So as I work through my latest project, I'm going to bring you along. This project is a valentines bunny that I've envisioned in a classic, vintage, and even a little french inspired look. Rather than waiting until it's done, I thought I'd provide updates as I go... so let's get started!
1/22/2013: Sometimes I begin with a sketch, but this time I began with the wool. I had recently purchased a lot of random wool, and so I got in there to investigate. When I saw all the variation in color and texture I thought about a soft bunny, and the special nature of hand spun wool. What I always loved about hand spun is not when it's perfect, but when you can really tell that it's hand spun. The thicks and thin, and silky mixed with fluffy, what would make a better bunny. So I pull out the mix I think will embody those characteristics, weigh it up, and get carding.
1/26/2013: Next step is spinning. I have a ladybug spinning wheel, and I have been known to lose myself spending a few hours spinning. But don't get me wrong, the repetitive motion can take it's toll and I've had to declare self imposed bans on spinning (and sometimes knitting and crocheting too) from time to time. In this case, I needed to spend a few hours to spin the single ply. And since I want to create a strong, quality item, I've decided to spin my singles thin and ply them together for a 2 ply wool. Once it's plied, I'll soak the yarn so it can bloom, and set the twist.
1/26/2013: While waiting for the yarn to dry, I can work on other things; like choosing fabrics and working out the dress pattern on paper. I usually work out as much as I can from existing or estimated measurements, and then make adjustments once the final doll is done. For this one I'm choosing some french prints in florals and toile, and rich rose and olive tones.
2/3/2013: With the yarn plied and set, it's time to get the hook out. I start by crocheting the ears and arms of my bunnies so that they're ready to attach when I need them. I'm really enjoying the way the variation in the yarn is working out, both in the color and the texture.
2/7/2013: With the exception of the foot bottom, my bunny's all pieced together and ready for stuffing. I use a combination of bamboo and polyfil stuffing, and whatever yarn and fabric scraps I happen to have around. The polyfil gives the spongy quality, while the bamboo and scraps give the firmer texture you want in the bottom and feet. The stuffing tool is great for this type of work since I work the doll in one piece and stuff the entire body through the legs!
2/9/2013: And with my bunny stuffed, I'm ready to complete her feet. Usually I like to cap off the feet with a coordinated fabric to match the dress; but I'm loving the wool so much that I've decided to wet felt 2 small pieces and use them to create the soles of her feet. It's not too difficult, if you have some roving or carded fiber, just layer the fiber out in thin perpendicular layers. Use a spray bottle to wet it down with warm soapy water, then message it into a flat sheet of felt with a gloved hand or another smooth item (I sometimes use a smooth river rock). In the detail phase, I'll most likely embroider in some toes since her feet are a little bare.
2/14/2013: So from fluff to finished, here she is! I pieced the skirt together from 2 inch strips of that awesome moda fabric you saw in the beginning of the post, and then decided to make a dark burgundy ruffle trim to set it off. Serging and stitching all the edges as I went, I used the same burgundy for straps and the waist band that ties the back together in a bow. Then I picked out some gorgeous glass eyes in a rose tint, and set them over a camel colored felt. I embroidered her nose and freckles in a dark brown, and her knees and toes in the cream colored hand spun I used for the rest of her body.
Thanks for following along ;D