Hello again toy-lovers!
I've been working on a lot of new patterns and designs recently - and first on my [very long] list was a series of tiny versions of big cats! I'm really looking forward to showing them all off, and there are some sneak peeks hiding all over my social media, but before that I had a very special commission to show off!
Oh hey there, little guy - don't be shy! Come on out and say hello!
A very dear friend I've known for a long time has been following me and my toys online for a while, and has always been a supportive fan, and reached out to ask if I could make her daughter an ocelot! I've made plenty of tigers and lions before, so making an ocelot seemed like a great project! Batting some ideas back and forth a few times, and I happened to mention I was working on making some mini big cats, and she suggested I could also make some kittens for this lucky little ocelot!
So the base pattern for the mama ocelot was fairly simple - just a handful of gradient panels to show the light patches of fur and facial markings. Adding the muzzle shape in fur was the next step, a little pattern drafting on the fly! Then came the fun part - and by fun part, I mean fiddly and time consuming, exactly how I like it - adding all the facial and body markings! I added these once it was stuffed, and hand stitched them on with a mixture of appliquéd black minky [sometimes known as plush cuddle online!] and embroidery thread. As you can see from my photos [more on that in the footnotes] there are a lot of different types of markings - including large areas of black and white around the eyes! This all meant a lot of work, but I really enjoyed all the intricate work - and then replicating it on the mini-me kitten!
It was so much fun adding the spots and splotches all over! Whilst I followed a mostly symmetrical pattern on either side of the body, there were subtle variations and quirks that added to the character of this mama ocelot, and gave her a lot of charm. I may have fallen in love with her a bit, especially with her big green eyes. I attempted experimenting with eyelids with her, sometimes I've come back to over and over again and still haven't found a solution I like!
Once I had finished the Mama, I moved on to the kitten. I shrunk the pattern down to the ratio I wanted, having already edited some of the elements. Ocelot kittens have big ears when they're little so I made the little guy's ears kinda goofy! They're also really fluffy, which is adorable, but not very helpful when I wanted them to match! Shrinking down some of the panels for the Mama to the mini was very fiddly but I think it was worth it!
Look how cute he is playing on his mama's back! What a lil scamp.
I had a lot of fun working on this commission, and I might be able to make some more kittens down the line to join the little family as ocelots often have three or so cubs at a time!
So until then, I guess Junior is just going to have to make the most of being king of the castle!
[A note on my photography! So you may have noticed I've bought myself a little photography studio set up. It's just a white backdrop but it's made it a lot easier to take photos, particularly for Etsy listings! It's still not perfect, I often find I want to fill all that white with backgrounds and plants to create colourful set pieces and I'm still struggling to light it correctly. I've made a few light diffusers and hopefully will be teaching myself some more photography tricks soon, just to improve the overall quality of my photos! Fingers crossed!]