Evolution of the Love Bunnies!
In honor of Easter’s festivities, it’s time to release some Bunny Love in to the universe!
Here is their story, in a matter of rounds. It all began with a couple of cats…
Somewhere deep in the folds of the interwebs I discovered a really adorable Amy Butler pattern for some super cute cat pillows. A couple of years ago, on the cusp of my first trip to Sweden, I decided to make two of these cuties as gifts: one for each of my beloved Swedish cousins. They’re both older than I, and already have kids, and I figured they could withstand cuddly fun from all ages. Fortunately, they also wouldn’t take up too much space in my luggage, which was already crammed with enough toys and American superhero ephemera to put Santa to shame. These pillows ended up being my first successful sewn stuffed animal project. There were a couple of previous failed stuffie attempts, which forced me to learn some proper technique, and a myriad of amigurumi and origami successes that hinted at what I was capable of.
Somewhat strange, yet oddly endearing, no?
Both were constructed out of upcycled denim from my stash. The black bunny was made out of an old pair of JNCO jeans (I was a raver…those pant legs were HUGE back in the day). The red one was crafted from a bunch of red denim that had been around for ages. This was also around the time that I learned that you can draw, albeit crudely, with a sewing machine. For the white face, I discovered that I actually liked the sketchyness of the back of the fabric I was using to create the face, and replicated that look on both kitties. This was my first taste of riffing on a pattern.
My niece Em insists that these are actually dogs. She, and I, insist that “The Em” is always right.
A few months later, one of my wee friends was having her 2nd birthday. I decided that another cat would be a nice gift. Sticking with the upcycled fabric tip, I cut apart a velvet shirt that belonged to my dad, and scored some really nice dark royal blue base material. It was a bit stretchy, a fabric texture that I had no experience using, hence why the face got a little ripply. Part of the nature of working with upcycled fabrics is that you only have SO much material to work with, therefore mistakes are not easily forgiven. Still cute, and über soft. This face was constructed per the original pattern, however I used a satin stitch for decorative (albeit ruffly) effect.
Hop forward about one year, and a couple of amazing fundraising events came up in my area. Both of these were dear to my heart. The first, the RHyTHMS Benefit, was set up to raise money for two very close friends who had recently been diagnosed with MS. The other, an annual local production of The Vagina Monologues, was raising money for Eve Ensler’s V-Day Foundation and Family of Woodstock Domestic Violence Services, two organizations that do amazing work to assist women and families in need. Since I rarely have any extra cash to donate directly to worthy causes I decided to flex my crafty skills and make some stuff to donate to their auctions. It’s amazing how love inspires creativity…
The bodies are constructed out felted sweaters. I had come across some nice, and far too small/slightly damaged, cashmere/angora/wool sweaters at a clothing swap, and decided to try my hand at felting. I figured this was a good test project for my newest fabric!
I had decided that I wanted to do something totally different for these critters. I played around with pattern a bit, and tried my hand at making some quilted ears. There was definitely enough extra fabric* to give my vision a test drive, and I’m glad I did. These ears were love at first stitch! Ok, truth be told there were many stitches involved, but I thought they had such amazing character, and came out exactly the way I hoped they would. Both of these bunnies sold at auction, for a bit more than I thought they would, and helped raise money for some fantastic causes.
This year I made 2 bunnies to auction for V-Day 2012, at performances of The Vagina Monologues in Kingston and New Paltz, NY. These fundraisers were raising money for the same great causes as last year. Me and my girls did 2 weekends of shows, and I felt the need to spread the bunny love around! I had, in the interim, made a FULL washer load of felt after collecting all of the woolish sweaters that I could find. There is a sneak peak at the top of the page, here are a few more pics. First in line is Mr. Pink Love Bunny:
This super cute little dude was snapped up at the Kingston show, and from what I’ve been told he’s getting along REALLY well with his new family:
The second was the Rainbow Love Bunny! This is the first stuffed creature that I’ve made using the ribbon fabric created as a part of the Ribbon Scrap Art Project! It looked so amazingly vibrant in person that I got distracted by his good looks and only got shots of this guy before he was completely sewn up. This one was picked up at the New Paltz show. I can’t wait to make some more critters with this stuff:
…is coming up soon! I’ll be creating yet another Love Bunny for another auction: the Starlings for Hope Gala, which will be held at the Bearsville Theater near Woodstock, NY. This time around proceeds will be donated to HOPE’S Fund and Starling Productions, two amazing organization in Ulster County, NY. Hope’s Fund connects women with other women in the community, bringing together human and financial resources to create empowerment and improve lives. Starling Productions, nexus of the awesome TMI Project, is a woman owned and operated theater company which is dedicated to fostering creative and personal transformation through the power of performance.
Thanks for reading!
*I know I’ve said enough, but I’m adding a footnote anyway. I use a ton of upcycled materials, but 2 of the bunnies (Sir Black and Mr. Pink Love Bunnies) actually contain accent fabric that I purchased from an awesome company called Sew, Mama, Sew. They also run one of my most FAVORITE sewing blogs on the web! I discovered them pretty early in my new sewing path. That blog, and page after page of funky fabric swatches, has offered countless hours of inspiration, and also kept this lady sane in the midst of a really nasty and abusive work environment a few years ago. I owe them a HUGE debt of gratitude.
Do you want to try making your own cat pillow? Here’s the original pattern I used. If you do, I’d love to see what you come up with!
Birdie the Cat, aka Cozy Kitten Pattern, can be found here.
More amazing free patterns by Amy Butler can be found here.
P.S. – I’d like to dedicate this post to timethief and her amazing post about recovering a lost page in WordPress. Although I never actually lost this post, I had to recover a bunch of info from old drafts because the visual editor decided to disappear for as of yet unknown reasons. Thank you thank you thank you.
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Tags: Amy Butler, art, base of operations, birdie the cat, bunnies, bunny, bunny ears, cat, cats, close ups, comfort, cousins, COZY Kitty, Crabapple Hideout, critters, critterz, DIY, ears, easter, felt, felting, first successful project, flying, friends, get crafty, getting crafty, good friends, hand made, jnco jeans, kitten, kittens, magic, musings, muslin, on the mend, original intent, Peter Cottontail, pieces, pillow, pillows, random, randomness, recycle, recycling, reduce, reuse, ribbon, ribbon scrap, ribbon scrap art, ribbons, sewn back together, snuggle, soft, stuffed, stuffie, stuffies, style, Sweden, The Ribbon Scrap Project, tiny pieces, upcycle, upcycled denim, upcycling, wool