Mr Wolf…

There is no doubt that my decision to make wolves as the most recent addition to my ‘Woodland Animals’ collection and as this Winter’s special is directly related to my slightly obsessional reading of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire‘ by George R.R. Martin.  The book reading was prompted by a mixture of my need for a fun new series to read, my love of sci fi and fantasy and a slight addiction to American TV programs, resulting in the rather late discovery of the ‘Game of Thrones’.  I bought all the books available on my kindle and happily worked my through them, it isn’t the best writing I’ve ever read but it is throughly entertaining and totally addictive.  I got to the end and then looked up when the next installment might be due, apparently it took Mr Martin 5 YEARS!!! to write the last book.  I was just a tiny bit gutted.  Still, whilst I wait to find out what will happen to the many characters I’ve come to love, I thought I might like to make some wolves.

As a general rule, I try to stick to ‘British’ animals when I design, it just feels more correct with my shop and although I don’t often see a wolf wondering through my garden, they did once live here so I think this is OK.  I noticed that my winter board has rather a few wolves on, above is a postcard by Hidden Eloise and to the left, my main inspiration, some fabulous wrapping and card in the form of ‘HUNTING WOLVES WRAP PACK’, by Zoran Pungercar which I bought from Wrap a year ago.  If you’ve never checked out Wrap, you must, they produce magazines based on a theme, containing fabulous illustrations by talented artists.  I’ve just ordered the new ‘Nordic’ version and can’t wait for it to arrive (I own all the back issues, but refuse to use them for wrapping as suggested).

I’m sorry, I keep rambling, but there is so much to write.  As with all my designs, I try to keep continuity by using a pattern that is already in production, in this case the body of the Foxes and Badgers, so it was just a case of re-designing the head.

I always work my patterns on brown paper, in fact I even do this for dress patterns, it’s just how I was taught and I don’t get on very well with that flimsy tissue stuff.  I tried out some different ears.  At this point I’d normally work up a fabric toille in calico and draw all over it, but I was feeling rather confident so I went straight to the final wool (which I braved washing in the machine to soften it, luckily a decision that paid off).

I find dark tweed and wool very difficult to mark on so I often use paper templates to sew around, or inside, as was the case here with the eyes.  They just had to be yellow, with black pupils.

I was rather pleased with myself at this point, the eyes worked, the tilt of the head was looking good and I felt really happy with the grey/black mix.  I had to stop myself adding another layer of ‘fur’ in another white grey around the neck, I so nearly did but I knew it was an unecessary step that would take a lot of time and was rather over complicating things.

Oh dear.  Makes me thing of Monty Python and lots of ‘big nose’ jokes.That’s better.  Should have done a calico toille after all!  Still, it was easily fixed.  It shows how differently things sew up to paper, once they are stuffed.

The clothing was led by my stash of Liberty Tana Lawn, namely the lovely berry ‘Wiltshire’ pattern.  This is one of my favourite designs and works perfectly with a nice red suit.  The red linen is the left over from a batch I dyed for Red Riding Hood mice some time back (one of which is back in the shop this year), it’s a mix of Dylon’s ‘Tulip Red’ and ‘Rosewood Red’ which make a nice deep scarlet, actually a little darker than it appears in these photos.As with the Badgers, I wanted to add a little brooch, which just had to be a berry one so I dragged out my beads one Saturday afternoon and rather quickly the final version appeared.  I do love just playing sometimes, the idea of bead berries has been rolling around my head for a couple of years now and it was fun to put it into action in such an organic way (ie just playing and not over planning them).  I do quite often work this way, although I do use sketch books, I also ‘make’ things in my head, I am the kind of person who lays awake at night ‘making’ a mini animal dress from scratch in my head, over and over to get the best process worked out.  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who does this….I hope!And here he is, the first Mr Wolf in a Dandy Red Suit.  As always red is very difficult to photograph, it is definitely a little darker in real life, but doesn’t he look smart.

I so enjoyed spending some of this morning (in a rare pocket of brighter weather) photographing them.  The best bit was dressing each one, although I started the bodies back in October I had left the noses to last, they always seem to give a different character to each wolf, something I really enjoy, then putting the final outfit on really was a rather nice moment.

A little pile of wolves, to be found here.  I hope you like them 🙂

Red…

I’ve spent today cutting wood and putting up shelves, then cooking Sunday lunch (or more accurately de-frosting some beef stew to use in a suet crust pie).  My back aches.  I feel very happy with my achievements, the shelves (in our utility room, using some Ikea brackets and left over oak floorboards) have had a coat of Danish Oil and tomorrow I plan to fill them with nice things like vases, that have spent too long in boxes in our shed.  All in all it’s been a good day.

Yesterday I managed a little sewing in amongst a hectic but fun day, some little berry brooches that are also a sneak peek of my next woodland animal.  Hopefully I’ll finish up the rest of the project and get photos taken soon.

It made me realise how much red there is on my desk at the moment, I do like a bit of dark red, especially at this time of year.

I bought another lovely remembrance poppy from Wychbury earlier this month.  As always, I put my money in the collection tins, but I now have two of these for the boys to wear as they always lose their paper poppies the same day we pin them on.  We were very lucky so see some of the remembrance parade in York on Sunday 11th, it was pure coincidence, but I was glad the boys got to see and therefore understand better, what remembrance day is all about.

I was super lucky to win a giveaway on Saffa’s lovely paper cutting blog, a rather fabulous red bookmark which is now marking the page in one of the many books I’m reading at the moment.  Thanks Saffa 🙂

Also on my desk are some Christmas postcards ready to tuck away, although not for all that long, the boys are counting down the days!

They are made by the Rifle Paper Co (I think) but bought from my new favourite on-line stationery shop Papermash.  I also snook in some blank Folk cards as a girl can never have too many pretty blank cards.

Ok, I need to go and get organised for another busy school week, laundry to fold and homework to check then hopefully a sit down with a nice glass of wine 🙂

Give Away – Tweed Linen Purse

Lots of challenging life things going on around here, meaning my blogging and sewing time may be a bit infrequent from now onwards – I’ll do my best to keep up – but long overdue is the next give away.

 

When I made the tweed purses a while back, I mentioned that they were quite difficult to line up.  As you can see, one purse in particular is very ‘out’ so I thought I’d set it aside for a give away (the yellow stitching is machine basting that has now been removed).  I was about to write that it’s perfect in every other way, but I also notice the inside pocket is on the wrong side…..apart from that, it is a lovely purse!

So with one LHS pocket and dodgy lining up, but with lovely fabrics, the usual hand holding strap and removable rose corsage here it is.  Please just leave a comment before Saturday 1st December – what!!! December is that close, oh dear, where did the time go – oh, and you can live anywhere, it’s open to all.

BTW, I have managed a few jobs, including some non-sewing (new shelves in my studio) and finally re-upholstering my Gran’s pouffe so I’ll try to get the accompanying posts written soon.