Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Still Sew!

I am one of those uncertain, insecure people that sews, but still can't quite fully admit: I sew. I usually focus on the skills I have yet to master... button holes, tailoring, following written directions. Outside of Robotics Season, my blog actually has more posts about things like sewing, quilting, embroidery, and also chickens, and cats.

Anyway... from about January through April, my sewing ambitions are mostly put aside, unless I am making Maria a new apron for FRC. Or, dabbling in alliance gifts, and mini-mascot fun, like my finger puppets. I made those to amuse Maria when we were in Atlanta. But right before the robotics competition in San Diego, Suki asked me to volunteer to revitalize/resuscitate Perry-Parrot-Ox, the team Mascot... this small request propelled me into one, big sewing project.

Our original mascot was lovingly made, and a good likeness of the ever evolving Parrot-Ox. It was also care worn, very, very heavy, and even a bit dangerous. Ask anyone who was ever accidentally gored on the dance floor by one of Perry's horns! As Suki and I looked over the mascot suit, it became apparent that repairs and improvements might mean as much, or more, work, than starting from scratch.

So. I began from scratch. Incidentally, there are no patterns for a Parrot-Ox. Working from a pattern for footie-pajamas, I began formulating a plan to create a lighter, softer Parrot-Ox, with action wings! Suki mentioned something about getting our human hands Paradoxed. And we both agreed the perilous weight of the motorcycle-helmet-mascot-head had to go!

The wings, to have movement and form, I decided would need to be attached to the sleeves... from the shoulders, and partway down the arms. The torso and legs are the brown ox. The head is feathered parrot, with ox horns. The head was the part that was freaking me out, so naturally I saved it for last, and let it torment me for as long as possible.

I wish I had taken more photographs of the process of making the head.
Gee, why didn't I take more pictures?
Oh, yeah because I was freaking out, severely burning my finger, and also freaking out!

I don't make patterns. Well, actually. I DO make patterns, but I am not trained in this skill, so it's hard, and stressful. I found an old ball cap, hot-glued foam to give it dimension. (Burned my finger. Strangled the hot glue gun, then buried it in an undisclosed corner.) Basically I was sculpting-sewing-gluing soft materials, and trying to create the impression of a parrot. Not a chicken, which was an issue.

Honestly, I did cry. I was convinced that I had taken on an impossible task, and I would have been happy to be relieved of this one... Isn't it gnarly, to be faced with something that utterly confounds you, and yet must be accomplished? Totally gnarly. I could not give up. So I just kept tweaking, tucking, stitching and sort of sucking my breath when it looked like it might, possibly be coming close to reality. And I cannot forget my helpers: Max stuffed the ox tail, and it looks perfect. Maria stuffed and fluffed those ox horns. They are outstanding!

Challenging myself was a bizarre mixture of stress and fun, which when finally completed, was even satisfying. The part where I thought I could be letting down the team was painful!

But... I think... it kind of... sort of... worked.

It's made to fit many sizes. It closes with Velcro, and feels comfortable, soft.

Marketing vp, Lonnie, and Outreach vp, Sammay

And it looks something like those Paradox plushies marketing made last year.

Team president, Nathan, never wanted to take it off. Which, I took as a good sign.

Suki demonstrates the clever sleeves that make even human hands look and feel Paradox!

And no matter how crowded the dance floor was, no one could claim that the Paradox gored them.

I love the wings... they fly! I love Suki's gratified expression... she soars!

I love that everyone is proud to wear their Paradox colors, and cheer for their team. Lonnie's spirited attitude is so beautifully, quintessentially yellow, red, and blue... so Paradox!

Wow. I can't believe I got through the whole post without making a single pun. I am sew pleased.


test said...

This is sew great, I can understand about not having taken more pictures, I do have the same problem when I am concentrating on a project, or having a great time with something I forget to photograph the progress. You are not along, sew relax and have a cup of tea.

Miriam said...

Way to go Natalie! I remember being reduced to tears by a sewing project more than once. In fact I still have a "Feel better - I love you" note my little sister passed me under the door when I was sobbing on my bed (I was about 14) because of a seam I had to rip out for the third time. Your project has had a much more successful conclusion than mine did, I must say...

Anonymous said...

This looks great, Natalie! I think you did great with the parrot head.

Susan said...

That's great! I can't make anything much without a pattern, or at least detailed instructions. Love the bright colors!

Anonymous said...

You are so talented, thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope your finger doesn't take too long to heal. x

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Random... button sewing is all it takes... from there you can take it all the way! I appreciate your salute. I think you have described it perfectly... comfy, comfy, comfy. We hope cooler weather prevails!

Michael... sew, you like playing with words! You had me in stitches with your needling! ))hugs(( for my fellow camera enthusiast.

Miriam... the conclusion is the part to focus on... parts along the way were not worth documenting. What a sweet thing for your sister to do. I think a note like that could have given me a much needed boost.

Nikkipolani... thank you! After giving the beak a few tweaks it stopped looking like a giant chicken, which was a relief!

Susan... patterns are a good guide for me, but they also frustrate me, because I find them too vague at points. Yeah, those colors! We do stand out!

Lusks... the finger is well. Aloe Vera saved me. It was a nasty burn, and it made me mad! It's hilarious how indignant I can feel about these things... *I am too busy to be sick/injured/stranded etc... * lol I think the success was more bull-headed perseverance than talent, but I appreciate the praise. Thank you.

Tiglizzyclone said...

You are so talented! I collect fabric with dreams of creating! Then it sits.