Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pattern-Making Process: Stuffed Misfit

I'm going to be hosting a Stuffed Misfit Stitchathon* at CubeSpace here in Portland on Saturday, February 9th from 1-4. Suzi Mayer will be there, too, guiding participants in the creation of hats from felted sweaters. It's a re-use-a-palooza for all the misfit garments, the shrunken sweaters, the mateless gloves, the single socks that you've doubtless removed from your closet in a resolute frenzy of New Year's clutter-clearing. For $5, we supply what you need to make a hat or your very own Stuffed Misfit. Bringing your own shrunken sweater or singleton socks is highly encouraged; I'll have needles, thread, buttons, stuffing, etc. for the Stuffed Misfits.

I'm excited to do this, especially since I didn't have the New Year's Day Stuffed Misfits party I had been loosely planning (see "ennui"). And, since I'm also way behind on doing a January craft project DEMO! (rationalizations: post-holiday ennui and nasty post-ennui energy-zapping head cold) and want to have some kind of original pattern or guide to provide at the Stuffed Misfit Stitchathon and promised to do a drawing a day during January and really just wanted to make a Stuffed Misfit tonight while watching episodes of "The Closer", I thought I'd do a multiple-goal, one project kind of a thing.**

Meet Mr. Misfit in Progress:

Now, I tend to work pretty intuitively. I put stuff together, poke holes, add things on . . . I rarely work from patterns - or if I do, I use them primarily as a starting point. I use books for inspiration and to learn new, very specific techniques.

Mr. Misfit in Progress (he doesn't have a name yet, just an initial sense of maleness) began as an old sock and a cheap-o stretchy glove. Cutting, stitching, and stuffing ensued. There is still stitching - and possibly cutting and stuffing - to be done.

But it doesn't always work in a classroom setting to say, "Ok, just kind of cut things off until it looks right and then stitch it up and stuff it and stitch some more." I try to provide some basic techniques, and then encourage people to run wild. My thinking here is that I'll create this little creature intuitively, but will draw the pattern as I go along so that people have a starting point and can see how I've blended the techniques that I've picked up from different places.

Here's the pattern drawing so far, which I think subconsciously borrows pretty heavily from John Murphy's pattern style, minus the legibility:

Uh-huh. So, it's the first draft. I think it could benefit from some words. It's tough for me to break down what I'm doing into freeze frames, especially when it's still under development. It's a good exercise, though, because it's really forcing me to think about the construction and alternative ways of putting it together . . .

With any luck, I'll get it finished and up on the blog tomorrow. That way, I can post it as a finished drawing, and as a DEMO! and use it in the workshop on February 9th! Multi-tasking - it's all part of my process.


* "Stuffed Misfit Stitchathon" is not the name under which CubeSpace will be promoting this event, as I just came up with it a few minutes ago. However, it's catchier than my original title (" Make Your Own Stuffed Misfit: Soft Monsters from Stranded Socks and Odd Gloves with Bridget Benton") so I'm going with it.

** Figuring out how to do exactly what you want while still meeting your personal goals and satisfying the obligations, needs and requirements of those within your chosen environment is a very particular application of creative skill, one that is present in abundance in young children, college students, lawyers, and professional mediators. I consider it a critical life skill, though when coupled with self-delusion, lies, and/or statistics (as it too often is in the case of college students and lawyers) it can get pretty ugly.


SisterDG said...

I am all for this kind of multi-tasking! The misfits class looks like great fun. Sounds like. between you, Suzi, and me, the city's thrift stores will be emptied of socks, gloves, and sweaters . . . .

Bridget B. said...

Eek! Too true! I totally need to mention the recycled sweater craft classes coming up . . .

gl. said...

sounds fun! i will be getting back from "vacation" that day and so i will miss it, but it's the kind of event that i'd sign right up for otherwise!