Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Year of the Rabbit Sewing Kit

Have you heard 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit? That sounds good to me; rabbits have always been associated with luck, so I hope this will be a lucky year. Rabbits are also symbols of the coming spring, and I am pretty sick of blah winter rains and no sunshine.

I wanted to make a little "extra present" for my sister, who just had a birthday, but has been studying hard and deserves a little extra something just for being herself. As she and I both have a fondness for cute little woodland animals, I decided to make her gift rabbit-themed, to go with the new year, and lucky, sunny wishes. I made her a cute little sewing kit, including a needle book, a white rabbit measuring tape, and a little needle felted rabbit teacup pincushion. 
The tail of the white rabbit measuring tape is a ball of needle felted cream wool, which also serves as the pull tab for the measuring tape. I used a tiny shell button in the center of the rabbit to trigger the mechanism for retracting the tape. I decided to keep the design simple and not include any details in the rabbit except for a green eye. The rabbit body was made in much the same way as my owl tape measure.
The needle book is 6" square, with one center page. I fused Timtex between the layers of fabric and felt to make the books cover very rigid (more "book-like" than most fabric books). On the inside, I used little panels of felt to separate each type of needle. There are also some pockets for holding sewing machine needles, a needle threader, and a pair of Japanese thread snips. I found a little piece of vintage velvet ribbon use as the tie. For the heavy needles, I sewed down two rows of a Japanese crochet cotton lace I purchased from Daiso in Vancouver; the larger needles can thread easily through the holes in the lace.

Here is the inside of the needle book: 
The pin cushion was the most fun of the three little projects to make. I really love needle felting. It feels like magic crafting. Before I tried it, I didn't know what all the fuss was about, but now it is my favourite thing to do late at night. My rabbit is made of grey and white felt wool, his eyes are black seed beads and his nose is a few stitches with pink embroidery thread.  I really like the expression on the little grey bunny. He looks like he was disturbed from his lunch of felt buttercups by a nosey crafter, and he is just waiting for me to look away so he can go about his business.

There are a lot of other teacup pincushions out there. The first time I saw the beautiful little worlds in a teacup made by Mimi Kirchner, I knew I wanted to try to make one. My teacup is like a very simple version of the beautiful scenes she creates.

Happy Chinese New Year!


  1. i've had (year of the) rabbit crafting on my mind too. what a treasure of a gift!! i love all the connecting pieces that come together with one theme.

    you have a very pretty site here!

  2. Oh, all is beautiful! Great gifts!
    I'm in love with the fabric you used for the needle book: can you say something about it? Can I buy it in e-shops?
    Thank you!

  3. Everything is so adorable! :) And that needlebook is the most detailed and useful one I've ever seen.


  4. What a lovely and thoughtful gift! Your sister is sure to love it - how sweet!!!

  5. MadameRenard: It is a pretty print isn't it? I bought this fabric online from Omiyage. They are a Canadian company but their website says to email them for international shipping options. They seem to be out of the blue/green colourway I used in this project, but they have the purple and natural versions which are really pretty too.

    The selvage says "CO-CO-CHI E style Designed by Kokka Made in Japan" Omiyage describes the print name as "Woodscape". The fabric itself is a cotton, and is a medium weight fabric, not as heavy as canvas, but still in the "home-dec" category.

    Good luck finding some for yourself! It is always a challenge finding these Japanese prints

  6. after a preliminary search I found another site in Australia that seems to have the blue/green colourway: Kelani fabric obsession. I have never ordered anything from this company before.

  7. Gabrielle, your stuff is gorgeous! BTW,if you ever need anything crafty from Japan, I can send it your way--just let me know. I'm going to open an online store soon for fabrics and other things that I see all around me but don't find an easy way to buy online.

  8. I love these rabbits! What a beautiful gift, and a very lucky sister!

  9. Oh, how I would love to have a sister as special as you. Any one of these would make for a great birthday gift...but all three?

    Love, love, love the idea of covering a tape measure.

    The felted bunny is oh so cute. The pink nose just makes him pop off the teacup.

    I saw the needle book on Pinterest and had to see what you had done and if there were instructions. I hope to do more crafting this year which means more sewing needles floating around the house which is always a dangerous thing with two cats. You've inspired some ideas that I hope to try.

  10. bonjour! trop belle la trousse à aiguilles!