It is that time of the year again where my calendar fills with end-of-school year events faster than I can blink. And with that them come the never ending requests for donations and teacher gifts.
This year my young son is graduation from his half-day preschool to kindergarten in fall so that I thought I should make something special for his 3 teachers and the lady director of the school instead of just giving some money towards a teacher gift.
What started out as a simple crochet lei (Wikipedia: lei) using a pattern from the first Lei Along over at Ravelry turned into a bigger and bigger and bigger project that I nearly didn't finish on time! I actually made the last stitches in the car on the way to the year-end family pick-nick!
At first, I had a single tube lei for each teacher - but it looked a bit meager because of the fine yarn I've used. It was super soft and pleasant to touch and wear but... not quite look I was hoping for.
Then I got the idea of braiding the tubes for more body - ah, much better. Oh, boy, I just tripled my work! I better get moving on this. The braided lei was about the right size now to be noticeable - but it still was not quite right.
Ribbon! After a couple of re-braiding versions with various ribbons, I decided to go with a subtle use of a very narrow satin ribbon in a complementing color to the lei. Yes, much better... now, what could I add to give it that special something that would make it stand out?
A butterfly? A flower? Off I went experimenting with a couple of patterns and adaptions until I settled on an adaption of the free pattern for a crochet Irish Rose pattern on Lion Brand's website and from the book "100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet".
This was the day before the pick-nick and it was getting tight! What a disappointment when the Irish Rose just kind of blended in with the lei - oh, no! It was the right size and idea... the rose by itself looked nice... just... just... ribbon!
Ribbon to the rescue, again! This time I was looking in my stash for a more substantial ribbon to provide a nice background for the rose to pop from - and I found it in a hot pink, feather-edge satin ribbon that would work with all 4 lei colors.
I had less than an hour left to finish the leis, prep the pick-nick food and zip off to the event. Yikes!
Luckily my DH stepped in and drove so that I was able to apply the last stitches in the car on the way to the pick-nick. Boy, that was a close call! I sure didn't expect my little single tube lei to grow that much!
But look how nice it turned out! The lei now looked like an award which it sort of was: a big THANK YOU to some excellent teachers for a job well done!