Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Wretched hedgehogs

Despite a mounting sewing To Do list I managed to fritter an entire dispiriting, awful day on making a family of wretched, half-finished, troublesome, ugly hedgehogs (I'd only wanted to make one, they became a family only as my reject pile grew bigger). I woke thinking of hedgehogs this morning as the still heat reminded me of a day spent sitting on our front doorstep as a child waiting for our cat Beanie to come home...he never came home but I do have strong memories of hearing rustling from the flowerbed and the flicker of elation that rose in the belief that it was my cat about to emerge from the undergrowth. It was actually a hedgehog, the first I'd ever seen, and I don't think I've seen another one up close since. Perhaps the infrequency of my hedgehog sightings (one every 32 years being relatively low) holds the key as to why I seem to have been so incapable of sewing something that resembles a hedgehog today.

Drawing a pattern for a hedgehog foxed me for longer than I might have imagined...but then I suppose it would - I don't often venture into the realm of softies and I'm not especially good at visualising the flat parts that make up a 3D shape. But then once a pattern had been drawn the sewing and stuffing brought yet further to stop it from looking so irritatingly seemed an impossibility, no amount of putting tucks in around the cheeks could convey the longer snoutiness of a hedgehog. Some were abandoned with only one ear, others without the nose being embroidered on...and so a family of disfigured hedgehogs was born. Standards slipped as I grew weak with the knowledge that this was a doomed project and that every hour spent 'having one more go' was an hour when I should have been doing something else.

How seamlessly a failed softie can repurpose itself into a this case the pins surprised me by helpfully going some way to giving the illusion of spikes...but even in its new utilitarian guise it looks more ratty than hedghoggy.

It is days like this when I lose my faith that I can sew or will ever manage to sew anything nice again...I felt like weeping at 3pm when it was time to pick the little Teacakes up - such a waste of a day: not only in time, but also general happiness and morale. I feel miserable (and a little dramatic - perhaps it's the heat). I will be staying away from stuffed animals for the foreseeable future. I had decided to make one for each for Zebra-girl and Dinosaur-boy's holiday bags (bags of goodies to be opened an hour into the journey - as you can see the blue colourway never met the light of day)...but in this case, I think I may actually buy some. Grrrr. One of those rare times when making things by hand feels all wrong.

When I went to the school I bumped into my lovely friend Tamsin: couldn't they just be mice she asked. That seems like such a reasonable suggestion...but no, they could never be mice when in my head they were meant to be hedgehogs. To allow them to be mice would be to accept my own uselessness. Also they don't have tails.

I'm so sorry to rant. I'm very much hoping that I shall wake up a normal person in the morning. x


  1. Oh Florence, I know how you feel, I hate days like that when no only do you feel like you've failed but you've wasted the day. The cats would love them filled with catnip! Make something tomorrow that you know you are ace at and restore your confidence. Your past work is ample evidence that you are a top sewing diva.
    Hen x

  2. I think they are gorgeous, and I'm sorry to hear that some have been disgarded with one ear!!

    But if you really want tips about hedgehoggy-ness, I'll see if I can help- we have regular visitors and I have close contact! LOL!

    Hedgies are surprisigly snouty, with a long thin snout, and a big round nose like a black pea on the end. Maybe have the face longer and slimmer?

    You've got the ears just fine but if you have them the same colour as the face they might be less mousey.

    Also, they have stubby almost triangular tails, which not many people know. But people WILL know that mice DON'T have tails like that, so it might help to have them-?

    And their undersides are very furry, so maybe if you had felt for underneath and then a different material on top, because the contrast between the 2 is very marked if you get a particularly hairy one!

    They also have legs at least an inch and half long but if you're not bothering with limbs don't worry!

    Go onto to Amazon and look up children's books about hedgehogs and look at the covers- the illustrations in kids' books will exagerate the characteristics of the animal and might be more helpful than a photo, or the real thing, in deciding what makes a hedgehog hedgehoggy.

    Hope you don't take this as criticism though as I think you're brilliant!

