Stitching a Wool Felt Rhino

Late last spring I met and visited with Abby Gilchrist, co-owner of Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast, Maine. I am fortunate to live nearby this charming shop filled with everything a craft or sewing enthusiast could possibly want. 

We talked about patterns, classes and sewing with wool felt, my textile of choice. I found a book not yet in my collection, 'Stitched Safari' by Japanese designer, Tomomi Maeda. Abby graciously gave me the book in exchange for my making a shop sample from one of Maeda's patterns.

Excited, I went home and got started right away on the rhino. I traced and cut out all of the pieces and put them in a pile; it was a pretty big pile for a small felt softie. And there they sat. For the summer. 

A few weeks ago, as our beautiful Maine summer began to wane, I found myself back in my sewing studio ready to work - designing, sewing, writing tutorials and pattern instructions - all the things I love. And there was the pile of rhino pieces.

For the last week I worked diligently on my little rhino. Though I've been sewing for a long time, this project was a challenge. It was, however, fun to focus on something new and imagine the time and energy that went into the design with each and every curve and twist.

This morning I posted a WIP photo on Instagram and now, (it's noon), here is my completed project. Hooray! What a satisfying feeling. Won't it be nice to swing by Fiddlehead and deliver my half of the bargain to Abby. 

A little closer look - my rhino (in the foreground) and the one on the cover of the book (bottom right):

I won't be making another one any time soon :)