Tiny Knit Pirates 

Hi Bloggy friends!  I have missed you, but enjoyed my time away basking in the sun and catching beads in New Orleans.  Our Mardi Gras trip started and ended in Houston, saving us thousands of dollars in flights and allowing us to visit friends and their new baby in Houston.  But what was a person to do with 10 hours of driving?

Knit tiny pirates!

Grandma Afthead has been hinting for a bit that her and Afthead Junior’s “pirate game” would be greatly enhanced by some tiny Mochimochi Land pirates, and I am not one to ignore knitting requests.  Thus, I broke out my newly created tiny-knit-kit during the drive back to Houston from New Orleans and started knitting.  What’s a tiny-knit-kit?  I’m glad you asked!

Before the trip I wound many colors of tiny knit yarn onto embroidery floss spools – I use Knit Picks Palette yarn because it is cheap and comes in a bazillion colors.  Then I raided the few Mochimochi Land kits I’ve purchased for tiny bags of fiberfill.  Finally, I found my favorite needles for making tiny creatures, size 1 Lantern Moon Sox Stix, and threw everything into a small plastic pencil box.  Voila!  Tiny-Knit-Kit: perfect for tiny travel knitting!  My patterns were slipped into sheet protectors and clipped into a plastic two-pocket folder.  The whole thing fit nicely on my lap as we drove/flew along.

See!  It even worked on the airplane after I finished the pirates and started on a tiny knit chicken, because that’s what pirates wear on their shoulders, right?  No?  Oh….  Guess I know what my NEXT tiny project will be.

Let me introduce you to my newest tiny knit friends!  We have Orleans Tinypants and his golden jelly bean.  Orleans is knit from the base Mochimochi land pattern with no modifications.

Then we have Captain Penn Tinypants, who may also moonlight as a gangsta rapper when he’s on shore.  Captain Penn is a modification of the Mochimochi Land Tiny Pirate pattern, and details are on his Ravelry page.  Basically he’s a row taller than the base pattern, has a wicked gold belt buckle and chain, has a debonair white shirt open to the waist, and his glowing blue eyes make the tiny ladies swoon and strike fear into his crew.  He’s also meticulous about his sunscreen use, which is why he’s such an oddly pale pirate.  Way to be skin cancer conscious Captain Penn!

The pirates were thrilled when we got home and they discovered the piles of dubloons and beads from Mardi Gras.  The two of them have relocated with their booty to Grandma’s house and are having a great time.  Grandma has mentioned that she thinks she’s heard the quiet sounds of pirate rap on still nights, but she might be imagining things.

Ravelry Links for Tiny Pirates:

Orleans Tinypants – Base Pattern

Captain Penn Tinypants – Modified Pattern

As always, thanks to Anna Hrachovec and her amazing Mochimochi Land patterns!

Carnaval Fingerless Mitts

You detail oriented readers might have perused yesterday’s post and left wondering, “Johanna, if you knit those tiny pirates on the way BACK from New Orleans what did you do on the way to Mardi Gras?”  (No one wondered about that, did they?)  Well readers, I have an answer for you.  The first leg was spent completing fingerless mitts for Afthead Junior in the perfectly named “Carnaval” colorway.

Afthead Junior has always been a lover of fingerless hand garments.  Her allowance has been spent on an array of neither practical or comfortable colored Party City fishnet glovelike creations ranging from wristlets to full arm length wonders.

Thus when one of my knitting friends knit her daughter fingerless gloves my daughter begged for a matching pair of her own.

I finished the knitting as we battled traffic heading into New Orleans.  I wanted to her to have them in case it was cold at a night parade.  They would be perfect for catching – fingers free – and the bold colors would attract the attention of the krewe on the floats.  However, the weather in New Orleans was beautiful, so I was able to weave in loose ends before my daughter wore them for our not-cold-at-all five hour drive to Houston.  Aren’t they adorable with her Mardi Gras hat?  Thankfully we still have plenty of winterish weather to come at home, so they will get used.

For the knitters, here are some details about the project.

