Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhogs are Whistle Pigs and Other Odd Things

Every year right about now I dust off my knowledge of groundhogs, show it off a bit and promptly forget it. My sister was born on Groundhog Day and for the past few years (since I became a stay-at-home-mom) I've made her groundhog related cards for her birthday and told her stupid facts. I don't even know if she likes them. Being a polite adult, she thanks me and we go back to talking about zombies. But I do know she feels a kinship for the groundhog, so I go on without encouragement.

This year I thought that I might make a little groundhog for her. Groundhogs are ground squirrels (with rather unremarkable tails), and I'd already made a squirrel pattern for the felt woodland. With some minor adjustments - groundhog! I got some faux suede at SCRAP because the sample was rejected (? - I don't really know if that's true, it's just more interesting). So at about 5 pm two days before her birthday, in fading light and determined to photograph it, I started out.

Faux suede is not felt - there is a right side and a very wrong side. That took a bit of remembering when cutting out the pattern pieces and I now have a groundhog and a half cut out.

I sew the belly pieces right sides together, with the seam on the inside, because I like how this looks, though I think it is incorrect felt animal procedure. I do a blanket stitch up the back and around the head, inserting the head gusset.

Close up of the head gusset in place.

Stuff the little guy and add the base. Actually, it is much better to attach the base leaving a small hole to stuff rather than try to sew the base on with all that stuffing.


Add a couple of ears, which are two half circles sewn together for each ear. Paint on some eyes and a nose. And that's him.

I've looked at a lot of groundhog photos and drawings of them and they do have rodent front teeth. This was a bit of a struggle for me as I'm not a fan of rodents. But in the end I added some little felt teeth to groundhog him up a bit. 

His prediction for the winter ... well, it is sunny this morning. But since he can't turn on his own, so he can't really see it.

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