Hmmm, Poinsettia - is that how you spell it?
Anyway, I have finally finished my next bear! She is a bit of a strange one - but I am really proud of her, for lots of reasons. I started out with the aim of altering my panda design. I was really happy with Benjamin, but I thought he would look more panda-like (in terms of demeanor) if he were leaning back more.
So, I was making a cotton prototype of the new leaning-back design. It took absolutely ages to get right, because of the weighting. The head is the heaviest part, and usually I would put bags of steel shot in the feet to counter-balance that. With the new design though, the head was so far back, that wasn't sufficient: she was still over-balancing. I tried loads of things. Eventually, I ended up with steel shot in the feet, steel shot in the stomach, and using an extra-lightweight stuffing in her head, neck, arms and upper body. And her feet still sometimes don't touch the floor!
But she no longer over-balances, so I decided that I was happy with that - the feet-in-the-air-thing just seems to add to the nonchalant panda pose.
Anyway, having made this cotton model, it was so sweet, I thought I really ought to make her into a proper, full-colour bear. First I patched her body all over in recycled denim, so she has this really cute blue onsie. Then I thought she ought to have a jacket. I'm really chuffed with how it turned out. It is the first item of clothing I've ever made (for a bear, or anyone else). Usually my mother makes the clothing, but she's a bit tied up right now. It took me about twenty tries - and that's no exaggeration - but I think I finally got it right.
Anyway, she was left with a very white face, hands and feet, which looked wrong, so I ended up patching the body over with yellow cotton. This gave me a chance to cover up all her original seams (although she'll be a nightmare to repair, should she ever need it) and to give her wrinkles behind her ears (see last pic), which is a feature I always wanted to try. Glass eyes, clay nose, embroidered mouth... I think she turned out really well. In case I forget to measure her later, she is almost exactly 11 inches, sitting.
There are a few disadvantages to the patching technique. Because I didn't turn any edges in, I had to fray check them all, which has left her a bit... crispy? And I expect the fabric will continue to fray a little bit - even with the fray check - so she will look tattier and tattier as time goes on. And, because I patched her after she was jointed and finished, there are necessarily areas where the white cotton shows - particularly around the joints.
I don't think that's a problem for her though: she is an 'odd'-looking bear - I think that's just part of her character. It is nice to create something that looks (and indeed, is) a bit experimental. We'll see if anyone likes her. In the meantime, it's onto the proper leaning-back panda!