  3. Hi Florence, i think they are lovely,although perhaps it was the ears that made it more mouse like,as you dont usually see them disguised against the prickles.Not that i am an expert!lol!
    Im sure the heat does not help, i am impressed you were able to sew as i have had trouble to concentrate on the smallest task!

  4. don't be miserable, all crafters have bad crafting days. i've thrown in my stuffed animal towel a few times, but you find the patterns and methods that work best, and you really can make some cute stuff! check out this deer pattern i mauled

    i think the hedgies are a great start actually. i agree that the ears make them look mousey, i would take them off totally, and add some felt triangles or something for quills, and there you go! a whole hedgie family, when you started out only making 1!

  5. So, they don't look like hedgehogs. They are really, really cute though--so why do they have to look like something from the real world? Maybe you could just call it a Critter and let their cuteness speak for themselves. (Speak for itself? My grammar brain lobe seems to be on vacation--lucky thing! But, you get what I mean--they really are cute, if not of this world.)

  6. I think those hedgehogs are adorable!

    April xx

  7. Hi!
    My husband just looked over my shoulder as I was reading and said "ooh, I like those hedgehogs"! If that's not a good sign I don't know what is! ;)
    I love them too, hedgehog-like or not, they are very cute!
    Love your blog!

  8. Can I add my twopennorth? Hedgehogs have a sort of peak where their fur/prickles come down a bit onto their forheads, and their ears ars are more towards the sides of their faces, not very obvious in reality, They have a heart shaped face.
    This might help..ignore the poorly legs.

  9. I sympathise with your frustration :-( I have hardly any idea what a hedgehog should look like - we don't have them here. I have to say that your what-ever-they-ares are still awfully cute though - not that it helps when they don't look as you want them.

  10. Oh dear Florence! I know exactly how you feel, i'm sure we all do. Your frustration is so evident. They are rather cute but I don't blame you for not carrying on with them. Perhaps a more textured fabric, rounder body and a pointier nose which goes up at the end would do the trick? Or you could make Miss Tiggywinkle type hedgehogs which might be easier? Or perhaps just try bunnies instead? I would hate to think of you buying things for the children's holiday bags!!

  11. ps: cheer up! I think we're all a bit 'ratty' in this heat!! xx

  12. I thought they looked like hedgehogs!

  13. hello, I think they are cute! and they definately look more like hedgehogs than mice.
    : )

  14. I can completely understand your frustration that they don't look the way you wanted them to, but I think they look like hedgehogs. So sweet that you're making those holiday bags for the little teacakes - an idea I may have to steal for my two!

  15. Dear Flossie - you know they DO look like hedgehogs! (or at least the one in the picture does). He is really rather cute and lovely and full of hedgehogness.

    But, I understand your torment as you are a perfectionist which is why you make such lovely things. Please do not feel disconsolate, you are so very nearly there - no not perfect yet but very very good. Take a breather, then go back and you will see what we see (and not some kind of hybrid rat), then have one last bash and I know you will do it to the standard you want and the children will be thrilled. You're not really going to give up now are you? And let a little hedgehog get the better of you. No of course not. Good luck! and I look forward to the perfect hedgehog, which can then sit along side all your other perfect things.
    love Siobhan

  16. Well goodness, thank you so much for all your lovely comments - you have cheered me out of my hedgehog depression and given me so many useful pointers as to where I might be going wrong...that as Siobhan suggests...I may just have to keep on trying!

    Thank you so much - what lovelies you all are. x

  17. They aren't wretched at all ... cute little hedgehogs. You can make really cute hedgehogs out of wool pom poms too. x

  18. I think they're quite delightful hedgehogs, actually! Though that may be partially because I am particularly biased towards hedgehogs in general. . .

  19. I know what you mean, I had the most difficult time with such a simple doll pattern (the legs), that I wonder if I can really sew!


  20. These hedgehogs are so adorable! I knew that they were hedgehogs right away! Please don't give up on them! I'm jealous that you can get even this far making up your very own softie pattern from just an idea in your head!

  21. Lovely blog!
    I will link you on my blog and I'd like to invite you to visite also my blog :D

    Laura from Italy

  22. I think they look like hedgehogs. But maybe they would be more hedgehoggy with ziggy-zaggy backs?


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