Maybe it’s the tail

I like to think of myself as some sort of higher-order knitter.  I know, as I type it, that this is quite vain. I can feel that – the little tingle in the back of my mind urging humility and saying “Oh, well now, don’t you think you’re all that and a bag of chips.” Understandably, that voice sounds exactly like my mother, though I don’t think she ever said that to me, I’ve just posthumously assigned her the role of judge and jury. Like I said, I know that it’s vanity, but as a woman who is perfectly well aware that she is neither stunningly beautiful, nor smokin’ hot, I am perfectly willing to invest my personal dose of egotism in this one area and say that I am a good and proper knitter – top notch really.

As this sort of knitter, I am occasionally surprised by what captivates me. Enter – the bunny. As Elliot’s second Easter approached and I realized it was the first Easter he would really care about or maybe remember, I decided I would knit him a bunny.

Let me be clear. Things were normal at this point. It was Easter, I have a grandbaby, I would knit him a bunny… super normal. I proceeded to search for same (it was not hard, this bunny was already in my queue.)

Halfway through the knitting of the bunny, I realized that I wanted the bunny gender neutral. Elliot should decide if the rabbit in question was a boy or a girl, so I swapped out the legs and feet with this boy bunny.  When I was done, the bunny was neutral. Not a boy or a girl, but decidedly bunny (see attached photo of bunny bum.)

Now here’s where it got odd. I decided I should knit the bunny some clothes, so he/she/it may cover itself in the manner of its (or Elliot’s) choosing, and as I decided what clothes I should knit, I felt an odd bit of knitterly obsession take hold.  As I cast on for a pair of bunny short pants, it happened.  You would think that this sort of knitting would be captivating, would you? It should be entrelac that gets me, intricate lace, cables that twist and turn all over a pair of socks, but instead here I was, obsessing over the hem of a tiny skirt and only wanting more. Should the bunny have pants? Should it have a sweater? Should there be a dress? A skirt? A CAPE? I rooted through the stash for appropriately tiny buttons. I cackled as a I finished the wee sweater.  I BLOCKED IT.

I started equipping a bunny for all possible life choices.  Is the bunny a girl in a dress? A boy in a sweater and short pants? A boy in a dress? A girl in trousers? The bunny needed options. The bunny craved choices.

In the end, Elliot was the one to decide.  It is a bunny.  It wears clothes. It is genderless, and simply likes to go for walks, and to look good while doing it.

He was clear, I think, though he’s still not much for wordy communication.

Me? Here I am, a knitter proud of my skills and abilities, and I’m trying not to knit a bunny a bear costume.*

*Only difficulties with the ears are holding me back.

165 thoughts on “Maybe it’s the tail

  1. I LOVE Elliot’s bunny. It’s perfect and brilliant. And I definitely do NOT think you are being vain. You are stating fact. Back in the ’60s there was a TV show with Walter Brennan. His tagline was, “No brag. Just fact.” You stated fact. And you may have inspired me to make bunnies for my granddaughters and my sister’s as well. Down the rabbit hole….literally. lol

  2. My son’s children play with a stuffed dog that was their father’s. But it thrills me that that little dog still has the wardrobe I made for it so many years ago!

  3. Oh my goodness!! This post makes me giddy. You, Stephanie, and Julie (bunnyknitter) are my two favorite knitters on the planet. You are the two who I have bookmarked on my laptop and check for new posts daily. I am totally addicted to all of Julie’s little knitted animals and their clothes. Haven’t knit the sheep, elephant, or fox yet, but my bunnies are multiplying……you know – as bunnies are wont to do. Your little bunny (and especially its owner) is adorable!

    • Yes! me too. I have over 15 bunnies in a variety of outfits plus a few cats and bears. Bring on the elephants! Love love love Julie’s mind for patterns.BTW no grandchildren as yet but I do teach small children – but they don’t get to play with my bunnies….yet

  4. You have no idea what you’ve started. First, shorts, then a dress…and now the bunny needs a bathrobe, and a poncho, and pajamas, and a spacesuit, and overalls, and…!

