Forest Friends

Forest Friends 1

I FINALLY finished this set of nursery stuffed animals – I kept getting onto other projects in between, so it took a while. All of the patterns are by Susan B. Anderson, published in the Holiday 2010 issue of Knit Simple. By and large, I used the same yarns as recommended in the patterns (with a little of my stash thrown in when I ran out) and all were knitted on US 6 dpns. Here are the specs: Bunny – Spud & Chloe Sweater(color Toast) with stash yarn for the ears, face, and pom pom tail.

Forest Friends bunny

Hedgehog and Squirrel – Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran(stash yarn for the squirrel’s nuts) – these were supposed to be knit as reversibles (one inside the other) but I wanted to be able to see both of them at once, so I made them separately, closed up the bottoms, and stuffed them. The hedgehog’s “spines” are crochet loops – took me forever to get them done, I definitely do not know how to crochet!

Forest Friends hedgehog and squirrel

Fox – Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash in rust, cream, and brown – the fox’s legs have drinking straw inserts, but he still doesn’t stand very well, particularly on slippery counters.

Forest Friends fox

Owls – Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton – I bought one skein of espresso and used stash yarn in aloe, shell, and honeydew. These guys are my favorite, I think – quick to make (they’re only about 5” tall) and I filled the bottom third of each with poly pellets, so they’re really squat and sturdy.

Forest Friends owls

I agree with Susan B. Anderson that poly pellets are a key ingredient for making stuffed animals feel more substantial and sturdy – the problem I always had was the poly pellets squeezing out, no matter how tightly knit the animal’s body was. I tried muslin bags, but I couldn’t find enough different sizes to buy, and I hated sewing them. My new solution: double layers of cheesecloth. Very flexible, easy to push down into even little openings in paws, legs, etc., but pretty much impermeable (at least when you double it over). Perfect!

I love these animals, but I don’t think I’d give them to a rambunctious toddler with a habit of throwing his toys around – they definitely are more delicate than your run-of-the-mill factory-made stuffed animals. They’d be a wonderful baby gift – they’d be absolutely adorable in a nursery, especially if it had a forest or woodlands theme. Too bad I don’t know many people with new babies anymore! For the time being, they’re going to live on the top of my girls’ dresser, with all of the framed baby pictures and other baby mementos.

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