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Sunday, March 26, 2006

If Camilla and Hilda Had a Bunny Child

Bedfellow Bunny
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
This is what happens when you use what you have at my house. Not a bad thing, just different than I had planned. I've been wanting to buy a Camilla Character for some time now, but never seem to catch them when they hatch (damn no RSS feed haver ;). Since I knew Camilla had a pattern published, I went out and bought Happy Hooker thinking I could make one of her creatures—even after reading Hillary's lament. Originally, I wanted it to be some cool, Swedish-inspired color combo, but what came out of my stash was pure Portugal. Seems I'm more naturally inclined toward Hilda's color palette.

Bedfellow Bunny with Art
Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
Now, Hillary, don't feel so bad about not conquering this animal—it was a bit of a beastly bunny. The already large amount of respect I had for Camilla's work has now increased at least twofold. The asking price for her Characters is by far an excellent deal. Remember, it takes her about 10 hours to make one of them—it took me a couple days. Not to mention the materials costs, mine were around $30 (red yarn, Noro = $22; pink yarn, thrifted vintage Aunt Lydia's rayon and cotton rug yarn = $1; green yarn, some mystery cotton = $4; half bag of polyfill = $4).

My biggest challenge was probably my own fault since I didn't use the recommended yarns. And, then, I didn't even use the recommended yarn weights. I reversed them, using the heaviest yarn for the face and paws, and the lightest weight for the pants. I had to improvise the pattern to adjust for the different yarn weights (i.e. reducing the amount of stitches and rows for the paws, and increasing the stitches and rows for the pants). My first attempt at a head taught me the basics: how each body part is started, how to increase, and how to decrease.

I compounded my struggle with yarn weight because I couldn't find all my crochet hooks. I only used an H hook for all the weights of yarn. Things got really tight, my wrist and hand strength were tested and still haven't recovered. To get the hook through each stitch I had to improvise an insertion technique. Instead of pushing the top of the hook through the back of the stitch, I turned the hook around to catch the stitch and then rotated the hook back to normal holding position. A bit of crocheting acrobatics, but it worked.

I'm sure with the correct materials this project would have been a lot easier. I know I tend to be a tight knitter, so I'm probably a tight crocheter as well, and I aggravated my retentive ways by using the wrong materials. Ayurvedically speaking you would understand this as classic Pitta Kapha behavior. I wanted the stitches to be perfect. I had high expectations for quality. But, I was too lazy to get up and find the right materials, which would have made things easier. I made my way through to the end of the project by shear force.

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Anonymous rose said...

I sympathize with your struggles, but it's still great! I love the different textures, it all looks like you planned it.

Sun Mar 26, 05:30:00 PM PST  
Anonymous abbyjane said...

A very good right up of the process of creating a soft toy. A birth story, really.

Sun Mar 26, 06:58:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Grete said...

Hello! I have seen all the beatiful things you have made:-) You are a real artist!

Mon Mar 27, 02:54:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Kim said...

Man, can I relate to high quality expectations/too lazy to get up and find the right supplies. Still, you've got one cute bunny, hunny. Great work with the crochet. I can knit until the cows come home (and I throw, even), but crochet kills my wrist.

Mon Mar 27, 04:18:00 AM PST  
Anonymous heather said...

too funny! i remember being asked at a craft shop once: was i a "tight hooker or a loose hooker"... there are alot of puns in crafting, but that is one of my faves.

i'm a tight hooker too! but i love the feel of stiff crochet. i usually adjust for looser-type fabric by using larger hooks.

Mon Mar 27, 06:24:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Heather said...

I had to laugh when I read your comment about being retentive about how something turns our, but lazy when it comes to getting the right materials. That is so me! I think your Camilla creature turned out just lovely, though. Good work!

Mon Mar 27, 08:25:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Kim said...

I've been wanting to learn to crochet JUST so I could make one of these! It's so fun to see a new spin on it! Very cute!

Mon Mar 27, 09:22:00 AM PST  
Blogger Samantha said...

I am impressed - he is lovely!

Mon Mar 27, 11:43:00 AM PST  
Blogger Aurora said...

That last paragraph sounds frightening similar to my using kindergarten-sized Fiscars to cut the pattern pieces for ten stuffies this weekend.

Still want to learn crochet, but was too lazy to hunt for mushrooms this weekend. We'll see.

Mon Mar 27, 12:51:00 PM PST  
Blogger futuregirl said...

Caliente! Completely adorable. What a great use of what you have.

