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.