Needle felting newbie

If you’re following me on Instagram or twitter, you might know that recently I have found a new hobby. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon some very cheap wool rovings in a local market and bought them in a whim. I played with them for a couple of days, making balls and simple shapes.

Sidra and friend

Sidra and friend needle-felting

My husband and Sidra even got interested to join along. And in turn, Sidra’s friends got interested to try as well. For several days, my living room looks like a needle-felting after school workshop with kids sitting around the table poking with needles. They seem happy making little balls to take home. I love that they enjoy other activities beside playing games!

In the evening, Sidra loves to have me around when he’s watching his favorite shows. I don’t really like watching TV shows, so this activity is perfect for me! Sidra can watch TV while I sit next to him poking with my needles for hours. I found this new activity so meditative. Repetitive stabbing of needles, combined with finger pressings, turn the wool roving into any kind of shape.

Here’s some little creatures that I have made!

Doglet, made with Gretel Parker‘s tutorial in Mollie Makes magazine (I bought the digital version).
Doglet Doglet

Penguin, made with tutorial from Japanese book Basic technique of making felt wool mascot.
Penguin Penguin

Bunny with battery-operated LED eyes, made with Techno-Shugei kit (Japanese).
Laser eyed bunny Laser eyed bunny

Zombie sheep, made with tutorial from the book I Felt Awesome by Moxie (I bought the Kindle version).
Zombie sheep Zombie sheep

There are many things that I still need to learn. My needle-felted creatures seems so wuzzy with fibers flying around them, unlike those smooth ones that I saw in books and websites. I don’t know why, maybe I didn’t spend enough time stabbing them? If you do needle-felting, I really appreciate if you’re willing to share any tips!

Cockroach plush tutorial

Cockroach plush

Giant cockroach!

A cockroach plushie?

Who needs cute bear or cat plushies? I’m sure every boy would love a huggable cockroach! This is Sidra’s favorite toy at the moment, he calls it Gokiburi-kun (gokiburi means… well, cockroach).

The cockroach is basically just an oval shape pillow with legs. The wings and head are made with leftover dupioni silk that I dyed brown. The original color of the silk was silver, and the shimmers would make a perfect cockroach. The body is made with cotton/linen fabric with interesting texture, leftover from my husband’s shirt.

Fancy your own giant cockroach? Carry on!

Disclaimer: For personal use only. Please do not pass off the pattern and tutorial as your own. Thank you!

Cockroach plush

Don’t you hate it when it happens?

Click to download

COCKROACH PATTERN

Note: seam allowances are NOT included. You have to add it before cutting fabric.

Approximate dimension:

  • without legs and antennae: 23x38cm
  • without legs and antennae: 50x58cm

Materials:

  • Fabric scraps. You can mix and match fabric in different pattern and shades.
  • scrap of quilt batting for wings.
  • thin wire for the antennae and legs. I use thin plastic wire because they’re very soft and won’t poke out.
  • Filling for body.

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Instructions:

Cutting fabric:

  • Cut fabric pieces from pattern: 1 head, 1 body, 1 underside, 4 wings. Don’t forget the placement marks.
  • Cut 2 pieces of wings from quilt batting.
  • Cut 12 fabric bias strips for legs: 2 x 22 cm.
  • Cut 4 fabric bias strips for antennae: 2 x 28 cm.

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Wings:

 

  • Place each pair of wing pieces with right sides together.
  • Put batting on top and sew around the wings, leaving the top open.
  • Clip curves around and turn wings right side out. Batting is now sandwiched between fabric.

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  • Sew rows of stitches on wings, 1 cm apart. Use the outer curve as guideline and continue inwards.

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Legs and antennae:

  • Place a pair of strips wrong sides together.

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  • Make 2 rows of stitching, approximately a sewing foot apart. Tapered the stitching lines to meet at the end, making a pointed shape. Backstitch at the end to reinforce. This will create a tube with closed end.

