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project // a critter to stitch & love

A Critter to Stitch & Love


Today's project tutorial is brought to you by my little sister's birthday, and a random web search. Since that's a little confusing, let me explain.

We got into a discussion at my house about ermine. That's the kind of fur you often see around king's robes. It's also an animal in the weasel family, and if you do a Google image search, you'll see some photos that are the cutest thing you've ever seen, and some where the ermine looks like it wants to eat your face. I highly recommend taking a look.

Anyway, my little sister saw the photos and insisted that I make her a super cute stuffed ermine for her birthday. I couldn't resist, and as I was making it, I realized that the same pattern could look a lot like other animals too. An otter. A meerkat. A cat. And if you use your imagination, probably a lot more things too. Just a few small adjustments of color, size, and placement make the difference!

A Critter to Stitch & Love

So once her ermine was done, I made my own otter, and now you can too! I'll admit, the ermine (which really does look like a cat, but I promise you, also looks like an ermine) is cuter. But I find that these things each have their own personalities, and I just have to see what shows up.

Ready to make a critter to stitch & love? Here's what you need:

A Critter to Stitch & Love

Fleece - 1/3 yard
Felt - scraps
Embroidery floss
Stuffing
Optional: Safety eyes

You'll also need:
Scissors
Pins
Needle and thread
Sewing Machine
Pencil or chopstick for turning pieces.

A Critter to Stitch & Love Template PDF

A Critter to Stitch & Love

Following the stretch arrows, cut 2 bodies, 2 tails, 4 arms, and 4 ears from fleece. Be sure that you're cutting two layers, so you have a right- and wrong-facing piece. Cut a nose and two eyes from felt. (Skip the eyes if you'll be using safety eyes.)

IMPORTANT: One of the ways to adapt your animal friend is to alter the size of the tail, arms, and ears. For example, I added a generous seam allowance to the ermine's ears. You can also rotate the pattern piece for the body so the stretch goes the other way, that will give you a shorter, plumper animal.

A Critter to Stitch & Love

Stitch the nose and eyes in place with three strands of matching embroidery floss. Stitch the mouth with six strands of embroidery floss and backstitch. For the highlight on the eyes, add a white french knot.

Otters have differently shaped noses, so I used the nose upside down. Or maybe it's right side up? The ermine has the nose the other way, and she also has large safety eyes.

A Critter to Stitch & Love

Place the tail, arm, and ear pieces right sides together and pin them well. Note that on the tail, I've placed a pin across the side, because that's a good place to leave it open for turning. We'll come back to that later.

A Critter to Stitch & Love

Sew around the arms and ears, leaving the straight edge open for turning. Turn the pieces right side out and add some stuffing to the arms. Leave the ears without stuffing.

A Critter to Stitch & Love

Place the arms and ears on the right side of the critter body with the raw edges facing out. You can make the arms high or low, and the ears can be up on top, or off to the sides more. Just make sure that you have the edges overlapping the body piece enough so that they will get caught in the seam.

A Critter to Stitch & Love

Lay the second body piece on top, right sides facing, and pin, pin, pin.

A Critter to Stitch & Love

Sew around the outside, leaving an opening for turning. Before you turn it right side out, make sure that all of the seams are secure and that the ears and arms are caught in them. Also, clip those corners between the legs.

A Critter to Stitch & Love

Stuff the critter really well. Go on, add a bit more stuffing. See how the stretch of the fleece made this get a lot taller than before? Now, stitch the opening closed with ladder stitch.

A Critter to Stitch & Love

Let's go back to that tail. Sew around the sides, leaving an opening in the middle. Trim the corners at the top, then turn it right side out. Add a bit of stuffing in the lower part, then stitch it closed with ladder stitch.

A Critter to Stitch & Love
A Critter to Stitch & Love

Stitch the tail onto the back of the body with some ladder stitch.

A Critter to Stitch & Love

I attached the top inch of the tail, and gave it a tug to make sure it's secure.

A Critter to Stitch & Love

Give your new friend a hug, because it's all finished! And is it just me or does this otter look like he's ready for some disco fever?

A Critter to Stitch & Love
A Critter to Stitch & Love


What kind of critter will you stitch & love?

stitch love // release day!

Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small

I hereby declare today to be Stitch Love day!

This is the official publication date for my book, even though it has already started showing up in mailboxes. One of the benefits of pre-ordering! And because of all those orders, Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small even made it to the #1 spot in the embroidery category on Amazon. HUGE thanks to everyone who has been supporting the book.

I've managed to get myself swamped with things to work on, including book-related plans. So everything is taking longer. Including taking pictures of some of the pages. Silly me. But in the middle of it, I'm stitching love.

The title for this book was suggested by my editor, Amanda. When I heard it, I knew it was right. I like that it describes a love of stitching, but it's also kind of a directive. Stitch love. Don't just stitch animals or objects, or anything else. But when you stitch, stitch love.

