Sunday, 3 February 2013

Owl Doorstops

I've got a thing about owls, which is great as at the moment they're everywhere. I have a Greek uncle who gave me lots of books about Greek mythology when I was young and my favourite goddess was Athena who's symbol was an owl- ever since I've loved them.
A couple of years ago, one afternoon my sister and I were in my kitchen which looks out the front onto the street whilst my husband was upstairs. Out of nowhere a huge owl flew down and landed on the pavement at the top of our drive. Without missing a beat my husband, who had seen it too, came running downstairs shouting our Hogwart's letter had arrived :-) It turns out a man who lives behind the houses opposite us keeps owls and it was the owl's first flight and he flew further than the man had expected. It was a young eagle owl we were told and was called Norman. It was pretty incredible even if you weren't keen on them.
I've made all sorts of things with owls on over the years but I think owl doorstops are my favourite as they're quick and easy. Although I've made quite a few, I make them up as I  go, they've all been different. Most often I tend to crochet them but sometimes I knit or sew them.
Here are a few examples of crocheted ones:

Carry on reading to learn how to make one of these cuties. 

Make Your Own Owl Doorstop
The quickest and easiest owl doorstop to make is to sew one using felt. I made this one in about an hour and a half. I did it whilst watching "Hairspray", so however long that film is, is about the time it takes and if you don't watch a musical to get distracted by, it would be even quicker!
I used a wooly jumper which was purposely shrunk in the wash but any felt or fabric that doesn't fray would work well (if you want to use fabric which frays use a zigzag stitch to secure the edges). The size of the jumper, after it came out of the washing machine, determined the finished size of this little fellow. He's a bit smaller than I'd normally make. The smaller ones can be a little harder to make a good weight to hold a door but the jumper shrunk a lot so a small one it was.
I crocheted circles for his eyes but if you're not a crocheter, knitted circles or circles of felt will work just as well- cut out circles will speed the project up too.

You will need:

  • Enough felt/fabric to cut 2 of the pattern pieces to the size you want (the front and back are the same), 2 dome shapes for the wings and a circle large enough for the base- I forgot to put this in the photograph, it doesn't have to be the same fabric as the rest.
  • A semicircle of contrasting fabric for the tummy - this is optional but nice.
  • 2 contrasting circles for the eyes- crocheted from yarn (see below), felt or whatever you like best.
  • 2 buttons.
  • 1 toggle.
  • Stuffing - I save all the off-cuts from different projects and use that as it doesn't matter if the stuffing is a bit lumpy for these.
  • Something to weigh it down - I used heavy bits and bobs (lumps of off-cut bolts and the like) set in a small cup of plaster of Paris but you could use whatever you have to hand. Small stones wrapped in an old sock works well. You could also use pouch of rice or similar but this won't hold a heavy door.
  • Needle and thread.
  • Sewing machine (you could do it all be hand but it would take much longer than the length of "Hairspray").

1. Cut two rectangles slightly larger than the size you want your finished owl to be. Cut a concave curve in both rectangles along one of the shorter edges using photo as a guide. The felt I used narrowed towards the top anyway so I cut the curves in that end. This isn't necessary as it's not part of the design. Cut two wings to your desired size (small wings can look really cute). Cut a circle out for the base- I cut the circles much bigger than needed but as long as the diameter is larger than the length of a short edge of the rectangle it will be fine. Cut a semicircle of contrasting fabric for the tummy. 

2. Sew the semicircle to the bottom of one of the rectangles on the right side using a zigzag stitch (I used one 6mm wide, 0.8mm long), curved side down.

3. Pin the front and back sections together along the two long and curved edges and sew along these three edges using a regular running stitch.

4. Turn the right sides out. Hand sew the cirles for the eyes in place and sew the buttons on top of these. Sew the toggle in place between the eyes.

If you do want to crochet the same eyes, the pattern is:
Work 8dc into a magic circle, ss in first dc - pull circle tight [8sts]
1ch, 1dc into same st as ss, 2dc in each remaining dc, ss in first ch [16sts]
1ch, 1dc into same st as ss, *1dc in next dc, 2dc in next dc, rep from * to end, ss in first chain [23sts]
3ch ss in same ch *1dc in next dc, 2ch, ss in same dc, ss in next dc, rep from * to end, ss in ss.
Cut and sew both ends in.

5. Hand sew the wings in place across the seams using a whip stitch.

6. Stuff the top of the owl with off cuts or stuffing. Place your "weight" in the bottom section and extra stuffing as needed.

7. Tuck the fabric circle into the bottom and hand sew in place using whip stitch and you're all done!

8. Get him to work holding doors and looking adorable ;-)

I hope that all makes sense! If you have any comments or questions please get in touch. If you do make your own version please share photos, I'd love to see them. Thanks x

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