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  • Measure each leg and cut 18 cm from the pointed end. Measure antennae and cut 24 cm from pointed end.

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  • Trim allowances close to stitching.
  • Insert thin wire into the tube.

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Body:

  • Place wings on the placement marks on body. Baste the top.
  • Sew the body and head together.

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  • Place legs and antennae on the placement mark on the underside piece. Baste in place.
  • Place body and head piece over the underside piece, matching all placement marks.
  • Sew all around, leaving the opening unstitched. Be careful to not catch the wings and legs when sewing.

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  • Clip curves around and turn cockroach right side out (eww).

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  • Fill the cockroach with your choice of filling.
  • Handstitch the opening close.

I personally think that the roach would look better without eyes, but Sidra was concerned that his roach wouldn’t be able to ‘see’ so he asked for a pair of eyes.

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A face only a mother could love

 

You can shrink or enlarge the pattern to make more roaches! Here’s my prototype roach made with leftover wool. The legs and antennae are braided fabric strips.

Cockroaches

One cockroach is not enough!

Pattern and tutorial by Novita Estiti c 2011.

Christmas platypuses

Christmas platypusesSince moving to Tokyo, Sidra has been exposed to Christmas things and activities from friends and school, so it’s only natural that he wants to have Christmas too at home. Last year, I bought him a (very) small Christmas tree that he can decorate at home with those blinking lights and all. He was very happy about it. This year, my husband and I are planning to give him Christmas presents too because he has been asking for them.

Actually we don’ usually celebrate Christmas or any other days. The things celebrated in our home are only birthdays and anniversaries. With only three people at home, it means that there are less than five days in a year to celebrate. So I think it’s pretty nice to have more occasion other than birthdays to celebrate something. Maybe I’ll do the Halloween too next year.

Sidra and I are invited to a small Christmas party next week, and I made these platypuses for gifts exchange. I’ve used this pattern several times, it is so quick, easy, with adorable result. These platypuses are actually rice hand-warmers. I shrank the original pattern to 80% to make it the right size for hand warmers. The platypuses can also be used as wrist pad too! They were filled with rice and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, the idea is from Farah in her coment here. I’ve tried putting them in microwave for one minute and they smelled so good! Thank you, Farah!

Christmas platypusInitially I made the platypus with green knit, red furry fleece, and tiny pompom eyes. But I think it looks too Christmas-y (if there’s such word). It looks so… red and green. Sidra wanted it, so I gave it to him and made another two. They are made with linen scraps, striped linen for the body and plain linen for the bill and feet. The eyes are hand-embroidered in + shape, I don’t want to use plastic eyes because I don’t know if it’s okay to microwave them.

I love them! Sidra didn’t like the eyes, though. “It’s kawaii-so… (a pity),” he said. My husband said that they were just having dizzy heads. Ha-ha-ha. I hope whoever got them in the gift exchange will be happy!
Christmas platypuses

Christmas platypuses

Christmas platypuses

Pattern is from Funky Friends factory.

Bye bye Baon-chan

Baon-chan, the pink elephant

Baon-chan, the pink elephant

Have you ever heard of a wonderful project called Softies for Mirabel?

The Mirabel Foundation is based in Melbourne, providing help to children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to their parents drug addiction. Once a year, they collect handmade softies for the children so they can have a friend to snuggle down with. Before they were donated, the softies will be displayed for a week in the window of Meet me at Mike’s store. You can click the link above to read more about this wonderful project.

I have told Sidra several times that I was going to make something for this project, which he replied with somewhat disapproval grunts because Mama would be making toy that is not for him.

The fabric is very soft pink velour with leftover fabrics from Sidra’s jacket lining for inner ears and foot pads. The PDF elephant pattern is from my favorite pattern store, Funky Friends Factory, I’ve used patterns from this store before for this dinosaur and platypuses.

I think the elephant looks like cotton candy with ears and trunks! When Sidra saw it, he exclaimed that the elephant is so kawaii. He called it Baon-chan, because that’s how an elephant sounds like. “Ba-oooon!”