  5. This is a delight! And it touches upon something I’m kind of hoping the broader knitting scene will address, and that’s the inherent desire to gender items as male or female. Clothing and accessories as masculine or feminine.

    As a nonbinary person whose gender expression is constantly endeavoring for neutrality and androgyny, I hate feeling that at odds with the garments I want to knit! I want lace shawls and shaped sweaters, too!

    I love that the bunny is just a bunny. It can wear what it wants (to the degree that it is an inanimate object and cannot express desires of its own) without that actually reflecting on its gender.

    • You are so right. As a baby (nearly 80 years ago) I had a small teddy who was always “he” but wore dresses – probably because my mother found them easier to make. Little Abou had no particular gender. I still have him (and the dresses).

      • My panda bear was a he too, but he also had dresses to match mine. Our favourite was red and white gingham. I out grew mine but Panda Bear never did. Panda was lost to a household accident recently and I cried my eyes out. I was 53. Dear Elliott dress Bunny however Bunny wants to be dressed. But especially in that super cute dress!

        • My rabbit (2nd Easter-paternal grandmother) was a girl named Peter. I learned to knit so Peter wouldn’t need to go bare. She’s still with me as we approach 70, and her smell is still the most reliably comforting thing in my life.

        • When I was 4, my sister and I had our tonsils out. I got an elephant, and she got a panda. 45 years later Panda was stolen by housesitters! She has been mourning ever since. This year for her birthday I knit her New Panda, out of cashmere. New Panda sleeps in bed with her. My sister is 63.

    • I totally agree on the need for nonbinary categorization. I *try* to teach my kids that there are no such things as “girl things” or “boy things,” but even I occasionally feel the need to say something ridiculous like “he’s such a boy, but he LOVES pink!” like those two should be mutually exclusive. It’s really, really hard to get out of a binary mindset!

      • You’d think it would be easier for Anglophones than for, say, Francophones, because the structure of our language doesn’t insist on gender tags being attached to every noun in existence.

        As a female who does not like pink, and has not liked it for a very long time, the apartheid of gendered items is deeply frustrating – and I don’t even have kids. Want DIY tools in the right size for your hands? They’re pink. Want work gloves in your size? Pink. It’s like some kind of plague.

        And why is it that my interchangeable set has all the pinks and purples in the smaller sizes (for delicate knits) and all the blues and greens and browns in the large sizes (for chunky knits)?

        Let’s hear it for gender-free inanimate objects, with or without bear suits. (How about a gnu suit – stuff ears into horns?)

  6. Before you know it, the bunny is going to need friends. Several knitters in my sitnknit group are obsessed with making little critters, including a couple that are making the Delores sheep from Franklin Habit, complete with wardrobe, of course.

  7. Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it!

    (sorry, just had to come out of years and years and years of lurkerdom to barrack for a knitted bunny in a bear costume!)

  8. I have made bunnies and agree they need wardrobes. I made the mistake of clicking on the links. It looks like my knitters’ block may come to an end. “If You Give a Knitter a Pattern” she’ll want some yarns and needles! Thank you for loving Elliot so well.

    • “If You Give a Knitter a Pattern” is too good! I want the actual book now. Who’s going to write it!!??

  9. I vote you are definitely a “high order knitter,” but I wouldn’t obsess about “gender neutral.” Two bunnies, various clothing optionsl Elloitt is a very lucky boy.

  10. As a granny who has knit almost everything for the grandchildren, including bunnies, bunny in a bear suit, etc, I now find that I must knit CARROTS for said bunnies! Buckle up buttercup, you know what’s next!!!!

  11. It’s a slippery slope this knitting of the toys for the small people. My daughter (age 7) receives with joy anything I have made for her so it is hard to stop while she is still young enough to appreciate it. However, if she keeps losing the clothes at the current rate, I’m not keen on re-stocking them. I’ve nieces and a god-daughter too so I don’t think the making of tiny things with clothes is going to stop any time soon.
    Romi Hill has a workbook in progress at the moment with re-sizeable shawls including doll-sized versions. Are you sure that the Easter Bunny doesn’t need a few shawls to keep out the chill?

  12. OMG, you got me when you said you blocked the tiny sweater… I laughed. I know when I read this to Dear Husband (DH) later, he will laugh…

    …and probably say, “Of course she did, because what else do you do with a sweater.”

  13. My daughter is 32. I still get overcome with the urge to knit clothes for her rag doll. We are currently discussing a bath robe. To be clear that’s me and the doll, the daughter is not involved.

  14. I love the bunny. All my nieces and nephews need one for next Easter. I think more outfits are definitely in order… I vote for PJs and bathrobe. I also think he needs friends. Definitely a bear and maybe a raccoon if possible

  15. As a parent of a non-binary teenager who is struggling through a gendered world, all I have is: Thank you.

  16. Have you ever seen Barbara Prime’s collection of animals. I fell in love with her bunny and the collection of outfits. I’m going to be a new grandmother soon and I see lots of these animals in my future. I have never given knitted animals much thought before but I can see how easy it is to get hooked!

  17. I have not read through all the comments but I’m quite sure that others have said, you are definitely a higher order knitter. I sit at your feet. And the bunny and the clothes are so awesome I can hardly stand it. I have a friend who loves bunnies and would just melt into a puddle at the sight. Happy Happy Spring!

  18. In our collective ecstasy over the bunny, let us not overlook the fact that Elliot is wearing his Birthday Sweater under that jacket.

  19. The bunny and the grandchild are both adorable. The clothes are simply darling.

    Perhaps more clothing in colours other than blue would provide more gender neutral options: some green, some yellow, a little red, lavender, deep purple, charcoal (so pretty with his natural grey colour). Dresses, skirts, pants, sweaters, shawls, leg warmers (could be a ballet bunny), hats, scarves. You get the idea.

    Based on my experiences with children, it is likely that Elliot will dress the bunny as he sees things modelled in his real life, as well as the characters in the books that are shared with him. (So you might need to make some red overalls.) I believe children are naturally unaware of gender “issues” (as well as many other “issues”) – they learn from listening to and watching the adults in their lives. How fortunate that Elliot has a diverse group of adults around him, who will teach him kindness, generosity, love and answer his questions honestly.

    Blessings to you all.
    Chris S in Canada

    Ahh – touch the key.

  20. I love this! I have a two year old and felt the same way when I was making him play food for Christmas. My obsession was along the lines of “should I make donuts with and without sprinkles so that he has options?” (Obviously, yes) and “what condiments would he like with his sandwiches?” Kudos to you for making knitting fun for the toddler set, rock on.

  21. OK, now that is the most adorable thing I’ve seen – Elliot with his bunny. My grandmother crocheted a very large bunny for me 45 years ago and I still have it. It’s feet don’t match exactly (she ran out of white yarn) and the eyes are long gone. I named her Betters.

  22. I know ‘blocking’ ‘fixes’ everything, but honestly…you really did block the clothes? I’ve knit this bunny and one of the dresses, for once just live dangerously and don’t block it. Cute bunny and wonderful clothes. And yes I feel your addiction…I’m getting the itch to knit another bunny.

  23. I’m thinking that if the bunny doesn’t mind a rather large hood, the bear ears should be easy to accomplish. Do you know for sure that the bunny wants to be a bear? Perhaps the bunny would prefer to be a dinosaur. Or a shark. Or Elliot. Why limit the bunny?

  24. Oh, gosh, this is adorable. And thanks for the links for bunny patterns. I’ve yet to knit a stuffed animal for my youngest child (age 1), and this bunny is ridiculously cute motivation.

  25. I totally understand the obsession. I knit many things for my daughters when they were little, as well as clothing, including dresses and matching diapers with tiny buttons. I also knit a garden for my daughter when she was living in a city without much greenery that she could display on the wall. I remember thinking “oh, I must knit a fuschia next and then a daffodil and green leaves and of course some roses”. I also knit her a sweater. Anyway the boy and his bunny made my day.

