Friday, February 16, 2018

Hand sewing as relaxation technique

Let's pretend for a few minutes that the project I'm showing you today was always only meant as a relaxation aid and never, ever intended to be a cute raccoon, shall we? 

UGH.  Okay, it is true that three years ago I started making a pair of cute felted-wool animals, before I got overwhelmed with packing us to get moved out of the house so we could renovate it.  Funnily enough, the kids for whom they were intended are now teenagers with no use for such things, but I still wanted to finish the job.  I am compulsive like that.

Apparently I was also compulsive about not wanting to move all the stuff that's piled up in front of my sewing machine.  You'd never know I designed the leisure parts of our house specifically to make room for a dedicated sewing table!  Sadly, that plan relied entirely on my finding a desk surface that would exactly fill the space I had, with sewing gear storage underneath.  The desk I ended up with is a little short, and it seemed less stressful to hand sew the parts than to move everything around to get at the machine and then back again to make space for the machine on my desk. 

This was foolish because it took two days to make Frederick by hand, and also smart, because I was super stressed when I started him and hand sewing is SO PEACEFUL.

It's like spinning at a treadle wheel, without the risk of ankle strain.  Even if you are a crummy hand sewer (Mary's arm shoots into the air) it is still a great way to relax.

Notice I refer only to the sewing, not the success of the project.  Because when you sit down to make a stuffed animal and start with a pair of scissors and some felted wool scraps and no pattern except a vague idea in your head, then wait three years to execute it at which point you've forgotten most of what plan there was, 'success' (in the form of an attractive, recognizable animal) is far from guaranteed.

For a start, you might consider the lack of coherent fabric selection.

I had forgotten even to cut out a tail for the raccoon, and all I had left in the felted wool department was the purple and blue sweater sleeve parts I'd used to keep my arms warm under my poncho after I broke my fingers last winter. This does not look remotely like raccoon parts to me.

Also: as the stitching went on, I realized that long, long body with a pot belly I hoped would make for an extra squishy hug was WAY too big for the head I'd cut out and pieced together and carefully embroidered a face onto. 

Another fun fact is that it takes a lot of stuffing to fill an animal.  This, I had.  But I kept jamming in more and more (a crochet hook is an excellent tool for this purpose, especially if you overdid it and need to pull some of the stuffing back through a narrow channel to spread it out a bit) and it still wasn't enough.

And the trouble with that is: stability.  Or lack thereof. 

I got poor Fred all the way done when I realized his head didn't stand up.  At all.  I tried a few positions and had high hopes for 'one hand on cheek, other hand on opposite elbow', but the only solution was 'two hands on cheeks in a perpetual state of surprise and amazement.'

Well, at least he's soft - and surprisingly cuddly!  Still relaxing, even after all the sewing is done.

I'm hoping not to need to recover from another busy two weeks like I did when I was making Fred, but I still need to sew the wombat, so I guess I'll be well equipped if it comes to that.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend with all your crafty projects done for pleasure only, and I'll see you again on Monday!

No comments: