A few weeks ago, Little Tiger and I visited Collective Upcycle, a pop-up shop that inhabited the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood from mid-June until the beginning of July. The shop showcased the work of thirty local artists and every piece was created from recycled materials. One of the featured artists was Kris Barnes, a teacher of Little Tiger and The Milk Belly Princess. Little Tiger LOVES all kinds of arts and crafts. She currently wants to be an artist when she grows up, so knowing that Miss Barnes is an artist who shows and sells her work is like knowing a rock star for Little Tiger. She wouldn't be more excited if she sang "Itsy Bitsy Spider" with The White Stripes.
We spent quite awhile at Collective Upcycle browsing through all of the different pieces. Little Tiger saw the majority of items as potential craft projects and asked if we could go home and make at least a half dozen different things. The biggest hit, by far, were the Knitwits, dolls that Miss Barnes made from felted sweaters and yarn. As soon as we left the store, Little Tiger wanted to go home, shrink some sweaters and make her own "Sweater Friends" as she called them.
So we got started. We washed and shrank two thrifted sweaters. We knew that while we wanted Miss Barnes' dolls to serve as our inspiration, we wanted to make them our own too. The Knitwits had facial features made from felted yarn, but we decided to delve into our vast button stash for eyes instead. While we were at it, we decided to sort the buttons.
The Milk Belly Princess wanted to help, so she was in charge of sorting her box of buttons into two piles of light and dark. After she sorted her buttons, she handed them over to Little Tiger who sorted them by color.
We sorted and chose our buttons, sewed on faces with embroidery floss and our Sweater Friends began to take shape.
Little Tiger is not quite finished with hers and wants to surprise Miss Barnes with it, so she would not let me take its picture. Here are two that I finished. I have two more in the works on my sewing table. I have to admit, making these little guys (gals?) is addictive. I wonder what our family members will be getting in their stockings this Christmas?