A Bunny birthday party has to have bunnies.
Nothing against live bunnies (unless they eat the plants in our yard) but I thought that surely, surely, we could do more with a Bunny party theme than go the petting zoo direction.
So fake bunnies, then. I'd considered the sewn version - you know, fabric bunny softies. After all, I know at least one somewhat cute version. But mass-sewing softies is a lot of work, and besides, we already have eight of those baby bunnies at home.
So I picked the no-sew, yarn pompom alternative.
And here I feel a Nostalgia Attack coming on.
Let me tell you a Story-From-My-Crafting-Childhood, okay? Not like you have a choice, anyway.
So, you all know about my illustrious grandmother who was a professional tailor, right? And how, as a consequence of her instruction and mentoring, all the women in our family in the generation after hers are accomplished garment seamstresses? Now, Grandma lived with us for many years before she moved to a nursing home. I was in elementary school then, and too young to be interested in drafting and tailoring, which was a shame. Fortunately, Grandma also loved crafts of all kinds, some of which were kid-appropriate. Her closets were full of fun craft supplies that I spent many afternoons digging in, just to see what I could find. Sometimes, she would take me to a store called Golden Dragon, which was the Singapore equivalent of Michaels, the craft store we have in the US. And, like Michaels, this store offered classes. The one I remember most vividly was on making pompom animals - you'd buy their pompom tool kit, yarn, glue and scissors and they'd teach you for free. When I was about 8 or 9, Grandma brought me there, sat me down at the tables, made the necessary purchases and we spent that afternoon making a chick and a rabbit. When we left for home, she bought more yarn for me so I could continue the happy making on my own.
Which I did. I made a chick family and a rabbit family, plus felt food befitting the needs of their species. Not very adventurous, I know. But wait - here it gets interesting. The chick family was frighteningly improper. I constructed, by using the same pompom templates in different sizes (what people in fabric circles refer to as "grading"), gigantic chick parents and a bunch of small children chicks. My mother, bless her scientifically-precise brain, gently suggested that the parental form of this particular avian species was the "chicken". Which was not the same as "chick". Her theory was that chickens were anatomically different and that chicks, no matter how volumetrically superior, could never be parents, and would always remain in their juvenile capacity. I pooh-poohed her; everyone knew, I maintained, that the large version of any animal was the parent and the small, the offspring. End of story. My mother eventually surrendered, as I knew she would, and I happily played with my genetically-bizarre chick family.
I am happy to report that, thanks to years of Biology lessons and appropriate children's literature, I am no longer a devotee of the Large Parent Small Child belief. Which is fortunate; otherwise, my Chicken sewing pattern, beloved by my children and blog readers everywhere, would have turned out quite differently. Looking back, I also marvel that my children now subscribe to exactly the same Large Parent Small Child theory that I did as a kid, with the exception that they generalize it to inanimate objects as well e.g. "The big pancake is the mother pancake, and the small one is the baby pancake." The scientist part of me thinks that it is how children make sense of their world and the relationships between the millions of random things around them. The mother part of me, however, just laughs at how crazy-funny it all is, and mourns the day when my kids outgrow their whimsical beliefs and become the dead-boring logical realists that adults are.
Back to rabbits now. The rabbit family I'd made suffered none of the criticism endured by the poor beleaguered chick family. This was because -and my logical mother would be relieved- baby bunnies were exactly the same as their parents, only smaller, and could therefore be safely made with the same templates graded down a couple sizes, without breaking any laws of nature. I remember that story while making the bunnies for Kate's party because they are almost a replica of that rabbit family I made years ago. I modified their faces, inspired by this delightful tutorial, but otherwise, they are the same pompom bunnies from my childhood.
Here's how we made ours. We used the thickest yarn we could find. Thick yarn is best for pompoms because they fill the forms quickly, which is especially important when you are mass-producing dozens of them.
We wound our forms (in two sizes), tied their middles, cut them out and trimmed them to shape.
We tied a large and small pompom together to make the bunny's body and head, respectively.
Edited 2017 to add answers to FAQs from readers:
Q1: How big are the pompoms you used for the body and head?
A: I do not remember the exact dimensions of the pompoms we made, but the body was roughly 4" and the head 2" in diameter.
Q2: How did you attach the body to the head?
A: When we made the pompoms, we left the trailing piece of yarn uncut (this was the piece we used to tie the middles of the pompom circles tightly) for both the head and body pompoms. We had a double strand for the head and a double strand for the body. Then we knotted these two sets of yarn strands together, tightly, and bound the head and body together. We did not need glue.
We made bunnies in different colors.
For the ears, we cut shapes in wool felt and pinch-glued their bottom ends
before inserting them into the heads.
Then we glued on the tails. Ours were ready-made white pompoms. Kate, who knows more about bunnies than I do, explained that cottontails are white
regardless of the color of the bunny.
We used black beads for the eyes. If you have small children at home, you might prefer the more secure sewing method of attaching the eyes,
but we glued ours on.
We made the whiskers by winding invisible thread around a card,
sliding it off, tying the whole bunch in a knot around its middle, slipping that bunch through the hole of a pony bead,
and stuffing the hole with a tiny bit of felt (and glue) to hold everything in place. Then we cut open the loops,
and glued it in place on the bunny's face.
Kate loved watching the bunnies come together as we made them. Here she is getting to know them before the big day.
Next up: Hutches!