Jul 032014
Starting point: rabbit sans clothes.

Starting point: rabbit sans clothes.

One of my favorite accomplishments in June was finishing up the knitted ballerina rabbit I started around Easter. After finishing the bunny, its sweater and ballet slippers, there was just one important piece missing . . . the tutu!

Ballet sweater, check. Ballet slippers, check.  Just missing one important element.

Ballet sweater, check. Ballet slippers, check. Just missing one important element.

And to my great luck, our local public library came to my assistance!

2014-07-03-tutuflyer

The library read my mind!

The workshop was led by one of the librarians who declares herself “obsessed” with making tutus. She makes them primarily for her collection of antique dolls and toys. The directions are so simple and require no sewing. I finished my tutu in about an hour.

The leader gave us a great design tip.  On smaller projects (like the dolls), using one color is often preferable.   When you get too many colors going in a small space, the visual impact can be overwhelming.  On the larger tutus designed for humans, multiple colors of tulle provided an interesting twist.  I started off trying to add in light and dark pink in my tutu but found that her initial recommendation was right on.  I switched to a basic pink.

The best part of the workshop, however, was the great company. The women were of varying backgrounds, including a fellow homeschooling mom and her daughter and moms of all stripes. We were all there to treat ourselves to a few rare hours of adult conversation and learning. None of us had met before but we were all soon chatting like old friends. There is something about group crafting that spurs conversation.

The leader told us about her son who just graduated from the University of Virginia “. . . and he has a job!” she proudly announced. We all congratulated her on her success and she told us that seeing her son graduate college was one of her proudest moments as a parent. It was fun and inspiring to hear about someone else’s successful parenting adventures.

When my rabbit was finished, the leader insisted that all good toys need names. She asked what my rabbit’s name was. I said I didn’t have one just yet. The inspiration for that was to come.

My ballerina left the workshop with an ultra-long dramatic tutu.

My ballerina left the workshop with an ultra-long dramatic tutu.

I left the workshop with my finished tutu as well as some extra scraps of tulle to teach my daughters some tutu skills. They were excited to make tutu hair elastics to wear around their buns for ballet class (or to use as tutus for their dolls as they saw fit).

My girls insisted the dramatic tutu needed to be cut down.  So, I started trimming.  Here was the first cut.

My girls insisted the dramatic tutu needed to be cut down. So, I started trimming. Here was the first cut.

There are two categories of television programs that seem to define my summers: mystery on PBS and ballet programs. In the latter category, PBS American Masters aired a profile recently of dancer Tanaquil Le Clercq. She is famous for many things, including, 1) inspiring two of the greatest choreographers of the twentieth century: George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins 2) single-handedly changing the aesthetic ideal of a ballet dancer to someone who is more model-like, thin with long arms and legs; and 3) being cut down at the pinnacle of her success by polio.

Her story is both tragic and inspiring. I was moved by it and felt that my ballet rabbit would be a great tribute to this great dancer. Hence, my rabbit’s name: Tanaquil.

Introducing: Tanaquil!

Introducing: Tanaquil!

When you have a lot going on in your life, it is nice to have at least one small thing you can celebrate as “complete.” It helps to remind you that there is an end to every project and makes life seem just a little more manageable. I now have a ballerina bunny to remind me.

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2 Comments to “Tutu Fun”

  1. avatar Lou says:

    One small thing to celebrate — indeed! And soon we learn that there are no “small things.” What a lovely ballerina bunny and tribute.

  2. avatar ruth says:

    Ohhhh love love love Lou’s comment “there are no small things” Oh that bunny is so precious!! Well done! I just want to hold her—she’s so precious!!!!

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