If you’re Rhinebeck-bound, we would love to see you at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night–details here.

Teeny Project Runway: A Contest!

Dear beloved nutcase readers,
Kay and I are proud to announce the first-ever
Teeny Project Runway.
I had a revelation last week during a spasm of knitting for fake chickens to decorate the cast party cake for Second Grade Puppet Show. As I sat there, frantically cooking up outfits for fake chickens, I watched Project Runway, mesmerized as ever. I realized that I had found a way to wallow in the joy of designing clothes. For teeny clients who couldn’t complain.
If you have watched this Bravo reality series, you too have thought: Gee, that would be fun. Or you’ve thought: Shoot, I could do that, too. Or you’ve thought: I don’t sew, never will, and feh on all that.
Well, with this contest, you can (at last!) let out your inner Armani.
Your Mission
Create a garment that perfectly suits your client. Get to know your client, make the most of your client’s assets and minimize the less-than-perfect parts. Fabulousness is key here. Make your client fabulous.
Your Client
Your choice of NON-BEAR, non-human stuffed animal, statue, figurine, taxidermy, whatever.
It can be any size from teeny to a maximum of 24″ (60 cm). We don’t care what sort of animal it is, so long as it’s not a bear. No offense to the bear knitters out there, but we want to see couture for the other species. (Go Google “bear knitting,” and you’ll see what we mean. There’s no new ground to break there.) For those of you who are jonesing to dress your taxidermy bear that Grandpa Phil shot sixty years ago, we’re just impressed that you have access to a stuffed dead bear. But you still can’t dress it for this contest. Especially if it’s bigger than 24″.
Now. Your garment must be completely your own creation. Nothing made from a pattern. Nothing removed from a Build-a-Bear, even if you put it on a rabbit. And we shouldn’t have to tell you this, but no American Girl doll accessories.
The garment must be knitted. Crocheters can go make up their own contest.
Use whatever yarn, whatever materials you like.
Embellishments are allowed, as long as the clear majority of the garment is knitted. Remember: bad trim has doomed many a Project Runway garment. Use it for good, not evil.
How to Enter
Take one perfect, iconic photograph of your client wearing its garment. Pretend you’re Richard Avedon. Email your photo.
One entry per person.
The Deadline
Noon Central Standard Time, Monday, February 25.
The Judging
The winner will be selected by the mighty, taste-filled readers of Mason-Dixon Knitting. It’s like American Idol! Only weirder!
The entries will be posted online. Likely a Flickr group. Readers will have 24 hours to choose their favorite design. We will have two rounds of voting: Round 1 including all the entries, The Finals with the top five entries.
The Prize
Semi-immortality. A photograph of the winning entry will appear in our forthcoming book, Mason-Dixon Knitting: Outside the Lines. That is, if we can persuade our publisher to let us do this, which is very likely given that they’re probably going to be off at some sales conference next month anyway. In the event that we can’t beat the deadline, the winner will receive a swellerific prize that will include (of courser) delicious, squishy yarn.
In Conclusion
Time is short, designers. You have 17 days to dress your client. Make it cluck!
PS If you have a question about the rules, please leave a comment and I’ll respond.

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  1. I’m just wondering where you get a chicken? I mean, they don’t sell anything like that at Costco or WallyMart! Or do they? Geesh, maybe I’ve been walking by them for like years and never noticed!

  2. And be sure your design is …. FIERCE!

  3. Ooh, a taxidermy cozy! You tempt me… strangely.

  4. Does that 24″ mean the diameter or the length of said creature. Also, I hope that doesn’t include the tail, which adds another 13″ or 14″ on my anteater – and I’d REALLY like to use him/her. I can easily make a tail hole for the garment.
    MDK RESPONDS: We were thinking of 24″ as a sort of height thing. Let’s say that tails don’t count in your measurement. We just don’t want anybody knitting a garment for some crazy-huge stuffed animal. I’m guessing your anteater is just fine.

