Friday, December 31, 2010
About a week before Christmas, I was doing some mostly-aimless searching around on Etsy for interesting things that she might like, and I suddenly recalled that when we'd been talking about childhood Christmas presents recently, she'd said, sort of sadly, that no one ever got her a pony.
My mom grew up in Queens, so while her family had a yard, it was a tiny yard, and I don't think she ever had any real expectations of a pony. But I get the feeling it was the patriotic duty of all good little girls in the 1950s to at least want one, and if you didn't, the House Un-American Activities Committee might have come around to ask some pointed questions.
So I thought: perfect. A pony! My initial plan was to order a plush one from Etsy, made by someone more skilled than I am, but nothing I found in my searching grabbed me, so I went looking for patterns instead, and being slightly crazy and [falsely] emboldened by the success of the crochetalong penguin, I decided not to wuss out and buy a smaller pattern, but to go with the giant Perfect Pony. (It was supposed to be about 17" tall, mine ended up about 20", somehow.)
It started out well! The shaping on the head turned out beautifully, and my first attempt at adding sleepy-eyelids to a plush (an effect I've often admired on other people's plushes) was more or less successful.
And then I started the body. And ripped it out. And started it again. And ripped it out. And started it again. I could not make it work---I guess I'm just not a focused enough counter to handle the construction of the pattern, which involved working increase on a chain rather than in the round, where a few missteps are less evident? I lost an entire day trying to get it right, and then gave up. I almost gave up entirely, because it was December 22nd by this point, but the thought of being able to tie a big red bow on this thing and give it to my mom on Christmas morning all look, it's the pony you asked for fifty years ago! made me take a deep breath, scrap the pattern, and just make an improvised body in the round.
(Conveniently, the bow hides the ugly seam between its neck and body!)
I stayed up until 2 AM with this thing a couple nights in a row, making its ears (which I designed with help from this adorable horse purse pattern) and legs and sewing in the mane, and finally got it to a place where it was at least mostly sewn together and free-standing around 1 AM on Christmas. It's far from perfect, but my mom totally got the gesture of the thing and loved it. Totally worth the angst.
Next, I have to design it some accessories! There was a saddle/bridle included in the pattern, so I might make one of those. And a pretty horse blanket! Maybe with some embroidery. ...Does anyone know where I can find a good embroidery tutorial?
(Check out other, probably less insane projects at Tami's Finished Objects Friday post.)