This year Martha is all about “handmade, homemade” gifts and decorations. Very smart, for this economic climate. In her Handmade for the Holidays special issue (page 59), Martha has instructions and a template for making a stuffed pig out of an old sweater (yes, really). You can probably tell already there’s no way this could go well for me.
The day of the pig began with a shopping trip. I had to buy batting ($3.50) to stuff said pig and then I had to make a trip to Goodwill to find a sweater. Here is probably where my first problem was. Martha says to use a “felted wool sweater”. I have no idea what that means. I am sure Martha’s closets are filled with lined and sacheted shelves containing a heavenly multitude of sweaters in every color and design. The selection at Goodwill is a bit more, shall we say, limited. I have to say I was pretty impressed with Goodwill though. Everything on the racks was in quite good condition and they had some decent looking things.
I ended up buying a purple acrylic sweater with white snowflakes on it ($4.49). I believe the acrylic may have been the problem. I also think now that Martha intended a sweater that was more tightly knit than the one I chose.
Mr. MarthaAndMe kindly blew up Martha’s template by scanning it, working some magic and printing it. I cut out the template and pinned it to the sweater. I cut out the shapes.
Martha says to sew the underside of the pig to the sides. I did ok with this, but the feet on the underside ended up smaller than the feet on the sides, so I had to be a little creative in getting it to go all together.
Once I started sewing, I started to realize why a more closely knit sweater would have been better. The sweater was unraveling at the cut edges, making it very difficult to sew it together.
I sewed the sides together. Then I attempted to make the tail. My first attempt was a disaster. I had to start over and cut a piece bigger than the template instructed. Somehow my sweater was very thick and once I sewed the original piece together, I could not get it to turn inside out – it was too thick.
Martha says to cut out a round piece of wool for the nose. Mine kept unraveling – it was just too small a piece. I improvised and instead sewed a button on for the pig’s nose.
I had some trouble with the ears – again, I had to go and cut them out bigger than the template in order to get them to turn inside out.
I stuffed the pig with batting and finished sewing him up. At this point I realized I had some serious issues. The pig was pulling apart at the seams in many places – because the edges were so unraveled. So, I had to do some repair work on the spots. I found this great thread I have in my sewing box that is like fishing line – invisible. I used that and you can’t tell I had to patch things.
The end result? Well, let’s just say I would not actually give this to someone as a gift. This is not where my talent lies! The ears are too tall and they look like rabbit ears. The nose is not centered. The whole thing is just weird. Maybe some people are good at this, but well, I’m just not. It was sort of fun to do – although it would have been a lot more fun if the material hadn’t kept unraveling on me.
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Brette – “Felted” means a wool sweater (or whatever item you choose) that has been washed, dried and shrunk. That’s why you found she was using something with a tighter weave — felted wool really is more like felt. Acrylic won’t shrink up like wool. We have a team of volunteers here at our Goodwill in Minnesota that makes all kinds of hats, mittens, scarves, toys, etc. out of felted wool sweaters and sells them locally this time of year. (Our project is called “Extend Goodwill; see more on our Web site – http://www.goodwilleasterseals.org.)
Thanks! Now if she had just explained that…. That sounds like a wonderful project you are involved with.
Your purple, snowflake, exploding rabbit pig is so, well, Monty Python. I LOVE IT!