Monday, June 20, 2005

Cautiously Optimistic

I haven't any photos to offer yet, but sewing on Jack the Teddy Bear began this weekend. So far, so good.

I've stitched, turned, and provisionally stuffed the body, the head, and both arms. Nothing looks deformed, there are no whacking great holes in the fabric, and both arms are the same size and shape. Granted, Grandma might not think my "finger sewing" is quite up to snuff yet, but I'm doing my best and growing nimbler with each piece.

The head, in particular, has turned out to be splendidly formed with a fine, proud snout.

And the mofo is big. Either the finished size indicated in the book is off, or I mismeasured my gauge. I was expecting to make something that might fit into, say, a large coat pocket. Instead, Jack is about the size of a four-month-old baby.

I'm deeply impressed with the attention to detail in Sandra Polley's pattern. For example, Jack (supposedly inspired by mourning teddy bears created after the Titanic disaster) has the humped back typical of antique teddies. It would have been easier to leave that shaping out, but she didn't.

Of course, if she had I probably wouldn't have bought the book or be making this bear. I've seen a quite a few patterns for stuffed animals and have mentally filed most of them under "Why Bother?" If Jack didn't have a certain amount of interest to him - if he had no potential to be more interesting or attractive than a sock monkey - I'd have done something else.

(I confess that "Why bother?" is and always has been my reaction to any project that advertised itself with disclaimers like "No sewing skills required!" or "Even a child can do it!" I object to the modern fashion of making a virtue of ignorance.

Even a child can do it, indeed. Children can do more than glue popsicle sticks together. Teach them to knit. Or sew. Or bake. Or change spark plugs. Give them a skill that will expand their brains and outlast the dubious pleasures to be found in a stupid kit.)

Other Bear-Related Knitting Projects

I finished up the main part of the Little White Bear Hat (I need a more interesting name for it) on the train. Only ears to make and attach, and a face to embroider.

I was proud of myself, when I lost a stitch marker during the commute, to think of substituting one of the hoop earrings I was wearing. I know that's not an original idea. I'm just proud that I thought of it on the spot. With my sieve-like brain, every small moment of lucidity merits celebration. So hooray for me.

After the Imperialist Bunny Hat, Jack the Teddy Bear, and the Little White Bear Hat, it's time for Buzz's mittens.

It will feel odd to knit something that has no face.

And Please Welcome to the Blogosphere...

My sister Susan, who as it happens inspired me to start blogging with her paper journals.

She's here and off to a good, solid start. As always, I'm gigantically proud and wanted to lead off with this item, but I thought I might embarrass her. And I've done that so frequently over the past several decades.

Now that she has a public forum, of course, I'm sure payback will be hell.


cheryl said...

Polar Bear hat perhaps??

obscure said...

Yes! People need to learn how to do SOMETHING and the earlier the better. I continue to be stunned when apparent adults are unable to pot a plant, sew a button, read a map, make a soup--gawd the list just goes on and on. I could go on and on--one of my favorite obscuRANTS.

Love the pink bunny hat!

Jon said...

What about the Prince Consort Hat? LOL

markknitz said...

i worry about my niece and nephew for that very reason. they have been fussed over since they were born so they have no attention span whatsoever. they're great kids: energetic, imaginative, enthusiastic, but i've never seen them start anything and finish it. or say "i'm going to do this" and then actually do it. it's always easier to be an uncle than a dad, I know, but still...

goblinbox said...

My maternal grandmother will go on and ON about how kids are so coddled and stupid these days, and how she ran rampant with only a few older cousins and siblings to watch her, quite possibly with scissors in hand, and never died from it.

TitaniumRose said...

Teaching kids to actually sit still and make something with their hands - end entertain themselves without an electronic babysitter - seems to be a lost art form. I still remember my grandmother teaching me to crochet (and trying to teach me to knit) when I was only 8. I loved it and cherish those memories to this day.

And I think it's tragic that so many people associate "crafting" with cheap plastic crap that comes in a kit and won't last 5 minutes. If you're going to take the time and put forth some effort to do something, make it something you'll be proud of and can cherish for a good long time. I applaud your dedication to knitting and photography and your disdain for the sloppy/shitty shortcuts.

kbsalazar said...

I echo:

"I can't fathom what took me so long to get to your blog, but now I'm going to have to read the whole thing."

I haven't gotten through everything yet, but I'm working on it. Sausage pizza, purple midgets, Victoria Regina, peanut M&Ms, Magic Flute, and teddy bears and the rest.

I regret to tell you that the Women's Industrial Union in the Back Bay stopped carrying needlework supplies in 1997. I make up for this by confessing that I have knit a baseball cap. Although I no longer have it, I might knit another and blog about it just for you.

- A fellow coffee-hater, and Evil Parent - raising spawn who **do** rather than **watch**. -K.

Felicia said...

I click on my link to get to your site. In the small window that opened up, I only get part of your post.

This mofo is big!

Dare I say, I could barely get the window resized to see exactly the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the big mofo!

birdfarm said...

I distinctly remember my mother teaching me at a very early age that "kit" is an extremely distasteful word. I can still see her scrunched nose and narrowed eyes (as if discussing half-rotted carrion) as she said, "They give you all the pieces and they tell you what to do with them."

So I lucked out in that department at least. But yes. Modern children.