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Wonky sweater animals - inexpertly and painstakingly sewn by Marla Goodman

Today's wonky sweater animals

Today I made a couple more wonky animals out of sweaters. The bobbin gods must have been smiling, as I did not run out of bobbin and nothing really horrible happened! (Well, I did sew one ear on backwards, but I decided that was within acceptable irregularity tolerance.)

I tried adding a face shape to one of them, but I’m not sure I like how that ended up looking.

My wonky bunny pattern. Marla Goodman

My wonky bunny pattern

I called my mom and she explained to me over the phone how to use a ladder stitch to close up the stuffing hole in such a way that it doesn’t look like a botched episiotomy. (Well, SHE didn’t say that…) (Do not look up episiotomy on the web if you don’t know what it is… better not to know!)

In an uncharacteristically planning-ahead-ish act, I actually MADE A PATTERN this time. …which I immediately strayed from, using the old eyeball, but the point was that if the animal turned out good, at least I could refer to the pattern to make another one like it.  Usually my attention span holds out nearly until I’ve got something figured out, so who knows, I might try a few more. Here’s my Etsy shop, if any collectors of inexpertly sewn sweater animals happen to be reading.

Like anyone, I love to make stuff out of old sweaters. But, unlike people of average or lower-than-average mechanical aptitude, I am sewing machine impaired. Go ahead, smirk, you smug people who can change a bobbin without your deluxe 1960 ZigZag machine disintegrating into a pile of rubble. You don’t know what it’s like to be marked by the bobbin gods.

I’m not sure what kind of deal my amazing seamstress mom made with the Dark Priestess of Stitchery before I was born, but suffice it to say that if I were that young lady in Rumpelstiltskin, my special talent wouldn’t be spinning straw into gold, but rather transforming fabric into tangled, amorphous blobs of shit (with salty tears and frightening curse words as byproducts).

Sweater puppy and bunny painstaking and inexpertly wrought by Marla Goodman

Sweater puppy and sweater bunny, painstakingly and inexpertly wrought by Marla Goodman

I can see no other explanation except that I happen to have special challenges, possibly otherworldly in origin. Occasionally, though — in spite of the certainty that I will soon be up to my armpits in thready loops and yelling F*CK!!!!! through my tears — I decide to sew something.

And that’s how these two little gems came into being!

My friend Meggan (who happens to be an incredibly talented photographer) had a baby in April. I wanted to give her something special, so out came the tub of washing-machine-felted sweaters and my grim determination to create. I grabbed some scissors and whacked out arms, legs, ears, bodies and started sewing like a madwoman. After a few hideously abortive attempts (future Christmas gifts for my forgiving family: Surprise!) I came up with something not too creepy. I needle-felted on a face, and — in spite of the fact that it was intended to be a bunny — my puppy stuffed animal turned out pretty cute.

Meggan, bless her accepting heart, loved the puppy (possibly the post-natal hormones helped her to love its “uniquenesses”) so much that she asked me to make an animal like it as a gift for the baby of our mutual friend, another Megan (who happens to be a kick-ass graphic designer).

Again, out with the tub: whack, whack, tears, rage, needle-felt, a minor emergency stuffed animal craniotomy, and: Tada! A cute inexpertly sewn bunny with slightly off kilter arms and legs was born!

Now the Megans are encouraging me to make more one-of-a-kind (you can say THAT again!) animals to distribute among a whole crowd of babies who are just itching to gum on some fuzzy ears and misaligned toes. Maybe I could even sell them on Etsy.

I’m willing to embrace my ineptitude, if I can get the damn machine going for a third-time miracle. Of course I know that anyone (seriously, anyone) who can sew their way out of a wet paper bag could easily make these things better than me.

But what other stuffed animal would represent this level of sacrifice to the bobbin gods? Maybe its the evidence of the struggle that makes them appealing? We’ll see.

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