  5. I really need to be working on my wedding vest, but this is awfully tempting.

  6. Ooops, thought of another question. Do we have to keep track of eggzactly how we made the pattern and submit it with the picture – will it be published? Or can we be wild-and-crazy-as-we-go and just create and submit?
    MDK RESPONDS: No patterns necessary–we don’t care how you get there. Just let yourself go.

  7. AWESOMEST…CONTEST…EVER!!! Dude, I KNEW I was keeping my dad’s trophy deer head around for a reason!

  8. I sat down to knit a cape with a hood for a tiny stuffed bumblebee – and then snapped back to reality and realized that if I don’t finish my dad’s birthday present before Feb. 29, it will be another 4 years before I get the chance! Good luck to all the contestants!

  9. Dangit, dangit, dangit. I have the perfect stuffed buddy for this, too… but no suitable yarn, and no time, since I’m making kilt hose and a lace shawl and let’s not forget the sweater for a wedding at the end of next month… and house hunting at the same time. 🙁
    I’ll be cheering loudly from the sidelines!

  10. Haha, I love this contest idea! Now I’m just kicking myself for not buying that stuffed koala in Australia!

  11. I don’t know if I’ll do it, as I’m in Japan until the 18th, and may be asleep until the 25th, but I cannot wait to see the photos and vote. I’ve never watched project runway, but I’m sure this will be better anyway!!

  12. This is the BEST. I am glad you went with stuffed critters – in my experience, live cats do not make good runway models.

  13. Oh, have mercy! How can I possibly wait until September 16th for this book?!

  14. To funny!
    I still love those chickens.

  15. Now I must search through the three million stuffed animals in my two daughters’ rooms to find the perfect victim, um, model and determine what would be best. All this while getting ready to move my yarn store on March 1. Better start looking the clearance bins!

  16. OT paypal does not recognize the Oliver’s fund address???

  17. Bradley, the stuffed animal that has become a family pet, is ready and willing to be my model. [scurries off to find some day-glo orange acrylic]

  18. I just checked Ebay for “taxidermy squirrel”. Who knew amateur taxidermy was such a lively pastime?

  19. In the spirit of the chickens and their handknit clothing, I had to contribute this example of life imitating art, from the BBC news site. The headline is: “Jumpers Keep Chilly Chickens Warm” and the URL is at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/7228859.stm

  20. Just non-human? Or non-humanoid? Can I knit for a Klingon?
    MDK RESPONDS: We realize that this will open up the possibility of a rash of superhero knitting, but we’re going to say that Klingons aren’t human, and if they’re not human, well. They’re fair game.

  21. If I want to put a Borat thong on Jesus, does it fit the “Your choice of NON-BEAR, non-human stuffed animal, statue, figurine, taxidermy, whatever” criteria? I mean, people assume he’s “non-human”?
    MDK RESPONDS: In the interest of ecumenicality, we’ll leave the determination of whether Jesus was human or non-human to the individual knitter. And we aren’t going to argue against whatever determination you make about the humanity or non-humanity of Jesus.
    Now, regarding a Borat thong . . . there are some things that really ARE sacred, and that’s one of ’em.

  22. No, no, Kathy; Jesus was supposed to be fully human, too! No Borat thong!
    :off to find some kind of stuffed animal, not a bear:

  23. Make it cluck – Oh my God!
    ok off to have a meeting with my client… can I just say all I do these days is knit webkinz garments? Does that give me a Jeffrey edge?

  24. “Make it cluck!”—I love it, Ann!!
    I wish I had the creativity to enter…but I sure do relish the extreme whimsy of all of this.
    Thanks for the fun!

  25. Can a fair-else pattern be adapted? I mean, can there be any part that has already been charted by another? I guess a chunk of fair isle isn’t that different from incorporating a lace pattern from a lace book, still, I want to make sure I am in the clear.
    MDK RESPONDS: Excellent question which we hadn’t fully pondered. We’re going to go ahead and say that it’s OK to use a stitch pattern or a Fair Isle pattern found in a book. Any knitwear designer has a library of stitch patterns on hand, and we frankly don’t want to drive people crazy about this contest.
    However, the design of the garment needs to be your own. (AS IF you’re going to find a collection of anteater cardigan patterns.)