  26. Very funny! XD
    I love that you even thought of this, I hope bunny gets some more clothes along the way so we can follow their genderless growth… and what bunny ends up becoming, if anything!?
    Very cute aswell I wish I’d thought of making my daughter a bunny for Easter (Over a LOAD of chocolate from everyone even slightly related to her)

  27. As someone who once knit a bear with a sheep costume, I totally understand the obsession. Good news: The bunny will not grow as it gets older, so there will be plenty of opportunities to make it new clothes!

  28. I can relate totally. A few years ago i started knitting and sewing doll clothes for granddaughters. Now i started giving them away to neighbors,friends, etc.

  29. I feel like those ears would fold down, flat against it’s head, fairly well, and a hood/cape with bear ears attached would definitely fit over them. I also feel like this bunny maybe needs a new outfit/pair of outfits every easter. Just saying.

  30. When I used to design and make soft animals and dolls for sale, I once made an rather large, rangy wolf and outfitted him in a one piece, front zipped sheep suit with sllts for his ears and tail. The wolf was tall and the suit was deliberately a wee bit short so his long legs and big feet stuck out. The woman who bought it siad it reminded her of her husband.

  31. Thank you! This story made me laugh this morning. And I once became obsessed with knitting small gnomes so I understand what happened to you.

  32. That is hilarious and gorgeous and adorable and simply perfect. And now you have me pondering costumes too… I made a bear once with a hoodie and my friend mentioned I could put holes in the hood for the ears. It was genius.

    • But then wouldn’t its ears get cold?
      Kinda defeats the purpose of a hoodie.
      Never mind that’s it’s inanimate.

  33. Fabulous. Brought tears to my eyes. And brought back memories of me & my little brother dressing up all our animals & dolls and setting them up for a tea together, over 50 years ago! Your photographs are stunning as well.

  34. How about a bear in a bunny suit? (I am sure that you know there’s a pattern for that).
    what a cute boy and well dressed bunny!

  35. My daughter has a stuffed rabbit named Bunster. I was the voice of Bunster and she’d confide in him. One day she decided Bunster was getting married so I went to the fabric stash and showed her the choices. Knowing patternmaking I drafted a bodice and added a gathered skirt and voila Bunster had a lovely green printed voile wedding gown and veil. Now in our minds Bunster was a boy so we just said he was a little bit confused to explain the dress. He has a lovely wardrobe of dresses now. A printed cotton day dress with a lily pad hat and a party dress of pale green crepe with heat set flowers on the bodice and around the hem with an ear band/covers covered in the same flowers (fabric and flowers were from leftovers from a customer in the garment trade) I had more darn fun and Bunster and his girlfriend Wanita (yes I know it’s misspelled) still live with her (she’s now 25)

  36. oh, you have hit upon my knitterly weakness…. soft toys!!! I understand you completely. And your joy must only be magnified ten fold by Elliott’s embracing of your gift. 🙂

  37. Yes! I’m captivated by the look of lace, but it never grabs me when I try. What I enjoy making are little stuffed things. They’ve always been the most fun. My Toothless dragon was a great hit! Your bunny is great–their wardrobe is to die for–and Elliott seems to love them very much. 🙂

  38. adorable – Elliot and the bunny! I contemplated knitting a bunny as well, and did not. Kudos to you. And yes, you are decidedly a top notch knitter, proven time and again.

  39. I was wondering what you had knit for Easter. It did not disappoint! I love your gender neutral bunny and lots of options for the bunny to be whatever Elliot feels at the moment!! I totally think you could pull off a bear suit too!

  40. Years ago, my grandmother knit me a bunny. I still have it and it is one of my most treasured possessions.

  41. ” and I’m trying not to knit a bunny a bear costume.*
    *Only difficulties with the ears are holding me back.”

    What if it were a bear hood, with bear ears, but that had holes behind the bear ears for the bunny ears to poke through?
    After all, when you and I wear a bear costume, it’s entirely clear we are human still and not a real bear, right? LOL!

  42. I must knit this bunny. And some clothes. And if you make a bear costume, share the pics, please. I am about to become a grandma.

  43. You know you could make a lot of money for your bike rally by making more bunnies ( for those of us not high end knitters) and raffling them off. Just sayin.

