I dreamt up this chap for Cloth magazine a year ago, but until recently, he’d been sitting on a shelf, looking rather pleased with himself, but not actually being useful - namely because he’d been emptied of the rice I’d used as a temporary filling. Gotta eat, right?!
Meanwhile, my nice homemade cushions kept getting used as make-shift doorstops in the living room, by my practical, but not-so-crafty husband. Grrrr.
So this month I salvaged some very out of date dried lentils that were due to get binned, and made him nice and weighty again.
And now he gets used every day!
He’s supposed to be a Totoro-esque squirrel, but after living with him for a year, I’ve got to admit he looks more like a cat.
I made him from an old felted Fair Isle jumper, some cream felt and velvet ric-rac (from The Makery), and buttons, yarn and embroidery thread I had knocking around, so he only cost me a few pounds.
If you want to make him, you’ll need the template and the materials list.
Unfortunately Cloth only published the main template, but this is what the pieces look like laid out.
You need a front, 2 back pieces, each 2cm wider than half the front (so they overlap) and 10cm longer (to fold under to make a base). The sides are 2 smaller triangles, the size of which is determined by the width of the base, and the height of the front and back – easy to work out. The tail pieces and tummy panel need to fit in with the rest, so just draw those freehand once you’ve cut out the main pieces.
First, stitch through the ric rack to attach the tummy panel and tail topper to the main pieces.
Then pin the various bits together and blanket stitch them around the edges to join them. Because it’s felt there’s no hemming involved. Hurrah!
The two back pieces are only stitched together at the very top, and along the base. I added velcro to close them.
The vertical opening in the back is left open for a little sack of filling. I made one from some muslin, but you could just fill an old sock. The stiff wool fabric means your doorstop doesn’t need to be stuffed to bursting to stand upright.
Hide the opening with the ‘tail’, stitching it to the bottom edge only. Make a loop for it at the top, so that you can fasten it with a pretty button to keep it upright.
The flat bottomed shape means he’ll easily slide out of the way with a nudge from your slipper, which is particularly handy.
I only used a machine to sew the velcro and the ric rac on, but as long as you use a thimble you could do this by hand too.
His face is embroidered – blanket stitch around the button eyes, satin stitch for the nose, french knots for the freckles, and back stitch for the mouth. I used wool, but embroidery thread would be fine.
He’s a pretty ‘organic’ project- the main thing is to get the embroidery right. Maybe practise your blanket stitch too if it’s new to you.
Not my most sophisticated idea ever, but he does make me chuckle!