Mon Mar 27, 05:43:00 PM PST  
Anonymous blair said...

You did a fantastic job on this bunny, I appreciate the process woes more than you know. You don't see me posting any crochet on my blog, do ya?

Mon Mar 27, 06:48:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Cassi said...

Oh man, your Camilla softie came out great! I can crochet but I really hate following patterns so I don't know if I'll ever get to this. I love reading how you progressed through this project :)

Mon Mar 27, 06:52:00 PM PST  
Blogger Green Kitchen said...

Hi everybody--thanks for your comments! I hope I didn't complain too much. I've already started Camilla's bear pattern because I'm actually quite happy with how the bunny turned out. And, my son, who doesn't really love his stuffed animals, loves to hug this guy.

rose--Thanks, and I'm still thinking about your Tippi Hendren doll craft photo shoot.

abbyjane--It was a bit of a birth story--guess we've got that on the brain. Glad to hear you are feeling a little more comfortable.

Grete--thanks. Wish you had a link to a blog so I could see what you're up to.

Kim--Sometimes you have to give up a craft, so you can keep on blogging, don't you think. Save your wrists for the computer.

heather/feather--Tight hookers unite! I have a friend who is the loosest knitter I know and her knitting makes me feel a little queasy. Her nickname is craftwhore, so we know she's on the loose side.

Heather in Monterey--Hi, sorry I didn't reply to your other email. Yes, I live across the bay from you. Howdy craft neighbor.

Kim--Right on. Learn to crochet. It's actually quite fun, relaxing, easy, and very low-tech--a very portable craft.

Samantha--I'm still going to send you your chicken craft, really, I swear. I'm just mildly obesessed with crocheting right now.

Aurora--Kid-sized Fiskars! What a crack up.

Future Girl--Thanks, and I'm loving your anti-easter eggs.

Blair--I have yet to finish one handbag, so you're way ahead of me there. I have fear of lining.

Cassi--I could explain in a longer email what I did and didn't follow in the pattern. I think I could talk you through it and then you could do it sans pattern.

Phew! Hope this is an acceptable way to respond to people. This blogger business about not easily replying to comments through email is a bit of a bugger. Cheers, Michelle.

Mon Mar 27, 09:09:00 PM PST  
Blogger marcisenders said...

This is amazing! I think you did a great job!

Tue Mar 28, 05:23:00 AM PST  
Anonymous pyglet said...

The bunny is awesome! I couldn't even attempt something like this. I can only just crochet straight lines (and all too tight I'm told)Great job. Actually I agree with grete - many beautiful things here!

Tue Mar 28, 01:16:00 PM PST  
Blogger Gillian Greding said...

What a cutie! LOVE the color combo!

Tue Mar 28, 04:15:00 PM PST  
Blogger planeta hilda said...

what a great title to your post, it made me laugh. your bunny looks great! i love camilla's work and was lucky to meet here in lisbon last summer, she is a great artist and such a nice, wonderful person.
thanks mentionning my blog and colors and keep the good crocheting!

Tue Mar 28, 04:28:00 PM PST  
Blogger Green Kitchen said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wed Mar 29, 07:56:00 AM PST  
Blogger Green Kitchen said...

Hello Hilda! I'm so glad you left a comment. I was afraid that maybe I would offend either you or Camilla. I thought the title was funny, but you never know what kind of humor people have or what kind of language barriers exist. I think that some readers thought I wasn't happy with the outcome of my bunny guy, but I am! I love the lively colors. And, of course, I love Camilla's designs. So, I think my bunny child was a successful adventure.. Your work/life continually inspire.

Wed Mar 29, 07:58:00 AM PST  
Blogger Toni said...

Ok, I'm very impressed. Your bunny looks wonderful! All that readjusting you had to do takes skill!

Wed Mar 29, 09:36:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Hanna said...

Haha, love the title and picture - your bunny is very sweet. I'm getting that book too! For sure!

Thu Mar 30, 08:23:00 AM PST  
Anonymous lyn said...

Your bunny is adorable !

Fri Mar 31, 01:18:00 AM PST  
Blogger Blaize said...

I am so glad that your kid brought this fellow over today, and that he had to introduce the bunny to my stuffed toys. I don't know if you noticed, but your kid was especially insistent that the bunny meet Neville, the sock creature. I will have to let the sock creature's creator know....

Fri Mar 31, 09:50:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Camilla Engman said...

I'm happy with the outcome :) And I like the mixture of camilla and hilda!

Tue Apr 04, 02:21:00 AM PDT  

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