In the rush to get things done, I might forget this, but I hope not. I hope that I remember to stitch love. And I hope I can help spread that idea. Will you try it with me? No matter the pattern or the process, or the recipient, would you make sure that you stitch some love into it?

I'm going to check in and see how that goes for us all, okay?

Darling Dachshund embroidery

My most recent stitching was this Darling Dachshund. It's sort of a pattern from the book, in that, it was supposed to be in the book, and I left it out in error. If you're on Instagram, follow my feed to learn more about this little guy!

I best get busy now, because I've got celebrations to plan! (I might even bake myself a cake...)

the failed cat toy

YoyoCatToy

I make a lot of things, and happily, most of them turn out pretty well on the first try. In fact, I usually take step-by-step photos along the way, expecting that first try to be the only try. Some projects require more prototyping, but those are rare.

Honestly, I sometimes get to thinking that I really know what I'm doing. 

And then I make a stuffed animal with crazy wrong proportions (I still have it, but it ended up not having arms), or a cat toy that the cat won't touch. 

When I started making fabric yoyos our family cat wouldn't leave them alone. She also loves attacking the garland I made with them. Someone on Instagram suggested that I make a cat toy with them, so I gave it a go. But the cat really has no interest in it at all. (By no fault of the person who suggested it!)

Maybe it's just a cat thing, or maybe I should have made this differently, but either way, it feels like a flop. And I think that's good. I think it's okay to remember that we don't always get it right and that we don't always know what we're doing. I think it's okay to learn and try again.

My next cat toy attempt will not be made with yoyos and bells, and although I don't know what it will entail, I'm determined to make something that the cat will actually pay attention to!

What's your latest craft failure?

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Disclosure: I'm a contributing author, and this post contains affiliate links. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

vintage craft // yoyo clown

Yoyo Clown

This week I received an email from Jackie asking if I had ever heard of yoyo clown dolls. (Jackie, I tried to email you back, but my message bounced.) And the answer to Jackie's question is, yes! I have heard of them, because I have one!

This fella was my mom's but may be older than she is. We're estimating that's it's around 60 years old, but it's hard to say. It was probably made by a relative. The arms, legs, and torso are make out of fabric yoyos. There are two sizes in there, and they're definitely rather flat, but that's what they are. Jackie tells me that sometimes you insert batting into the yoyos, but I'm pretty sure that these never had that.

The face isn't quite as friendly as I would like, but not as scary as some that you see when you do a search for "yoyo clown". The saddest thing for me is that you can see through the fabric enough to see the back of the embroidery. I don't think that's just because of age, though I could be wrong.

If you do a search for this type of doll, and I highly recommend that you do, you'll find plenty of instructional blog posts so you can make your own. And I'm betting that you'll make it really cute. Even if yours doesn't have the awesome vintage fabrics in this guy!

And for those who aren't so big on the clown, Simplicity once made a pattern for these, but it also made a dog, a caterpillar, and an owl!

amazing offer // the ultimate diy bundle

Details

I know that you guys love crafting and making and being creative. That's one of the reasons you visit Wild Olive, right? What do you love about DIY? One of the things that I enjoy is that that there’s so much to get involved in! You may have started with embroidery, or creating gifts, or sewing, but there’s this huge world of crafting opportunities out there...so let's explore and expand our craft!

But where to start? Goodness knows there are plenty of resources available, but it's easy to get overwhelmed with the choices, be worried that you'll be disappointed, or that you'll have to spend a lot for patterns, eBooks, and inspiration. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at these things and then decided to wait.

Which is why I'm really excited to be part of a group of contributing authors for The Ultimate DIY Bundle! This is an instant go-to library for a whole range of carefully curated DIY and crafting eBooks and eCourses. There are projects that the whole family can get involved in – from photography and home decor to chalk pastels and sewing, and even some incredible blogging resources.

Some of those things that I've looked at in the past, and thought, "hmmm...maybe I'll wait." THEY ARE IN THIS BUNDLE! There's a lot to love in here, but I'm especially excited about the sewing and quilting eBooks & patterns, plus some some truly valuable social media helps. Now get ready for this...

For the crazy low price of just $34.95, you get access to a carefully curated library of over 76 eBooks and eCourses from the world’s leading DIY and crafting bloggers – enabling you to pick a project and jump straight into it. In the bundle, you'll find my complete Seasonal Stitching Club (value: $32), and even if you already have that, the contributions from other DIY creators whom I respect are worth FAR more than the cost.

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You don't need to worry about whether this will be worth it, because they offer an Ultimate Bundles 30-day money-back guarantee. That means you have a full 30 days to enjoy all the eBooks and eCourses in the bundle, and if you don’t think they provided enough value, you’ll get a full refund.

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This amazing deal ends in just…

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Pick up your copy right now, before it’s too late. Or, learn more here.

Disclosure: I'm a contributing author, and this post contains affiliate links. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

project // felt circle headband

Circle Headband


Oh hey! It's me and my tired face! And I'm wearing circles in my hair for circle month!

