Dear Jane

Far Flung Bee 2012


Little Owl

I have a feeling that 2013 might be the year of the soft toy! I finished Monkey just in time for Christmas (I know that’s technically last year, but really.. it still feels like Christmas was just “sometime earlier this month”!) and then just last weekend was the first birthday of a very special little boy, so of course any excuse will do to make another softie!



This little guy was made from a rescued tweed skirt with an impossibly small waist (seriously! It was about a size -6!), felt eyes, and a super squishy soft angora belly and face. I’ll be sad to use up the rest of that cream jumper, because it’s just the softest!



I think my favourite thing about this little owl is definitely the feet. Stripey feet are the cutest! They remind me of old fashioned stocking socks. I’m also pretty fond of the eyes too, although it wasn’t always this way!



Another thing I want to work on in 2013 is to show more of my process, instead of just finished projects (I also want to blog more so that you can actually SEE finished projects!) I do post a lot of my WIP progress on Instagram, so if you’re an Instagram user (hands up all addicts out there! It’s ok to admit it – I check it in bed when I wake up, and before I go to bed. I check it when I’m on my lunch break, and I may have been guilty of checking it on toilet breaks too, ssh!) please feel free to add me! My username is the same as my blog: TwoCheesePlease. For those who don’t have Instagram, here is a little collage of different owl eyes that didn’t work. 



I think I’d like to call these guys “Jumper Buddies”.  ‘Jumper’ is the Australian word for ‘sweater’, and I’ve made all of these softies so far using reclaimed and recycled clothing from op shops (‘thrift stores’!) that I’ve laundered and felted in my washing machine at home. I like “Sweater Buddies” too, but I think I should stay with the Aussie word – yes?

 You can get some fantastic woollen jumpers from the op shop in gorgeous mixes of wools (angora, rabbit, cashmere, oh my!) and they just make the cuddliest toys. And a welcome side benefit – because the ‘fabric’ has been through the wash a few times to felt it up as much as possible, you can just chuck these guys in the washing machine when they get grubby and you know they’re not going to shrink anymore! Totally wash-safe – how great can you get for little pals who sometimes go on grubby adventures!


Little Miss Monkey

monkey soft toy held in hands


After the success and enjoyment of Bunny, I knew I wanted to revisit and dabble some more in recycled softies.


monkey softie lying on a table


Little Miss Monkey was made for Christmas, for the granddaughter of one of a family friend. The brief read: squishy, cuddly, friendly, with limbs just right for grabbing on. Hopefully I nailed that!

She has a little headband with a hand-crocheted flower – and a matching one for little Z to wear too! I love her little pot-belly (one of my favourite features of this pattern) and her wiggly wonky little tail, and her ‘fur’ is a super soft angora sweater felted up in my washing machine. Her hands and feet and face is fleece that I tea stained myself. Her skirt is reversible and is made out of one of the very first pieces of fabric I ever ever bought! So this little monkey is actually quite special to me.


monkey softie sitting on a small table with two headbands


monkey softie sitting on a table, view from behind


She came to life through sketches, but also through I guess what you could call Monkey v1.0. I’d made the first monkey softie a long while ago, but the pattern just didn’t work. The body was to skinny, the arms were too long, but I did like the face. So I kept his head (a little creepy I know!) because I knew I wanted to go somewhere with that original design eventually. And I’m glad I got the chance to revisit – and out of that wonky first monkey came this little Miss!




Bunny: a one in a million experience

The thing about reading blogs is you never really get the full picture – only what’s being shown to you. And whilst most bloggers (myself included) try to be really honest and authentic when blogging, it’s only natural to leave some things out.

The 73 prototypes it took to get to the finished plush you’re seeing.

The 2 hours of unpicking the wonky free-motion quilting and starting again from scratch.

The countless counting and recounting and recounting of each stitch in every row of an amigurumi.

It just doesn’t make for very interesting reading.

So let me be honest with you here. Usually I have a mixed experience at some point during the creative process. Usually I am happy with the outcome, but sometimes it’s a rocky journey to get there! Sometimes I struggle so much that, although the project looks great when it’s finished, I can never really love it because of the struggle to get to the finish line.

Not this time!

This is one of the rare, precious precious precious few times that something has turned out pretty much EXACTLY like the dream in my head. And as you can imagine – I was pretty excited!

This is Bunny:



Bunny was made for the first birthday of a super sweet little boy, and the whole way through the process (from design sketch, to pattern drafting, to sewing up) he evolved just as I’d hoped.

Even though all softies develop a personality and a name as you make them, I deliberately didn’t name this guy because I know how much fun it is to name your own toys and I didn’t want to take that joy away from little E.



I made him from thrifted wool jumpers, felted on a hot hot hot wash (about 4 goes round the washing machine, and then the dryer!) into super soft merino felt. His little paw pads (eek!) are made from hand-dyed wool felt from my favourite felt shop, and his tail (looking back at the photos I snapped before I gave him away, I seem to have been a little obsessed with his tail. But I can’t help it! It’s so fluffy!) is made from a thrifted angora crocheted beanie all felted up.

I’m kind of (a lot!) digging on the frenchy/pirate vibe of his outfit. And I’m kind of (a lot!) happy that the only new materials I used were the stripes for his scarf, the felt on his feet, and his stuffing – everything else was thrifted! (His shorts are made from a skirt that no longer fits me.)



But what I love the most is the experience I had while making him. No unpicking. No weird pattern flops. No mishapen heads. No wonky limbs. No tears! I hope little E has as much fun with Bunny as I had making him!



My name is Holly and I live in Australia. This is where I blog about the stuff I make (mostly quilts, stamps & plushies). Sometimes I also write about things that inspire me. Thanks for stopping by!


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I hope your visit here has been inspiring, but please respect my designs and idea as my own. You are welcome to use my patterns & tutorials for personal use (for you, for gifts, etc.), but not commercial use. Please feel free to link to my tutorials, but please do not reproduce them in full on your site. Thank you! © HOLLY McGUIRE 2008-2014

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