Pattern Review: the Happy Stacker
Heather Bailey's Happy Stacker. Oh, this project. For me, it was a doozy.
You know how some projects you just jump into and you lose track of time and before you know it, you're done and a whole day has gone by but you're so happy with what you made you don't even care about experiencing missing time?
This was not one of those projects for me. I wanted to make it as a gift for a friend who had her baby several months ago. I was all excited picking out coordinating fabrics from the scrap bin in girliy girl colors with pretty swirly patterns. But that's where my enthusiasm waned and my pace slowed considerably. I would cut out a piece here and there. I would look at the stack of supplies for it I had set at the end of my cutting table, and I would beeline for something, anything else to work on. I don't know why I wasn't into it, but I just wasn't.
Then, I made a lunch appointment with said friend. That way, I KNEW I'd have to tackle this thing and finish it once and for all!
The center pole was easy enough. Awesome! "Why was I so unenthused about this? It's fast and easy!" I started thinking.
Then came the rings. Herm. The first one is a tricky business. The pattern instructions do a pretty good job of explaining how to properly turn and twist them as you sew to create lovely little fabric donuts, but even so, things remained somewhat of a mystery until I actually made one. Somewhere in there I started thinking, "This thing should be called the UNhappy stacker."
But the second ring was indeed easier than the first. The small rings are a little patience-testing, but the bigger ones are not so bad. I ended up basting a lot of things into place and then machine-stitching over my basting.
As my stack grew, I found myself more and more pleased with the project and less and less frustrated. (There's definitely a learning curve.)
When it was done, I wrapped it all up, ready to give to my friend. I'll confess: I was a little fretful about this gift. I don't have kids and am not really in the loop on baby presents. I honestly have very little idea what moms might like for their budding progeny. I was slightly fearful my friend would open it and have to conceal her horror at the monstrosity I had created.
Well, I needn't have worried. When I handed the oddly shaped parcel to my friend, her eyes got big and she asked, "Did you actually MAKE something for us?" When she opened it, she gasped and loved it and had all those reactions gift-givers dream of. (More importantly, her little girl went straight for it when mom got it home.) And you know what? Her excitement made all of the frustration so worth it, I started on two more for a friend who's just had twins (and who I hope doesn't stumble across this blog).
So in the end, I give this pattern a thumbs up. I struggled with some parts of it initially, but once I was up to speed things went along fairly easily. And I am compiling a list of fabrics I'd like to use for future versions, including Eek Monsters, The Poky Little Puppy and Dr. Seuss Prints. There are so many fun cotton print collections, it's easy to coordinate to match the design theme of any baby's room. So if you have an new mom or soon-to-be mom in your social circle, odds are she would love a hand-made gift like this for her little one.