Thursday, May 16, 2019
I'd been wanting to make a big pear for ages, ever since I made a felted tree in 2015 for the National Folk Festival.
I like to visit my tree every year at the Festival. This year I was thrilled to walk past while a toddler was spontaneously hugging it... so later I had to get a photo of me hugging it. (It's always been a particularly huggable tree.)
Way back in 2015 at the time I was making the tree for the festival's bollard cover competition, things were not going well with our dog. Looking back, I think I finished and delivered the tree just a few days before we reached the decision to have her put down. So I was feeling sad, scared and stressed. I had a couple of very late nights finishing the tree. The night before it was to be delivered, I remember just sitting back in my chair holding it, trying to summon the energy to get up to go to bed. The tree was just the right size to be quite comforting to hug.
I really wasn't keen to say goodbye to it forever and wasn't entirely convinced that the festival would keep and use the bollard covers in future years, so I sewed in a label with my name and number and noted on my entry form that they could contact me if they were getting rid of it in future, or if it needed mending. As it turns out, they have continued to use them every year since - this year is the fifth so far.
And now I am ok with them keeping it! But the appeal of a big cuddly felted thing inspired me to make something on a similar scale. It just took a while to get around to it.
Of course this pear is not actually on the same scale at all - it's the opposite, a small fruit made big instead of a big tree made smaller. But the end result is a sort of similar-sized object. (Though I do consider this a prototype and want to try again and maybe make a bigger one).
I knitted and felted it months ago and was convinced it was a failure. Normally I like my felted fabric to hardly show the stitches at all. This was knitted with very bulky yarn and it just wasn't possible to 'disappear' the stitches. I also wasn't able to knit it in the round like I normally do, so it had a big seam up the side as well. It had to sit in time out for a long time before I decided that it might actually work and deserved to come out in public. So then I some time into the finishing work, improving the appearance of the seam, stuffing it with scrap fabric (as a result it is quite weighty) and making and sewing in a giant stalk.
Then I brought it along to the Suitcase Rummage with me last Sunday - not for sale, just to hang out with the other pears, and for hugging in the cold foggy weather.