o hai, i haz teh cuteness!

Happy New Year!

Meet my newest creation, la Criatura Chula.

"o hai! i ♥ you!"

This little critter started life as a cashmere sweater in a thrift store. I was in a mood to buy sweaters for felting, and couldn’t pass up cashmere for $2.00; into the basket.

I’ve been watching a lot of Studio Ghibli films lately (My Neighbor Totoro is my all time favorite, perhaps you can see some inspiration here?) and I have a lot of crafting time on my hands. I’m trying to branch out into other needle-arts besides knitting, for the mental variety and also to save my fingers.

"i can haz friend?"

Sometime back, I was perusing a book on embroidery (maybe it was Doodle Stitching?) and I remember seeing a little felt animal, with a pouch for a smaller “friend.” Since it is the time for gifting, and one of my favorite Short People, Thomas, has just celebrated his first birthday, I decided to try my hand at “softies.”

The bodies for both creatures were cut and sewn free-hand (the larger was machine stitched, the smaller by hand.) I used a bit of a felted sweater for the little one too, and stuffed them both with alpaca and wool “waste fiber” left over from when I was combing top for spinning.

I used bits of leftover floss for the embroidery, and some cute (but single) plastic buttons for one set of eyes. (And yes, they are sewn on very securely, and knotted to each other inside the softie’s head.) It’s my first real attempt at freeform embroidery as well, and I’m delighted with the results.

Of course, even wool-y toys need handknits to keep warm.

"i haz a cozy!"

The hat was actually worn by the just-turned-one-year recipient his first week in the outside world.The socks are new, of course.

As if I wasn’t already pleased enough with this little pair, Thomas’ reaction sealed the deal. He immediately snuggled, then licked, the creature; he paraded around in a circle holding it high overhead squealing and gurgling with joy; he introduced his other stuffed toys to the newbie, and seemed thrilled to discover that the socks and hat came off. His mother, my friend Carol, is an artist and crafter, and she was also impressed with Teh Cuteness (who has, spontaneously, been named Ween, to commemorate her son’s self-initiated accomplishment this week. Ha.)

So, perhaps more softies in the future… any of you have experience making stuffed toys?

All for now.