Friday, February 26, 2010

DIY – Happy Mawlid!

In celebration of Mawlid, the Prophet’s Birthday, Faithful Reader (and Master Crocheter!) Hind of Alexandria Egypt has sent us a charming little tale.

It all starts with a suave, blue Jinni, sitting among the branches of a tree, enjoying the warm afternoon sun.

Read on to discover which vintage pattern inspired this Jinni!

Believe it or not, our blue Jinni began with this hideous, Halloween Curtain Pull!
Hind writes, “As I always like to use patterns from the blog – or parts of them – I used the pattern of the little demon curtain pull. I added legs wearing wide trousers instead of the tail, and a more handsome face...”
Extraordinarily handsome! I’m in awe of Hind’s embroidery skills.
“...with his ears in their right place. As he has no hands in the pattern, I made him look as if he is putting them in his pockets. His complexion is blue, because there is a common Egyptian expression, which is said when some task is very difficult: "Not even the blue Jinn can do this!" That gave me the idea of making him blue, but I had not the heart to make him ridiculous or ugly. Jinn have their pride; in fact they are very proud and are easily offended. That is how the folk tales, like 1001 Nights, represent them.”

But what’s this? It seems our Jinni has just spotted a bewildered gingerbread tourist holding the map of Egypt.

Oh my goodness, just look at this Gingy’s sweet smile! And his wee pink camera! And his tiny little thumbs! He’s so adorable I’m going to run out of exclamation points soon!

If you squint, you can see a vague family resemblance to the original Gingerbread Man:

Hind’s Gingerbread Man is clearly the handsome one in his family.
“The gingerbread tourist is asking if anybody can tell him where to find one of his far relatives. She’s called the sugar doll, and while he’s never met her in person, he has seen her once on an Egyptian post stamp. (He is sure that they are relatives because they both have sugar among their ingredients).”

“The jinni tells him that he is lucky, because he came at the right time to find a sugar doll, as today is "Mawlid al Nabii".”
Sugar dolls are a traditional treat at Mawlid, along with sugar horses for little boys. Here’s a picture of an Egyptian Mawlid celebration. Looks like lots of fun!

“The Jinni offers to take Gingerbread Man to meet her, and brings him a horse to ride. On their way they get a basket full of flowers for her.”

Clearly, Gingerbread Man is a perfect gentleman, who wouldn’t dream of going to meet his hostess, the sugar doll, with empty hands. Hind crocheted this little basket full of flowers using the towel basket pattern as inspiration.

And if you think all three of these DIYs are amazing, just wait until you see the next one!

“The Sugar Doll welcomes her guest and offers him hummus and sweets, made of coconuts, peanuts, chick peas and sesame seeds, all mixed with sugar caramel.”
But, of course, Gingy couldn’t eat them right away, because he was so stunned by her beauty he fell off his horse and had to be revived with coffee. And who can blame him?

Hind used part of a breastplate pattern for the two small fans, and last year’s Kwanzaa motif for the bigger fan behind her head. Apparently real sugar dolls always have a bright coloured piece of crepe-paper tied to their backs to hide the fan's handle. So Hind made something like this with red yarn, using the net stitch from “Fifty ways to net a lover”.

“Before leaving, Gingerbread Man gets a sack full of hummus, and a silver "Khamsa we Khmeesa" to protect him from any envious person who may look at him with an evil eye. (The jinni is wearing a golden Khamsa brooch.)”
I think the Sugar Doll looks a little sad to see Gingerbread Man leaving so soon. He’ll have to visit Egypt again, some time soon!

“And finally, here’s the jinni sitting in the midst of hummus, with a cup of coffee on his lap.”
I think Hind deserves a cup of coffee and a plate of sweets, as well! She’s created a gorgeous set of characters, out of a very sketchy collection of patterns.

Kudos as well to Mona, Wa’ad and Heba for the beautiful photography and set design, and a happy Mawlid to all!


  1. I love those! Been a fan of this site for a while but this is definitely a highlight. I knit and crochet toys to sell at charity events but I could never come up with something as creative as this.

  2. Jinni also has an extremely dapper looking moustache. Impressive!

  3. Hind, the facial features on your characters are superb and the costumes are so creative. I enjoyed the story too.

  4. Thank you so much.After sending these photos,I kept waiting for this DIY with the anxiety of a school-child waiting for his exam results.All your comments really mean a lot to me. Hind

  5. And thank you, Hind, for sharing your talents with all of us! It's always a joy to see your work.