Meet my new favorite stage manager mascot: The SMeep!
What is a SMeep, you ask? Well, it’s a stage manager version of a Meep. I first found out about Meeps from the Random Acts of Crochet Kindness USA Facebook Group. It’s a group of people who leave random crochet items like Emotional Support Chickens (yep, that’s a thing)….and these cute little round critters called Meeps. According to the original website, All You Meep is Love:
“Meeps are crocheted emotional support orbs. Meeps may be small, but they are mighty, and they like to hold things, especially heavy things. Meeps are designed to be there for you and to help you hold your heavy stuff when life is getting a little too life-y.”
And really, what stage manager couldn’t use one of those? Especially one tailored to our job? So…
Now mind you, until this project, I had only crocheted one project in my life, and it was a single scarf more than two decades ago. So the ball did seem like it might be easier for me than figuring out a chicken on the first go. And I’m so glad I made this choice.
I recently spent a weekend at my mother’s for a family reunion, and before I left she got out some yarn to help me learn what to do. By the time I left, she had made the blue orb you see on the left with me observing. She armed me with a little baggie of black and white buttons to sew on later as eyes, and a half-used skein of black yarn. I already had a set of crochet hooks at home that I’d picked up at the thrift store. Soon after returning home, I first sewed on the eyes, and then free-handed the headset.
Fast forward a couple weeks, and while out of town for this gig I ordered what is theoretically one of the best yarns for beginner crocheters (and it certainly IS easier than either the blue or black had been), Lion Brand 24/7, plus some Poly-fil stuffing. [Disclaimer, I have signed up as an Amazon Associate and can earn a small commission should you buy on Amazon – even if you end up purchasing something else – after clicking this link or some others in the post.]
On my day off, while listening in to an AEA committee meeting Zoom, I started making my crochet ball using the pattern from All You Meep is Love, and a size H crochet hook. And then I pulled it out and re-started it. And then I pulled it out and did a third try – which was the charm!
Before the day was over, I had done approximately half of the pattern and boy did it seem tiny. In fact, it kinda looked like I had made a yarmulke for the original SMeep.
It also didn’t nearly look like a half-ball even though I was supposedly at #1 of the 2 or 3 middle rows.
The next day I talked to Mom and she said (correctly) it looked like I was only going through the back half of each stitch to make the next row. I figured I’d at least be consistent and continue. [See an update below for what happened when I actually crocheted the full stitch.] I decided to go ahead and try rows 2 and 3 (rounds 7-9 of the original pattern) and see if it started shaping into a ball. And it did! Before too long, I was able to stuff it and close it off.
While half the height of my other SMeep, this was kinda cute. And all mine!
I certainly couldn’t put those same size button eyes on this one, so I free-formed some yarn ones among the other stitches. Then I free-formed the headset. I started with the same circle pattern as the Meep itself, until it seemed about ear-sized. I knotted that off by itself.
Sidebar – if you have forgotten to bring your scissors to housing because they are back at the rehearsal hall, Mom taught me a great hack: nail clippers can cut yarn!
I then single crocheted a thin black line (leaving a long tail to start with), making it the length that seemed appropriate from mouth, over to one “ear,” and then across the top of the head to the other “ear.” Ending with another long tail, I attached it first at the “Mouth”, making the stitching there a bit wider to create the microphone portion. (For the larger SMeep, it was another round like the earpiece. Then I wove the tail back through the crocheted chain as well as into the orb. When I got to the “ear” I added that disc in, and was pleasantly surprised this one had a three-dimensional quality more like a headset. Then I continued weaving it across the top until the tail was short. I then attached the rest of it using the far tail, making some cross stitches on the far side to look like that support that holds the headset opposite your working ear.
As soon as it was completed, I sent the video below to my favorite WhatsApp group of fellow stage managers who’d been cheering me along…
And here’s what it looked like today in the rehearsal hall, next to my SM Rubber Duck and my favorite pencil holder.*
I foresee many more SMeeps in the future for me and my friends. And regular Meeps for non-SMs. Besides, I may as well use up all of this yarn and filling before this gig ends!
Most of all, have fun and don’t let life get too life-y!
EDIT: If you too are a crafty stage manager, you may want to join the Facebook group S.M. ART – Stage Management Craft Room! to share your creations and be inspired by others.
UPDATE 8/17: I worked tonight on another SMeep with the same yarn, but this time going through the full stitch instead of just the back half. The results were NOT what I expected!
Instead of getting a bigger SMeep, this third one is actually flatter than the first two. Going back to the All You Meep is Love website, those are indeed more like this flatter style. I also think my first green one was easier to close up at the end, but we’ll see after I get used to this more. So the moral is…go with however your own SMeep ends up! Just like Stage Managers, no two SMeeps need to look alike either!
Meanwhile, Mom looked but no longer has a label on the blue yarn she used. It was a 4 ply, and seems slightly heavier than regular worsted. She’s unsure whether acrylic or not, and wonders if it might have been Bernat brand. She also vaguely remembers not being able to find the H size hook so likely used an I instead, which could also make it bigger.