Saturday 25 May 2019

Secret Valentine Exchange Part IV - Cedric

The Secret Valentine Exchange is usually an annual, big circular gifting pool for creative people to make something for an unknown recipient for Valentine's Day.

It's foundation was in the lovely friendship between Sanae Ishida and Ute. With Ute's absence from the virtual craft world, this year it hasn't gone ahead. But, to honour those two wonderful women I've decided to run with it and create a Valentine's style gift every month until next February.

Let me introduce you to Cedric....

I was in Fibresmith a few months ago and found these wonderful embroidery patterns by Amy Kalissa on sale. Each pattern had a principal character, an emblem and a phrase, set out as three separate iron-on stencils to stitch.

I'm not much of an embroider-er but these patterns sold me with the quirky characters. Meet Cedric:

"Cedric is your stereotypical hipster, although don't tell him that, as far as he's concerned, he's a complete individual who does not subscribe to mainstream views. He fashions cushions out of scarves found in op-shops, manages to attend the opening of every new pop-up store within a 10km radius of the CBD, drinks pumpkin chai lattes with a pinch of nutmeg and enjoys going to Bingo with his posse.
By day, Cedric runs his own café, where customers flock to experience his famous deconstructed hot chocolates, Foie Gras Poutine and Trout Ice-Cream."

Just your regular inner Melbourne hipster really. 

Each of the patterns is intended to be stitched with variegated embroidery threads designed by Amy Kalissa. 

Before heading out to the country for Easter I noticed the little quilting shop in my parent's home town was listed as a stockist for these Cottage Garden Threads. So I packed an embroidery hoop and a bit of this quilt backing cotton fabric from the stash. Turned out they didn't stock the particular Namesake range intended for these patterns so I made do with ones that looked similar.

At least, I did until I realised the designer intended for me to stitch blue eyes on a tabby cat. Well that's just wrong and I couldn't come at that. My cat got green eyes instead. And now, you know, it really bugs me taht the whiskers are black. Cats simply don't have black whiskers. No matter what the cat colour, the whiskers are always white. Of course white whiskers on a pale background was never going to work, so as much as the veterinarian part of me is irritated by it, the whiskers are black after all. :)

Because I'm quite capable of laughing at myself, check out my first attempt:

I'd completely failed to see the instruction to only use two strands of the embroidery thread. No wonder it was looking so chunky in comparison to the example in the instructions. I had no idea that those multi-stranded embroidery threads were ever split! Lesson learnt.

Here you can see the iron on transfer. PSA - if you're doing this at your mum's house using her ironing board, put something under the fabric lest you end up with a permanent hipster cat tattooed on your mum's ironing board cover. Just sayin'.

Buttonmania came through with teeny tiny 5mm doll buttons for Cedric's cardigan. A quick phone call and they were in the post and arrived the next day. Thanks Buttonmania!

So where has Cedric gone to live? I delivered him today to Marisa
I've been a blog following fan of Marisa's for many years. She makes gorgeous clothes for her daughter and uses so many great Japanese sewing book patterns. I can always, always be tempted into buying yet another pattern book after a visit to her blog.

She had requested a stitched portrait of one of her own cats, but you know, a craft gift is never quite you expect, right? :) 

Not that her cats aren't great. One of my favourite photoshoots is when her cats met a tiny Arriety - check it out

It was lovely to catch up with her in real life for a coffee and I thoroughly enjoyed stitching Cedric for her.


  1. Thank you so much, Shelley - I absolutely adore Cedric! He's a very thoughtful and beautifully-made gift. Looking forward to seeing your other 'valentine exchange' creations!

    1. Cheers Marisa. It was a delight to make him for you.

  2. So wonderful...and I love the colour of his scarf! Like I commented on your eyes are the right call! Too bad there wasn't some sort of white/clear embroidery floss that would show up well enough on this fabric to get the right whisker look...

    1. Thanks Gayatri. Definitely had to be green eyes, right? The whiskers would nee dot almost be a fishing line type translucency or a pearl white but there's no way nylon would behave to stitch with...

  3. I just found the Amy Kallissa website...eeks...

    1. Oh I am sorry, first Vanessa Mooncie and now Amy Kallissa! :)

  4. Now running to check the colour of the lover's cat's whiskers.... And I've only ever seen blue eyes on a Siamese cat.

    Love the embroidery. Cedric is cute!

    1. They were white, right? :)
      Apart from Siamese, the other cats that sometimes have blue eyes are all white domestic moggies. Blue eyed white cats are often deaf, so certainly a cat who needs to stay indoors, out of the sun and off the roads! That would be fun to stitch on a dark background, but I don't know how I'd get the iron on transfer to take...


I get a real kick out of knowing you've visited the blog and love to read comments. Thanks.