Friday, January 13, 2023

Another finished item

 This may have been the thing that took the longest, even though it's the smallest. I always forget how much effort the little crocheted critters are.

A while back (like October or early November), I had ordered a pattern on Etsy (from someone in Estonia! That's the beauty of .pdf patterns - people around the world can sell them and you don't need to wait for the pattern to make it to you through the mail). The shop is here. The pattern I bought was for the mini Paddington Bear.

I've long been fond of Paddington; I read the Michael Bond books when I was a child, and I remember watching the various incarnations of cartoon/stop-motion versions (Back when I got Qubo, they often showed a block of cartoons that had been made in the 90s - I think it was a joint French and Canadian effort? At any rate Paddington sounded more North American than the usual British accent they give him*)

Also, I like the recent movies - they are surprisingly good for movies that go a bit more "slapstick" than I remember the books being, and for having changed the character design very slightly (as compared to the drawings in the books - I think the ones I had had the Peggy Fortnum illustrations?)

(*In the movies, his British accent was explained as "he learned English from an explorer from Britain," because really? A Peruvian bear that could speak English would have a South American Latin accent, you would think. And in the cartoon I referenced, Aunt Lucy did speak accented English - I guess Peru's major language is Spanish?)

Anyway. I always liked, as a child, how he was polite (if rather accident-prone) and wanted to help, and the main way he got his way was with a "hard stare" that he leveled on whoever was doing wrong (he also had a very strong sense of justice and right and wrong: when things he did went wrong it was either because he was over-eager to do a good job, or he was clumsy; he was not mischievous). The "hard stare" was rather effectively portrayed in the recent movies. 

Anyway, as a kid, I related to Paddington. I never really had a stuffed one; they were out there but most of them were imported and were expensive. (About 15 years back I belonged to a shortlived mail-order book club that allowed more choices, and one thing I bought was a bundle of a big hardback collection of the stories and a small plush Paddington - with his duffel coat and tag and yes, even black ears underneath his hat. )

Anyway, the pattern I bought was for a "mini" bear, but it required fingering weight yarn. I prefer to use acrylic for toys (more durable, and for crocheting, easier to work with/more sculptural) but of course it's very hard to find fingering weight in the colors I needed. But one of the nice things about crochet toys is you can use ANY weight yarn as long as you use the right size of crochet hook. So I bought a couple of shades (chocolate brown and a very light cream) of the "Skein Tones" Lion Brand put out for dollmaking (it comes in a wide range of skin tones, though the pale cream is too light for even my pale skin). And then a couple skeins of another of their worsted acrylics in red and blue for the hat and duffel coat.

I don't remember how big the original pattern said the fingering-weight bear would be but this one is just under 8" tall. It was a complex pattern but it worked up well - most of the body is worked all n one piece so there's minimal sewing up at the end.

The coat has a little hood on it, even:

I sewed his hat onto his head so it wouldn't get lost (but if I wanted to, I could clip the couple stitches and make it detachable). The coat will take off but it stays on well, and it has buttons and button loops to hold it on (the buttons are actually tiny vintage buttons from my mom's stash). 

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