  44. I am 67 years old. I have only one child, a daughter, age 30. She is single. I have no grandchildren, nor any on the horizon. And I want to knit a bunny!! Send help!

    • I don’t think you need help, but you might need yarn? Go for it – the bunny can have a home with you.
      Chris S in Canada

  45. If you can have such a thoughtful, sensitive process to knitting a gender neutral bunny, and then knit such a bunny, then knit the bunny the most charming wardrobe, and not realize you are both stunningly beautiful and smokin’ hot, as well as the VERY BEST OF KNITTERS AND PEOPLE, then I don’t know what to tell you, lady. Other than your mirror is broken and photographs lie and you should look at yourself through the eyes of people who love you, not captured or reflected images of your outside, because really, that’s the least important part.

    (Love is not blind. Love truly sees what matters.)

    Also Heidi Klum is entirely fucking terrifying, and she is by societal standards smokin’ hot and beautiful. I admire her for many things, but she scares me silly.

    Anyway, I love you (spoiler alert! oh, too late) and you are GORGEOUS. That’s just a fact. I don’t make the news, I just report it. <3

    • P.S. Also your outside is beautiful and smokin’ hot. I didn’t mean to imply it wasn’t. Dude, you cycle! Those calf muscles! Swoon! 🙂

  46. Isn’t that funny – the women I knit with that love knitting little creatures, seem to go ape over the accessories! Dresses, pants, jackets, hats, shoes etc. etc. It can become somewhat of an obsession!

  47. Your bunny is cute! I love Julie’s patterns and I have bought almost all of them. I just haven’t knitted one. Yet.
    #notenoughtimeinaday

  48. I knit that bunny (boy by request) for a good friend. Julie’s patterns are amazing, so detailed, with photos of everything, and easy to follow. I nearly didn’t give the bunny away!

  49. Lovely – both bunny and grandchild! Are you related to my mother? She spent most of my childhood knitting teensy clothes for at least three different dolls (all different sizes). She must have gotten a thrill out of it because it had to be tedious work. She found the tiniest buttons on the planet. She added mohair collars to sweaters on a whim. She’d match them to the other items she had, bless her, sewn. Barely anyone got a pair of mittens or hat or sweater for a solid decade while she outfitted dolls.

  50. I wonder, did anyone else immediately think Velveteen Rabbit? That is one sweet little boy with one already dearly beloved pet bunny. So perfect.

    And by the way, my favorite stuffed animal from childhood, that I still have, a Steiff tiger that my dad brought home from a tour of the factory in Germany, was always a he to me. At some point around seven or eight someone must have said something about that and I tried to imagine it as a she and even told people it was, but it never felt right and he soon went back to being a he.

    My daddy had been gone on business for a long (to me) trip and this was forever after my fill-in for him, I guess. It had an expression on its face that was very grownup: the stripes on its forehead were angled to be like eyebrows that knew pain and so had learned to love all the more deeply. It had wisdom.

    And I love it still for all that I learned from it.

  51. I donate to the rally every year because you guys are awesome. I am touched by the stories about your mother and family. I love reading about your holidays together. I get inspired by your work. But this shit, this is why I keep coming back. This shit never, ever gets old! I’m dead. MOR BUNNY CLOTHES PLZ.

  52. I have made this gorgeous pattern a number of times and am oh so impressed at how well it is written and how well the bunnies come out. It really is a jot to knit.

  53. It’s a good thing Eliot doesn’t know how much you agonize over knitting a simple bunny. He loves you, no matter how strange you are . . . . hehehehe

  54. Love the neutral bunny. LOVE IT!
    Pursuing the gender neutral / girls AND boys can do all activities, etc. . . . when our kids were young (pre-reading age) my DH read them books from his childhood about a pig family called the Mellops. Dad and the 4 boys went on adventures while Mom stayed home and baked for them (insert eye roll here). When I read the books sometimes Mom – who had kept her birth surname of McDonald! – went on the adventures while Dad stayed home and the boy named Isador became a girl named Isadora.
    I loved it when the DH would later read one of the stories and the kids would correct him – “Momma McDonald went on that adventure with ISADORA, Dad!” hahahaha
    DH had the good grace to accept the changes, too.

