April 21, 2011

When is an Otter, not an Otter?

When I was designing the patterns for the book, on the whole they came together very easily.  I guess my 12 years with Coats Crafts UK came in handy here.  There is a knack to putting together a project which is intended to be made by other people, and when I'm doing the sewing part, in the back of my mind I'm making note of how straight forward it is on the basis of if I'm finding it hard to work, then I need to think of a simpler way.

It's not that I'm dumbing down the projects (which, as an aside, I did find the recent 'dumbing down of quilting' debate really interesting, that's a blog post all in itself, maybe next week when the kids are back at school), it's more a case of designing in a way that can be easy to explain in words, in a way that appeals and looks achievable to both novice and more experienced sewers, and in a way that brings each animal to life with a quirky character while retaining some realism.

The Otter was the one I struggled with the most.  It was because of him, the decision was made to code each project with a guide (easy, moderate, slightly tricky).  He's 'slightly tricky'.  Not because the Otter is hard to make, it's just he has more separate body parts, so there is more to join together which means it'll take a bit longer to complete.   When I first began designing him, I went for a horizontal body position,

which once I'd finished, decided didn't work.  He just didn't look Otter-like enough, his face was too narrow which made him look too ratty.  This version has been living on Lucy's bed ever since.

The second incarnation in an upright position, I felt, worked much better.

Have you been following the book tour??

So far, at Whip Up there's the pond pattern, a lovely review from Bari J (how pretty is her blog??), and interview with me by Scott at Blue Nickel Studio's where I use the words 'numb nut', you'll have to go read the interview to find out why, and today there is a very sweet review at Fat Quarterly.  Don't forget to leave a comment on the blogs taking part to be in with a chance of winning a copy of the book and also going through to the draw for the Robin softie.

Follow the rest of the tour here ::

friday 22nd april - ric-rac 

saturday 23rd april - syko 
sunday 24th april - lucykate crafts (that's me, web chat 9pm UK time)

monday 25th april - treefall design 
tuesday 26th april - i heart linen 
wednesday 27th april - sometimes crafter 
thursday 28th april - plush you 
friday 29th april - allsorts

ps, I'm going to try and do a trial run of the web chat this evening (as in UK evening), so if you're around on Twitter later, I'll be after some volunteers! 


Tiffany said...

I like the rat version of otter #1... he is cute :) Otter #2 is def. more otterlike, but all your creations are fantastic... glad he found a good home!

JO SOWERBY said...

good luck with twitter i'll see if i can pop over. loving the hop and the otter is lovely in both cases. Jo xxxx

julia said...

i'm so excited - amazon told me that my order of your book is on the way...yay!!! (initially they scheduled the delivery for the 3rd week of may...i'm glad that i won't have to wait that long).
love the otter!!! - either version :)

Jodie said...

Hi Amy, I have just posted about your book -it is already Friday 22 here ....The book tour has been great fun so far and I thought your interview was great.

jojoebi-designs said...

Hi, your book looks great, can't wait to get my mitts on a copy. I just wanted to let you know that you can also get your book via The Book Depository which has free worldwide shipping (great for those of us who live in far flung places).

WoolenSails said...

I haven't heard num nuts in ages, lol.
I can never follow patterns, I look at the pictures and the pieces and usually figure it out that way, if I can't, then I look at the individual instructions for something I am stuck on.


Sarita Leone said...

Big congratulations!

Tita Carré said...


Uma feliz Páscoa para vc e td a tua familia,beijokas....

Lise said...

I just discovered your blog and I have to say... I love it ! Your animals are so funny and beautiful and I see you also have a book, wow that's great. :)

Beth said...

Thanks for sharing your creative process. Sometimes people forget just how much thought, work and imagination goes into creating something as lovely as your beautiful otter. Congratulations on the book!

MoeWest said...

I like the 2nd otter best too. I love the face of your fox on the cover!