A bower bird for Baby

With lots of bits and bobs left over from my rainbow baby blanket projects, I started scouting around for something else I could make as a gift for the Little One. Even though I’ve used a fair bit of yarn, those beautiful balls have lost nothing of their charm!

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I quite fancied doing something along the lines of a hanging mobile and set about hunting for just the right thing. There are some truly lovely patterns out there and – it must be said – some rather bizarre ones, too, but ferreting about once again in Attic 24 I found Lucy’s bower bird and it was love at first sight.  Bower bird pattern Apart from anything else, this would give me quite a challenge in the world of following crochet patterns and would be my first attempt at a 3-d creation. Perfect . . . except for one almighty, calamitous, frustrating-beyond-words disaster: our camera gave up the ghost and refused point blank to take a single picture. Nooooooooo! 😦 So, instead of showing the whole process, all I can do is add a few photos of the finished article. However, looking on the bright side (and I am an eternal optimist), it does mean I might have to make another . . .

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My first task was to tip out all the leftover yarn and start playing about with colours once again. I liked the ‘rainbow’ bower idea, but once the colours were in front of me I backed away from it: time for a slight change in tack, I thought. I felt the greens and blues coming together in a harmonious combination – with gold thrown in as an accent – perfect as a foil for the bright little bird I envisaged perching on it.

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Red and orange are the favourite colours of Ben and William’s (Baby’s big brothers) respectively and somehow they seemed the right choice for the bird (along with a bright yellow beak, of course). The embroidery colours were something I felt would evolve once the bird bits were made and in the same way, apart from the hanging sun, I didn’t give any thought at that point to further embellishments.

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The beauty of a project like this is that it provides such a brilliant starting point; if someone asked me to design a crocheted bird I wouldn’t have a clue where to start, so thank goodness for all the creative talent out there! I am quite good at making my own changes though, and I could see a couple of possibilities here straight away. The original pattern uses an embroidery flexihoop as the bower base and safety bead eyes for the bird. Now I didn’t have either and I really didn’t want to have to start tracking them down, partly because I was too impatient to get started but also my minimalist ‘make do and mend’ head was suggesting alternatives. I like the little beady eyes but decided there would be nothing wrong with French knots in a black embroidery thread I just happened to have in my sewing box. An alternative to the flexihoop was a tad trickier; they are a great idea and I can see the sense in using them but . . . there had to be something I could use instead. Poking about in the room under the house I hit on a length of cable which seemed a possibility: it was flexible enough to bend in smooth curves but weighty enough to support the woolly things. Joining the ends was an issue but I saw no reason why they couldn’t cross over at the top (nothing says the bower must be a closed circle, after all) and I could fashion a hanging device to cover the join if need be.

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The only thing I wondered was whether this piece of cable was vital to Roger’s life (him not being here to ask at the time), but seeing as it was in a pile of ‘stuff’ left by the previous owner and not filed tidily in his Man Shed Big Box of Electrical Essentials, I decided to purloin it. Once covered in yarn, who’d ever know? 🙂

Hooking the striped strip of fabric to cover the cable was easy and it came together very quickly, although faffing about with all the ends from the colour changes when sewing up was a bit of a nightmare.

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I loved every minute of making the bird, though: it’s a very clever pattern and there was something lighthearted and carefree about adding the embroidery stitches.

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I had thought to have the bird sitting face-on, front and centre, but after a lot of playing I decided I preferred it draped along the bottom of its bower. I loved the idea of a hanging sun right from the word go but fancied making a hanging heart, too (well, once you’re on a roll why not go with it?). Not for the bower this one, but I have found a great use for it.

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I really wanted to use all of the 18 colours that went into the Granny Flower Garden blanket – yes I know, bit of an explosion in a paint factory, but babies love bright colours! So, flowers scattered up the bower’s side were the obvious choice; loosely speaking, Michaelmas daisies (as they will be flowering round about Baby’s arrival) and geraniums which are flowering here for the Bower Bird’s creation!

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The butterfly was a touch of whimsy, another clever pattern with a helpful video tutorial.  Crochet butterfly

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Cue  a very happy hour of fiddling about with composition and construction and there it was done. A bit of a crazy thing, I’m sure, but I can’t begin to say how much fun I had along the way . . . and yes, if I can get away with filching another length of cable, I think there might just be a second little bird in the pipeline. 🙂

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