“I want. I want. I want. I want.” He began nagging me to give Baon-chan to him. I reminded Sidra again that Baon-chan was not for him, but he could play with her until she left on Monday. Sidra didn’t look happy at all with my decision.

I explained that Baon-chan’s will go to a child who doesn’t have as many toys as him. This lead to a never-ending session of Q&A: Why the other child doesn’t have toys? Can’t her/his mama make them toys? What happened to her/his mama and papa? Does she/he have DS Nintendo and Playstation like me? Why doesn’t she/he have them? Will she/he get more toys?

 

Baon-chan, the pink elephant Baon-shan

Bye bye Baon-chan

Bye bye Baon-chan

When he was told that the other child won’t probably get many toys, doesn’t play DS Nintendo and Playstation, doesn’t have their mama and papa around, and maybe even has one or both parents already gone, Sidra seemed perplexed by all the answers. I guess it is hard for a child in Sidra’s age to understand that the world is not as beautiful as it is for him now. He knows about unhappiness, but he can’t imagine that there are children with unhappiness beyond that he knows. That there are children who are very unhappy. And that one day, he will be unhappy too.

Sidra loves Baon-chan

Sidra loves Baon-chan

I know he still wanted Baon-chan, he was holding her the whole day. But he also knew that Baon-chan was for that other child, so he stopped nagging me about giving Baon-chan to him. Looking at him holding Baon-chan like that, it might be easier to just give the elephant to him and make another for the project.

But he can always get other toys (and more) later, and I hope he will understand this. I let Sidra said goodbye to Baon-chan this morning before he went to school. When he come back later, Baon-chan would be gone.

Bye bye Baon-chan, hope you will bring a little sunshine somewhere.

2010 2010 = 40!

Today is my husband’s 40th birthday! Sidra and I had been thinking about a present for Papa, and he (sneakily) suggested that I should make a plush doll for Papa. Actually my husband likes plushies and other cute stuff, but he never bought one for himself because… , well, because he’s a grown man, I guess? So I think it’s time he has his own plush toy.

I let Sidra choose a plushie pattern from Funky Friends Factory, but this time I went directly to the website to buy the PDF pattern. Sidra chose this Platypus pattern for Papa, it’s a very cute and easy pattern, almost like sewing a pillow! The fabric is pink/reddish wool knit and scraps of black wool for its beak and feet. I enlarged the pattern by 200% to make a giant platypus.

Platypuses

My husband was working at home yesterday, so I went to the sewing room to make the platypus. Fortunately, he is so used to seeing me sewing something, so he didn’t ask what I was making. I showed the platypus to Sidra when he got back from school, and he couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear after he saw it. He kept asking me to see the platypus that I hid in the sewing room. Keeping a secret is such a hard thing to do for a seven years old!

Papa is the star

Zipped up plattie

Zipped up plattie

Sidra kept grinning every time he remembered the platypus and my husband started to wonder why. So I went to the sewing room again and made this mini platypus for Sidra. The pattern is free with membership. The platypus is not stuffed, it has a zippered belly so Sidra can put his coins in it. It also has a keyring on its tail so it can be attached to Sidra’s bag. I gave it to Sidra and he was very happy! At least he had reason to keep grinning now!

We gave the giant platypus to my husband this morning, along with a drawing from Sidra. You can see that there’s a platypus in the middle of the drawing. There’s also a monster, a fox, a tiny one-eyed monster, and along the edge is an adventure story of an octopus who becomes takoyaki (grilled octopus ball) at the end. I have no idea what it has to do with Papa’s birthday though.

Here’s the birthday boy with his brand new platypus!

Happy 40th birthday!

It’s his fourth birthday that we celebrated together, and my heart still flutters everytime I gaze into his eyes ‎(♥.♥)

Happy 40th birthday to Papa!

Happy 40th birthday to Papa!

EDIT:
I just found out that there is a free pattern for the platypus here. It just needs to be enlarged 🙂

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