I adore softies–they’re cute, imaginative, fuzzy, squeezable, often anthropomorphic. All my favorite things. Luckily for me, Martingale publishes the work of several softie-making geniuses. These authors knit and crochet up everything from whales to squirrels, piglets to robots… even a hot dog with condiments. (I’m not sure if a hot dog with eyes qualifies as a creature, or just a head trip, but it’s cute regardless.)
Once you’re ready to start creating, here are a few tips from our authors.
Stuff well: I like to think of myself as a sculpture artist whose medium is fluff. Make sure to take a lot of time for stuffing. Look at your softie from all sides: do you see a lump, valley, or hunchback? Smoosh the stuffing around to shape it, or add a little at a time until it looks right.
Whipstitch those limbs: The easiest way to sew on monster ears, arms, legs, or feet is to flatten the open, cast-on edge of the appendage (basically think of folding the circle in half) and attach that edge to the body. This will make the limbs hang down to the sides, giving your critter a natural look.
For the actual attaching, I find using a whipstitch—essentially up, over, and around the cast-on edge of the ear or limb—works the best. Now, if only human surgery were this easy.
Play with fiber: Stuffed animals are a fantastic opportunity to experiment with new and interesting fibers because they require just a skein or two of yarn. So it won’t cost too much to spring for a luxurious fiber that you’ve been dying to crochet with (you can’t say that about a sweater).
Crochet eyes: Crochet eyes as instructed below and attach just like any other body part.
Eyes (Make 2.)
With black yarn (same weight as used for animal and same hook), ch 2.
Sc 6 in 2nd ch from hook.
Fasten off with long tail.
Use felt for facial features: Although I’ve used plastic eyes with safety backings on all my toys, if the toy is for a young child, you can instead embroider the eyes or cut out and sew on little pieces of felt.
Using embroidery floss and a needle, I use simple stitches to “draw” the faces on the felt before attaching the felt pieces to the face. Sew pieces of felt with a sharp needle and matching sewing thread. Use a very small running stitch close to the edge of the piece.
Are you a softie-making whiz? Share your tips, tricks, or links to your softie pics in the comments. We love learning from you!