of gnomes, we still don't have one of our own."


Me: "And it brings me to my current problem."


Gryffin: "Which is?"
Me: "Well, that basket you've been messing with is full of all the pieces for seven gnomes - my most recent order."


Gryffin: "That's a lot of pieces, Mom, but I don't see why it's a problem. Doesn't it mean business is good? Don't you want that?"
Me: "Well, yes, but knitting the same thing over and over gets, well, boring."


Gryffin: "It's still knitting, and didn't you say that all knitting is just two stitches? How can changing the project make two stitches seem exciting?"
Me: "That's just it. It's not the knitting that bothers me. I could do the knitting all day. In fact, that's what I did here. I knit all the pieces and didn't sew any of them up. Now I have a whole basket full of seaming and piecing that I absolutely hate. I always say that knitting a gnome takes a full week - two days to knit the pieces, one day to sew them up, and four days to whine about how I don't want to sew them up."


Gryffin: "You have the weirdest relationship with your hobby, you know it? Imagine how productive you could be if you just skipped that whining part in the middle."
Me: "Maybe, I'll remind you of that the next time you're whining about a little job that would take you five minutes, ok?" Sighs. "Sometimes I wish I could just pay someone to do the sewing for me. I think I'd pay $200 to anyone who could turn that basket into finished gnomes."


Me: "Well, something like that. It would be such a relief. I'd ask Kotori to do it, but she's always so busy."


Gryffin: "Two hundred dollars? You'd pay two hundred dollars to turn this basket of pieces into gnomes like this one?"


Me: "That's what I said, but I wouldn't wish that kind of work on my worst enemy. Anyway, that's the story of the gnomes. This one is already paid for. It's going to a new baby of a friend of mine. Which brings me to another thing. . "


Gryffin: "Yeah?"
Me: "I'm going to be staying at her place tonight and tomorrow night, so you'll be on your own. I left some money with Kotori, and there's food in the freezer for you. Stay out of trouble, and I'll see you in a few days, ok?"
Gryffin: "No problem. See you later, Mom."


Gryffin: Two hundred dollars, huh?


Gryffin: And she was thinking of asking Kotori to do it but can't because she's too busy and she wouldn't wish it on her worst enemy . . .


Gryffin: It's just a little sewing. The pieces are already knit - that's the hard part.


Gryffin: I've watched her do it plenty of times. Maybe I could . . .


Gryffin: What am I saying? For two hundred dollars I Definitely Could!

Good luck with that, Gryffin.


  1. Great story. It has a moral too, and I think you know what it is.

    "Those who skip steps along the way will inevitably finish last."


  2. I know! I know! It's not as bad as I made it look, though. All seven bodies are seamed and stuffed with bean bags in them, and a lot of those pieces are already seamed. They just need stuffing and sewn in place. Mostly I did it this way because I thought it would be a fun story (the things I do for your entertainment!)