I don’t know if I could survive a year without hunkering down in my studio during the cold months of January and February. It’s like a gift of time, when you can focus and get things done, without warm weather distractions. My plan is to make as much progress as possible on my picture book My Bed: Celebrating Children’s Beds Around the World. The summer deadline looms large and no matter what I do, the process cannot be sped up. So, that means stitching in front of the fire in the evening, too. I’m not complaining – this is my happy place! For the past year or so, I’ve been sharing photos of the book’s progress on this blog, with more frequent updates on Facebook and Instagram, which a follower called “a daily dose of eye candy.” The story, which features children in different cultures and living environments, was written by Rebecca Bond and will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2020.
Today, I’d like to show how I made a two hump, or Bactrian camel, which will be a spot illustration to go with the North African scene.
UPDATE: I am thankful to Anna from Alaska, who pointed out that African camels are the dromedary or one-hump type, which shows sloppy research on my part. So, I’ve just transformed this guy’s two-humps into one! It’s better to find out now, before the book is printed and smart little kids write in to correct me!
For a guide, I used this wooden toy camel that I made in the mid-80’s, when I went through a period of cutting out shapes on a jig saw.
The legs were made by wrapping embroidery floss around a bent pipe cleaner, just like the dolls’ limbs in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk.
Here, I’m stitching a blanket with fringe to the simple cut-out felt shape of the camel.
The chain stitch is becoming my favorite way to “draw” and “color in” with thread these days.
I stitched the front and back pieces together with a blanket stitch. But before that, I sewed the seed bead eye in place and embroidered the heavy eyelid. The bead is probably set inside a small slit, cut into the felt. Sometimes, I can’t remember exactly how things are done, which is why these peeks behind the scenes are really too vague to be tutorials.
I cut out a felt ear, outlined it in blanket stitch and and sewed it to the head. I like to add details, even in the smallest of figures and thought that a little hair on the head and neck would make this camel more distinctive.
Here’s an even smaller camel, which will be included in another scene in the book. I think I’ve reached my size limit with this one!
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