A Handmade Easter

handknit bunny

handknit bunny

Dear Reader:

Meet “Scrappy.” He’s a handknit Easter bunny made from yarn leftover from other projects (thus the name) and my first attempt at creating a toy by hand. I finished him at midnight last night, and while I’m not totally satisfied with the results, I am pleased to have created an Easter basket “outside the box.”

The plan was to put together a basket for under $10, presenting a viable alternative to Wal-Mart’s offerings. Because I already had a wicker basket, scrap yarn, and polyester fiberfill, the stuffed bunny cost me nothing but time. I used a pattern found in Luise Roberts and Kate Haxell’s excellent beginning knitter book FIRST KNITS, published by the Martingale Company in 2005, but substituted yarns and didn’t bother with the cardinal rule of testing the gauge . . . mostly because I wasn’t going to go out and buy new yarn anyway. The stitches needed for the pattern were fairly simple, but sewing the pieces together was a little more difficult. If I had blocked and pressed the pieces before sewing them, the end result would have been neater, but hey, it was midnight! My daughter, who is eleven, doesn’t mind a few uneven seams and crooked embroidery eyes.

Did I manage to fill the basket for under $10? Sadly, no. Candy bought from the locally-owned grocery store was surprisingly inexpensive. A miniscule chocolate bunny, some foil-wrapped chocolate coins, two sugar-crystal sticks, a roll of Mentos, and a toothbrush came to less than $10, but I couldn’t resist tucking in a graphic novel purchased at the Scholastic Bookfair held this week at the local elementary school. The book was $6.99, pushing my expenditure over the limit. However, buying the book at the bookfair benefited the school (one-third of the sales comes back to the school), and let’s be honest, I probably would have bought her the book anyway. All in all, I think she was happy with her Easter basket, and I didn’t spend one penny at a big-box retail store. I didn’t have to travel thirty minutes out of town, I supported my local school and a local business, and I “made do” with materials on hand.

On this Easter day, I wish all of you peace and springtime joy. It is the season of new beginnings, new growth, a reawakening of the earth after its winter nap. We spotted a robin hopping around on our lawn this morning, and green grass is beginning to poke up near the edges of the house. The small lilac sports round, hard buds, and only one or two snowpiles linger where the pine shadows fall most deeply. Enjoy this day with family and friends . . . Outside the Box.

4 responses to “A Handmade Easter

  1. I love Scrappy! you did a great job, and what a treat for Dani.
    You know, one of the things that went through my mind as I prepared the Easter stuff for the kids—bought at a big-box—is what kind of chemicals is on all the stuff, and will it hurt my children??

    We did have a ham from a local farm, and of course, our eggs for breakfast came from the same farm. We buy our produce from the market across the street, which has some local stuff. (maybe we should walk next time!)

    But as I ponder the chemical factor, I will try to think of ways to do Easter baskets outside the box next year.

    • Hi B!
      I was wishing for local farm ham yesterday! We had eggs from my friend Sarah’s chickens–bright yellow yokes so you just KNOW they are full of good nutrients–but I wanted good ham. Good for you! You know, I’m not trying to be preachy here. It’s hard to get by without going into one big-box or another . . . just how hard remains to be seen. As for handmade gifts, I think the key is starting way ahead of time. I wish I’d had the forsight to make homemade fudge instead of store-bought candy. For people who live in/near cities, it would be easier to find a locally-owned candy shop. There’s one in Portland, I believe, but that’s a 45 minute drive for me. Wooden toys would also be a good alternative if you can find a shop that carries them. The father of my friend, Mike, makes a living creating wooden toys he sells in gift shops all around Maine. Happy Easter to you and your family!

  2. Love the bunny. I love the idea of trying to beat the Wal-mart prices, but let’s face it- even if you pay a little more you are being an empowered consumer. You choose. You say what is really valuable. So if the dollars are more you’ll say no to spending dollars on something later and be most satisfied because Easter was so special. It is hard to say, “I put a lot of thought into this prepackaged basket. How nice that Danielle knows that you had her and her community in mind with every stitch and every piece of candy. (and somenoe to even say I love your smile enough to keep it beautiful) Wal-mart is all about Wal-mart. You made it about Danielle. And she is so absolutely worth it. IIP I was reminded today of how much thought our mother put into holidays. I told my friends at our Easter potluck about the jelly bean hunt that still happens even in the summer. We had fun traditions that have made for wonderful memories for me. We didn’t even have a Wal-mart. So kudos to you and to mom. rm

    • I think Danielle enjoyed the bunny because she saw me knitting it. Plus it’s squishy! We did have fun with the jelly-bean hunt growing up, didn’t we? Although, I most remember the year I had “strategy.” I waited for you to think of a place, and then I ran past you to grab the jelly beans. Terrible older sis. I think mom made me give you your fair share, but it wasn’t very nice.

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