Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Massive tomato pincushion

The tomato pincushion ottoman is finished. Except it really isn't an ottoman or storage unit. The thing is two feet high and three feet across. And as I was making it, I realized this is the last thing I want stuck in the middle of any room in my house. When I originally designed it though, I was thinking it should have a storage area inside with a lid. Well, it does have a storage container inside but it only displaces lots of stuffing.

Instead of a fancy cover and a way to get to the storage, I simply covered the top with pieces of foam core. Stuffing the tomato was a bigger challenge than I expected. Small pieces of stuffing, such as a t-shirt created noticeable lumps. I wrapped the metal basin with foam held together with duct tape. Then I wrapped those layers with fake fur and batting. I grabbed the largest hunks I had so I could build smooth layers outward. I could also use fur, sweaters etc. that I would want to use again because I no longer expected to keep the large stuffed tomato pincushion intact.

Another challenge was dyeing the cording to match the tomato leaf (felt). I could not get a deep enough green. First, I dyed supposedly 100 percent cotton cording and found that the outer threads must be polyester because they did not accept the Procion MX dye at all. (See photo above). Then I pulled out all cotton clothesline and that accepted the dye. But either the dye was too old, the time in the dye bath too short or not warm enough, or it wasn't meant to any case, the cord came out very dark, but lightened up when I washed it (with extra rinse). And so why did I do that? Force of habit, I guess, because I really had no intention of ensuring that the tomato would be washable. Sigh.

In any case, the final remaining challenge will be transporting this ungainly mass to class. I'm hoping I can strap it to a luggage carrier and roll it. But I will save that adventure until tomorrow.

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