I wanted to make something special for my two-year-old Step Potato who was expecting a little brother. When you’ve been the only kid for two years, an addition to the family can take some adjustment. And what happens if you need some attention at night but Mom or Dad can’t get to you right away because Baby Brother is wailing in his bassinet? I knew Step Potato was going to need a friend he could lean on during those tough times. After thinking it over, I decided Step Potato could use a scary looking monster who would be a loyal friend, assistant and protector. The monster also had to be soft and throwable. Most importantly, Step Potato needed an experienced monster who could deal with the sort of despicable creatures who live under children’s beds at night and who could watch over him as he slept. That was how I decided to make J. Monster Baskin. When the going gets tough, the tough get sewing.
I took a wool sweater and felted it in the washing machine. It was nice and soft. Monster ready. So, I had my material, but what kind of monster? The monster had yet to emerge.
I got a piece of heavy plastic, drew a monster pattern on it with a marker and cut it out. This was a very slap dash process as the pictures show, but the creature was starting to make himself known.
I cut two identical monster shapes out of the felt and pinned them together in preparation for sewing. That’s when the complaining started.
“Ouch,” he yelled, “That hurts! What do you think I am, a pin cushion? Watch it sister! Yaah!”
Do you know how disconcerting it can when something you are sewing yells at you? (Actually, it’s happened to me before so I wasn’t too alarmed. Still, it was rude, don’t you think?)
“Dang, that’s sharp, lady! Where you gonna put that? Yikes! Ooch!!”
“You just take a chill pill and calm down, ” I warned the monster, “If you squirm in the sewing machine I just might stuff you with Rice Crispies and throw you to the pigeons. I mean it now.” (Actually I didn’t mean it at all, but he quieted down right away. You have to be tough with these guys.)
I think I heard him sob a little as I sewed him up. I was determined to sew him right the first time so I would not have to resort to the seam ripper. Stuffed monsters put seam rippers in the came category as Medieval instruments of torture. I do have some compassion.
Now he looked like J. Monster Baskin. I started to stuff him with fiberfill. He didn’t make it easy.
“Oof, Oof,” J. Monster groaned like a linebacker. “Wait! Yowl, he screamed, “Watch where you’re putting your fingers, lady!” J. Monster warned me as I poked fiberfill through a hole I left in his side. I thought I saw him blush.
“Hey! That tickles-Watch what you’re doing! What’s that? Ha! Ha! You’re killing me Stop, stop! ” J. Monster got the giggles and started racing around the table. Whenever I tried to grab him he would wriggle out of my grasp. I was getting exasperated.
“Quit it, come back here, lie down and let me finish!” I ordered him, “Unless you want to be some pigeon’s girlfriend,” I added. He sobered up fast and came back muttering under his breath. But he let me finish stuffing him.
I hand sewed J. Monster’s last seams. He was very brave this time and didn’t cry at all. Now, anyone who has ever seen a Western knows that removing the bullet is much more painful than being sewn up. Still, I thought J. Monster endured the procedure well; quite an accomplishment for a young monster. But J. Monster was panting. I thought I should let him rest after his ordeal and left him sitting by the sewing machine while I went to have dinner.
“Hey! Where you going?” he called. “Come back here –You’re not finished yet!!”
J. Monster didn’t know I was in the next room because he didn’t have eyes and he couldn’t smell dinner because he didn’t have a nose. So how could he talk? He didn’t have a mouth either. Maybe you can tell me.
I returned after dinner and fashioned a nose for J. Monster from a piece of stuffed felt and sewed it on. Then I needle felted him some bloodshot eyes and a pair of monstrous eyebrows.
“So it was you all along!” he said looking at me accusingly,” It was you the whole time! Why I oughta. . .” I started to feel a bit apprehensive, but then he seemed to forget all about the pinning, sewing and stuffing. Stuffed monsters don’t have very good memories you know.
“Kid?” he croaked.
“What?” I asked.
“Where’s the kid? he demanded.
“Step Potato!” he growled.
“He lives with his parents in another town,” I explained.
“Oh,” he paused. “How we get there?”
“By car,” I answered.
“I drive. We go now!” He hopped off the table and scampered for the door.
“Wait, not yet,” I explained, “We’re going in a couple of days.”
“Not yet?” he squeaked looking at me mournfully. (I didn’t know monsters squoke.)
And for the next few days, J. Monster kept asking me “When do we leave, when do we leavewhendoweleave?”
Finally the day of departure came and I carried J. Monster to the car.
“Me drive,” he reminded me. (As if I would let a monster drive.)
“You’re riding in the trunk with the baby quilt,” I informed him, ” and be glad I’m not shipping you by mail!”
The whole way to the Step Potato’s house I heard a voice coming from the trunk. “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?Arewethereyet?”
We finally arrived and I delivered J. Monster Baskin into the arms of the Step Potato. He hugged his monster, then promptly threw him against the dining room wall. I thought I heard J. Monster Baskin sigh contentedly.
And would you believe that J. Monster has not said a word since? At least not to me.
Monster waiting impatiently to leave for the Step Potato’s house wrapped in the baby quilt. I will post the story of the baby quilt next week.