(The pattern for the Bridgette Bunny Pillow is available at Crochet Spot! The pillow itself is available for purchase at the Ginger Peachy Store!)
After finishing up the Diplodocus Dino Mini Pillow the week before last I left myself with only about 7 days to prepare a pattern for Crochet Spot. This is terrible, I know. No matter how many times I tell myself to think ahead and plan projects where I will have plenty of time to work without cramming I always end up doing it anyway. Thankfully, I already had some ideas and could start actually crocheting at the beginning of the week.
My initial idea was to make a 2D chocolate bunny. I sketched out probably three to four designs with real bunnies as reference, throwing up my hands in despair each time, before turning to the ideal reference for cute character drawings: Beatrix Potter. This next sketch is the result.
With a little help from Peter Rabbit, I had worked out a plausible 2D rabbit idea. As much as I love to design and draw my own ideas, I always have to rely on reference photos for a truly splendid piece.
Brainstorming for this project had reminded me of a pillow that one of my siblings had had of an animal shape with the details printed on. Maybe it was a bunny as well but I can't remember. I recalled those type of pillows or stuffed animals being the thing at the time and did a search to find out what they were really called. It seems animal-shaped pillows is an adequate name and they are growing popular once again. I found many shops on Etsy that sold various versions of the idea.
After working out the sketch I chose a cream yarn instead of brown for multiple and, at the time, undefinable reasons.
I was flying by the seat of my pants, guys. But that is, in fact, the way I pretty much always work. I used two pages of notebook paper to scratch out a vague outline of how big I wanted my bunny to be and where to shape it. This sketch was my diagram and I worked the first pillow panel accordingly, as you can see.
I am grateful that it worked out so well, only having to rip to improve the development of the ears. While following the pattern this piece may only take a few days (or a day if you can work without causing yourself great physical pain) but designing is a different story. Even if you don't rip and start over again and again (like I have had to do with certain projects) crocheting is slower because you are thinking through each row instead of blindly following an already perfected pattern.
Once I had the first panel completed I began the tedious business of writing down what I did. Wouldn't it be nice if the pattern could write itself? When crocheting the second panel from the instructions for the first I discovered an error of one stitch: all my rows for panel one were even while all my rows for panel two were odd. Since you can't see me, just imagine me rolling my eyes in remembrance of my frustration. I had to examine nearly the entire first panel again and compare it to the new panel to find which held the mistake. Apparently I crocheted the second panel directly according to instructions but made a mistake that I didn't catch in the first panel. But long story short, I decided to leave both panels as is, and instructions as is, and continue on. Looking at the bunny now you could not possibly tell that the back panel contained one more stitch in practically each row.
Before joining the panels I had to tackle the task of creating an adorable face. A terrifying procedure. I already had the face I wanted to create as seen in the sketch but could I embroider one as cute? Let me tell you, if you don't already know, embroidering on crocheted stitches is much harder than embroidering on a smooth cloth or canvas, and I am no expert at embroidering anyway. I ripped the eyes, eyelashes, nose, and mouth a good handful of times but all in all, I am very pleased that I was able to capture the expression in the sketch so well. Why did I settle for a bunny with a curious expression? It just seemed to fit. Maybe it felt like a Beatrix Potter thing to do.
I knew that joining bunny shaped panels was going to be a little more involved than joining two squares, and I also knew that I would have to stuff the bunny while doing so. As you can see in the picture, I worked from the right side to the left, increasing and decreasing at indentions and points. At the point in the picture I realized I wanted to embroider pink ears rather than use felt. I have never been able to get felt to look right. I chose a simple partial starburst pattern for the ears and then proceeded to stuff them before completing the head.
I stuffed the head and then joined the body. Then I realized now would be the opportune moment to surface crochet the paws because I couldn't do it with the fluff in it. When planning a pattern I like to think it through, do it right and do the math if necessary. But there are many occasions when I feel like the best way to tackle it is to guess. Doesn't sound very scientific, huh? It all depends upon my experience in the technique and whether I am sure I can present a professional result. Sometimes, its just good to guess in things like this.
Using stitch markers as guides I surface crocheted two little arms over the front panel.
For the finishing touch I grabbed some vintage, floral ribbon I had bought and not used for a previous project and tied a bow around her neck. Meet Bridgette!
I am thrilled --for a change-- at how it turned out!! I am so glad that I chose cream and beige for the bunny instead of going for brown because this pillow looks like a toy straight out of the Victorian era. I can just see it sitting on the window seat in the Darling's nursery amid a plethora of other stuffed toys while Wendy tells the boys a pirate story and Peter Pan listens from outside the window.
The success of this animal-shaped pillow (at least with me, we'll see what the world thinks after it gets published at Crochet Spot in a few days) has spurred on other creative thoughts in line with recreating vintage toys and animal-shaped pillows. I can see a hedgehog pillow rapidly taking shape!!
As always, thanks to my sister for her superb photography! The outside shots are usually mine but I let her do her magic in the "studio" because I pull my hair out every time I try.
So what do you think of my Easter contribution? A little vintage bunny for a vintage Easter! If you are interested in the pattern, it is available for free at Crochet Spot!
However, I have the bunny itself up for purchase at the Ginger Peachy Store on Etsy! Stop by to get yourself your very own Bridgette Bunny Pillow!