Frolicking Teddies – Part One
The “Frolicking Teddies” were created in response to a commission to produce an heirloom Cot Blanket for a much-anticipated first grandchild. In the initial stages of planning, the child’s sex had not been determined, so we planned a gender-neutral design of Teddies. I was also asked to include the logo of the family ice cream business, so in the end settled on a story of exuberant, star-jumping teddies down one side, with the logo in the lower left corner, and a procession of teddies with ice-cream cones in their hands (sorry, paws!) walking from left to right.
Once the child’s gender and name became known, I chose the colour for the logo and embellishments, and then added his initials in the top right hand corner. The initials gave me some concern, in fact. I usually use Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch when I want a heavy line, but when I’d completed the Teddies and the logo, I felt that that would create too heavy an effect in the top right hand corner. I settled on Heavy Chain stitch, which produces a smooth, strong line, but doesn’t have quite the overbearing personality of the Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch.
Since the commission was explicitly for an heirloom, I used cashmere blanketing as the base fabric. Fortunately, since it’s not easy to get in the UK, we were visiting my husband’s family in Australia at the time I was sourcing the materials. It’s really a lovely fabric to work with, and I still have some left, awaiting further inspiration. Or another commission!
The teddies are worked in long and short stitch using Paterna Persian wool. The only challenge there was the tension of the stitches, since it was especially important not to pucker the fabric. At the same time, I didn’t want the stitches to be too loose and snag on anything…
The ice cream cones were worked in stranded cotton, and the logo, initials, and the Teddies’ scarves were all worked in a standard variegated pearl cotton. Each scarf is worked in several rows of a different line stitch – stem, chain, Portuguese knotted chain, and so on. This was a way for my passion for stitches to inform and adjust the design, while remaining closely within the brief.