Saturday, 25 August 2012

The downside of good intentions

Way back in January I wrote a lovely long post about the cushions I was going to design and finish to go along with the giraffe, monster and fox ones I'd already completed. My target was to complete seven this year. Surely seven cushions in a year is no big target? Surely? Well, I've managed to complete...absolutely none...and its almost the end of August. I have done a little design work and cutting, but none of this has resulted in an actual, completed cushion. I really do want to do more cushions - I did enjoy making the three I completed, and I still feel excited about the why haven't I done more? Again, I'm afraid it mostly comes down to hand versus machine. I can handstitch on the train, and pretty much anywhere, so embroidery has been progressing a lot. Machine sewing I can only really do in the evenings, and I'm just too tired or tied up in housework! It's a lousy excuse but there it is. Oh and while the Olympics were on I did absolutely nothing but watch them all the time! I have been using my machine on my Thursday evening local Stitch class to catch up on some 'works in progress', so hopefully once that reconvenes after the summer break I can start forwarding some cushions. Let me show you a new design I have for them at least. I was sketching some dogs and this little sketch of a springer spaniel is just crying out to become a 'be excited' cushion.
I have made progress in some areas I have blogged about though. I complained in this post in April that I felt a little guilty that I hadn't really made a lot of things for my daughter. Well, a few weeks ago I had a sneaky day off and I spent pretty much the whole day busting out something for her, and it felt good. It all started with a new book that I got for Christmas, the lovely 'Make your own toys' by Sue Havens. 
I've looked at it a few times, but as I was flicking through it lazily one day I suddenly had a favourite project. It's called 'Lazy kitty', and is an adorable patchwork floppy cat! Here's a pic from the book of how the finished item should look. Note that my daughter and I looked at this page so much that it's already been ripped and adorned with a sticker!
It looked fairly simple, and after consultation with my daughter we established that she would very much like a lazy kitty, but she wanted a happy one, not a grumpy one (grumpy is how she interprets the cat at the back in this photo, whereas I think he is just a little sad :).

The pattern is not like the other few soft toys I have made. I'm used to sewing legs and tails and things onto a body by inserting the leg into a body seam and then sewing up that seam, capturing the leg. For most of the patterns in this book, each limb or part is made separately and then hand sewn on. This really appealed to me as I do spend most of my crafting time with hands and needle and thread, and it was a new technique to learn. Although I loved the patchwork look of the example cats in the book, I wanted a simpler look so I chose a single fabric for the body, head, legs and tail, and an accent fabric for the belly and inside the ears, and here's how he turned out!
So perky!
Such an eager face, ready for play
I'd bought the main fabric, Lotta Jansdotter's 'Aneta Ironwood', a while ago just because I loved it, and for this project I thought it looked a little like scruffy fur. I even took the time to make sure the 'fur' ran the right way for each piece! I used a pink/red patchwork lookalike fabric for the accents, and added real soft toy eyes on a circle of felt. I made sure to stitch a happy face! And how was the cat accepted?... She LOVES it! He has been named Mogtog paws, and he is snuggled into bed every night. How long he'll be the favourite toy I don't know, but it does give me a warm glow to see her carrying a toy I MADE under her arm along the road. I can see how this could become quite addictive! I WOULD like to make her a  seatpad for her little desk  chair...but I'm making no promises this time :)