How can something so innocent looking cause so many headaches? And yet it did. Back in the spring, I decided to have a bash at making a needle felted teddy bear. Not my usual thing, but I wanted to see if I could. And it took months. Months of picking it up, putting it down, leaving it for weeks at a time and almost giving up. Bits were cut off, bits were stuck back on. It became known as 'The Teddy Bear of Doom'. But I persevered and eventually finished the darned thing. Then came the knitting.
I rarely knit. But I wanted to make a little vest for him. By now it was a 'him'. I used four needles, as I'm more comfortable with four (like socks, which I haven't made for 25 years). Bought a gorgeous ball of soft aqua wool. Cast on, using my own apparent common sense.
How hard could it be to knit a little vest, freehand? All weekend difficult, that's how much. I discarded my first attempt and began another.
So small. So fiddly. So infuriating. It wasn't going to beat me.
After many, many knitting hours, I had finished. Only to discover the big, glaring design flaw. I hadn't thought about the head opening. So it sat on his head like a mushroom cap. At which point, I gave up.
So I did what I should have done in the first place and needle felted him a vest. Took a couple of hours. Not a couple of days.
Then he was thread jointed.
And so his head, arms and legs swivelled, like a proper teddy bear.
He is one of the largest things I've made, and sits snugly in the hand. I guestimated he took over 50 hours, but that was with a lot of tinkering and remaking.
And he was, in the end, worthy of his own special tag - named after a tiny village in Shropshire, not a million miles away from where I live.
The essential problem with him was that he was bigger than my natural making scale. I remembered an early project from long ago, when I was commissioned to make a monkey. I had to abandon my first gigantic attempt, but the second, smaller one was just right. I blogged my shame and called it 'A Tale of Two Monkeys'.
But recently, I got the urge to start another jointed figure. This time, non-teddy bear (not really 'me'), but a small fox. And this one is going exactly to plan. So far.