  55. I love it!

    Solution to ears – Knit in ear-sized buttonholes. Voila! A bear costume. Knit fangs for Halloween? Santa suit For Christmas? Lumberjack plaid shirt? Tinkerbelle wings?……wandering off now to muttering ever more bizarre bunny costume ideas.

  56. I knit this same pattern with clothing twice and am contemplating a third time. And I truly think it’s the clothing that gets me every time. I have knit 21 dresses. haha. The things that catch our minds fascinates me.

  57. Mostly kids don’t care they are just happy to have a bunny, naked or otherwise, made by a much loved nana. XXOO

  58. I love knitting animals for my grandson too. Have you tried the patterns by Annita Wilschut. She is zijmaakthet on ravelry, and has lots of really interesting animal patterns, generally made in one piece.

  59. That’s the same bunny! My first thought on seeing this post. Each grandson got one with a sweater and overalls, packed for traveling in a vintage Crabree and Evelyn bunny lunch box. They also each have a Kay Jones designed bear and a fox, complete with clothing. I never ever ever thought I’d enjoy knitting fiddly toys…but I’m now working on dogs, complete with super hero costumes! And the clothing was blocked….!

  60. Your bunny is perfect! And the obsession with wee clothes is understandable. Glad to see Eliot likes it too!

  61. I made socks for my stuffed giraffe (and a customized pussyhat for his ossicones), so I feel you on this.

  62. I doubt I would ever find this weird but especially not from you, the maker of several Christmases worth of tiny knitted advent calendars. ( In other words, there is a precedence!)

  63. I think that his Grandma needs a bunny to try on the various outfits that are envisioned.

    One bunny won’t hurt (and staying mum on the number of outfits).

    There are people who have whole rooms, whole houses, whole buildings, devoted to bears, dolls, doll houses, toy tractors, toys, etc.

  64. I have been out of town and madly trying to catch up on my life in general, no time to read all the comments, to see if this has been mentioned already: how about a bear in a bunny costume?
    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/teddy-in-a-bunny-onesie

    Your bunny is adorable and I love that it has both boy and girl clothes. I am amazed at how different it looks depending on which outfit! Obviously, just my bias according to assigned clothing, but still amazing anyway.

  65. As a mom of a trans daughter, I applaud you for making your bunny gender neutral. Now I need to get started on a bunny for my own wee grandson.

  66. I too am in love with Julie Williams’s Little Cotton Rabbits bunnies and have made several of them. My mother asked me when I was about 12 if I was ever going to “stop playing with dolls”. Nope. I’m 73 now and I find it the most fun to knit all sorts of bunnies, bears, and assorted other animals — especially if I can include them with other baby gifts. Once they have eyes they are almost . . . alive. 🙂

  67. I love the bunny’s tail and ears and nose and mouth and eys! Looks like the owner like the bunny too!

    Happy Spring!

  68. When I was two I received a bunny in my Easter basket. A very special bunny that I have to this day. The kind of bunny that even went to college with me and didn’t get displaced from my bed until my husband came along. That bunny was named Peter and he was a boy, if anyone bothered to ask. But Peter wore a pair of pink pajamas or an assortment of dresses. Sometimes he likes to sport ribbons tied around his ears. I never thought this odd, my parents commented on this, it never struck my brother as odd (his bunny, Fluffy, was always naked)…and not until you mentioned this bunny’s clothing assortment did I ever even think about Peter’s personally choices. He just was. Well, still is. He lives in my son’s bedroom now.

  69. you’ve inspired me to make some bunnies for all the new babies in my office. One question – how did you get the feet so delicate? I knit the ‘shoes’ pattern that comes with the pattern just all in one color yarn, which looks fine but not as neat as yours. Did you alter the pattern and if so would you mind sharing?

  70. The bunny is adorable, and I am now fired with enthusiasm to make one for my great-niece. Who is currently negative-three-months old. (OK, OK, I’ll knit a blanket first. She won’t really appreciate a bunny for a year or two.)

  71. I’m terrifically late to this party, but I think This Bunny probably needs one of Those Hats so they know who their people are…

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