Monday, December 8, 2014

Elf On The Shelf on Parade

Our small town has an annual Christmas Parade. For the past few years, my knitting group, The Wednesday Night Knitting Society - aka the WiNKS, has had an entry - and it always involves paper mache and yarn! This year's parade theme was A Storybook Christmas and we decided to do Elf On The Shelf. We started with a tomato cage, covered it in bubble wrap and poster board, and completed his look with a red "body" knit by one of our members who also knit his giant red and white hat. Other members knit his arms and legs, white mitts, and lovely pointed collar. To keep it cost effective, we used Red Heart yarn. His head started out as a beach ball which was covered in paper mache and paint, using dome lids from McCafe drinks for his cheeks and an avocado pit for his nose. (Sometimes you just have to use what's handy!) While creating him, we affectionately gave him the name Stitch.
During the creation stage. In the end we did not use lights under his outfit.

For Stitch's stability, we put a fat pool noodle inside the tomato cage; tall enough to secure his head on top of. We put small lights at the points of his collar and around the brim of his hat. Of course Stitch had to be knitting, so we fashioned needles from PVC pipe and using twisted coils of newspaper to resemble yarn, recycled the head of a previous parade entry's float's snow-woman into a ball of yarn and completed it with lights. The yarn on Elf's needles was a thick I-cord we made, and his project a scarf  - another recycled piece - a 16' long scarf that the aforementioned snow-woman had sported. We used straps to secure Elf to the top of the electric car that was driven in the parade. We decked the electric car out with knit and crocheted afghans and doilies on the wheel covers. There were eight of us in the parade: two in the car, one carrying our banner, and five handing out Corkies and candy. We dressed in red sweatshirts with white felt elf collars and red sequined elf hats. 

Corkies...that's another story. During the year most of us knit colorful little hats and scarves to embellish wine corks that we collect. After drawing faces on them, (each has a different personality), we bag them with a little tag wishing everyone Happy Holidays. Last year we handed out over 200 Corkies and ran out. This year we thought we were well prepared with more than 300, but alas we ran out again. We've learned that some people now have a collection of our Corkies and look forward to getting a new one each year.

Stitch was kept under wraps until parade night when he made his debut to the delight of spectators of all ages. It was heart-warming to hear small children exclaim, "Look, it's Elf on the Shelf! He's so cute!", especially since we know some children - and adults - are creeped out by Elf.

Elf is now residing in the window of our local yarn and fiber arts store The Stitchin' Post. He's happy there - in a warm and sunny space, knitting to his heart's content while being waved to and smiled at by many.

If I may say so myself, the WiNKS is a phenomenal group of women. (Although we do have a few token men who pop in from time to time.) We meet every Wednesday to eat, drink and knit (not necessarily in that order.) Our group is quite diverse - with ages 23 to 79 - and includes knitters from Australia, Holland, Israel, Morocco and Senegal. Some of us are retired (including a Postmistress and speech therapist), but most work...we have teachers, librarians, professors, administrative assistants, technology experts, a graphic designer, yarn dyeing professional, alpaca farmer, gymnastics coach, biology tutor, coffee roaster, nurse, and others. We enjoy teaching and learning from each other and frequently have a charity project under way. For several years we've knit sweaters for teddy bears that our local police and fire departments pass out to children, hats for the homeless, and fancy items for an auction that benefits Project Horizon. We just recently completed many pairs of fingerless mitts to go to young women who teach in India. Our most ambitious project to date was the 400 comfort dolls that we knit and sent to an orphanage in Africa. We also greatly enjoy anonymous yarn bombing  from time to time!