This is Arnold--and his friend, Arnold. I made them both for Christmas gifts--one for Beeper (this ended up usurping my plans to make him that Chewbacca), and the other for a certain little girl I know who has a particular fondness for penguins. I know. They are pretty adorable. That ridiculously long beak, the stocking cap--perfect. They were mostly made from recycled materials--the black and white wool fabrics were from old suit jackets I thrifted, washed and cut up into useable pieces years ago, the hats are from cuffs of old sweaters I keep in a basket in my workshop for just this sort of thing.
Arnold the Penguin is a design from Fiona Dalton's new book of plushie designs, Hop Skip Jump: 20 Eco-Friendly Toys to Sew published by Penguin. It is only being sold in Australia today, but I ordered mine and just had it shipped all the way here. For me, it was completely worth every shipping cent, every red mark against my carbon footprint because I cannot stop looking at this book and thinking about which plushie I want to make and all the reasons I can find to make them. There are so many ways this book is inspiring me...
I love how all the plushies feel modern and vintage at the same time.
I love the photos of the plushies and the fabrics Fiona chose for each--as well as the overall styling of the book (inspiring photo styling can sell a book to me--that eye-candy-effect that makes me want to keep looking at it again and again...)
I love the fact that the book focuses on making the toys from recycled or eco-friendly fabrics.
I love the little accessories so many of the animals have a (the fox with a handkerchief, the cat in a tie, the hippo with a party hat...)--simple additions that make me smile.
I love the array of designs, varying in complexity and time commitment. It also contains designs geared for boys (a robot, a rocket), as well as girls (2 doll designs)--and even babies.
And I just love the sewing-friendly design of the book (lays flat when open, nice large pocket contains the templates for handy keeping, lots of good illustrated instructions).
You can get a good look at the book here (including the complete list of projects), and order it here or here. You can also visit Fiona's blog, aptly named Hop Skip Jump, if you have never been and see what sorts of goodness she is up to over there. Fiona also has a lovely array of individual patterns available for purchase in her little shop, here.
As always, so much to make, so little time--but this is a good book with which to start your year of hand-making.