It’s hard to believe that I let nearly eleven months pass without releasing a new plush character, but I finally completed a new one, Skitters the Raccoon, last Friday!
I’ve had plans to make a raccoon for a while now. I was sure I was going to find the time to make one before my mom’s birthday earlier this month (I always joke that she needs a pet raccoon), but the second half of last year got away from me a bit with the Kickstarter campaign and the holiday rush. Then I ended up getting a late start to the new year by spending the first ten days of January primarily in bed with a migraine. But once that finally lifted, I finished up a few custom orders left over from 2016 and found some time to work on drafting new patterns.
Coming up with new plush designs is my absolute favorite thing to do. I enjoy all the creative aspects of my job, but I look forward to drafting new patterns more than anything else. I had a number of projects last year that took me away from designing plush toys, so I had a lot of pent-up creative energy that I put into making Skitters.
Despite being nocturnal, Skitters the Racoon is terrified of the dark. While he could be out rummaging through garbage bins at night, Skitters prefers to stay indoors with his stuffed beaver, Chompers, close by for protection.
The majority of my plush designs take 5-12 hours to make, but I have a few that take considerably longer. Skitters and Chompers took over 20 hours combined (I lost track of the time on the third day), so I know the duo will not be one of my designs I make repeatedly.
Skitters is made with hand-dyed, American made organic cotton sherpa and fair trade organic cotton/hemp fleece and ribbing.
The sherpa I used for Skitters is extremely heavy (and not the easiest for working with small pieces like the ones on his face). When I first started making organic stuffed animals, there was a lighter sherpa fabric available that has since ceased production. The new sherpa is nearly twice as thick, but I have a hard time saying no to using it because I love it so much.
Skitters before needle sculpting and adding his ears, nose, and glass eyes.
Teeny, tiny Chompers in progress. I made him with scraps from the first batch of organic cotton fleece I ever bought (and proved to my husband that I did indeed need that giant bag of tiny organic fabric scraps that’s been sitting in the corner for two years)!
Chompers measures in at just under 4 inches (10 cm). He may be small, but he still took nearly 3 hours to make!
I like to include a photo of all the prototypes that go into making a new design. I made two raccoon prototypes before drafting a third version of the pattern that I used for Skitters. There were three beaver prototypes total. But they make perfect cat toys, and I could only find one. My cat actually kept slapping the beaver in the photo to the ground while I was trying taking the picture. This is the only photo where he was in focus.
I love Skitters, but I think Chompers might be my favorite part of this duo.
Skitters and Chompers are made with:
hand-dyed organic cotton and hemp fabrics
organic cotton thread
organic cotton ribbon
glass eyes (Skitters only)
organic cotton stuffing and rPET fiber stuffing made from recycled plastic bottles
*Skitters and Chompers are intended as collectibles and may not be suitable for small children. Skitters cannot hold his stuffed beaver on his own, but I am happy to stitch Chompers in his hand upon request.