Having a Whale of a Time with Scraps

I used to think life was too short to stuff a toy – or was that a mushroom? – but I’ve been persuaded to change my mind.

I took a fancy to this pattern for a whale partly because he’s so cute and partly because it’s a pattern by Jodie over at RicRac and she is an amazing pattern designer.  Plus, did I mention she was having a sale at the time?  I may have bought three or four patterns :/

Anyway, I made him from scraps of some lovely canvassy fabric in seaside colours and put into use the tin of sardines I bought just because I love the illustration on the tin.  I can’t stand sardines.

This is another of Jodie’s patterns which I thought I might be able to do something with to decorate my stand at the Christmas Fair in November to raise funds for the Twilight Retirement Home for Dogs.

Nothing wrong with my pattern cutting or stuffing skills here – he’s just cocking his back leg for a wee 😉 Honest!


The dogs aren’t free-standing so I’m wondering about making a garland to hang in front of the stall – or over it even if I can figure out a good way to do that.  Anybody made a garland with ‘softies’ before?   Tips and hints would be appreciated and possibly followed slavishly.


Non-matching cotton reel for size purposes. He’s quite dinky.

Nothing to do with whales or dogs but my reasoning will become apparent – my daughter is an ‘aerialist’ – that is she does classes using an aerial hoop which sounds scary but is very good for upper body strength apparently.  It was her birthday so I made her a card using (mostly) freehand machine embroidery – although I did use a machined feather stitch around the outside of the constellation fabric (which was a scrap – so there’s my ‘reasoning’ if you read on)

I don’t know what this particular pose is called but they all look so elegant.

I couldn’t resist another whale photo and a better look at the sardine tin.

I might even use that design for a future freehand embroidery project.

The whale is actually supposed to be a pincushion but, when I stuck some pins in him for the photos, they looked like harpoons and I felt so bad I took them out again 😦

All made with scraps so I’m joining in with Kate’s Scraphappy Day here where you can click to see what the other participants have been doing with their scraps this month – see I told you there was ‘reasoning’ involved.

I have been spending quality time with visitors (this was a scheduled post) and being a visitor myself  over the next couple of weeks so don’t worry if you don’t see me around as much as usual – I haven’t disappeared under a pile of unlaundered dog blankets and left to suffocate.  Although if I’m not back after a couple of weeks feel free to check.


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  1. #1 by claire93 on August 15, 2017 - 11:19

    a great use of fabric scraps Lynn. Careful, because they’ll become addictive!

    • #2 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 09:04

      Well, I made a couple more when visiting my Mum in the U.K. at the weekend and will have to make a few more as my stand at the fair will be at least 2m. We’ll see if I’m not fed up with them by then 😉

  2. #3 by katechiconi on August 15, 2017 - 11:58

    All gorgeous, all wonderfully scrappy, and Mr Whale certainly looks happier without harpoons! Not sure what you mean about the garland – do you mean a garland of dogs… joined nose to tail sort of thing? Love the idea, but no idea how you’d make it work! Have fun visiting and being visited 🙂

    • #4 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 09:02

      I’ll make it work eventually, somehow.
      Back from being visited and visiting now and trying to get back into a routine – which will be amazing as I don’t really have anything resembling a routine, ever.

  3. #5 by nanacathy2 on August 15, 2017 - 12:54

    So your comment about your dog’s pose caused me to laugh and splutter a mouthful of coffee. I don’t know which I love most the whale, the sardines, the woofer or the card, I adore them all. I think a garland of dogs would be amazing like they were on a dog lead, I have seen hearts done that way joined through the middle to the string with a button to cover the join. Not certain how that helps, but I blame the spluttering.

    • #6 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 09:00

      Thank you! I think the problem will be trying to get them to hang horizontally rather than vertically. If I accept the fact that the garland will be a permanent thing – which it could be as we do little fund raising fairs quite often – I think it will be easier.

  4. #7 by magpiesue on August 15, 2017 - 18:14

    A garland of little dogs would be adorable – and so appropriate! Sorry I can’t help with construction of such a thing. I’m sure you can find directions somewhere on the ‘net. The whale is a cutie too. Great use of scraps all around! Enjoy your visits. 🙂

  5. #9 by Kim on August 15, 2017 - 21:45

    All gorgeous – and I just adore the mermaid on the sardine can 😃.
    A garland of dogs sounds delightful. No suggestions ‘re construction though – sorry!

    • #10 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 08:57

      Thanks for giving it some thought Kim – I’m sure I’ll come up with something eventually.

  6. #11 by sew2pro on August 15, 2017 - 21:55

    A charming little whale. Did you know they’re very fashionable right now? http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/whales.html

    • #12 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 08:56

      Great stuff! Did you go?

