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Christmas Gift: Pet Portrait

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Portrait of SvartingThe first of the hand-crafted Christmas gifts I started, and therefore also the first I will show off, was a portrait cross-stitch embroidery depicting my grandmother’s kitten. This is the project that I posted a preview of back in early August, and it was finished with only a day or two to spare before Christmas.

As a gift this embroidery was very well receive, though not without its bittersweet edge, as Svarting was tragically killed by a car less than a month before the holidays. At that time the embroidery was more than halfway done, so I finished it and hoped it could be a nice memory of the cat, rather than just of his kitten days.

The pattern was generated with PC Stitch Pro 9, and was reasonably easy to follow – I’ve since found some methods for attacking large, complicated projects that make stitch-counting a lot less tedious, and make for fewer missed stitches that I have to go back and fill in, and I’ve also thought of some different approaches to the conversion process that I’d like to try, but overall I’d rate this one a success – it’s a good likeness and close enough to photographic, when viewed in person, that my grandmother’s partner refused to believe it was actually stitched.

A custom pet portrait this size, number of colors and level of detail would run about $700 plus shipping, and have a 30-45 day completion time (I could finish it in less but stitching for more than 2-3 hours  day causes me more pain than I’d be willing to bear with). Frame and matting can be added at cost.

Making of a Bullfinch

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The primary purpose of creating this sculpture was to try out a few techniques I will be using on future projects. Especially string jointing, which will be used for a large-scale project that’s currently very high on my priority list, felting-wise, but also the use of sculpted clay components for felted objects. The bullfinch is also a culturally significant bird in Sweden, which played into my decision to do this specific species of bird.

The core for the headless sculpture (the head couldn’t be finished until the beak dried, as the beak had wool worked into the back of it and was to be felted in) was made in front of the TV one evening. In fact, the entirety of the bullfinch was made in front of the TV, making its way through most of CSI:NY. One of the primary complications in this early stage was keeping the bird out of the cats’ reach.
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