Pattern:  Little Girl Wristlets by Janice MacDaniels

Yarn:  Manos del Uruguay Allegria, colorway Carnaval.

Needles: Random bamboo size 3

This is a great pattern, and a wonderful yarn.  Afthead Junior is really sensitive to itchy yarns, and she loves these mitts.  Super bonus for parents, the end product is machine washable.  The colorway is beautiful, bright and eye catching.  I recommend these for anyone looking for a quick functional knit for kids.  Plus, I’ve got enough yarn left that I’m casting on a pair of socks for myself out of the same skein.

Let’s end with a totally unrelated picture of Adventure the cat snuggling on a draft of my short story next to the Carnaval yarn, shall we?  This was taken moments after I pulled a good 8 inches of ingested yarn out of the tiny kitty’s gullet.  Yuck.  At a year and a half I hoped she would be farther along the “respect the yarn” continuum.  (Note, I cut off and threw away the kitty chewed yarn.  It’s not included in the final product.)

Dragon Float at night

Afthead Mardi Gras – Best Day Ever

I missed posting for a week.  Well, I can’t say I missed posting, because I was at Mardi Gras with my husband and my daughter.  Yes, we took our daughter to Mardi Gras, for the second time.  Now before you call child protective services and have her taken away from me, let me tell you, Mardi Gras isn’t how you are imagining it in your head.  We saw no boobs.  Yeah, we saw some drinking, some public affection, some R-rated costumes, but we didn’t see the stereotypical Mardi Gras.

If you have never been you should find a friend who grew up in New Orleans, or went to college in New Orleans, or lives in New Orleans and schedule a trip.  It is the closest thing to pure fun I have ever experienced.  It’s marching bands, and dance troops, and old guy dance troops, and floats.  The floats are like nothing you have ever experienced.  They are huge and satirical and filled with men and women throwing presents at you.  Yes they throw beads, but also stuffed animals, footballs, Frisbees, toys, hats, costumes and instruments.  There are little kids sitting safely in these awesome ladder seats.  There are bigger kids on their parents shoulders reaching right up to the float, and there are slightly bigger kids running after the float cheering, yelling and screaming, “Throw me something mister!” and normally the mister (or misses) throws something.

Mardi Gras ladder for little kids.
Mardi Gras ladder for little kids.

Yeah, the crap is made in China.  Yeah, the guys on the floats look a little like KKK members.  Yeah, there is a very obvious class separation.  While I can recognize those unsavory details today, when I am at the parade I just don’t care, because it is so much fun.  Do I really want that white feather boa my daughter begged for?  No, and neither does she.  It is itchy and sheds feathers.  But at that moment it was the best catch of the day.  It was glamorous and envied.  Right now I look at the giant beads hanging in my studio, and I marvel that a 40 year old woman (and her 42 year old friend) could have received such attention.  (I did not bear my breasts for them, thanks for wondering.)

At Mardi Gras we stood side by side with strangers and we had fun together.  A lady I’d never met and never saw again picked up a special bracelet thrown to me, because I had a 45 pound kid on my shoulders.  A family who had been holding their spot at Bacchus for ten hours welcomed us to their tent.  We caught beads for their kids and they gave us frosty cold beers.  We shook our heads together when the twenty year old threw up in their tent.  I laughed with the woman next to me when someone threw beads onto her outstretched arms.  She was dancing not asking for beads, but it was a great shot.  We had a spaghetti dinner at our friend’s church for $10 (which also gave us the use of their bathroom all night) and then they sold us $3 wine and beer to enjoy while watching the parade.  Having fun with strangers is even better than having fun with people you know.

There is magic at Mardi Gras.  We had a dragon breathe fire at us, causing a white out in our vision, but not burning us.  Our kids ran up to huge floats blind to their tiny frames and they didn’t get run over.  Doubloons are thrown, and those gold, red, purple and silver coins are more valuable to my 6-year-old than the real dollars the tooth fairy brings.  If I hold them now their clinking and glinting brings back the magic and the fun.