  7. #13 by Emma on August 16, 2017 - 14:52

    I love this whale, it’ super cute! I’m with you on the sardines though, I don’t like them at all (although, I have to say that this box it so pretty, might be worth buying sardines just for it!)

    • #14 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 08:55

      The sardines will forever stay inside their beautiful tin – unless my husband gets a fancy for some sardines on toast one day but he has been warned.

  8. #15 by Beads and Barnacles on August 16, 2017 - 23:08

    Very cute. Always good to have done good ways to use up scraps

    • #16 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 08:53

      Yes! Something has to happen before the scrap bin gets so heavy it crashes through the floor into the room below 😮

      • #17 by Beads and Barnacles on August 22, 2017 - 09:13

        Lol yeah I know that feeling. I need to find a use for mine soon…

  9. #18 by Born To Organize on August 17, 2017 - 06:36

    I love all your scrap creations! What a cute little whale. I’m glad he’s pin-less once again. Is the whale small enough to become a cat toy? You could fill his belly with nepeta/cat nip. Tessa thinks everything is a toy around, which is perhaps what made me think of it. OR, you could use that whale in place of a bow on a special gift. I love the fabric.

    Your free form card is equally lovely. I had so much fun looking at all the details.

    As for making the red plaid pooches into a garland, perhaps you could attach a button to the tale, similar to the one on the ears, then hook each button to a length of cord or a crochet chain. Does that make sense?

    Fun post!

    • #19 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 08:52

      It would indeed make a good cat toy Alys – but I might feel just as bad for the poor whale 😉
      I like the idea of a gift ‘bow’.
      As only one side of the garland would be seen – I wonder if I could wind a cord around the eye at the back of each dog – they would probably hang vertically instead of horizontally but I’ll experiment with it.

      • #20 by Born To Organize on August 27, 2017 - 16:35

        I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with! You are a woman of many talents.

  10. #21 by lovelucie1 on August 17, 2017 - 14:06

    A dachshund garland? I’ve come close with my scotty dogs from 2014 no less! You even commented on the post!!!



    • #22 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 08:48

      You’re right! How soon we forget 😦 However, I don’t really want to join them nose to tail – not because your one doesn’t look great, it does! – but if I have some space in between them I won’t have to make so many 🙂 I think I have the germ of an idea now – I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  11. #23 by Dartmoor Yarns on August 19, 2017 - 23:08

    Hope you’re still alive as I write this comment.
    Love the whale and the dog – although like you, I’m not sure I personally have time for stuffed toys or stuffed mushrooms. love the sardine tin too 🙂

    • #24 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 08:42

      I am indeed still alive and the weather in good old England wasn’t actually too bad while I was over – although I was hit by a blast of 32 degree heat when I got off the plane yesterday afternoon which was a bit of a contrast.
      No time for stuffed toys?? You have stuffed a fair few sheep in your time haven’t you? 😉

      • #25 by Dartmoor Yarns on August 22, 2017 - 10:48

        Glad to hear you’re still in the land of the living and that you had reasonable wear while here. You can stop showing off about that 32 degrees though 😉
        Stuffed toy! That sheep is my friend not a stuffed toy!

  12. #26 by dezertsuz on August 20, 2017 - 00:36

    Both stuffies are wonderful! What if you just hung something for a clothesline effect and clipped the dogs along it at convenient intervals? It would be easy to unclip them for sale. Now if you wanted to sell a garland, I would string them nose to tail, but with either crocheted, knitted or knotted yarn or think rope between them, whatever was easiest to attach.

    I, too, don’t like sardines (or mushrooms, either!), but I could be convinced to buy that can just to have for a pretty prop! Your daughter will, no doubt, love that card!

    • #27 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 08:39

      I might try something like that – thank you for the tip 🙂

  13. #28 by sewchet on August 20, 2017 - 12:39

    Ha ha, I love that using the whale as a pincushion makes you feel guilty of harpooning! I made a toy whale ‘just for fun’ too. I have no idea why. It’s not even useful and now languishes in my office on a shelf collecting dust.

    • #29 by tialys on August 22, 2017 - 08:38

      I didn’t think about it when I saw the photo on the pattern but when I stuck the pins in ‘in real life’ it seemed really obvious :/ I have a pattern for starfish too so maybe I’ll make a sea themed garland for the bathroom.

  14. #30 by Thimberlina on October 2, 2017 - 23:27

    You make me laugh! And my parents too – I’ve just told them about your whale being harpooned!! I need to head over and check out the patterns on the link to Jodie’s site……

    • #31 by tialys on October 3, 2017 - 08:16

      I’m making a mini suitcase at the moment – another Jodie pattern – and seem to be using up the country’s supply of interfacing so it might well be the only one I make.

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