I strayed off the quilt road this week. In the town where I now work there is a charity second-hand bookshop so I like to pop in and see what's come in now and then to add to my extensive collection of craft books - yup, I buy books about crafts I don't even do, I just like the pictures.
Anyway, whilst I was there I picked up these books on making stuffed toys. And herein lies another tale (but it is part of the story of this post). When I was a small girl I had a friend who went on holiday every year to Budleigh Salterton in Devon, a very traditional, very posh, very English seaside resort. Every year she would buy from a little shop there, a delightful miniature mouse made of felt, with covered pipecleaner arms and a dress made of gathered silk ribbon. Let me tell you, I craved those mice, they were so tiny and so pretty, but they were obviously handmade, probably by someone local in Devon so I had no chance of having one myself. I also suspect that they might have been quite expensive and that I wouldn't have been able to afford one anyway.
I've never forgotten those little mice, and I've never seen a pattern for them, I've tried to make my own over the years but failed miserably. So when I bought these books I had a little look for any mice patterns and lo and behold - there were mice patterns in the Beatrix Potter book, but to be honest they looked a bit rat-like and evil, not what I was after at all. But ... in the Jean Greenhowe book, Favourite Toys, was just the thing I was looking for - a little mouse made of felt. I made a few alterations to the dress to make it more gathered and to add a shawl or a collar but the basic pattern was fine. At almost 3 inches tall they are probably a bit bigger than the ones I remember from my childhood, but I think it's the closest I'm going to get (and anyway, I couldn't be bothered with pipecleaner arms). What I like most about the pattern is that they have such nice smiley faces. And for someone who doesn't do much handsewing, making them is getting quite addictive.