Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Jesus and His Family from Crochet World Special Issue No. 6, 1984

Donna Jean Nyhus, the author of this pattern, writes:

“Little five year-old Paul was examining the Nativity set I had displayed for our family Christmas. With intense interest he studied the walnut shell that served as a crib for the Christ Child.”
OMG, Baby Jesus is sleeping in a walnut shell! That’s so unspeakably adorable!

But using matches for the legs of a flammable manger? I don’t think Smokey the Bear would approve.
“He never touched the figures of Mary and Joseph, but his expression moved each one a little closer to the Baby lying in the crib.”
Wow, young Paul’s got superpowers – he can move objects with his eyes!
“Unable to contain his concern another minute, he said, ‘Grandma, why don’t they pick Him up?’”
‘Because they’re terrified you’re going to wish them into the cornfield, grandson.’

I shouldn’t tease Paul on Christmas Day. Obviously, he’s a good boy who doesn’t touch Grandma’s crèche without permission. I was a bad girl who stole Jesus out of our Nativity set so he could go for camel rides with the Three Kings. Consequently, our Jesus has a few dents and dings now.
“That prompted my new Nativity set with flexible arms and a removeable Baby. Now both Mary and Joseph can hold the Child close, reminding Him that even though there was no room in the Inn, there’s room in their hearts!”
Awwwww! Hugs for everyone!

Even Smokey the Bear.

For the complete pattern (and more Christmas Love):


By Donna Jean Nyhus

3-ply sport yarn: green, peach, black, blue
Crewel needle
A crewel needle, AKA an embroidery needle, has a longer eye. This allows you to use it with thicker threads and lightweight yarns.

Alas, not even the largest crewel needle eye will accommodate a camel.
Firm cardboard
2 sm shank buttons
Shank buttons have a little metal loop on their backs, instead of holes to sew them on. I’m assuming that the sweet little heart right in the middle of Baby Jesus’ baby blue romper is a shank button.
2 pipe cleaners
Plastic foam balls 2 – 1’’
Walnut shell
5 farmers matches
Farmers matches are just plain ol’ strike anywhere wooden matches. I don’t know if farmers still use them, but they’re popular with campers as they can survive a bit of water and still strike reliably. Joseph might actually have preferred a set of these instead of the myrrh.

After all, myrrh was traditionally used to anoint the bodies of dead kings, and was therefore a symbolic rather than a useful gift. Not to mention, the original downer Christmas gift.

“Uh, yeah, sorry your kid’s gonna sacrifice himself for the good of all humanity. Um, congratulations? Here, have some myrrh!”
Craft glue
Metallic gold chenille stem
Crochet hook size 0, 1 and 4
But let’s not dwell on that today. I’d rather go all mushy over the way Baby Jesus’ hair sticks straight up from his head. He’s so darn cute!

I’m SO making this crèche next Christmas!

With size 4 hook and peach yarn, ch 2.
RND 1: 4 sc in 2nd ch from hook, do not join rnds.
RND 2: 2 sc in each st around. (8 st)
RND 3: * 2 sc in next st, sc in next st, rep from * around. (12 st)
RND 4: Sc in each st around.
RND 5: * Dec over next 2 st, rep from * until 6 st remain.
RND 6: Sl st in next st, and catch opposite side, at same time bringing Head tog in center. Fasten off.
I mean, who doesn’t love babies? Okay, maybe not King Herod. Wow, this holiday really has a dark side, doesn’t it?

But hey, look! Babies!


RND 8: With main color, attach yarn in sl st, ch 6, sl st in 1st ch.
No, I didn’t miss anything. This pattern jumps straight from RND 6 to RND 8.

But don’t let that dissuade you from attempting Donna Jean’s pattern. Remember, all you need is faith!
RND 9: Ch 1, 12 sc in ring. Join with sl st. (Buttonhole formed)
RND 10: * Ch 5, 2 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 2 sc in each of next 3 st, sl st in next 3 st on Body, rep from * around. Fasten off leaving enough yarn to secure Head to Body.
Wait, you mean the Body’s not already attached to the Head? There really is a missing seventh round?

In order to finish this pattern successfully, faith alone may not be enough. You may also need a miracle.

With dark yarn: Fasten 4 strands to top of Head and cut short.

Good thing, ‘tis the season for miracles.

Fashion halo from gold metallic chenille stem by making a 1’’ circle leaving tail long enough to insert into Head.
I thoroughly approve of a dark haired Jesus. And the tinsel halo is hilarious, even if inserting it into his head is a bit disturbing and possibly blasphemous. Although, now I know why Baby Jesus’ hair is standing on end.



With 0 hook and tan yarn, ch 2.

RND 1: 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook, do not join rnds.
RNDS 2 & 3: 2 sc in each st around.
RNDS 4 – 6: Sc in each st around.
RND 7: * Dec over next 2 st, rep from * until 16 st remain.
RND 8: Insert foam ball and sc next 2 st tog until 9 st remain.
RND 9: Sc in each of the 9 st, sl st in next st. Fasten off. Attach body color.


RND 9: Ch 1, sc in same st, 2 sc in each st around. (18 st)
Oh my. This time we end with Round 9, and then start right up again with another Round 9. At least the instructions seem to make sense, if you ignore the numbering system.
RND 10 – 12: Sc in each st around.
RND 13: * Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, rep from * around.
RND 14: Sc in each st around.
RND 15: Sk 6 st, sc in next 6 st, sk 6 st, sc in next 6 st.
RND 16: 2 sc in each sc around.


RNDS 17 – 31: Sc in each st around, sl st in last st. (Mark beginning of rnds.)
Isn’t it a bit late to tell us to start marking the beginning of our rounds NOW? Surely that’s an instruction that would have been a lot more handy before Round 9, when even Donna Jean lost count.

Oh well, mind-bending assembly instructions are a Christmas tradition, right?
RND 32: In BACK LPS: * Dec over next 2 st, sc in next st, rep from * around. Do not fasten off.


RNDS 17 – 33: Rep Rnd 17 of Mary.
RND 34: Rep Rnd 32 of Mary.


Arms are made in one piece; the end represent the Hands.
With tan, ch 25.
Hey, I just noticed that Tan yarn isn’t included in the list of required colours at the beginning. Still, I’m not complaining. It’s a much better skin tone for our Middle Eastern family than Peach would have been.

And thank goodness none of them are Pink!
RND 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, ch 1, turn.
ROWS 2 & 3: Sc in each st across, ch 1, turn. Fasten off after Rnd 3, leaving long end for sewing.
Lay a pipe cleaner on work and draw piece together around cleaner.
Bend pipe cleaner in half. Push one end of Arm through Sleeve opening, push folded center up into Neck. Pull Arm back through other Sleeve opening. Stuff Body firmly, working around the pipe cleaner in the Bodice. Insert a 1 1/2’’ circle of cardboard in Bottom.

BOTTOM OF BODY: RND 33: (Mary) * Dec over next 2 st, sc in next 3 st, rep from * until 1/4’’ hole remains. Fasten off; but do not close.

RND 35: (JOSEPH) Repeat Rnd 33 for Mary.
Hey, how come Joseph gets ALL CAPS, while Mary is relegated to lowercase letters? I know she’s meek and mild, but c’mon, she just gave birth today! She deserves more respect!

That’s better!
In FRONT LPS of RND 31: Join yarn, ch 3, dc in same st, 2 dc in each st around, sl st to beginning ch-3. Fasten off.


Rep Stand as for Mary’s in Rnd 33.
Of course, it’s completely understandable that Joseph might need the ego boost of ALL CAPS.


Stitch Arms to Sleeves. With double strand of contrasting yarn: thread through sts at Waistline. For Mary: tie Belt in bow, leaving long tails. For Joseph: tie loosely in a knot.

Embroider Face and attach Hair.
Wait, don’t attach the hair yet! There’s more hair instructions to come.
Sew button to front of Bodice: one on Mary, one on Joseph. Attach Baby Jesus to button and position Arms.
Ah ha! Baby Jesus is buttoned to Mary’s chest. While I admire the ingenuity of the design, I do wonder what little five-year-old Paul’s opinion was.

“Grandma? Why’d you put a big hole in Baby Jesus?”

Cut cardboard piece 3’’ wide for Mary’s longer Hair; 2’’ wide for Joseph’s Hair. Wrap yarn around cardboard 20 times. With threaded needle, sew strands loosely together before removing cardboard. Cut along one side; position on head, so that sewed line become center part. Sew onto Head securely.

Pull Mary’s Hair back, and tie with same color yarn as Belt.

Sew Joseph’s Hair around Head at base of skull.
I’m completely in love with Joseph’s long hippie hair and cool Seventies ‘Tash.

It’s just the thing to wear to church on Christmas Day!

Make Crib by crossing 2 matches at center, with burned tips at top.
I presume this means you should light all the matches and blow them out before you use them as a crib support. Probably a good plan. It’d be a real shame if Baby Jesus’s crib accidentally burned down the house on Christmas Day.
Rep for other 2 matches. Glue at crossing. Glue 5th match between forks of crosses at bottom. Allow to dry thoroughly. Glue walnut shell to V, formed by Stand. Fill with shredded yarn for hay.
Shredded hay and matches! I was right, Smokey the Bear would close down this crèche as a fire hazard.

Have yourself a Very Safe and Very Merry Christmas, with song, good food, family and friends!

Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. ***Merry Christmas Victoria Dunn***

    Thanks for all the hilarious patterns & snark to date. Keep them coming!

  2. I love Joseph's moe! Merry Christmas to you and your family.