Friday, 19 March 2010

Monkey Business

An adaptation of the cat pattern makes a cheeky monkey:

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I tried two different faces, because the first one I made looked a bit too plain:

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but, after seeing the two together, I decided to go for it.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Jumped the gun!

I was asked if I could make the 'papoose-style' carrots a bit smaller, just five inches high. The person making the request was to let me know in a day or two if an order was coming for a dozen, to see how they went. Well, obviously you know what I did! I went ahead regardless and of course the order didn't materialise. Never mind, as you know - I'm still trying to make something cheap and cheerful for craft fairs that someone will want to buy.

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I think these are cheerful, but I'm not sure how cheap I want to make them! The thing is, although they are much smaller, and so take less materials, they still take just as long to make. (It's the embroidery, of course. But for the Christmas Craft Fair I made some plain carrots without any extra stitchery and put them out at a lower price. People kept picking up the embroidered ones - they looked at the plain ones and said they were not as nice, but still they didn't want to pay the embroiderer!)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Not all cats are grey in the dark....

these ones are:

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but these ones are not. Still perfecting my simple fat cat pattern. Trying it in different combinations of fabrics and faces.

here's a cotton cat:

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and here's a couple of country cats:

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I'm having fun with these!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Working up an idea...............

Someone said that these little pieced cotton dolls reminded her of native indian babies in their papooses:

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My daughter doesn't like my spirit dolls because she says they look like babies trapped inside the 'carrots'. Obviously, I liked the idea of papooses much better, and it fired my imagination. So I googled a bit. I found some pictures and discovered that most of these baby carriers were based on a board made of wood that rested flat against the mother's back. The covers were made of bark or hide, securely lashed to the backboard and laced around the baby. Mostly they had a hood to protect the baby from the weather and were often lined with fur or soft fabric. Often the covers were highly decorated.

Then I started to work on the idea, based on my original 'carrot dolls'. I would have to simplify a lot of the details or the dolls would become far too complicated.

Lots of lashing and lacing - so I moved the stitching to cover the front panel and used the back panel to interpret the backboard and lashing of the cover. Interlaced and spiky stitches:

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a variation of interlaced chain band, with a long anchoring stitch to fasten the lacing, and

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laced cretan stitch. These spiky stitches also serve to represent the coloured quills that were often used for decoration. No beads, because these little things are just way too attractive to small children. My favourite trellis stitch represents the hood.

Let's change some of the printed cotton to a synthetic suede fabric to represent hide and see how that comes out:

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I think the facial features are too strong here. Trellis stitch, with its rows of knots, could make a substitute for beads. Some carriers were lined with fur - how to represent that?

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a wool fringe around the top of the hood. These features are much better.

Here are the results of my interpretation:

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I've had some fun with this, and there is yet more mileage in the original idea.

So, just a glimpse into the deranged mind of a doll-making embroiderer!

Thanks Marguerite, for providing me with some entertainment over a wet and grey weekend!


Still looking for something cheap and cheerful for the craft stall, I've been playing with very simple cats. If I show one to grandson number three and he says "TATT" I'll know I've got it right!

Here's a fat cat and a flat cat:

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and here's a line-up of flat cats:

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I made some with painted faces:

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and some needlefelted with felt and knitting yarn:

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I think I'm leaning toward the painted faces - cleaner and sharper, but also, if I'm not careful, a little scarier!

I think they probably belong in the "prim" category......