  26. Well, I have met with my client. I think we can work together, even though she has some pretty strong ideas about what she wants. A little risqué, perhaps, but maybe I can steer her halfway to decency. She insists on anonymity at this time so I can say no more.

  27. What a great contest!!! I was just watching Project Runway so I feel inspired!

  28. Can I put a knitted outfit on a crocheted doll?
    MDK RESPONDS: Definitely. The crocheted doll can’t help that it’s crocheted. The doll, however, cannot be a human doll. It can be an animal, any animal, but not a human doll.

  29. So, does the “no crochet” rule mean that there cannot be any crochet at all–not even edgings, or does it just mean that the garment must be predominantly knit?
    MDK RESPONDS: Excellent question. We love a crocheted edging, but for this contest, let’s keep it simple and say knitted edgings only.

  30. does it have to be stuffed? I have a yard gnome who can use a hat……
    MDK RESPONDS: The rules say: “Your choice of NON-BEAR, non-human stuffed animal, statue, figurine, taxidermy, whatever.” We hadn’t intended for this to suggest that the statue or figurine have to be stuffed. So: yard gnome is definitely allowed.

  31. I made something a few months ago that fits the bill, can I use it?
    MDK RESPONDS: Sure! You get one entry, so if you’re happy with it, let it fly.

  32. OMG! Now look what you’ve made me do! I’m supposed to be knitting for my wedding chuppah and instead I’m knitting for a sheep’s pseudo wedding (complete with lace chuppah, veil and wrist warmers). I can’t get enough of this! * * Smile * *

  33. I am SO in (as she tries to decide how to dress Eeyore in a manner befitting his gloominess).

  34. Love it! Ok designers Make It Work!

  35. I have just the client in mind. She is in dire need of a makeover. Can my design partner (aka 7 year old daughter) have a hand in the design as well?
    MDK RESPONDS: Absolutely! No age minimum!

  36. yay!

  37. Though I love this – I need a theme. A word to work around, or rather, to work towards.
    Leisure? Fantasy? Uniform? Sporty? A night at the ball? An afternoon at the park? Tea at high noon? First dinner with the potential inlaws?
    Having a word (or phrase)(something other than “knit” I’m afraid) will help me decide which model to choose (they’re fighting it out “America’s Next Top Model” style as I write this) and which idea to run with. Otherwise I’ll remain paralyzed with choices until the deadline has passed… (I’m okay with being the only one who needs this. It can be our little secret…)

  38. Can the clothing be felted, or does this violate the rules? Also, I want to dress my Pasha penguin (from the Knitty archives)…is this still okay, since the Pasha was knitted from a pattern?
    This is an AWESOME idea, btw. 🙂

  39. I may be somewhat handicapped in that I not only have never seen the show, but I don’t have a television.
    On the other hand, maybe I’ll have that well-documented Rustic Recluse Designer Edge. Or something. 🙂

  40. omg, I have a fierce client AND a fierce idea…where’s Christian when I need him!!!!

  41. I once knit a sleeping bag for my son’s imaginary friend, an invisible but very polite rattlesnake named Sardine. However Sardine isn’t a very good model, being invisible and all (and my son just indignantly informed me that Sardine is NOT stuffed).
    The wind-up plesiosaur skeleton is calling to me … maybe something lacy …

  42. … ah … and a feature in “le livre de la maison dixon” … c’est fantastique … gumby says we must win and she’ll be happy to pose along with the toy that has been knitted for … she can’t make up her mind if it should be duckie or kermit … it’s a no legs versus a long legs bid here … happy days … ’til soon … mille baci

  43. … ah … and a feature in “le livre de la maison dixon” … c’est fantastique … gumby says we must win and she’ll be happy to pose along with the toy that has been knitted for … she can’t make up her mind if it should be duckie or kermit … it’s a no legs versus a long legs bid here … happy days … ’til soon … mille baci

  44. I would be DYING to knit something Aran, out of wire, for a St. Francis of Assisi statue. I have a thing for St. Francis statues.
    I and wouldn’t tell you about it, to give away my brilliant, burning idea, except then I noticed the height limitation. And then there’s the deadline. And then there’s the five-week old Benedict, seen previously on MDK, who is not keen on helping me find a 24″ St. Francis statue, neither to swatch the aran with wire (will the cables read?). He should have bumper stickers that read “I’d rather be nursing” and “My other car is a milk truck.”
    And so, I leave the comment readers with what could surely be a winning notion: Cables, Knit with Wire, for Metal Statuary. Cluck!

