Handmade Toy

One of my favorite design projects is when I made a toy for a baby shower gift for some dear friends.

They had the wisdom and creativity to request that each guest create a gift out of recycled items. I knew I wanted to make a toy and that I had a wool sweater that I had felted to make the fibers merge into a thick pile, and that the color of this sweater was a wonderful, fun purple.

I started by cutting off a sleeve of the shrunk-down sweater, and I stuffed it with some old rags. I propped it up and folded and pinched the top, until I discovered that by doing so, I created some cat ears, so at that point I set out to create a cat. Then I came upon some old rag wool socks and started to put parts of the sock onto the purple form, and by trying on various pieces of sock I created an outfit and legs and arms for my woolen feline. Designing in the “cute-factor” was another delightful part of this project – keeping within the recycled idea, I put beans on the bottom of the feet so they’d have weight to hang off of a shelf. It was definitely by trial and error that I discovered what makes cute features as opposed to just descriptive one. A sweater is cute on a cat, but a sweater that is too short and allows a belly button to peek through definitely has a higher “cute-factor”.

I had trouble letting go of my toy cat, but found solace in the hope that its recipients would enjoy owning him or her as much as I delighted in its creation.

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