Frankenstein's Cat

Before proceeding, I should warn you that the images I'm about to show you are the stuff of nightmares.

Seriously. If you must proceed, at least cover your eyes.

So I told you I was going to try to needlefelt my pretty Gracie yesterday. Oh my. If I were in a joking mood, I'd say, "Nailed it!" But what I'm about to show you is so horrifying that it's no joking matter. Continue on if you must.

Here's what I was aiming for:

Yeah, that cute little thing on the right there, only with Gracie's coloring.

The book I was working with is all written in Japanese, and so I had only the illustrations to prompt me. Here's what I was working from:

Okay, so I sort of get it. First I made the head. So far, so good. The ears are a little large, but they are the right shape.

Then I gave it a body...okay, it's getting a little weird, but I'm still learning.

Then I added the legs and tail. Hm. Now it's sort of looking like some mad scientist has crossed a rabbit with a cat. There's a problem with the tail, and pretty much all the rest of its parts.

"Oh well," I tell myself. "I'm still learning." Then, what I did next had me screaming and running from the room. It looks a little like the killer rabbit from Monty Python. 

So, what do you think? Which is the better likeness?

Obviously, I need more practice...and another class. 

One thing I know is that the face for the one yesterday isn't made as well as the first one I tried. Yesterday's face is made with a ball of fibers for the head, and then a smaller ball of fibers felted on the front to be the nose and cheeks.

When I did the first one (below), I used a small ball of fibers for the nose, but then even smaller ones on each side of the nose for the cheeks. It's still a scary face, but I think the nose and mouth are an improvement over the one I made yesterday.

This is how we learn, right? Practice, practice, practice. Hopefully, we don't take ourselves so seriously that we give up, because then we miss out on the fun...and the eventual success. These little pieces will remind me where I started, just as my first quilt reminds me where I started as a quilter. 

I'm searching out more classes in the Portland area, and there is one being offered in two weeks on the other side of town at a shop called Gossamer. It's a two-hour class, and they'll be making this sheep:

Cost of the class includes all materials, so what the heck? It occurs to me that in my class last month, I learned to make a human figure, a flower, and a sheep that was only two dimensional. It can't hurt to learn to make a three-dimensional, four-legged creature, even if it isn't a cat. And honestly, can my cats get any worse? It's a frightening question to ponder.

Once I'd determined that the monster I'd just created would not attack and kill me, I got to work making Block #3 for Lisa's quilt. This one is for her husband, Ron. Here's the original block:

Here it is rendered in fabric:

For whatever reason, there was a lot of digital noise generated when I took the picture. I've amped up the saturation to try to get rid of it. The red isn't actually that bright. You can get the idea though. (One of these days, I'll remember to reverse the applique.)

The next one I'm going to do is this one, created by Lisa's son, Michael.

With that finished, I got to work quilting the Aspen Tree, and this will be my focus until it's finished. I'm starting by stitching very close to the edge of the tree in black thread.

The gray fabric is very tightly woven, and I didn't want my needle to make obvious holes in the fabric.

I've shortened my stitch length and I'm using a microtex 60/8 needle. I worried that it might cause my thread to break, but it's going along fine so far. I'm using a rayon thread for all the top-stitching. 

I have a green cotton thread in the bobbin, and here's how it looks from the back...a little hard to see, I know.

Today I'll just continue on with that. I'm thinking that I'll top-stitch the leaves using thread to match the leaf color, but I may decide to stick with black. We'll see. I'll decide once I have the tree stitched. I'm also going to stitch in the characteristic Aspen markings as it was done in the photograph in the book:

I like the way the quilting extends the tree into the border, and I'm going to give that a try as well. I may decide to switch to cotton thread when I do that part.

So there you go...my day in a nutshell. I'm still a little worried about that cat. I might decide to put a little chain around its neck just to be sure it doesn't escape.

28 comments from clever and witty friends:

Kaelyn Angelfoot said...

I think you might need a way to get the felt smoother. There are a lot of wispy threads on your felt cat and that could be causing you issues with painting. I don't really know because I've never tried that technique, hope you enjoy your class?

WoolenSails said...

You cracked me up, that is so funny, lol.
I need to try one, but I need to do it on a day when my hands have better control.
It is fun practicing though, and I would love to do realistic pieces like I have seen on line.


gpc said...

Let me say, first, that you do always impress me. You have so much talent. However (ahem), I almost wet my pants laughing when I saw your latest endeavors. Clearly what you need is another cat. Take the felted ones with you and pick a new friend (or two) who resembles them, then you will look like the genius you are. :)

Tricia said...

