A heritage skill that i have been given by my mother and grandmother is crochet, and i am very grateful for it. I love having it. In addition to having a great (and cheap) hobby for relaxation, crocheting is a great source of homemade and often very appreciated gifts. Not to mention, again, cheap.
Right now, my crocheting hobby is very cheap. Over the past two years, i have accumulated an entire chest full of free yarn. Two different people gifted me with entire trash bags filled with old, unused yarn...one a friend, and one a freecycle member. This makes it very easy for me to give inexpensive, unique, heartfelt, hand made gifts that cost me nothing but my heart, thoughts, and labor. A labor i love.
This weekend, i had a one-year old's birthday party to attend. While i love this particular one-year-old, i had a hard time deciding what i should give him for a gift. One-year-olds are tricky like that. I started looking and came upon a crochet project i have never done before - a teddy bear.
I found that pattern at Mielke's Fiber Arts. This particular pattern calls for regular worsted weight yarn and a size G hook. But the finish product is only about 4 inches tall. Wanting a little bit more size, i decided to use two strands of yarn (two different shades of brown) and a size N hook. My variation made my teddy bear about 7 inches tall, instead of 4 inches, which seemed a little better size for a four-year-old boy. Being without traditional stuffing, i used a t-shirt, cut into tiny pieces, to stuff my little bear. An altogether cost-free product that took me two to three hours from start to finish.
I really like this pattern because it's very flexible, easy to understand, and easy to personalize. All the parts can be different colors if you want the patchwork effect - or whatever you want to do. And the arms and legs are attached by a kind of crocheted "hinge" that allows movement, floppiness, or the ability to arrange it on a shelf like i did, sitting down like a very well-behaved teddy bear. Altogether, a very cute project that i really enjoyed.
Check out Mielke's. Their pictures are better than mine.