Let me begin with a bit of a back story.
When I was 16 or 17, I got my first real job. I worked at a chain fabric store, well-known around these parts. I was pretty pleased to have the job - I wasn't slingin' fries, or selling clothes - and I did sew, so it was a decent fit.
I made myself a dress from fabric and a pattern the store I worked at carried. It always got me lots of compliments. One day the store manager told me she'd like me to make a sample of this dress for the store. I was thrilled, charmed, filled with excitement! The fabric was selected - an expensive fabric I wouldn't have dreamed of picking out on my own - but since the store was paying for the supplies, it was their choice. Things were bagged up and sent home with me. I completed the dress in a timely fashion, to the best of my abilities. I even ripped things out that weren't quite right, and went to extreme lengths to make the dress look polished and well-made.
I brought the dress in to the store, glowing with pride. The women I worked with fussed over it and told me how lovely it was. I was feeling very good about the whole thing, so I was a little confused when (weeks later) the dress still wasn't on display in the store.
Eventually the store manager called me in to her office to discuss the dress. She told me it was so poorly made that she couldn't dream of displaying it in the store, that no one would ever want to make, let alone wear something that looked like that! She told me I would have to pay for the supplies and get 'that thing' out of the store. Being young, and being cowed, I did. The 'problem' with the dress? At the top of the zipper, the 2 sides weren't identical. One side was 3mm higher than the other side. I had ripped and re-sewn it over and over, but it never came out right.
My confidence was terrifically shaken. In fact, I still rarely wear what I sew. And the expensive dress, I think I wore it twice and then got rid of it.
So when I was asked to make a store sample of this pattern for Shall We Knit? I was both pumped, and terrified. I look at the finished object and worry. I know it's adorable. I know I did a great job with the details. But still . . . I see spots where the stuffing is showing, or where one ply of a stitch escaped. And I worry. Of course, if I were forced to keep this one, that might not be so bad . . .
Mavis Bacon Teaches Typing (Ravelry project link)
Yarn: Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton DK. Not exactly a cheap yarn - I do have to say, Sweet Pea's Sally is made from it, and it withstands a beating! While it suggests a handwashing, I've thrown it in the machine on more than one occasion, and Sally still looks like new. And of course, pilling and 'fuzzing' is highly unlikely in a cotton. I highly endorse this yarn, knit at a tight gauge, for stuffies.
Pattern: Rosie Pig from the Organic Cotton Kids Collection. Really sweet book, with some perfectly lovely patterns in it. Most notably, the collection of barnyard animals. Adorable.
I am a firm believer that when making toys, it's the finishing details that make or break your project. When I first gave Rosie her eyes, she looked like this:
And I just didn't like it. She lacked personality. So I did a little soft sculpting, and made her eyes look like this:
Much better. Still not perfect though. When I added her eyebrows . . . .
Magic. There's the personality.