This headband is really easy to make and only takes about an hour. It's the kind of thing that I want to make in 37 colorways so that I have one for every possible outfit and then some. The best part is that thanks to Benzie, you don't need to worry about cutting perfect circles.

Circle Headband

All you need is some Felt-Fetti! You might need some Felt-Fetti, even if you aren't making a headband. This stuff is just wonderful. But then, everything from Benzie is. They're my favorite felt supplier.

Now, I think you should use circles, because I'm all about circles for January. But Renae also has hearts, leaves, butterflies, and hexagons. Any of them should work fine for this...or consider a mix!

A very special thanks to Renae for sending me a pack to make this headband project!

Circle Headband

Here's what you need:

Benzie Felt-Fetti (I used the 1-1/4-inch size in Linen, Icicle, and Swan) - Or, cut your own circles!
1/2-inch wide ribbon
Embroidery floss

Circle Headband

Cut a piece of ribbon that is 36-48" long. I went for longer so it has ties that hang down when I pull my hair up.

Lay some felt circles out in an overlapping row that is 12-13" long, then place the center of the ribbon at the center of the circle row. You might find it helpful to mark on the ribbon where the ends should be. I used painters' tape.

Circle Headband

Thread a needle with three strands of embroidery floss and knot the end. Stitch through the ribbon and half of the first circle with running stitch. I found that three stitches was good.

Circle Headband

Add the next circle, then stitch through the two layers plus the ribbon. Again, you'll only be stitching through half of this new circle. Three stitches again.

Circle Headband

Keep adding circles and stitching until you reach the end. Tie off the thread, and you're done! Notice that with nice, even, centered stitches, the backside looks as pretty as the front. In fact, you can wear it either way! I love reversible.

Circle Headband

My pack came with four colors, so I think a Sugar Plum headband will be next for me. Oh, and there was still plenty of of the other colors left too. One pack goes a long way!

Circle Headband

To wear it, just tie it in a bow at the base of your head. I wore this all day on Sunday and it didn't slide off at all! I'm not sure if the felt has magic grippy qualities, or what, but I love this headband! (I also love my new necklace that Becca made for me!)

Circle Headband


Happy Crafting!

project // fabric yoyo garland

Yoyo Garland


While perusing the internet and looking at Christmas ideas, I came across some photos of garlands made with fabric yoyos. I was smitten and knew that I needed some of this in my life. Several weeks later, I started looking into the idea again, and found a JUMBO garland, and was really smitten. Go check it out. I'll wait.

But I don't really have space for such a thing, so I thought, why not combine the things I like about these two ideas?

How to make fabric yoyos

A couple weeks ago I showed you how I make fabric yoyos, and if you've never made them before, that's a great place to start. You'll need a LOT of yoyos, and the amount will depend on how long you want your garland to be, and what arrangement you go for. Also, I recommend that you make them in a few sizes for visual variety.

Yoyo Garland

The original garland I saw had all of the yoyos lined up, and they formed a pattern: large, small, large, small. While I like this look, and you can can definitely go with this, I wanted to mix it up. So, no pattern! Mix up the placement of the sizes and fabrics.

Yoyo Garland

Next, using the jumbo garland as inspiration, I arranged the yoyos in a way that was a little more jaunty.

Because these will be joined one at a time, it's difficult to keep this arrangement exactly, but seeing the look first will help as you form your garland.

Yoyo Garland

Grab two yoyos, and thread a needle with doubled thread. Knot the end, then go in through the hole in one of the yoyos, coming out on the side. Hold the yoyos face to face, then stitch them together with whip stitch. The small yoyos here are about 1 inch in diameter, and about 1/2 inch of stitching is good. Any longer and you'll start to see straight edges. Not what you want here!

I tried this with ladder stitch too, because that way the stitches would be invisible. The thing is, it just didn't feel as secure, and these whip stitches will be on the back. Go with what feels best to you, but remember that a long garland will have some stress on it as it hangs.

Yoyo Garland

Now, start adding more of these fun little circles onto the garland! After each one is joined, tie a doubled knot, then pop it through to the inside of the yoyo. You can travel through the yoyo to the next side and keep going! When you're out of thread, pop the knot through, then trim the thread and start again.

Yoyo Garland

Knowing that I would be hanging this as swags, I joined them so that shape would be already be sewn into the garland. The photo above is laying flat, and shows the shape I stitched with my line of yoyos.

Yoyo Garland

Hanging vertically, see how it leans to the left? That's from that curve that I built in. Was this necessary? Maybe not. But it didn't hurt.

Yoyo Garland

Working in smaller pieces and then joining them together will help keep this project more portable, and who can resist keeping a little pouch of yoyos with them at all times?

To hang your garland, you can stitch some loops at the ends and where you want to swag it. Or, if you aren't afraid of holes in your walls, use a thumbtack or pin to go right through the fabric.

Yay for happy garlands on winter days!