September 27, 2013
Our family just got back from a trip to the west coast to visit my family. I made two quick stuffed bunnies to give to the children of a friend of Becky's we stopped in to see in Berkeley.
In 2010 Violet and I made a stuffed bunny, mostly based on something I saw on the internet (don't remember where I found it). I freehanded an outline for the front and back fabric, both made from a linen blend muslin type fabric we bought a bolt of years ago to make into curtains but didn't end up using. Then I embroidered a design onto the front. The tail is a chunk cut from a sheepskin I got at Ikea a while back for use in sewing projects. A small circle was cut in the rear fabric, the edges folded under and backstitched to the edges of the skin (thimble required!).
Then the two pieces of fabric were sewn right sides together, inverted through a length of open seam, and the resulting bag was stuffed with wool batting from West Earl Woolen Mill. Finally the opening was stitched closed by hand.
The first bunny has held up well being in the general stuffed animal rotation at our house. The joint between ears and head has gotten plenty of flex, so the ears are rather floppy now but this is not unpleasant for a bunny. Violet recently decided she liked it above the other animals and has been taking it to bed, which is gratifying. This design is a good payoff for not much work, so it seemed like a reasonable choice to make up some small presents for kids.
I once again freehanded the outlines, mostly based on Violet's bunny but slightly smaller to accommodate the odd pieces of fabric I wanted to put to use. One non-ideal characteristic of the first bunny is that the wool fibers work their way through the muslin, making it look slightly hairy all the time. So on these new bunnies I cut enough fabric to have a double layer in both the front and back. We'll see if that slows down the fiber extrusion problem.
Becky's friend has a boy and a girl. For the boy style bunny, I made the face more fierce but still cute. The girl style bunny is nearly identical to Violet's, other than that I enhanced the flower embroidery a little.
The embroidery is all done with three strands of DMC floss, not particularly elegantly. I joked to Becky's friend that it looks so coarse it could have been done by a blind woodcutter. The outlines are mostly in black, with a mix of backstitch and stem stitch. The flower stems are dark green, the leaves are satin stitched with some light green my mom had at her house. On the blue flower, Becky reminded me how to do french knots to form the stamen parts in the center with peach colored floss. For some reason I seem to have put the faces too far up, so the eyes are almost running up into the ears. They still look pretty cute though.
Before our trip I had cut all the pieces and packed up the necessary supplies. I did the embroidery and tails in free moments along the first half of our trip.
Someone joked that to make them more realistic I could make some french knots in brown thread just under the tail. Alas I had not packed any brown thread and my mom didn't have any in her stash!
At my mother's house in Oregon, she pulled out our old electric Kenmore which I sent to her last year and I got to briefly renew our acquaintance while joining the fabric layers. One night my mom and I stayed up late stuffing in wool batting I had brought along, and I closed up the openings by hand about one day before the bunnies needed to be delivered in Berkeley.
We made plans with our friends to meet in Muir Woods in Marin so our kids could check out some redwoods.
It was raining steadily, but the park was still packed. Buster especially enjoyed the rain!
The kids kept a sharp eye out for "fairy houses" formed in the base of the redwoods.
So despite the poor weather, everyone had a fun walk around the flat part of the park. Becky's friends lent us rain coats and umbrellas.
The pictures of the bunnies are taken at a tree near the entrance to Muir Woods.
In passing, Becky's friend mentioned she had a box of socks she had deemed excess to requirements and was going to throw out. You can believe I snapped those up! Boo-yaw! I should be set for another couple years on socks, and my number one problem with continuing into year 3 of my no-buying-clothes challenge has been neatly resolved.