Characters: Bernd, Wolfgang, 2 OCs; Mary and Martha, mention of Amber
Word count: 1068
Summary: Bernd makes a gift for Amber...
Genre: slice of life
Author’s notes: Thanks go out to my beta, Kat, for pinking this for me. Please note Amber belongs to her.
Knowing Amber’s love of all things strange and wonderful, Bernd decided he would make her a Krampus doll for Christmas. The fact that he could not sew was beside the point, he had the internet and it was full of tutorials. So armed with a week’s allowance, he got his father to take him into town to the craft store, which was actually the local yarn shop.
He boldly walked inside, while his father went to the hardware shop down the block, and looked around, trying to find what he thought he needed. There were tons of yarns in different weights and textures, latch hook rug kits, embroidery supplies, an aisle devoted to paints and canvases, magic markers, and colored pencils and sketchbooks. He was beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed and sighed in relief when a grandmotherly type came over to him and asked if he needed help.
“Of course, Sonny. What are you looking for?”
“I want to make a Krampus doll for my girlfriend,” Bernd said.
“A what?” The woman stared at him quizzically, although her smile never faded.
“A Krampus doll. He’s St, Nicklaus’ friend. He takes care of the naughty kids, by chaining them up and eating them. And he beats them with his switch.” Bernd smiled. He had grown up with threats of the Krampus carrying him off. He even got the kid, who was bullying him in the fourth grade, to stop by telling him about the Krampus and how amazed he was the kid had not been eaten yet. So the Krampus was no big deal to him, plus he figured all adults knew about him; they knew about Santa.
“Oh… Do you have a pattern? And is it knit or crochet?”
“Ummm… No. I thought I could get one here.”
“Well, we have a few Santa Claus patterns. Do you knit or crochet?”
“No, and I wanted a Krampus pattern.”
“Oh…” The woman frowned. “I’m sorry, but we don’t have any.” She quickly smiled. “Wouldn’t your girlfriend like a Santa instead?”
“No, Ma’am. She likes creepy things like spiders, and octopuses, and the Krampus.” Bernd decided to try a different tact. “He’s like the devil, but he’s all black.”
“Is he now?” She raised an eyebrow at Bernd, who nodded. “Well, we only have our Christmas patterns out, but I might be able to find something.”
“Is there a problem, Martha?” A woman walked over to them.
“He’s looking for a Grumpus pattern.”
“A Krampus, Ma’am,” Bernd politely corrected her. He hoped this other woman, who looked a bit younger than the other one, could help.
“A Krampus!” The younger store employee beamed at Bernd. “My grandmother used to mention him whenever we kids got a bit rambunctious.” She laughed.
Bernd nodded. “My Vati too! Anyway, I told my girlfriend about him and I was hoping I could make her one.”
“I’ve never seen a pattern for one, but maybe we can improvise something. Do you knit or crochet?”
“Let’s do something crocheted then. It’ll be a bit easier. Do you have time to sit and learn?”
“Is it going to take long? My Vati’s at the hardware store and he’s going to meet me here.”
“It shouldn’t. Come; let’s get what you need to get started.” She led Bernd over to the yarn and picked out a ball of soft, black yarn. She also picked out a crochet hook and some felt squares as well as a small bag of fiberfill stuffing. After ringing him up, she told him to go join the knitting circle and she would be right there.
Bernd took off his coat and hung it on the back of an empty chair. He also took out the ball of yarn and the crochet hook. The other women in the circle greeted him nicely enough, even if they went back to their own conversations. Bernd watched them knit and crochet. It looked harder than he thought.
“By the way, I’m Mary,” the woman, who had helped him, said as she took a seat next to him.
“Bernd, it’s short for Bernhard.”
“I see. Okay, Bernd, here’s what I found.” She handed him a print out of a basic amigurumi doll pattern. While Bernd looked it over, Mary explained how to read it. She took her own ball of yarn and crochet hook and began to show him how to do it.
Bernd watched and followed along as best he could. It was hard at first, but he slowly got the hang of it. When he had the head nearly finished, Mary told him to stuff it, before continuing.
Wolfgang joined him ten minutes later. “Was machst du?”
Bernd looked up at him. “I wanted to make Amber a Krampus doll and Miss Mary is teaching me how to do it.” He finished pushing the stuffing in and held up his project. “See? That’s the head, Vati!”
“I won’t be too long, will I, Miss Mary?” Bernd glanced over at her, before continuing with his project.
“About a half hour, okay? Then I can show him how to finish it.”
“That’s fine,” Wolfgang said. He was content to sit and watch as this was one of the rare times Bernd was actually sitting still and concentrating on something.
“I can make one for you too, Vati. They’re pretty easy.”
“I’d like that. Dankeschön.”
“Bitte.” Bernd hurried up and finished his project. “What do I do now, Miss Mary?”
“You go like this.” She chained one and took the hook out of loop, and pulled it, so it was kind of big. Mary reached for her scissors and cut the loop. She pulled the bit of yarn through, making a long tail. “You use that to sew it up, after stuffing.” She helped Bernd do it. “With the felt, you can cut out horns, a tongue, eyes, and his arms. You can crochet him a little basket like this.” Mary showed him how to do it with the yarn she had.
“Thanks.” Bernd got up to leave. He handed the Krampus to his father and put on his coat. They left the store and headed home, where Bernd finished the amigurumi doll. He carefully wrapped and hid it away to give to Amber. That year, everyone got a Krampus from Bernd as a present and surprisingly, they were a hit.