Sunday, 15 April 2012

The right tools for the job

It is amazing how much easier it is to complete a project with the right tools. I have finally finished my soft toy camel, Buttons (aka Chrissy the Camel), but it took a while because I didn't have all the right tools to start with.

First, I ran out of toy fill. Luckily I was able to improvise and remove some from my niece's camel, which I will be able to replace before we stitch together again.

Then, I had to attach the legs with buttons. This was quite a tricky job and not helped by the fact that I only had doll sculpting needles to use, not the proper large doll needles. Picture this, my husband and I sitting on the couch late at night (after watching telly), him holding the legs to the body and squeezing them together so I could grab the needle on the other side (no mean feat), and me stabbing my fingers and thumb several times while trying to grab the needle. When finished, I had to undo everything as the front of the body was so squished that the camel looked anorexic! I would have laughed except my fingers were hurting and I was beyond frustrated. We put her aside and decided to try again after getting better tools.

(Note, it would also have helped if I had read the instructions properly instead of racing ahead in a gung-ho fashion. I actually should have attached the legs securely first and then added the buttons afterwards. This would have been much easier. A lesson learned for finishing my niece's camel!)

The next day I took a quick trip up to The Teddy Tree after work to get the right tools. Unfortunately I had to fight peak hour traffic and they were closed by the time I got there. More frustration! Luckily I had another project to work on that evening.

Finally on Friday afternoon I was able to get to The Teddy Tree before they closed and pick up a 3 pack of large doll needles. The Teddy Tree is a small shop in Mt Hawthorn and they have a fantastic array of bear fabrics, quilting fabrics, notions, teddy kits and completed bears for sale. They also have, I discovered, balls of DMC Perle 8 thread, mostly in variegated colours, which you can't get from Spotlight anymore. I will definitely be going back to stock up on some of these.

So, on Friday night I had myself a Friday night sew-in and completed my camel. It was so much easier with the correct size doll needle that I didn't need my husband's help at all (much to his relief). The ears were the next tricky bit. They took several goes and I was getting a bit worried because I didn't want the fabric to fray, but Fray Stopper helped me out a bit there. And finally, Buttons was complete...

Buttons in front of our beautiful Marble Bar rocks

A birds-eye view

Those tricky ears!

I am delighted with the end result and very happy to have her finished...and the lessons I have learned should make it easier to help my niece finish off her own version. 'Chrissy the Camel' was designed by Pauline McArthur of Funky Friends Factory and was featured in Homespun No. 86 (Vol 11.7). Pauline's blog can be found here. My heartfelt thanks to Pauline for such a challenging and beautiful project.

I hope you all have a great week of stitching.



Quilt Kitty said...

Obviously it can be a difficult time giving birth to a camel, especially your first! Button's is very cute especially his purple feet. See you Wednesday. Tracee xx

Outback Craftaholic said...

Oh Tracee, you crack me up! :-) Have a great day.

Anthea said...

Well he's a very cute camel, for all your troubles. Adorable!! I have heard that The Teddy Tree is a great store, might have to go there some time.

Outback Craftaholic said...

Hi Anthea. Thanks for dropping by and for your kind comments about Buttons. Yes, the Teddy Tree is lovely. They do workshops as well but they are not overly structured, more a group get together and teaching at each person's individual pace. I hope you get a change to check it out. Cheers, Tracy.

Charlie and Wendy said...

Your camel is gorgeous, you have done a wonderful job of it!!

KAYLEE said...

The Camel is gorgeous Tracy, great job.

Outback Craftaholic said...

Hi Kaylee. Thanks very much. I'm very happy with it and the general consensus is that the person who will be receiving it will love it too (which, of course, I'm very pleased about). Have a great week. Cheers, Tracy.

Outback Craftaholic said...

Hi Charlie and Wendy. Thanks very much for your kind words. I'm looking forward to helping my niece finish hers now and I think it will be an easier process because I have learnt a few tricks as I've gone along. Have a great week. Cheers, Tracy.