Crochet, Culture and Christmas


The letter ‘C’ has dominated Fall 2014 for me – not just council politics, communications and community – in addition there has been an awful lot of… crochet. I thought I’d share with you some of what I’ve been up to, as well as give you an idea of some upcoming projects.

When I first volunteered for Andray Domise’s campaign, I didn’t expect to end up as communications director for the guy running against Rob Ford – but that’s how things turned out. Campaign work ended up consuming most of my waking hours and a lot of the hours when I should have been sleeping. But although Andray didn’t win, I don’t regret volunteering for a second. I met some amazing, fabulous, people and enjoyed everything I did for the campaign, especially getting out the vote on election day – it was an eye-opening, energizing and gob-smacking experience.

Ryan Maloney recently published his overview of Andray’s campaign – it’s well worth a read if you haven’t seen it already. Also, make sure you still follow Andray (here’s his twitter) – he has big things planned in Rexdale and he’s already written a piece for Toronto Life which, if you’re tempted to feel smug when comparing Canada’s race record to the events in Ferguson, you should definitely read.

As well as the campaign, my parents were visiting from the UK, I gave a crochet demo as part of Culture Days and I was busy making a huge crop of pumpkins for the boys’ classmates. Here’s some of them:

crochet pumpkins free pattern by Stacey Trock at Freshstitches

The pumpkins were based on a free pattern by Stacey Trock of Freshstitches. I modified the vines a bit so they were shorter and more vine-y. Plus, I also wanted every vine to be a little bit different. (For patterns I found/purchased online, I’ll list and link to them at the bottom of this post so things don’t get too crowded.)

Aren’t the pumpkins cute? Last year I made Mummy Candy Jars for Halloween but I really didn’t want to give candy this year, so these seemed perfect and the kids liked them.

Etobicoke Lake Shore Culture Days 2014

Me, sporting my Culture Days button!

I shared in my last post that I had been on a historical tour of Humber College’s Lake Shore campus. I still want to write about that in more detail but I mention it now because it’s something I did as part of Culture Days. If you’re not familiar with the event, it’s 3 days over a weekend, designed to encourage Canadians to participate and engage with the cultural life in their local community. With no political campaign going on, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to attend more events next year. This year I volunteered to do a crochet demo and I have to say, it was awesome. About 8 people attended – both kids and adults – and Birds and Beans not only hosted the demo but fuelled our crocheting with coffee and cookies. Then afterwards, two of the staff bought up my stock of 4 amigurumi whales. Win!

When I started to make amigurumi, I also started to really love crochet, because Oliver not only adored the things I made but started making requests too. It all started with a Gingerbread Man. I bought a set of Paul Galdone folk tales as part of our participation in the Virtual Book Club for Kids last year. Oliver was already enjoying folk and fairy tales but this kicked up his interest another notch. He likes to re-enact scenes from his favourite books and movies but he didn’t have anything suitable for the role of The Gingerbread Boy, so I thought… “why don’t I make him one?”

He was amazed at the prospect of my being able to make him toys – he asked if I could make him some dinosaurs to which I responded, “Sure”. He wasted no time in ordering up a yellow brachiosaurus, grey stegosaurus, orange triceratops, green pteranodon, a purple tyrannosaurus rex, a unicorn, a reindeer and a green dragon. He’s getting the dragon for Christmas if I can make it in time. He also zoinked one of the pumpkins.

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In addition to pumpkins, for October onwards I was gearing up for the holidays. So far I’ve made six Christmas stocking ornaments for family back home, a green brachiosaurus for my nephew, five scarves, three hats, three coffee cup sleeves and four snowflakes. I still have six coffee cup sleeves, nine snowflakes, a doll, Oliver’s dragon and a Mike Wazowski to finish. In addition, I want to try and write my first pattern. I have a project for Owen planned which I think (hope) he’s going to love. I have worked out how to do it in my head, I just need to get it down on paper and on my hook. Very exciting!

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As a result of the Culture Days crochet demo someone asked me for a crochet lesson. This inspired me to create a video tutorial which is partially complete. I’ll link to it when I’m done. I also finally got round to setting up a crochet board on Pinterest which you can find here if you fancy following it.

Once the Christmas crochet rush is over then my winter will be focused, appropriately enough, on the letter ‘W’.

  • I’ve been working behind the scenes on my website. Once I’m done it will not only look different but there will also be a different component to the site in the New Year.
  • Writing will be the other big draw on my time. In addition to posts here, I’ve been involved in a long-term project about iPads and autism which will also come to fruition in 2015.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to and what is in store for the next little while. I hope you will stay tuned for developments!


Links to online patterns:

Halloween Pumpkins – Free pattern from Freshstitches

Whales – donationware pattern from Planet June

Gingerbread Man – US$5 from Freshstitches

Dinosaurs – Buy separately or US$18.50 for sets of six patterns, from Planet June

Unicorn – US$6 for horse/unicorn pattern from Freshstitches

Reindeer – Free pattern from dendennis. I have stacks of green yarn so I’m planning to make the Christmas Tree too. So cute.

Stocking Christmas Tree ornaments – US$3.99 from Zoomy Mummy. Seriously thinking of getting her Christmas Megapack set of patterns because all those wee things are adorable.

Coffee Cup Sleeve – Free from Frayed Knot.

Snowflakes – Free pattern from Petals to Picots, one free pattern plus two others for GBP 2 total from Very Berry Handmade.


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6 Responses to Crochet, Culture and Christmas

  1. Victoria December 4, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    Wow!! I had no idea you were working on Andrey Domise’s campaign, and especially as communications director!!! Huge, huge kudos. I was so sorry that he didn’t win the seat, but I have no doubt that we haven’t heard the last from him. You did an amazing job helping to get his message out, drive support from across the city, and frame him as a leader (and a winner). I actually wondered at the time who was doing his communications because the coverage was outstanding… 🙂 Congrats.

    • OMum22 December 4, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      Thanks so much Victoria! There was a big team of us – Cynthia Amsden got Andray some terrific publicity, Annie was a huge help with a lot of the social media content, which Nadia and Michelle pitched in to help with also. Heather, Jacqueline, Phil and Annie all wrote content for the blog and Geoff was a huge help with editing. It was most definitely a team effort. It also helped a bit that Andray was an awesome candidate. 🙂

  2. Tricia Carter Smith December 4, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

    Beautiful job on your crochet projects Deanne. Love to crochet. It is my favorite pass time/hobby/gift

    • OMum22 December 4, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

      Thanks so much Tricia. I find it so relaxing. Like meditation almost. Except of course when I’m working on something that Oliver knows is for him – then I get a lot of, “is it ready yet?” 🙂

  3. Christopher Ivanovick December 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Hey dude. Fantastic to see you doing super cool, super unique Shoyer type things. Miss ya terribly at times so its wonderful to get these sporadic updates. All my best to you and those lovely boys. Stay awesome in only the way a Shoyer can.

    • OMum22 December 4, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

      Aww, thanks Chris. Miss you too – was really hoping we could all meet up when my folks were here. Hope you are all doing well. *hugs*

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