Yesterday was my first my first attempt at using safety eyes. The monkeys are always button or embroidered eyes, but there was something about the sweater bear that called for safety eyes and nose. Since I had to look online for sources of eyes/noses and how to use them, I thought I'd share what I found.
My original plan was to buy them in town, but eyes weren't easy to find - at least not around here. I did find some at Michael's craft store, but they had a very limited selection (that's why I used 18mm eyes on him). I'm a bit picky about the eyes I will use. I only like it when they are black or dark brown. I've seen others use coloured eyes well in their work, but I'm not able to envision my project with these eyes because they sort of creep me out (the eyes, not other crafter's work). My future eye purchases will most likely be online, seeing as I can find more sizes in the colours I want.
Noses were even harder to find. I definitely had to go online for those. Since I had no idea what the sizes would be or what size I needed, I went with a sampler pack I found in an etsy shop. Another place I've found online, which has a bigger selection, is Suncatcher Eyes (you've probably seen their ad if you read the Needle). Suncatcher Eyes is also on etsy, if you prefer to shop there.
Since I was not really sure how they work, I hit the google and my bookmarks in search of info on the safety eyes. I found good explanations on eHow, as well as on the Suncatcher Eyes site. It's pretty self-explanatory, but I wanted to make sure I had it right.
Mochimochi Blog also offers a good tutorial on all kids of eyes for your plush work, not just safety eyes. A good tip on using safety eyes from Mochimochi: there's a chance that kids can pull them out of knitted toys, which sort of defeats the point of the safety feature.
One thing I did learn is that you have to cut a small hole in fabric like felt, something you can probably avoid in most knitted or crochet toys. I need to work on getting them even. Once the hole is cut, you're kind of stuck. (although, some of my "consultants" tell me that the crooked eyes work).
Posted byHello Pineapples! on Thursday, October 30, 2008
I finally got around to working on a plush toy I've been planning.
Inspired by the monsters sewn by Blythe (a local artist I admire), I felted an old Gap cardigan (that I bought second hand, years ago) with the intention of turning into a toy. The sweater sat around for ages as I collected my thoughts and safety eyes and noses. I started thinking that it would make an interesting bear. Why a bear? I have no idea. Teddy bears have never really been my thing. Despite that, I took the plunge this morning and here my results:
1. pattern made from tracing Ikea PS Brum bear on newspaper:
2. He was a bit too bit too big, so I had to cut down the pattern:
3. Attempted sewing lots of rounded edges, which is still a bit of a challenge for me, and ended up with this guy:
Compared to the pattern's "muse":
And his head shot:
His eyes are crooked and a bit bigger than I'd like (I only have 18mm eyes on hand) and I haven't decided if I should embroider on a mouth or not. What I haven't taken a picture of is that you can see the thread at his seams. Overall, he's either cute or he's a weird craft mishap. I think I need to get back to the drawing board before I can introduce this dude to the world of craft fairs.
Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I've been housesitting this past week and trying out various cat toys on The Cat that lives there. The Cat doesn't have many toys, so I've been bringing some by to see if she likes them. She seems fond of the "postmodern mouse", which is really two squares of fabric sewn together, stuffed with stuffing and catnip and has a piece of ribbon for a tail. Mr.P says this sounds more cubist than pomo. I suppose he is right, but The Cat really doesn't care what it's called, so long as she can eat the ribbon. She seems to approve of toys she can eat (like the little furry mouse toy that took about an hour to destroy).
While watching Supernatural last night, I made a very cute felt mouse toy for her (no picture as I've loaned out my camera), which she promptly ignored. Apparently, the more time spent on making a cat toy, the less time the cat will spend with it. It is some sort of Universal Law of Cats. Elaborate? Expensive? Fabulous? Ignore! Cheap? found on the street? perhaps the packaging belonging to a fancy toy? Excellent! One of the first plush creatures I had ever made is hideous looking, but is the favourite of our "foster cat" Hastings (I use the word foster loosely, as he's been here three years):
(that picture was taken after collecting the fluff from around the living room. He has since been sewn back together and is still a favourite. Hastings carries him around the house or kicks it with his back legs while biting it. It's far cuter than it sounds).
Off the topic of cats, the housesitting has meant that my access to internet connections have been extremely limited. My friends have their wireless locked down so tight that they no longer remember the password. Their neighbours are all too smart to leave their wireless connections open. And the coffee shop nearby has free wireless (or a neighbour with free wireless) but not so many power outlets, meaning that my mac runs out of "apple juice" and dies. Oh woe is me. And just to frustrate me a little bit more: my home connection is being sketchy! Bah!
Of course, I should remind myself that it is probably going as fast as my dial up connections of days gone by...but I won't. I've gotten used to fast, wireless internets and I like it.
Okay, must go hunt down a purple wig and a Clinique bonus time gift.
Posted byHello Pineapples! on Saturday, October 25, 2008
Yessss! I've got a table a the Halifax Crafters Holiday Handmade Market.
Now I've got some serious crafting to do. Good thing I've outsourced some sewing to my mom. Well, she decided to give it a try instead of playing those "stupid games" on the computer and has taken a liking to it. Now I get boxes of monkey bodies in need of mouths and eyes in the mail.
Posted byHello Pineapples! on Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I've been meaning to get a decent tutorial put together on how to make a sock monkey. Sometimes, I think I'd like it if how to make a sock monkey was some kind of state secret and the only way to get one is to buy one of mine. Then I could be a Professional Monkey Maker. But truthfully, I'm happy that the how-to of monkey making is out there for the whole world. If it wasn't, then I wouldn't have had a guide to make my first monkey.
So in the spirit of sharing the monkey love, I'm going to link you to a fantastic tutorial on Urban Threads. That's pretty much how I do it. Of course, I'm still very new to the sewing machine technology. All of that sewing can be done by hand (I recommend using a doll making needle - they're crazy long, but make it easier to sew these creatures by hand).
You can use the pattern that is provided by the folks who make the original Red Heel socks:
That pattern was all I had when I did my first monkey. Somehow, he ended up without a tail. oops.
I've even given my monkeys some embroidery tattoos like the ones in the tutorial. Actually, I recommend the embroidery as a way of covering up either writing on the sock (like a brand name) or unsightly holes.For example:
hole in toe? (what you see here is the tip of the tail)
accidentally make a hole in the front of the monkey? (seam ripper accident)
now he's all heart!
Next time, more ways to embroider your monkey...like tattoos or monograms.
Posted byHello Pineapples! on Friday, October 10, 2008