Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sewing Snakes

Oh, we’ve been doing stuff. I just haven’t been posting much here… That’s all I’ve got to say about that…

My grandmother’s house was always full of magical stuffed creations. Cats, I remember mostly, and these stuffed “old folks” made of stockings… I’m sure there were other things (many, MANY other things), but those are the ones I remember most clearly. I’m sure she sold them (or maybe just gave a lot away!?). I had a few at one time or another butonly one remains – my elephant – who is sadly missing an ear.

I also have a touque she made for me when I was five. But we’re talking about stuffed critters right now…

Anyway I’ve long thought about making my own stuffed critters (inspired by my grandmothers creative output) but never really got around to it. I have to admit, I don’t really know how to sew. I don’t have a machine. What little sewing I do by hand. I learned how to do that because I was a super-keener cub-scout and my mother quickly tired of sewing multiple new badges onto my uniform every, dang week… So she showed me how to sew them on myself and washed her hands of it. Everything else I sort of figured out on my own…

I got to thinking more about making stuffed critters again lately. Even signed out a few how-to/inspiration books from the library (or picked up a few from cheapie online book outlets…). I have a small box of sewing supplies and even a bit of material I’ve picked up over the years during an inspired moment (I even made a few hats a couple years back, later I made a few more with a machine… but didn’t post any pics…). When my mom was asking what she could get me for Xmas I asked for some stuffing (like to stuff plush toys with) and some material and anything I’d need for making simple toys. So she bought me some stuffing and material and passed along some supplies she had – some of which may have belonged to my grandmother…?

This week I finally got around to trying something out with the kids. While I have some pretty grand plans I had to do something super simple as they have never done anything like sewing ever… something small they could actually accomplish in a couple hours and not get frustrated and give up. At one point in our discussion about what to make Finnegan suggested making snakes. Boom. That was it. Snakes are… when you straighten them out… more or less a straight line. How much more simple could it get than THAT!?

(Remember: click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version)

Finnnegan sorting out thread. He picked up on the making knots and threading needles bit pretty quick and was off and running in a hurry.

Keira sewing along. I honestly thought she’d be quicker at it for some reason. She seems better with fine details – at least in her drawings – and can spend hours devoted doing one thing… She had a harder time figuring out how to make knots and getting started her stitches were huge and loose and she kept dropping the thread off the needle and having the hardest time getting it back onto the needle…

Finnegan started out great technically but as he got to about the halfway point sewing his snake he lost patience or just got too excited and HIS stitches – which had (surprisingly) started off nice and small and even and straight – got very long and erratic!?

What ever… he was having FUN!?

There is something truly… liberating…? Mind-blowing…? For kids to discover they have the power/freedom/creativity to make their own damn toys!  

Somewhere in there there was a moment where it was like: “hang on… if we can do this… We could make ANYTHING?!?

Anyway… the snake… We started yesterday afternoon. I finished mine in the evening. The kids had to finish up theirs this afternoon .

Finnegan and his snake.

Keira took a bit longer.

Keira and her snake

Our family of happy snakies (mine is the longer one in the middle). What do you call a group of snakes? I’d jokingly called them a herd and was promptly informed that that was WRONG – that herds are only herbivores. (Someone should tell that to Robert Kirkman).

A tangle of snakes? These snakes are so short and straight I don’t think they’re in any danger of getting tangled. Ever.

The kids interest has been piqued and have realized the possibilities are endless, so I think there more… soon…

Stay tuned.

The kids and I did a series of self-portraits for Amanda for Xmas. One of these days I'll get around to posting pictures of those.... 


  1. Cute!

    I know what a "touque" is (though SpellCheck don't), but have no idea what "machical stuffed creations" are. I'm guessing it's also something Canadian.

    1. It was supposed to be "magical"...


  2. It's way cool the way you do hobby stuff with your kids!