The assignment was this: "Nanny, can you knit me a little Scottish guy playing the bagpipes?" No, I couldn't. Nevertheless, I hated to say no. I only had about ten days to do it in, a fraction of the usual time. This wasn't for a birthday present or anything trivial like that, but a Grade 6 school project on Scotland, so I felt I had to do a decent job on it. And I had no pattern.
I think she really thought this would be a fully-mechanized, four-inch-high, walking, talking, authentic bagpipe player, speaking in a weird accent and playing that abominable Scottish music, but it didn't quite turn out that way. For one thing, his legs were too stiff to march. The bagpipes were the hardest part. I found myself mucking around with wooden dowels, black Sharpies and plasticene. With my arthritic old hands and all the tiny scraps of costume that had to be sewn together, it was kind of murderous.
The wild red hair was a sort of tribute to William Wallace (though I don't know if he actually had wild red hair or not). This was from a Braveheart pattern that I didn't use, except for the hair. I had to cobble together bits and pieces from other doll patterns and make the rest up. It worked out OK, I think, but more dolls may not be in my future.
At one point I asked my husband if I should make him anatomically correct. He thought not, for one of the children might lift his kilt in curiosity about the old legend. You know the one I mean. And I have never knitted a tiny 1/2" penis, and didn't want to screw it up. Interestingly enough, there was a moment when "he" could have become a "she". It could have gone either way, for women can be pipers too, can they not? Chalk one up for gender fluidity.
After all that, and after a kind of lukewarm reception from my grandgirl (who's not into displays of emotion - not cool), I got my reward. My daughter-in-law picked it up and looked at it, whooped with laughter and said, "That's insane. That is INSANE!"
An insane Scotsman (with wild red hair) is more than I ever could have hoped for.