Monday, November 8, 2010

Bertie the Bus

While my son Brendan was in elementary school he was fortunate enough to have had the same consultant teacher, Cherie, from 3rd grade to 8th grade. Not only was Cherie just about everything you'd want in a consultant teacher, patient, creative, resourceful, & smart, she is also a lovely person. About when we transcended "team" and became family I'm not sure, but it may have been around the time she had her first son, who celebrated his 3rd birthday last week. Even during the summer vacations we'd try to get together with Cherie & Nick at least once to catch up & play (no work allowed!). Last February we welcomed Nick's little brother, Matt, to our extended family :) And now, since Brendan's no longer in elementary school, we have to do some planning in order to see Cherie & her guys (husband Scott included). Yesterday evening we all got together for dinner & trains & birthday prezzies- yay!

The trains are a big part of visits to our house, since Nick adores Thomas the Tank Engine just like Brendan did! It is so much fun (& nostalgic) to get Brendan's trains & track out & watch them go for it. The Thomases were one of my favourite parts of Brendan's early childhood. We started with the little figure 8 track & moved quickly into more track & accessories and larger, more elabourate layouts (that was my fun). We immersed ourselves in the big book of stories, the videos, & Brendan's first movie in a theatre was "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" when he was four. And although the Thomases have been put away for many years (replaced by nearly a million legos, I think) Brendan had as much fun playing trains yesterday as Nick did :)

For Nick's birthday I decided to make something practical plus something fun. Practical was the stripey earflap hat and fun was my attempt to make Bertie the Bus as an amigurumi. I had thought of doing Thomas but all the different planes & shapes that make up a tank engine made it hard to wrap my head around, but a bus is, essentially, a rectangle, and I can crochet rectangles!!

I wanted all the embellishments to be well tacked-on (because of baby brother), so I opted to crochet the eyes rather than use buttons. I crocheted half a circle with black & then the other half and next round with white, to give the eyes some character, & I like how they turned out. The wheels & windows are all circles & rectangles, with an embroidered smile, and the only other fancy bit was the back bumper, where I used South American crochet to carry 2 colours so I could have a contrast license plate. I didn't want it to be too big for him to grab easily, so I used KnitPicks Comfy cotton fingering weight yarn and a size C/2/2.75mm needle to make a firm fabric, then stuffed it with fibrefill.
And, true to 3-year-old form, Nick was happy to let baby brother model his hat, but he did have Bertie the Bus join in the train play, which made me very happy! :)

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