Friday, July 10, 2009

The Way You Make Me Feel....

Ha Ha! Gotcha..
you thought I was talking about HIM didn't you?

Well, this post has nothing to do with music and everything to do with *stuffing*. There is a fine art to stuffing your finished piece.
Stuff too lightly, and you will have a misshapen piece that looks like it's been attacked by the dog/cat/kids.
Stuff too firmly and you have something that is so hard, it's not *lovable* at all.

The trick is to find that balance in between.
For heads of the project it is 99.9% important to stuff firmly.
There are very few exceptions when this rule doesn't apply - however, in works such as
Yarn Arts by Kathleen Early, where you are actually sculpturing crochet; much work is done to create a detailed head that has definition and character. This definition will not show through with just a bare minimum stuff.
Even in simple amigurumi, you want to achieve that roundness and smoothness with your stuffing so it doesn't resemble something that was left aside the road.

It is important - although time consuming - to take small bits of stuffing at a time. This will make sure that all the little nooks-and-crannies get their fair share of stuffing.

Look, you spend hours holding a piece to work to completion, why skimp on the finality.

It is just as important to mold while stuffing. USE your hands as your guide! If making a round shape - the cup of your hand can help!

When it comes to the body, there isn't a set format.
For a 'dolly' which will be receiving love and cuddles from that special little girl or boy, you may want to stuff lighter so that there is a cuddle factor. This doesn't mean barely stuff - you want to still stuff firmly enough so that the body has some mass as well as shape.
However, you don't want to make a rock hard body. Palpitating as you work will help.
If you are stuffing a body for show, such as a thread bear or small doll which will be for display purposes only - you will want that rock hard body.

These factors need to be decided WHILE you are completing the project!!!
Objects which have a firm head and a lightly stuffed body, will need to have a smaller opening; otherwise, the stuffing will eventually transfer it's self to the less filled area.

Eg: Let's say you want to make a doll with a FIRM head, but you want a body that is cuddly. The pattern calls for you to end with a circle that has 12 open loops. (12 sc) f/o.

Reduce this by half using ONLY the inside loops of the remaining stitches.
In this manner, you close the opening considerably, but have the stitches needed - available to you to join to the body as the pattern dictates. Now you have a piece which will have a head that can remain firm and detailed, with a body that doesn't need all that hardness.

The extremities:
Again, the amount of stuffing used will depend on what your finished project will be used for.
A dolly who doesn't need to be able to stand on it's own can have, in theory, unstuffed legs/barely stuffed legs.
In my bears, which are used for display only, are stuffed very firmly!

So what can you use to stuff your pieces?

Well, as far as the stuffing itself, you can use almost anything that is soft and small. Bits of scrap yarn, plastic bags cut up, polyfil, plastic pellets, etc. Everyone has their favorites.

What it comes down to is what YOU feel most comfortable with.

How to use it?

Everything can be used to shovel in your polyfil from blunt pencils to chopsticks to surgical tweezers.
Again, it comes down to your comfort.

Do not be CHEAP or FAST when stuffing a finished project.
You've always heard the phrase "...It's what's inside that counts."

Well, it REALLY applies here.