I'm sorry...I laughed so hard at the cat. Truly hysterical although I know that's not what you were going for.

QuiltShopGal said...

Super cute #CreativeGoodness.


Marei said...

I didn't the heed the warnings and kept reading/looking. I laughed so hard that I'm STILL laughing!! Don't let Gracie see it or you'll hurt her feelings.

Debra said...

Okay - I laughed out loud too! Thanks for the humor and the LOL today on such a dreary Monday.

Ann Bassett said...

Ooooh, poor Gracie. I know you meant well, but that felted kitty face is too weird for words. Keep trying.

Vicki W said...

OMG, I laughed out loud when I saw the cat face! That's awesome!

LynCC said...

Oh, dear - Yes I was laughing so hard at the face shot :) Some lessons and a little more practice will surely resolve that. ;D

Lisa said...

Oh thank you so much, I laughed till I had tears. I know just how you feel, I fought a throw sized quilt all weekend with a Sunday afternoon deadline....No more small well corduroy for backing.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Hysterical!!!!! Take your zombie kitties along to class and maybe you can get some suggestions on how to 'tame' them. I think another class is a wonderful idea - how fun.

Vicki Price said...

Save the Frankenstein kitty for Halloween! But seriously, I think it can be saved. Maybe make the mouth a little smaller (less leering) and fill in the eyes. Then it won't have that zombie look. I think. Anyway, you're way ahead of me on this and I greatly admire your bravado tackling new skills.

Marlene said...

I started reading and thought it doesn't look that bad and then came the picture of the face. I felt really bad for you but I laughed and laughed at the look on that face. You should be proud that you have entertained so many of us. Hope you enjoy your next class and get some tips for fixing the look. Don't show Gracie!! Loving the Aspen quilt.

Lynne said...

At least you've kept your sense of humour intact!
Love the son's block -- it speaks volumes!
Your aspen tree is looking great!

sophie said...

So ... I was waiting for the barista to make my coffee after lunch today and laughed do loud that a couple sitting nearby were so curious about what I was reading/doing that I had to show them ... and they couldn't believe you were making cars from wool.

Brown Family said...

I'll not say anything about the cat because I know I would stink at felting! I just hope Gracie does not get insulted!

Dasha said...

Thank you for providing me with light relief at breakfast before a long and gruelling day. Loved your efforts with the felt, and have to admit to laughing myself silly. Mind you I would hate to think how mangled my efforts would be. Applaud your "have a go" attitude and your honest reporting.

Dana Gaffney said...

Well thank you, when I saw that face I laughed so hard I cried, so glad I didn't have a mouthful of coffee. I hope you didn't show Gracie, I'm sure she knows she's beautiful but that might shake her faith a little. Practice, practice, practice.

Barb H said...

O. M. G! You are one brave woman to post a picture of the Zombie Cat! Like the others who commented, I laughed til the tears came to my eyes! You have to keep that cat--as is! Just for fun! (You can blame it on Obama.) Seeing all the other beautiful work you do, I know you'll master this as well. Thanks for sending me such a great start to my day!

KMSC said...

Too funny. Thanks for the laugh of the day.

quiltzyx said...

Well now, I thought we were having some little quakes here lately, but now I realize it's just everyone laughing at Beetlejuice the Cat! I think another class will be fun & that sheep is cool.
The quilting is looking good on the Aspen tree. Go Barbara Go!

Dar said...

All this entertainment and for only the cost of turning on the computer! What a stitch you are. I hope Gracie doesn't see her little face nor hear all of us laughing at the sight of it. I think a class will be the answer to your problems, but you are brave to go it alone. Have fun at class.

LethargicLass said...

I would love to say that you are exaggerating and that the cat looks great, but that is one SCARY cat LOL! Maybe hide it from Gracie in case she gets a complex LOL!

Kate said...

Oh my, that kitty is a tad on the scary side. I believe it favors Beatlejuice to be honest. But as you note, sometimes it takes a bit of practice. It's good you've kept your sense of humor about it.

The Aspen Tree is looking really nice. Have fun finishing the quilting.

KatieQ said...

I really admire your efforts in trying to capture Gracie's special beauty in wool. I would have taken one look at the Japanese instructions and given up. The class sounds like a wonderful idea. That I would definitely try.

Janarama said...

You are so entertaining and really have a knack for writing, for sure. This post was hilarious. Don't show this to Gracie she might develop a disorder if she sees it.

Michele said...

Maybe Smitty will think it is another critter and attack it.