12 December 2008

Did you really think we were done with ducks?

And yes, I have acquired a few more into the collection.

The bad news on that front is that retailers like Cost Plus Imports have figured out that there are big time rubber duckie collectors and they are no longer discounting the seasonal/holiday themed duckies. The good news is that they aren't ratcheting up the regular retail pricing.

Now, onto the knitted ducks part of our programme.

Photos and blog postings about the duck additions and the square progress will be in a forthcoming blog posting or three.

One of many things I wasn't crazy about in the original McTague pattern and finished duck was the lack of separation between the leg and the foot of the duck.

To be fair, the original pattern did not work foot and leg in one piece, but even with the knit and sew story, the foot and leg's stuffing flowed as one and that leaves us with a duck who seems to be continuously on webbed pointe.

I'd already decided that I wanted the feet to be a bit less "stuffed" than the legs and created a template to cut some quilt batting in the general shape I wanted the foot to take.

As things worked out, I augmented the double thickness of quilt batting with a bit of ploy-fil to get the "just right" foot look I was after.

The executive summary of what I did was that I used crochet and the "wrong side" of the work to my advantage and achieve the sort of thing I would have worked external stitching to delimit the planes back in the day when I doing soft sculpture with a needle and thread rather than two needles and yarn (with the odd crochet hook into the mix).

The somewhat more detailed bit is that I sewed the legs to the body and stuffed them. I squished, I fussed, I stuffed some more and when I was happy with it, I shoved all the leg stuffing up into the leg bit.

In my case that was the end of the decreases, in another that might be start of increases or where the bits were sewn together.

In any event, I turned the foot bit inside out and single chain crocheted the adjacent garter ridges to each other. In doing that, I created an invisible, but highly functional, channel/seam between the leg and foot.

I could then stuff foot separated from leg. Just because, I continued the crochet rather than sew bits together but did add a bit of sewing to cinch up and heighten the webbed illusion of the foot.

If I were doing soft sculpture or puppets, I would secure the two resulting planes together with a few basting stitches to keep foot and leg -- if not perpendicular -- at least not parallel.

In a full confession/disclosure mode, my end product duck has less than symmetric feet and less than symmetric eyes but he's damned cute.


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