Toy Story

A Short Reflection on Toy-making and Happy Accidents.


I, like millions on the internet, have more than a passing interest in hand-made stuffed toys and, like a large percentage of those millions, a particular penchant for elephants.

Since recently rediscovering the joys of dyeing my own yarn and the trials and tribulations of machine knitting, I wanted to find a way to combine the two in some design of stuffed elephant.

First of all I knitted a length of patterned fabric in two shades of blue. Then I blocked it overnight before fusing a piece of lightweight vilene to the wrong side.

This process made a firm and stable fabric just right for elephant making…

In my excitement, I found a suitable pattern and cut out a back and a front – or so I thought…

Elephant Front

To my horror, I realised I hadn’t turned the pattern over and, in my haste, had cut out two fronts!

Elephant Front x 2

Not wanting to put all my knitting efforts to waste, I hunted around the workshop for a solution and found a leather off-cut in exactly the right shade of blue. What, exactly, are the chances of that?

So planned elephant turned into two. Before sewing one knitted and one leather side together, I stitched all round the knitted piece to stop it fraying and added a leather ear using a wide zig-zag

The first elephant – I stitched right sides together and turned out but the tail and trunk were nigh on impossible to push through. The second I stitched wrong sides together and zig-zagged around the edges. Much easier to stuff!

Once stuffed (the elephant, that is) I hand-stitched the opening closed with a specialist leather needle, which has a flattened shank to allow it to cut cleanly through the leather.

And here they are – two elephants for the price of one. The turned out one is on the right.

A Brace of Elephants

I really prefer the one with the stitching on the outside as it adds a bit of extra texture.

Outside Stitched Elephant

Even on the back…

Elephant Rear

So this tale has a happy ending and a moral – don’t get so over-excited with your new products that you forget what you’re supposed to be doing!


3 thoughts on “Toy Story

  1. That made me laugh – I think we’ve all had a moment like that! Well done on the creative rescue and making two elephants! There’s something quite special about elephants, I think.

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