My husband Jeremy has been telling me for years that I should make stuffed animals. While I grew up loving and hoarding piles of stuffed animals, I wasn’t sure that stuffed animals really fit into the goals of my business. I’ve said since the beginning that I want to make beautiful, well-made, and practical items. So tea cozies, tote bags, pouches, glasses cases – they all are beautiful, well-made, and practical! I guess quilts aren’t always that practical when I think about it. A quilt to hang on your wall is a piece of art. Can a piece of art be called “practical”? It adds beauty to your life, but does it make your life any easier or help you in some way? I think this could be argued either way.
Obviously I have been arguing that art isn’t practical. And along the same lines, stuffed animals aren’t practical. They’re just toys!
But, very slowly, I’ve been making stuffed animals here and there – a few sheep, a few whales, a fish, some elephants. And people really love them! They may not be practical, but something that makes people that giddy can’t be bad. (And yes, it’s the same for art. It makes people happy – and that’s not bad!)
Last fall I dropped off a bunch of new sheep stuffed animals (with legs!) at a local bookstore, Moon Palace Books. Also, a few elephants and a fish. I started with all white sheep, the close cousins of my tea cozies. Then later I added some black sheep.
A month or so ago the idea of stuffed animals exploded in my head and more animals are coming. I made fleece rainbow stripe sheep; argyle sheep; sheeps with hearts. I made sheep out of felted wool sweaters. I’ve got more sheep in progress: lumberjack plaid sheep, tie-dye sheep, polka dot sheep.
I’m having loads of fun with them. If it’s this much fun for me, it can’t be all that bad! =)
And of course there is the sheep hat! Ever since I started selling tea cozies, people have been trying them on as hats; especially since the animals came along. People are quite sure these are meant to be hats, not tea cozies. Tea cozies don’t work really well as hats though. It has been on my mind for around two years now to make a sheep hat since people wanted it so much. But try as I might, I could not figure out how to do it! I make tea cozies, not hats! I drew designs and tried them out with no luck. I used my own hats and made patterns out of them to no avail. I bought an actual hat pattern, modified it with a sheep head, and it completely failed. I have more than a half dozen creepy, weird, or disastrous looking attempts at sheep hats in a basket in my sewing room.
A couple weeks ago I finally had a breakthrough. What if, instead of trying to make a hat look like a sheep, I try to make the tea cozies work as hats? I put a tea cozy on my head, pinned it where it needed to be taken in, and went from there. And, voila! It worked!!
It’s incredibly ridiculous and I have trouble believing people will wear a hat like this, but it has been received with rave reviews by a few friends. I have to figure out sizing next. This is the “adult” size and I’m sure more kids will want to wear this than adults. So I have to figure out kid head sizes. Then I’ll take the plunge and make some up. I am hoping to get into the Powderhorn Art Fair again this August. I should find out on Friday! If I do – there will be sheep head gear. =)