I know there were supposed to be more Christmas things coming, but I got distracted by foxes and badgers, I’m afraid (sorry to anyone who was waiting).I sold out of all ‘Woodland Animals’ after the Badgers were in Country Living so it seemed right to make more. It was originally an experiment in how long it takes to make them (let’s just put it this way, I am earning waaaaayyyyy below minimum wage) but I just kept going with new colour versions, as they were selling as quickly I could list them.First, there were some pink ‘Betsy’ boys. I’m not sure why I’ve never made pink fox suits before, it seems like a winner and they flew straight out of the shop.Then, after Saffa asked on Instagram if I might be making some girls I thought I would, so I made some pink caped lady foxes only I went with ‘Mirabelle’ as the print instead of Betsy. I LOVE Mirabelle, it’s one of my favourite Liberty lawns, there’s something about the strawberries and flowers on the white background that really works for me.I haven’t made girls for ages and it was quite good fun. They have red ric-rac sandwiched between the hem and I used some crochet flowers I already had rather than making new ones with my Hana flower maker. One flew straight off to the Netherlands!Next, came a batch of bright blue boys. All the linen is offcuts from apron making and it felt really good to finally use it up. I have a habit of keeping all of my trimmings (in this case, quite big bits of trimmings, so well worth keeping!) but I can go a bit overboard with my reluctance to throw things away. The tweed wool for the bodies was also the final length and I (forced myself to) throw the scrap bag of leftovers from this once I’d finished my last fox. They really were little bits that were too small for even fox ears so it felt quite good to finally say goodbye to the bag which has sat in my scrap drawer for years now.
There was a little badger interlude here as I’d had quite a few emails asking if I’d make more so I did one last batch of those.One of the reasons I made new foxes over badgers or wolves is so I didn’t have to make the brooches. It isn’t that I don’t like them, in fact, I think they finish the animals’ suits off in style, it’s simply that they take a really long time to make (they take the same time as a full-sized flower brooch) and I don’t really charge much extra, so it really is a labour of love.There was one exception. A lovely lady has bought a lot of the Woodland Animals asked if I could make a red fox in mustard. I pretty much never make to order as my life can get a little stressed and I hate the idea of letting anyone down so I decided years ago to always say no, but as I was making badgers in mustard anyway I figured I would make an exception (and I was happy to do so, I should add!)Mr Mustard Fox got a special Liberty Betsy cravat in a colourway I imported from Japan. I only have a short length of it but it was perfect with the yellow linen. I then made a matching green auricula brooch. I have to say, I was really pleased with him….it’s a bit of a shame the weather was so crappy and dark so I couldn’t get a decent photo but he’s gone off to his new home.
Most of the foxes and badgers are gone now, I think there is a pink girl left and a blue boy, but that is all. I need a break from them now and I don’t plan to make more, certainly not in the near future but then I said that in my last post so never say never!
In a feeble attempt to kick my social media mojo back into action I have finally started a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thelinencat. I have no idea if I’ll be able to keep it up, I think I just want to see what works best and I’ve not tried FB yet so you never know, it might be a winner! Time will tell 🙂
There are some things I’ve made that sell out within a few hours of blogging about them. I love that something I have made is that popular but I often feel guilty they are gone so quickly and it’s common to get emails afterwards asking me if I’ll make an extra one for a commission or if I’ll be making more soon. The answer to both is usually no. I am a people pleaser so I hate saying no, but I also know myself well and once I’m done with something I generally need a break or I would not enjoy the process of making them. I also just don’t really do commissions as I find it amazingly time-consuming making just one of something and my time can be quite erratic (single parent, not exactly straightforward kids) so it’s better to just be honest and make a polite refusal than promise things I might not be able to deliver or where I’ll get stressed out trying.Way back in 2011 I made some Mr Badgers and they sold out almost directly after listing them. I got asked a few times afterwards if I’d make more and the answer was always no until someone emailed me in 2013 and in a moment of weakness (they wrote a very polite and compelling email, if I remember correctly, about family names and the need for a Mr Badger as an ideal gift), I said yes, OK, why not?To try to make it worthwhile (time wise) I cut the fabric for six badgers and their clothing at the same time and delivered one completed Badger with the other cut pieces being stacked away for later. I love the woodland animals (the wolves are still my favourite, I think) but that are incredibly time-consuming and it just doesn’t scale so these will be the last I ever make along with a couple of new green-suited foxes that I still need to photograph and list.They are really a summer item with their mustard and red clothing and little ‘Red Arrow’ auricula brooches. The original badgers have roses, so this is one minor change along with little leather buttons instead of chunky yellow ones.
