Take it Like a Sloth …

20190227_102637_resized (2)A few people recently suggested that I should slow down a little bit, so I do … but not without a book!

Last fall, I went to visit the local public library, to get ideas for some not so typical book pals. I considered it a success when I found Jenny Offill’s book “Sparky!”, beautifully illustrated by Chris Appelhans … featuring a sloth.

The book made even me, the adult reader, chuckle and sigh, for the funny thoughts that develop and the people interactions that are described in a simple, strait forward, and true manner.

The story is about how “I” got to a pet sloth, and then some adventures, or should I say non-adventures, since Sparky is a sloth, and sloths are … very slow, so not much is happening, really.

Jenny Offill includes a good share of fantasy (no, sloths won’t ship in cardboard boxes to your house), a great deal of realism (mom’s “whatever”, the appearance of the polite Mrs. Edwin, and a rather difficult friend Mary), and a true life lesson (you have to keep your promises). I think this book is an enjoyable read-aloud for reader and listener.

But now let’s weave our sloth pal!

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You will need:

  • TexaTURTLE™ loom
  • Original TURTLE Loom™
  • Weaving tools of your choice, and you will need one extra weaving needle
  • Worsted weight yarn: About 85 yards in beige, 2 yards in brown, 16 yards in natural (we used Berroco Mercado and Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted)
  • Small amount of black to embroider the mouth
  • Stuffing
  • 2 Animal eyes (black, 15 mm), 1 animal nose (black,  20 mm)
  • Crochet hook, tapestry needle, scissors

Weave:

  • 6 TexaTURTLE™ hexagons in beige (for body, arms, and legs)
  • 1 Original TURTLE Loom™ hexagon in beige (back of the head)
  • 2 Original TURTLE Loom™ hexgons with clasped weft pattern (for the face)

20190226_224707_resized (2)Sloths have quite remarkable facial markings. To make those, I decided to use a new pattern weaving method on the hexagon pin loom that I know from rigid heddle loom weaving: Clasped weft. You use two colors in the same row, then interlock those two colors. Shifting how long you weave each color in each row forms the pattern.

For the face, weave two of the same hexagons with the same clasped weft pattern.

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  • Using natural, weave the hexagon as usual, until you have woven 5 rows in the center (the yarn is on the right).
  • Cut a 30″ piece of brown yarn.
  • Starting from the left, weave 6 under/over. End with the needle at the top.
  • Weaving from the right in natural, weave 5 over/under. End with the needle at the top.
  • Interlock or twist the two yarns once, then weave the neutral yarn back to the right, the brown yarn back to the left.
  • Pull gently, pack gently.
  • Next set of rows: 7 under/over in brown from the left, 4 over/under in natural from the right. Interlock. Weave back.
  • Repeat the last set of rows one more time.
  • Repeat the first set of rows one more time.
  • Finish weaving in natural (2 more rows to weave).

Here is a video that shows how to work the clasped weft:

Assemble the sloth as follows:

20190226_165618_resized_LI (2) Match up the two clasped weft “face” hexagons. Sew them together along three sides as shown. (I do all my sewing in whip stitch.)
20190226_165635_resized (2) When you open them up, it looks like this.
20190226_165733_resized If you turn the face around, you will again have six hexagon sides. Sew the beige back of the head onto the face hexagons, leaving the bottom two sides open as shown.
20190226_170932_resized_LI Position the head over one side of a body hexagon as shown.

Sew both remaining sides of the back of the head to one side of the body hexagon as shown, slightly holding in the extra width.

20190226_172233_resized Repeat the last step for the body front.
20190226_185841_resized_LI Install the eyes and the nose. The eyes go to the end of the darker markings. Position the nose about half way down the hexagon sides that form the snout.

 

Sew the body sides together as shown, leaving the bottom open for stuffing.

  20190226_190317_resized (2)_LI Make 4 (2 legs and 2 arms):

Fold a large hexagon in half as shown.

Sew along one side length as shown.

Gather the remaining side and pull in to form the paw.

20190226_190531_resized Stuff lightly and close the bottom seam.
20190227_102421_resized (2) Stuff the head and body to your liking and close the bottom.

 

Attach the stuffed legs and arms as shown.

20190227_103445_resized Use a small amount of black to embroider the mouth as shown.
20190227_102539_resized (2) For the claws, cut a piece of about 30” of natural wool. Fold in half.

With a crochet hook, pull the loop through 2 threads near the tip of the paw, then chain 7. Pull the end through and pull tight. Clip the remaining yarn.

Repeat 2 more times to make a total of three claws.

 

Make another 3 claws on the other front paw.

20190227_125730_resized (2) Optional: If you wish your sloth to be able to hang off a branch or stick to anything metal, consider adding Velcro or metallic snaps to the paws.

So, here you have it: A woven sloth pet to go with “Sparky!” the picture book! The set would make a great present for a little one, near or far.

Happy weaving and happy reading!

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