Dogs are man’s best friend, or so it has been said, which could at least partially explain my enthusiastic love for them. Beyond taking care of my own flesh and blood pup, of whom I show gratuitous pictures of every now and then, I find that every other time I finish tying off a new stuffed animal and weave in the ends, I’ll turn it to face me and find the soulful eyes of yet another pooch staring back. Even when I don’t consciously decide what the end product should look like, my idle hands are known to spontaneously bringing together raw materials and randomly choose to create… More times than not, some sort of incarnation akin to a canine. Sometimes it will be a specific breed, other times a generic dog-type-figure will satisfy my inner mutt just fine. We’re all mongrels when it comes right down to it, so as long as it has two floppy ears, a wagging tail, and a big black nose, that’s good enough for me.
I guess you could say that I found buried treasure even more valuable than fido’s bone hidden in the backyard when I stumbled upon a pattern for a felt scottie – Cute enough to pluck my heartstrings like a guitar, there was no way I could pass this one up. Initially put off by the clear recommendation to hand sew the whole thing, it took a whole lot of courage to actually start making preparations to begin. Accustomed to the soothing hum of my sewing machine, manipulating fabric without it just feels wrong and insufficient. I’ve lost faith in my ability to sew lasting seams with my own hands, and with the impractical amount of time it would require to complete any serious project, I rarely even consider hand-sewing as a technique to include in my own personal repertoire. Nevertheless, without a seam allowance included, my work was cut out for me if I really wanted this sweet pup to add to my growing collection.
Before you start asking me what sort of messed-up scottie dogs I grew up with as a child, I will readily allow that my supplies of felt are greatly lacking. Sure, I use plenty of felt as little accents in crocheted creatures, but each eye takes up maybe 1 centimeter of material, maximum. When you start looking for pieces big enough to actually fashion a full animal out of… It’s slim pickings. After tearing through the disaster area formerly known as a closet for nearly a quarter of an hour, the disorganized piles of scraps and remnants only seemed more mysterious and threatening, not inviting further investigation. Reviewing my find, I was left with the choice of either fire engine red, or plum purple. In only a blink of the eye would, it was clear that purple was the only real choice here. Normalcy be damned, a dog this bizarre would unmistakably belong with me.
Slowly, tediously, each individual stitch was painstakingly sewn before moving on to the next, meticulously spaced stitch. Not perfect, not by far, but the cheerful if simple expression on this adorable scottie’s face made up for all of its inherent flaws. Simple in design, but ultimately satisfying to see it materialize without the aid of machinery, I can understand why hand-sewing could be so popular in some circles. I will still prefer the help of my trusting sewing machine, but every now and then, I will certainly return to the wondeful calm of a simple needle and thread passing silently through fabric, nothing more, nothing less.
Stuffed and embellished lovingly with a heart-shaped dog tag, my newest hound fits right in with the rest of the gang. The best thing about having so many of man’s best friends all together? I can rest assured that in the times that I’m away, they will be excellent guards of the house, and there will certainly be no cat fights.