When I saw Lynn Krawczyk's Fabric Owl plushies in International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene magazine last fall, I knew I had to make some of my own. Although I usually focus on more realistic looking birds in my fiber art, these little guys just charmed me. Lynn created owls using fabric scraps. Encouraged by her suggestion to jazz them up in your own way, I gave mine patchwork bodies made from vintage feed sack fabrics.
"The idea to make a plushie came about because I kept collecting fat quarters of commercial prints that I couldn't live without. Since most of the fabrics were on the whimsical side and that's not something I use in my artwork, I decided it was time to make my own plushie. I love owls, and that's pretty much how they came to be!" Lynn told Pokey Bolton last year.
|My handmade patchwork versions of Lynn's Fabric Owls.
One of the whimsical touches in this plushie is the wishing pocket Lynn included.
"I think as kids we get all the cool stuff, one of which is the gift of getting to believe in things like the Tooth Fairy and Santa and all things magical," says Lynn. "I liked the idea of adding some of that magic back into my life and thought it would be neat to play off the idea of making a wish. I use my little owls almost like wishing wells; I add little secrets to their pockets that I wouldn't tell anyone else and keep my fingers crossed that they come true," Lynn said.
The owls come together simply. You can download the pattern from our website or make your own. Here are the abbreviated instructions.
1. Trace the pattern on the the wrong sides of 2 pieces of fabric. Pin Piece A (the front) to Piece B, right sides together and stitch the entire seam closed. (Note: if you don't want to add a label to the back, leave a 1½" opening along the seam for turning.
2. Trim away the excess fabric, leaving ¼" of fabric around the body outline. Clip small snips along the curved areas of the seams. Also clip small snips on the inside corners of your owl's feet.
3. Cut a 2½"-long slit in Piece B (skip this step if you left an opening in the seam in step 1). Turn your owl right-side out. Push the ears and feet out with your fingers, then gently push with a blunt object like closed scissors or a knitting needle to completely turn.
|I put my wish pocket on the back of the
owls and added some decorative embroidery.
4. Stuff your owl. Hand stitch the stuffing hole shut with sewing thread if you left an opening in the seam or embroidery thread if the opening is in the back.
5. Cut eyes, nose, and pocket pieces from felt. Sew the letter beads and buttons onto the felt pieces.
6. Pin the pieces to the owl front to check placement. Then sew all the pieces onto the owl with embroidery thread. Don't forget to leave the top of the pocket open.
7. Create a 3" x 2½" label for the back of your owl and stitch it in place to cover the turning/stuffing hole.
I loved the idea of the owls bearing wishes, and that got me thinking about using them in a charitable way.
For the past several years, the Shoreline Arts Trail Open Studio group, of which I'm a member, supports a local charity, partnering with them to increase awareness for their cause and raise money to support their organization. Last year, we supported Community Dining Room, an organization committed to serving the community by feeding the hungry and helping with other basic human needs. As a thank you to my patrons at my Open Studio last November, anyone who made a suggested donation of $10 or more to the Community Dining Room received one of these sweet little owls (while supplies lasted!).
|One of Lynn Krawczyk's
original Fabric Owls.
I love being able to make something with my own hands that can benefit someone else, and I know I'm not alone. Fiber artists in general, I think, are particularly generous with their art, donating everything from fiber postcards and artist trading cards to contemporary wall hangings and patchwork quilts to benefit a good cause. And then there are all the artists and fiber art lovers who support the cause by purchasing the artwork.
As you may know, one of the causes near to my heart is breast cancer awareness. So I'm pleased to tell you that, to recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness month, this week (through 11:59 PM MST on 10/5/12), 30% of all Quilting Daily Shop proceeds go to benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. That's as good a reason to shop as I've ever heard!
P.S. Have you donated any of your fiber art to a cause? What moved you to participate? Tell me about it in the comments section below.