I originally made some plant pot holders from old carrier bags, but they looked rather underwhelming, so I cast my eyes around for inspiration and found an old tartan skirt that, appropriately enough, I bought in a charity shop when I visited Fay in Orkney. It was an old old Marks & Spencer skirt, size 16 on the label, although the waist measured 26 inches. Floor length, and fabulous – but I haven’t had a 26 inch waist since I was at school and am not likely to ever again.
I considered a cushion, and cut out the right shapes, but it just didn’t feel right.
And then I remembered Peedie 2. Peedie 2 is a replica of Fay’s dog Peedie, that I made for Peter a couple of years ago. Which, when you put it like that, sounds rather weird. Peedie 2 is still a much-loved member of our household, and even met the Real Peedie once (that was an exciting day for all concerned).
Peedie 2 wasn’t my first patchwork dog (although he’s still my favourite). I made a very colourful one for a friend’s daughter, and I have a feeling I might have made at least two more over the years.
And so I set about cutting what felt like hundreds of small squares.
All my other patchwork dogs have been machine-sewn, but I do love sewing patches by hand, and since it was obvious this present was going to be late, I thought I’d take my time. So I cut fabric, and I cut paper squares, and I tacked the fabric round the squares, and I thought I’d taken pictures as I went along but clearly not…
And when I had enough for one side, I started sewing them together. That’s the bit that I love – taking two paper and fabric squares and stitching along the join. I sewed on the train, at a car boot sale, in the garden, and when I should have been doing the housework.
Eventually my creation started to look vaguely dog-shaped.
Once I was part way through sewing the second side, I had the deluded idea that I could finish him in an afternoon. So I plonked confidently on the sofa and switched on an old episode of Kojak, recorded off the tv.
I love Kojak. I wasn’t born when it was on first time around, and was only introduced to it recently, but I’ve rather taken to it. Our futuristic magic tv machine automatically records every episode, which meant that, at that point, I had 67 hours of Kojak available to watch. Hooray!
And so I sewed. And Kojak did his thing, clearing the streets of 1970s New York of criminals and ne’er-do-wells. And after ten hours, I was rather tired, and the dog still wasn’t finished (Kojak was still going strong though).
The next day I thought ‘today is the day! I can really finish him today!’ and so after breakfast I sat down with Kojak again. And I was still there at lunchtime, but at least I had made progress.
‘One more episode and he’ll be finished!’ I thought, with characteristic (and again, deluded) optimism.
Do you know how long it takes to remove nearly 100 paper squares? More than one episode of Kojak, that’s how long. It took three episodes to turn him inside out and stuff him with old cushion fillings. I had to stop and wait til the next day to remove all the tacking stitches that had held the paper in place becase the light was so bad.
But eventually he was done, and temporarily named Kojak (of course).