start date: 16 November 2013
elapsed time: 11 months, 6 days
On those rare and mystical occasions on which a long-term plan comes to fruition, I struggle with remaining humble.
This project is a pair of soft playsets that I bought supplies for and started scheming about in 2010, in that brief period when Númenor was an only child.
I have waited for the smalls to be ready for multi-piece play. I considered pulling this out every holiday season, but in 2010 I was too tired, in 2011 they were obviously too small, and in 2012 they were not interested in anything but sandboxes and running. In 2013 I thought maybe, maybe they were ready, but I started the project too late in the season and got overwhelmed by all the fussy cutting and the simple scale of the work.
But now, oh ho ho, now!
I finished cutting and piecing and stuffing all the figures last year, and I have been madly assembling walls and roofs for the last couple of weeks. I still have to finish some roofs and sew on the snaps that will allow the individual walls to be built into fortresses, castles, palaces, towers, etc.
And there are two months left before Christmas.
The green set of fabrics is from the Castle Peeps collection and the purple is from the follow-up 1001 Peeps collection, both long-discontinued (that’s why I bought them in 2010!) prints by Lizzie House for Andover Fabrics. The backing for most of the pieces is that wonderful “smoke” gray wool-blend felt from JoAnn.
start date: 6 October 2014
elapsed time: 2 days
This is the hardest time of year for handwork. There’s so much to do– Christmas presents for family, decorations for all the upcoming holidays, birthday stuff for smalls– but it’s difficult to find anything that I can work on or post about in public, because so much of what I’m making these days is meant to be a surprise. This year I can post about stuff for the smalls because they are not yet browsing the internet on their own, but that won’t be true for many more Octobers.
These are dress-up dinosaur/dragon tails for the smalls…or they will be, someday! Robert is at a conference all this week, so my time without smalls has been truly minimal. I’m making them tails and wings in (relative– see the small feet in that photo?) secrecy in the hopes that they can be Christmas presents. I find that there’s no harm, especially with kids this age, in them seeing the boring parts of making presents– they don’t attach meaning to the sewing of straps or the cutting of big geometric shapes, so that’s fine to do in their presence, but I’m not going to be able to get away with having the big triangle shapes sewn into a tapered tube and edged with spikes, because that will look like a dragon tail to them. It’s a fine line, and it moves every year (and sometimes every week!), but in order to do handmade holidays, there are some risks you have to take.
Of course, the smalls have both been insisting that they want to be “baby dragons” for Hallowe’en, so possibly these will be making their debut at the end of the month and all this secrecy will be for naught.
This pattern comes from Running With Scissors. The fabrics are organic cotton sweatshirt fleece and some ancient Eco-Fi felt from my stash.
start date: 18 September 2014
elapsed time: 1 week
Still waiting on that fabric order to come in, so I’m still doing quick, fun things that aren’t necessarily high on my list of priorities.
This week: a mama rabbit for the baby bunnies I made last year. Quick, easy knitting, with some yardage chicken– I actually ran out of my first yarn at the tip of the second ear, so that tip and the second leg are a tiny bit blacker than the rest of the rabbit, but still a pretty good match.
I shortened the torso of the rabbit a tiny bit and changed the increases on the ears considerably so they would look more organic– the pattern as written can make the ears look a little jagged, which was not what I wanted.
I’m just stitching on the legs, and then mama and babies will be “together all the time, like a really family.” That’s what Númenor says.
The main yarn in these rabbits is Berroco Abode in Inkwell, which I found VERY thick-and-thin but remarkably strong for a single-ply. I chose it because of the way the dye technique makes the finished fabric look a little heathered– I think it makes the rabbits look as soft as they feel. I finished mama off with some Berroco Blackstone Tweed in Pitch– one of my favorite worsted-weight yarns, with its rustic look but incredibly soft hand making it a perfect companion to Abode. She also has a tiny bit of Quince and Co. Osprey in Frost finishing off her tail. The pattern is, of course, Henry’s Rabbit by Sara Elizabeth Kellner, with only minor tweaks because it is really very lovely and simple.