Saturday, July 21, 2012

S'il vous plaît... dessine-moi un mouton

S'il vous plaît... dessine-moi un mouton

Translated as: if you would please.... draw me a sheep.

What is lost in the translation is The Little Prince asking for himself to be drawn as a sheep - which makes little difference to this blog (just something I remembered my French teacher talking about when we began to read this gem of a novella in French).

But then, you ask - "what in the world, Cris, does this have to do with crochet?"

Recently I was at a department picnic and asked to make a sweater, for some reason my mind went swimming back to my Junior year in high school, being lectured on the peculiarities and innocence of The Little Prince.

Earlier this month, our company was abuzz with talk of the department that was going to have a picnic for their team meeting.... and it was true - I was on that team and we were, indeed, going to go to a local park, have a picnic, have a meeting, and then have some fun. I thought it was a great idea, especially since the weather was going to be spectacular. Unfortunately, my hip was giving me problems, so I decided to take along my crochet so I could sit in the shade and enjoy the day.

As planned, we ate a fantastic picnic lunch together (there were 25 or 30 of us, if I had to guess) and then we had our meeting. After that, we were given the remainder of the day to enjoy the park. We were instructed that we had to stay there and spend time together for team building, but what we did was our own choice. Some took off for a walk (oh, I wanted to go with them so badly - but my hip was not going to let it happen), others went off to play frisbee golf. I sat in the shade and crocheted and talked to two other ladies. One woman took an interested in crocheting, so I handed her a hook and got her started. After a few minutes of instruction, she was well on her way chaining and single crocheting.

About an hour into it, one of the men on the team showed up and had his two boys with him. He was working from home and his wife was unable to watch the boys so he decided to come with them. It was cute - the boys really interacted well with the adults... but one of them migrated to me. He was barely 6 years old.

"I want to sew."

That was his first statement to me. His dad tried to discourage him but BAH - make me a sheep, would ya! The pilot, who narrates the Little Prince, even said that "The grown-ups discouraged me in my painter's career when I was six years old, and I never learned to draw anything, except boas from the outside and boas from the inside." There was no reason for this boy's dad to discourage him from "sewing" as he insisted on calling my crochet.

I sat him down on the bench beside me, dug out a size N hook, pulled out what I had been working on because I only had some of the white yarn being used for my state fair project afghan, and showed him how to chain. He was so excited! I held the yarn on the left side and he manipulated the hook with his right. His coordination wasn't quite there, but that's ok - we had 3 hands to work with... my two plus his 1.

He was excited with every stitch he made and as it got longer and longer he asked "I want to make something thick" - so we tied off the chain and I did my best to convince him to give it to his mom as a bracelet. I put a little bow on it and tied it off good. He was excited about that but came back again "I want to make something thick" -

something "thick"
So we did. Together, the three-handed crochet monster, made something "thick" which was basically him wanting to turn and do single crochet down the side of the piece - so it was wider than a chain.

His piece buckled and rolled under his hook. I did my best to hold it but it isn't easy when the third arm doesn't quite know what it is supposed to do. He took direction as best a 6 year old could - and this is what we had.

This is the point where I had to leave. I had to go pick my own children up. I explained this to him and he asked "but what if I get stuck?" and I said I didn't know - his parents didn't know how to crochet. I asked his dad if maybe one of the grandparents knew, but he said they did not. The boy looked so sad - but then his little face lit up.

faites-moi une chandail.

He placed the tiny piece of wadded up single crochet into my hand and said "make me a sweater."

I said it was too small and he said "that's ok - you can do it."

Of course, I had to smile. It was cute. And then he said "you work with my dad so when you finish it, you can give it to him and then he can give it to me."

He was so sweet and innocent - and it was a wonderful reminder as to why I crochet, how I was as a child learning to crochet, and why we should teach our youth the importance of art and crafting - of being self-sufficient.

I do believe I will be taking on the pilot's attitude when drawing a sheep while making my sweater - only without the exhaustion of many failed attempts at drawing a sheep. I will be creative and create a tiny sweater for a key chain or perhaps a GI Joe - regardless of how, I will make it work.

"This is only his box. The sheep you asked for is inside."

I was very surprised to see a light break over the face of my young judge: "That is exactly the way I wanted it! Do you think that this sheep will have to have a great deal of grass?"


"Because where I live everything is very small..."

"There will surely be enough grass for him," I said. "It is a very small sheep that I have given you."

He bent his head over the drawing: "Not so small that-- Look! He has gone to sleep..."

And that is how I made the acquaintance of the little prince.

Be Creative.


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