New wool bunnies…

One of the earliest designs for The Linen Cat was a wool bunny in a Liberty print dress; there were two girl colour versions plus boys wearing denim shorts with ric-rac and shirts, and although I loved them dearly (especially the shirring and the crochet flowers on the girls) I felt, last year, that it was time for a re-design. I often debate moving into more of a 3D design with my softies but it’s not how I had originally imagined them, I have always tried to keep to simple shapes and an almost flat childlike profile so I don’t want to move too far away from this, instead I have given the new bunnies ears similar to the rabbit egg cosy and generally moved the body design to one similar to the linen mice (which ironically started out as the same pattern as the original wool bunny but thinned and tweaked – are you still with me?!).  As a result the new bunny has thinner arms and legs which are ‘jointed’ and a more triangular-shaped head. Next I tried making a bunny in the cream cashmere & wool mix that I normally save for the cashmere bears.  I have a very limited amount of this fabric left but it’s so unbelievably soft that I couldn’t resist.  I would say now that I prefer the more pure white colour of the original wool flannel but it has a much firmer feel and is an entirely different texture, not quite as huggable as the cashmere. I then splashed out on some good old Liberty Tana Lawn in Betsy, but in a new colour way for me, turquoise.  I have always loved and used the pink but the turquoise version has such a retro feel and it looks so good with the cream wool. All this happened almost a year ago, the sharper amongst you will already know that I listed a boy bunny to this new pattern wearing a jolly red waistcoat last year, but the girls have been sitting in a box patiently waiting for their turn.  I had even made a final sample of the dress so it was really only a question of pulling my finger out and getting the actual ones made-up.

And so last week, as I found myself jumping from project to project (I can’t seem to settle on one thing at the moment) the pile of bunnies called to me and begged to be finished in time for Easter.  One of the points of stalling was my desire to have a larger number to list, I generally prefer to have a small pile before adding something new to the shop and I’d planned to make more of the cream bodies, having used half of the original for the boys; but I figured we could be here in a year’s time and they might still be waiting, so I got on with it.

They have cute dresses with an attached white underskirt and broderie anglaise trim and as always everything is in natural fabrics except for the safety stuffing.  I had a bit of a nightmare trying to buy 100% cotton broderie anglaise and now have a stash of polyester mix to find a use for, it’s not that I refuse to use anything other than natural fibers, it’s just the polyester mix doesn’t feel right and I do generally prefer cotton.

I might be a little bit in love with the turquoise version, it reminds me of toys from my childhood.

They have sweet bobble tails

and are listed in the shop.  I plan to put a couple of the pink on Folksy given time, but I’d like to re-photograph them first, when the light is better, it was a bit too dingy today.

I am attempting to have a general clear out and re-create a sale section for the shop.  I did my tax return in good time this year and it gave me an opportunity to look back on both 2010-11 and on 2011-12 (so far) and see exactly what has sold and what hasn’t, I need to use my storage space better as Linen Cat stock is taking over the house so it’s time some things went.  Probably one for another post all to itself, I need to go now and but my little monsters darlings to bed before they dive me crazy 😉

Boy Bunnies and Squirrels…

The eagle eyed amongst you spotted some new additions to my animal softies when you were looking at the updated Folksy store and I feel like a post on them has been long overdue.

Earlier this year…a lot earlier, this one has taken me a while…I decided to re-design my Wool Bunnies, although I love them I think they might be a bit too ‘odd’ looking for some customers and I decided going forward to only make girl versions as people tend to buy linen mice as gifts for boys and not the bunnies.  I had a couple of the original pattern bodies cut but not sewn up so I used them as a startling point to re-design the head, it’s simply the original but with ears added on separately, in this case using the legs as ears (I know, poor bunny I did feel bad cutting it up).  I then ‘jointed’ the arms and legs, this adds a lot of time and fabric onto the making of each one but I’ve decided in this case it’s worth it.

At the same time I started working on a squirrel in tweed, using the same base pattern, above is my first sample and a doh! moment to show that I often make mistakes, I did laugh a lot when I realised what I’d done.  I’ve been planning squirrels since last year, just one of many animals in my head trying to get out.

I then made some waistcoats for the new squirrels, this is again back in the summer holidays, I had envisioned red but the bright green worked better with the tweed fabric, so I made some of both with the plan to make up some plain twill squirrels as well as the tweed version at a later date.

