Saturday, May 19, 2012

Experimenting With Really Small Cats (no animals were harmed during the creation process)

What?! No air holes?
Don't worry darling we'll get you out!
People say I look like Hello Kitty but I think I'm more like Grace Kelly. 

Tiny rocks.  So I tried my hand at thread embroidery last week.  This was the result: 

I used the thinnest thread I had on hand and she turned out measuring (H) 9.5cm, (W) 6.5cm.  Hardly mini... Ms Bikini Cat can lose a few stitches, especially from her giant oval head.  Some experimentation was in order.  

In my bottomless stash of yarns and threads, I found a bunch of crochet thread I bought more than 10 years ago down some backstreet in Paris.  They were on some dusty shelf presided by a scary French matron.  The only reason why I dared to even go in the shop was because the threads were 10 Francs each (that was like 1 British pound at the time).  Bargains are worth braving scary matrons over.  

Copying the structure but reducing the number of stitches, I tried to make as small a version of Ms Bikini Cat as possible.  I started the legs out with 5 stitches and the arms with 4, stitched the body together, gauged its size and made a suitably sized head to match.  

Dude! A giant thumb!
The problems were the ears and eyes, because the head is so small the ears were just 4 stitches, aka the size of a gnat's bum.  Imagine sewing that onto the head.  The eyes were also difficult because micro cat here is black.  A black thread knot wouldn't show and a blue or green knot made him look comically evil.  So I settled for a black-on-white felt alternative.  He ended up looking a bit bog eyed but that slightly surprised look's kinda cute.  

He wasn't entirely perfect though.  I crocheted his head separately from his body.  Which I realised was unnecessary.  I could just crochet the head directly from the neck opening.  His body lacked shape. I want his upper body to be slightly smaller than his bum.  He was also quite difficult to make because I used a 0.9mm hook, a tad too big which meant I had to yank the hook out after every stitch. I raided my local and found a 0.6mm hook (it has a pink handle too so cute) and some even thinner threads in beige and pink.  

This time, the crochet was easier.  Thinner threads meant the cat can be the same size with more stitches, so I needn't sacrifice so much detail.  I also crocheted the head directly from the body this time to save on faffing around sewing it on afterwards.  

The eyes were black thread knots so her nose and mouth can be the usual white felt and embroidery affair.  There was even room for me to crochet her a skirt, by beginning on the join between her body and legs.  

Hubby Oli suggested I put wings on her, then suspend her from the stopper to make her a flying angel. That might be a fun idea.  Having noted the pattern I tried a boy version.  This time with a tail and braces: 

I swear ladies I'm bigger in real life. 

They could almost be Hansel and Gretel.  I'll just need a witch.  That'll be my next project!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Goodnight Kitty

So there I was trying to make another Little Cat Riding Hood, this time with a funky textured yarn hoping for a fun fluffy effect - when my husband distracted me with the latest episode of The Game of Thrones.  That show is awesome.  So I blame it entirely for the schoolgirl error pictured here:

Look closely, and you'll see I've managed to sew the cat head onto the body without putting in the backs of the safety eyes first.  That's what good TV does to me... 

There was no way I'd take the whole thing apart and start again, so I tried felt eyes.  They looked freaky.  So in the end I settled for sleepy eyes, and that gave me the idea of making a sleepy baby kitten all wrapped up and snug, just like my baby Kit when the nurses brought him to me in a hospital baby cot. 

I had some lilac polka dot material lying around so I made some pants for her.  Then I used some special baby flannel material to make her a swaddle.  Finishing off with a crochet milk bottle with pink and white yarn.  

Feeling a bit sew-happy, I spied a baby bear lying around I made a while back, so I made him a swaddle blanket too.  A double sided blue polka dot and grey flannel swaddle.  

Now I have a tiny nursery. 

Nap Time! 
Quite inspired to make baby accessories for my sleepy babies now.  Will try a rattle and a teddy and some cutesy cushion next.  


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Little Cat Riding Hood

Experimenting with different patterns for the shortlist of cat crochets I'll be taking to the Purrzaar at the Cats of the World Photo Exhibition.  Am thinking Little Cat Riding Hood might tempt a few cat lovers? 

Little Cat Riding Hood is going to Grandma's, hoping to get propositioned by a wolf or two en route. She's trying very hard not to be outdone by her pastels loving cousin. 

Bella already has a wolf chasing after her, even though she says her heart's set on some vampire called Edward.  Must be the goodie two shoes vibe and the knitting that gets them going.  

The cousins are pretty much the same size, though Bella is fluffier. Riding Hood is brown eyed while Bella is blue eyed and her scarf goes all the way around her neck while Bella's scarf only envelopes her head. 

Purrzaar! Cats Of The World Photo Exhibition

I always thought I was a dog person. They're loyal, intelligent and can double up as security systems of last resort. So I adopted a cat.  It makes perfect sense...

But Tiggy was gorgeous as a kitten! No one could have held him and given him back. Getting to know Tiggy has also taught us a few things about cats. They are loyal - in their disdain of everyone - but they do dislike their owners a little less and often forbore to scratch them.

Through cat lover friends, we found out about the Cats of the World Photo Exhibition about two years ago. The exhibition is at the Arts House, showcasing photos of cats in their environment all around the world, usually taken by cat lovers during their travels. They're a non-profit organisation, often raising funds for the cat welfare society. So last year I donated a few Kitty Cupcake Magnets to the cause at the Saturday Purrzaar. My friend told me they sold like hot-cupcakes. Buoyed up by that (hopefully truthful) encouragement, this year I'm bravely (or naively) taking on a Purrzaar booth.

I've made a tray-full of magnets already, hoping to do as well as last year.  I'm desperately hoping I'll have enough things in my repertoire I can make in time. Trouble is, I'm not too sure what would appeal to the Purrzaar Punters. For now, my strategy is to make a bunch of stuff, of all different types, hoping that at least some of it would get sold. Otherwise, I've a feeling friends and family will be getting a lot of cat themed presents this X'mas.