They make me think of Molly Brett and Racey Helps illustrations, as animals in clothes always do.I’m sad to only just be photographing them now, they have been nearly finished for a while (with just the brooches to complete) and I would have preferred to post about them in spring or summer.Still, they are here now and I’ve listed them in my shop and on Folksy.The waistcoats got a pattern re-draft some time ago and aren’t as ‘snug’ as the originals, which in hindsight might be a mistake as looking back at the old ones and seeing their fat little bellies struggling to be contained by the button is actually quite endearing.I’ve started to look at taking some photos in situ and plan to use my vintage furniture and belongings as props. I haven’t got it right yet, but I’ve made a start and I think it shows the size quite well, I know people imagine them to be smaller than they actually are.Another ‘tick’ for the list. Phew. Annoyingly as I was looking up some Molly Brett images I came across an animal that I just might not be able to resist making so that top part about these being the last might be a lie. I am a glutton for punishment.
Update: Thanks for all your lovely comments, all the Mr Badgers have now sold and I am thrilled at such a positive response. Thank you 🙂
Yesterday I finally finished the badgers.
The finishing touches such as making up the rose brooches, stitching noses and sewing on buttons have taken me a lot longer than I’d imagined,
in fact I still have one badger body to complete, I ran out of stuffing and he needs a bit more in his belly,
on which note, I should say that the only disappointment in the lovely badgers is that their waistcoats are a bit too snug. This is partly because the tweed I’ve used for the bodies is very stretchy and soft and has expanded more than expected when stuffed and the corduroy doesn’t stretch in the same way the linen does, I’ve also opted for very chunky buttons that don’t help the situation. I did um and ah about whether to re-make them but I don’t have enough time or fabric and I’m pretty sure it’s just me being a perfectionist.
The cravats are in Liberty ‘Claire-Aude’, a nice red and gold floral print which compliments the yellow corduroy suit very nicely.
I’m really, really pleased with these. I only had enough of the tweed to make 5, and I decided to add a little rose brooch to each, they have been listed here and I do hope you like them 🙂
My desk today is covered in half finished projects I’m trying to complete.
I feel the need to tidy things up and get organised and this means trying to reduce the mass of plastic boxes stacked around my studio, waiting for attention. Some have been here for many weeks, in a few cases months.
It’s all very gold and red (normally it’s green and purple and pink on my table) and I’m enjoying the new colours. I noticed when we returned after the short holiday that the leaves had all changed on our school run, and in what seems like only a few days those beautiful coloured leaves have dropped leaving bare branches. Shame, I do like autumn colours and feel a little like we missed it this year, perhaps there is still time for a park or country house visit this weekend to take in the remaining show.
I made another acorn and leaves up for wrapping a present last weekend for a friend. I am half-way through a batch for the shop but it’s taking a long time to chain stitch the acorn cups and I have to spread out felting the acorns as it makes my hands very dry using all that soap and hot water. It’s fun though and I’ve promised the boys we can do some felt making this Christmas, maybe some decorations or cards for teachers?
That’s it today, short post and sorry, I’m behind in replying to comments but it feels quite hectic here even though the boys are back in school. Time to dig though draws and find all the winter woollens, my favourite time of year 🙂