*I began learning to machine sew when I was in the fourth grade. I took lessons after school at the Girl's Club. Years before that, my grandmother taught me to sew by hand. Having those skills has helped me immensely, but I really hate to sew.*
It's my intent to use felt for the characters' eyes, but I can't find my felt stash that was so handy just a few days ago, so I opt to embroider the eyes rather than waste time searching anywhere and everywhere for my bundle of scrap felt. I choose to use yarn for the assembly process instead of the recommended traditional sewing thread because I like the homespun look that yarn stitching gives to a piece. I suppose I'm something of a purist; I believe a handmade item should look professional, but still handmade. I'm also afraid the kids will tear apart the finished dolls if I use thread.
I sit down at about 8:00 a.m. and begin assembly. Being the organizationally challenged person that I am, I bounce from part to part and put together pieces willy-nilly. Although I really begin to lose steam by 10:00, I'm dead set on finishing at least the two Toads before my nephews get home from school at 2:30.
I catch a second wind as the dolls begin to take shape. I begin to zone out and start composing this commentary in my mind as I work. All in all the assembly is fairly easy but very time consuming. I'm able to finish both Toads and assemble most of Toadette by 2:25, just in time to stage the pieces for the boys so they see them immediately when they walk into the house.
My back aches; my hands hurt; and I really need to have lunch (chef's salad). The squeals of delight and hugs make the pain worth it, but I vow never to do a marathon sewing session like that again.
The following morning, I start right after breakfast and finish Toadette for my niece. She's more interested in her teddy bear. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.
The best thing about the assembly experience is that I now know how the pieces fit and, if I ever decide to make this pattern again, I have devised a plan that will cut down on the hand sewing immensely. It has also given me a better understanding of amigurumi patterns so I can confidently move on to other projects of this type.
What would I change? That's easy. I've learned to be more trusting of the pattern/designer. Looking at the finished pieces, I can see how the larger cap would have worked, but I would still need to adjust the last row to fit it properly to the head. I think I may have overstuffed the cap a bit because it's a little too tall. I'll chalk it all up to experience and move on.
*One last plug: You can find the pattern for Toad and Toadette along with a bunch of other great patterns by Linda Potts (WolfDreamer) on her blog http://wolfdreamer-oth.blogspot.com/2009/08/toad-and-toadette.html.*