In the end the bunny bodies were made out of the same cashmere wool mix that I use for my bears, I have limited amounts but the texture is so unbelievably soft that I couldn’t resist and I’ve decided to save all the remaining cream for these wool bunnies and worry about what to use when it runs out some other time. I then found myself with lots of flat bodies and finished clothing but not necessarily ones that match.  The same story runs pretty much across the board, I also have loads of fox bodies with no clothing and clothing with no matching body.

So I was now beginning to panic slightly at the sheer amount of work needed to get done, and with the life getting in the way I had to cut back the list, the result?  Wool Bunny boys wearing red waistcoats (you know, the squirrel ones, are you still with me?).  I’m so glad I found this solution as they are so amazingly cute and it works really well, the jackets are  a little big (I made the squirrel body slightly wider so I could fit the tail in when turning them through) but it’s not a problem I think it just adds to appeal.

I only have 5 and it’s unlikely I will make more, I do plan to add a girl version in coming weeks but I probably wont make any more boys.  You can find them here and a couple on Folksy.

Mr Squirrel has also been listed, again this is likely to be a winter only product, I have only made a few.

The waistcoats are lined with Liberty Tana Lawn in Mirabelle print and have real leather buttons, again, these come at a price but I so badly wanted leather and as a finishing touch each has a hand-woven flower.

Job done.

Foxes and badgers coming next 🙂


Work in Progress: Cream and Turquoise…

I had a rare, excellent night’s sleep last night and what a difference it makes!  Both boys slept through until 6.30 and there was no insomnia (which I’ve sadly started to get again recently), but today I feel full of energy and I am determined to close out some of my open projects so I can take Easter off to play with the boys and work in the garden.

On my (just cleaned) work bench I have

new lavender birds, half the batch here waiting for their eyes to be stitched on,

Sample bunnies with new heads,

those bloomin’ bunny purses that have been waiting in the wings for an age.  I really want to get these finished and listed this week.

As I’ve just tided my worktop, I wanted to show you some of my new ‘bits’, I do love having things around me when I work that I enjoy to look at and that make me smile, in this case a new Wolfie beaker and Snowflake coasters from Donna Wilson.

The beaker is holding a new batch of 2B pencils, I use these for marking up my patterns and on the side there, my new favourite gadget a  Jakar pencil sharpener.  Now, I know it looks lazy, but as most Mums reading this will know, if you have kids that enjoy drawing you spent a huge amount of time trying to a. find the pencil sharpener (even though I own about 10) and b. sharpening pencils.  I have been on the hunt for an old school vintage desktop one for ages but gave up and bought this new one instead.  I can’t link to the shop as you’d be shocked at the price but oh my, it was a dream to use and I spent a happy 30 mins sharpening every pencil in the house, I was in geek heaven 🙂

Lastly, as it’s very dull and wet outside, I’ve just switched on my little rabbit hospital light that was my bedside lamp as a child; I do love it, there were a number of years when I couldn’t get lightbulbs, but with the selection you can buy these days that’s no longer a problem,

I used to be fascinated by the interior scene when I was younger.  My sister has a mushroom house with mice, I think, equally cute and retro.

As it’s Tuesday I get the whole day to work, it’s the only one where C is at pre-school for the full day, it quite excites me (as well as saddens me, where has the time gone?) that all my week days will be like this from September onwards, I will miss having his cheery little face around but I can’t wait to work on TLC full-time.  On which note, I do hope everyone got the school places they were wishing for?  It’s such a hard thing to go through, we are lucky to get a sibling place this year but I feel for anyone who is unhappy with their given school, you really have my full sympathy.

Right, back to work, it wont sew itself 🙂

Sale Bunnies…

I hope all you Mothers out there had a lovely weekend (any everyone else, of course!).  M forgot, which is fine, we aren’t much into holidays in general around here and I think as I received flowers for the first time this year for Valentine’s that’s pretty decent going, besides the boys had both made me cards at school/pre-school which was lovely (I’ll point out now that M made up for it by being on parent duty all weekend and he has been away with work, only returning on Friday so I let him off).

We had our first BBQ on Sunday, after an attempt to visit the Museum of Kent Life on Saturday, which we abandoned in favour of Groombridge (it was way too busy, Groombridge was lovely) we decided to stay at home and avoid the crowds.  It was a whole blissful day in the garden with the kids running about in t-shirts, I even mowed the lawn for the first time this year!

Right, enough chatter, on with the post.  I’ve been having a good look at my stock and have decided that the Wool Bunnies need a re-design so all remaining ones are now in the SALE section.  I will be adding more stock over the coming weeks, including some samples.  I’m not sure when the new bunnies will be ready, probably not until later in the year so snap these originals up whilst you can 🙂