A lot of what I make is practical. It’s also beautiful, because I don’t believe in spending my time and energy on something I can’t stand to look at, but quilts keep you warm on the nights when your children steal all of the duvet, crochet blankets are there to snuggly up under and be comforted, socks are to keep toes cosy, and jumpers, hats, shawls and mittens all do there thing.
But every now and then it’s nice to be a little bit frivolous, and make something for no other reason than it’s fun. It’s why I’m a huge fan of magazine cover kits; you get to have a little play with a whatever it is (macrame, crochet, leatherwork and the rest) in between the big projects.
I don’t make every kit on every magazine I buy, and I’m saving a good boxful for when the kids get to an age where they can do most of it themselves, but this little mousie was straight to the top of the list.
According to the instructions (in CrossStitcher) this was about 4 hours sewing. They give a time estimate for most of their projects in terms of hours stitching and I’d always wondered how accurate it was, and how much buffer they put in for people going slowly or making mistakes, much as the designer of a knitting pattern will put a little buffer into the calculations of how much yarn you need for each size.
I started stitching at Easter. I stitched and I stitched.
And I stitched and I stitched.
And four hours came and went.
And I stitched and I stitched. For probably 8 hours in total. Clearly there is no buffer in cross stitch time estimates for a stitcher who has to hop up every couple of minutes to kiss a knee better or have lengthy conversations about why we do not encourage our little brother into the latest of his crazy escapades.
In terms of construction, Daisy is embroidered flat on two sides, then they’re cut out and machine sewed together around the top curve. The felt at the bottom was handstitched on with blanket stitch and she was stuffed with a little toy filling. For a pincushion it would make her a bit too bouncy and wobbly, but then she was never going to be a pin cushion. I left off the whiskers because they would never survive the kids, but she got a plaited tail as well as her little pink ears.
Which is how I learned just how much of a miracle it is that our ears line up in the right places, and so do all the ones on the various teddies around our house. Ears are hard. First one would go up, and then the other would wobble down, and then they’d be giving her the most extraordinary expression, and in the end I had to have both firmly skewered in place with some pins before I could get them to behave. Even so, they’re still a little off – sorry Daisy.
But wonky or not, the kids love her. Kitty asked every day for a week whether she was finished, and when we headed out on our walk this morning, Pip carried her around as he sat up on my back, and made sure she sniffed the lilac tree just as we always do.
In time she will become a bit battered, and maybe some of the stitching on her nose will need doing over, but as long as she is loved I think we can all cope with a little mud.