i wanted to make some sock monsters/monkeys for the upcoming picnic in the park stall but then i realised that no-one outside of my immediate family would want anything made from one of our old socks. i want to reuse as much as i can but with the line drawn at socks i needed to find a way to make fun creatures out of something else. one thing is certain, in the craft world owls are everywhere. i suppose they have a pretty unique look amongst the animal kingdom and so are recognisable even when distorted by crafting genius/incompetence. i was totally inspired by lori nichols. www.lorinichols.com. like me she felts thrift shop jumpers and she has used them with acorns and bits of pumpkin skin as well as, (sigh), old maps (another total favourite of mine – i love this woman) to create some truly beautiful pieces and her owls are, i think, the best out there by far. definitely more art than craft. i’m never going to collect enough acorns to use in my crafting so i’ve gone down the strictly stitched route and used lots of buttons and other fabric remnants. the very best bit is that the owls’ bodies are made from jumper sleeves. i have a lot of sleeves left over from my recent cushion frenzy (i use the trunk of the jumper for the cushions). i’m so glad now that i took the lazy route and didn’t cut up the sleeve seam before felting my jumpers (it’s how to avoid a permanent crease in the finished felt). i put some rice in the bottom of each owl to help them stand before stuffing them and to be honest i think they are at their very best when gathered in a little huddle on a mantlepiece. my mantlepiece. listening to nick drake sing sad songs as i finished the last one i swear i nearly welled up at the thought of parting with them.
i was so pleased with the owls that i went a little further up the sleeve. the shape i cut out was a little lop-sided – we are in armpit territory here! i thought maybe bunny ears but i made them very abstract…so abstract that my husband thought they were swans! i stuffed a pipe cleaner in one of the ears so its bendable. they have a slightly sinister look to them and don’t please me as much as the owls. so no more evil bunnies – i’ve decided i want to do penguins next. watch this space.