Monday, November 23, 2009

Mix and Match Your Craft Books

Fifty years ago my grandmother knit my mom a chocolate brown wool sweater. My mom never wore it more than once because one sleeve was longer than the other, but she held on to it over the decades — a handmade gift from your mom is something special. When I started sewing from recycled and felted sweaters, I hit my mom up for donations from her closet. She gave me that sweater, and sensing the importance of the gift, I vowed to use it well.

My dear friends Kelly and Steve just had a baby boy, whom I'm excited to meet when I get out to California in December. As soon as he arrived, I knew two things: I wanted to make him a cuddly toy, and I wanted to make it out of that sweater my grammy knit. Though I learned all the felting and sewing techniques in my bag of tricks from Crispina ffrench's book The Sweater Chop Shop, I was attracted to a pattern in the book Denyse Schmidt's Quilts. Her design of a stuffed cat she named Steve calls for one button eye that's larger than the other, which circled back nicely to the sweater with uneven sleeve lengths. Denyse's book uses dress-weight fabric, but why not mix and match books and modify the steps so I could use wool felt instead? No reason at all!

Photo by Mars Vilaubi

Baby Jett is sporting a pompadour before he's even able to support his own head. Daddy must be proud.

Incidentally, my son named the cat Ham. In our family there is the oft-repeated story of my brother-in-law's cat Bandit, who purportedly can vocalize the word "haaam," by way of asking for a bit of meat as a treat.

Alethea Morrison, Creative Director

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