  45. I feel I’m at a disadvantage having no children, therefore not the rich population of stuffed/dead toys/animals that you parents have.
    Does anyone know where I might find an armadillo? Anteater is already being done. I did find a dead mouse in the garden today. He/she was in dire need of a makeover. Or I could hang out by the vegetable patch after sundown and see if the possum will cooperate.

  46. Oh great, thenk yew. Now there’s SUCH a row going on between the buffalo and the pig. (sigh) Miss Iris von Heliotrope (she’s a bear, and ineligible) has been trying to broker a peace agreement – but Puppy-the-Rabbit is mumbling in the corner too. Oh well, *I* will have the final say. (Not sure I’m clever or a facile enough knitter, but I may give it a shot just the same – and I love me some “Project Runway”!)

  47. Why, why, why is there never a stuffed animal around when you need one ? Now if only I can get the darn cat to hold still ……
    Heather x

  48. This is so funny, I HAVE to participate! Love the idea!!!

  49. This sounds like fun!
    Does the the 24″ maximum refer to the size of the garment or the size of the client?
    Are living clients allowed?

  50. A vision of loveliness is coming to me now. Yes, I can see it. Must talk to DD the second regarding the use of Bubbles as a model. Yes, I believe I even have the appropriate yarn in stash…

  51. Best. Contest. EVER.

  52. this screams “jackalope”……..

  53. Would a stuffed robot be eligible? Also, does the model have to be premade or can you make / build one yourself?

  54. I’m confused. Do we have to have our client dressed by Feb 22 or do we just submit our design by Feb 22? Thanks!

  55. So UglyDolls are acceptable, just to be 100% sure?

  56. So UglyDolls are acceptable, just to be 100% sure?

  57. So UglyDolls are acceptable, just to be 100% sure?

  58. So UglyDolls are acceptable, just to be 100% sure?

  59. Right, so February 22…I don’t know where that came from. I answered my own question.

  60. Okay, I really do have a question. Can I have more than one client? Can I submit more than one photo for the same entry? Cuz on the way home today on the bus, I designed my whole Spring 08 collection. Just sayin’ is all.

  61. does a scarf count? it was made specifically for a picky little stuffed purple one (and now she refuses to wear it because I believe she saw a certain HAT at Rhinebeck and wants one and claims her scarf and the hat do not go together. I’ve told her no.)

  62. I just read your book cover to cover (what a great present!) and wanted to check out your website. Of course I read this post and suddenly hundreds of ideas flood my mind as I think of the many stuffed animals my daughter owns. What would a Unicorn wear on that special date? Would Adrian MONKey (Yes, that is what she named the 24″ stuffed monkey she got for Christmas–she is only 8, I think I have doomed her) be happy with a matching pinwheel sweater like the one I am creating for his owner? Can I knit fast enough to actually enter this contest with only 10 days to go? I don’t know, but you have made me want to try…I suddenly want to decorate all her little creatures in unique and funky designs from my crazy brain…maybe something for her live kitty too. LOL This is the kitten who steals balls of yarn from my bins and rolls them around the house…hum…endless possibilities! Thanks for the challenge!

  63. this. is. hilarious.
    I’m finding this late, so I probably wont participate, but I cannot WAIT to see the results.

  64. Hahahahha have the PERFECT model… better get knitting – only have a week. Hmmm. The 25th is my birthday!

  65. Help! when I click you email link I can’t get my stupid mac (otherwise a machine I love) not to do the wrong mail program. grrr. could you email me an address I could manually (gasp) email my stunning photo to? thanks!


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