I was bored. I was bored with what I was working on (free form crochet coat) and I was sick and tired of fighting with the crocheted needle holder I was working with. Oh, it was a good enough piece, in its day, but…its day was over.
I wanted to work up something fast, fun, happy, and functional. Something that would hold all those yarn tapestry needles I like to keep on hand. I thought, “I’ll crochet a pin cushion in a bright color.”
And that’s how Chauncey came to be.
I have been crocheting since I was little. I learned at my mother’s knee at about five years old. Okay, I learned facing my mother across the kitchen table because I’m a leftie and I had to watch her from the wrong side. But hey, whatever works, right? Anyway, I’ve been crocheting for almost a half century, and I have been making toys since the get-go.
My mother had a passion for making crocheted toys. “If you have a hook and a little yarn, you’ll always have a new toy,” she used to say. We had some really cool crocheted toys. We had some seriously tough crocheted toys, built to last through whatever three ornery roughnecks, four grown Saint Bernard dogs and a countless stream of their puppies could put a toy through. Have you ever seen what happens to a crocheted panda bear when it’s been washed in a wringer washing machine? Pandy got really looooong. But he came right back in the dryer, ready to be tossed around as a football, wrestled by a dog during a game of “Gimmie That,” and cuddled into slumber when we all fell over at the end of the day.
Mom passed her passion for funny, happy, seriously tough toys on to me, and I, of course, ran with it. I boldly went where no crochet hook went before. I was designing “weird” toys by High School, making them and giving them to friends…just little guys, sometimes with three eyes, or four ears, or whatever else I could think of between classes. I never knew that my toys were called, Amigurumi. Who knew?
Now that Amigurumi is all the crochet craze, I am in Hooker’s Heaven. A short-attention-span-friendly crochet toy fix? I am THERE!
I grabbed a ball of bright orange yarn and a hook. In just a couple of minutes, I went from thinking, “I’ll crochet a ball and stick pins in it” to, “I sense a toy waiting to be born.” I was initially thinking, just a ball with eyes. Simple, quick, the easiest of amigurumi styles. Then, of course, the ball had to have “hair.” It just felt right. So I worked in the hair, and set the eyes into place, getting ready to stuff my little creation.
I got his head stuffed and closed, taking notes as I went along, and when he was finally finished, I looked into his little black button eyes and said, “Welcome to the world! Aren’t you adorable!”
He looked up at me and said, “I need feets.”
I had crocheted the amigurumi equivalent of a demanding three year old, and the three year old wanted “feets.”
“You are adorable,” I cooed. “And, you are also what I would call, precocious.”
“That’s enough. Does a pin cushion really need feet?”
“Peen-koo-sheen,” he said, trying out the new word. “I need feets. I’ll roll over. Fall. Splat! I need feets.”
“You’re a ball. You’re supposed to roll.”
“You said I was a pre-ko-shiss.”
“You are a precocious ball. I’m starting to lean toward bratty.”
“You said I am a peen-koo-sheen.”
“I can see that this is going to get me absolutely…nowhere.”
“So, do I get feets?”
“You get feets.”
“Do you want a mouth, too?”
“I dunno. Can we talk about it after I get feets?”
“I suppose we can. You’re cute as a button without it.”
“I don’t think I need one.”
“You don’t need a mouth?”
“Nope. I don’t think I eat, and this conversation we’re having in all in your head, so….”
“Yes, I know. I’m a weird old lady that talks to her toys. I can’t wait for you to meet Reggie.”
“Reggie? Is he a peen-koo-sheen?”
“No, Reggie is a very cool plant. I think he’ll get a kick out of you.”
“Can I have my feets first? I feel…unfinished.”
“Yes, you can have your feet first.”
“You know I sense that if I wasn’t holding on to you, you would fall over kicking and laughing.”
“I can’t kick without FEETS!”
“Okay! I’ll start the feets!”
I picked up the hook again, and thought a bit…brought the toy into Chris to ask his opinion about feets…er, feet. Chris just looked at my new little guy, and said, “What the Hell is it?”
“It’s an amigurumi pin cushion. And it’s a brat.”
“Uh-huh. Did you give it to the parsley to get a name for it yet?”
Poor Chris. His mother’s a nut-job.
“No,” I said, laughing now. “He wants to wait until he has feets…er, feet.”
“Riiiiight. Okay, the closest thing you have to a screaming neon green.”
“Cool, I can get close. I have a bright lime….”
Chris was already gone, turned back into his computer and whatever work I had interrupted..or perhaps thoughts of how he could have me institutionalized. Poor Chris. He’s very patient with me.
Back in my lair, I grabbed up the smaller hook, the lime green yarn, thought a bit…and assembled the feet. Once I had them on, my little buddy and I tried them out, and he was satisfied. Good thing, too, as I wasn’t really looking forward to doing them again.
“Are you happy with your new feet?” I asked.
“Yes! I like my new feets! Now what are we going to do?”
“Do you have an aversion to having needles and pins stuck in your head?”
“I dunno. I’ve never had needles and pins stuck in my head. Will it hurt?”
“I don’t doubt for a second that you’ll tell me all about it. Let’s start with the needle I used to sew on your feet.”
“K….Ow. OW.. OWOWOWOWOWWWWWW!”
“Knock it off. I haven’t touched you yet.”
We finally got through inserting one needle.
“There, I said. “Did that hurt?”
“Nope. I’m a peen-koo-sheen.”
“I believe you’re going to be a grand pin cushion.”
“Can I go meet Reggie now?”
“Sure! And the garlics, too.”
“Are garlics amy-goo-roooooomies?”
“No, garlics are plants, like Reggie.”
As soon as we went through the door to the porch, my little pin head erupted into questions.
“Wow! Where is this? Are there more peen-koo-sheens here? Are there more amy-goo-roooomies here? What’s that big bowl of green stuff? Why is the bowl humming? Can I sit in the bowl and hum?”
“Whoooaaaaaa,” drawled Raggie. “What…have you done?”
That was Chauncey’s first day. He’s still a brat, but he’s so cool, it doesn’t matter. Like I said, these toys develop their own personalities.
Stranger things have happened…