A Tauntaun of Your Very Own
Some time ago I posted about the tauntaun I made for Timmy of ThinkGeek for San Diego Comic Con. At the time, several people asked how they could make their own. Well folks, rejoice, because that is now a possibility.
This pattern is customized to fit Timmy the ThinkGeek monkey, but it could easily be adapted to fit other similarly sized stuffed animals or more extensively tweaked to fit something of a different size. A word of warning: I wasn’t really working with specific numbers of rows or stitches here, it was more of a “design on the fly” approach with lots of measuring to fit, and I suggest anyone attempting to make a tauntaun and Luke suit from my directions do the same, it helps make up for differences in gauge and yarn and all that stuff. I’m not saying it’s the best or most efficient way to do this, but it’s how I did things.
Feel free to post questions or problems as a comment here (I prefer that to emails because it allows others to see the question and learn from it) and I’ll do my best to help.
– The body of the jacket is a essentially just a brown rectangle wrapped around Timmy’s torso, with holes for the arms to fit through. Start by chaining enough stitches to get the desired length of jacket (measuring from neck to waist), then work double crochet stitches in to those until your piece is long enough to go from the middle of his chest to one arm.
– To make an arm hole, start a row of double crochet and go until you reach the height of the bottom of the arm. Instead of continuing, chain enough stitches to go around the arm. Count how many you chain and skip the same number of stitches, then start up double crochet in the next stitch again, continuing until the end of the row.
– Continue with rows of double crochet until your rectangle reaches around Timmy’s back to the other arm. Repeat the arm hole instructions from above – double crochet part of the row until you reach the arm, chain enough stitches to go around it, skip that same number of stitches, then start up single crochet again to finish the row.
– Complete the torso by adding enough rows of double crochet to wrap around Timmy and meet the other end in the middle of his chest. Instead of finishing off, turn along the bottom edge (or top, depending on where you finish) and slip stitch to make the edge neater. Turn down the opposite side, then along the top (or bottom, whichever you didn’t do before) to clean it up too. This also makes one side slightly longer so there is overlap for placing snap closures to hold the jacket closed.
– Sew a snap closure in place at the neck.
– NOTE: Timmy is a little portly, and if you’re working with a different shaped stuffed animal this might also be relevant. A rectangle that fits around the neck area might be too small to fit around the waist. The easiest way to taper it is to start each row on the bottom edge of the jacket with a few longer stitches, say triple crochets, taper down to doubles, then half doubles or singles at the other end. This makes the piece flare a bit. Because I was making this up as I went along, I had no reasonable system of doing this evenly, I just added some when I felt the need.
– To make sleeves, switch to white yarn. Remember those arm holes we left in the body of the jacket? You will be treating those as circles. Slip stitch in to one of the stitches along the edge of that hole, then single crochet around in each stitch. When you get back to the beginning, slip stitch in to your initial stitch, chain two, and proceed with double crochets around until your sleeve is as long as Timmy’s arm. Single crochet works too, but double moves things along faster without making the fabric unstable.
– Repeat on the other side for the other sleeve.
– I will admit right now that the hood was done in a really convoluted way and I moved in a fairly stream-of-consciousness way adding and reducing stitches as needed. If this makes no sense, I apologize. It didn’t make much as I was doing it either. Start by slip stitching in to a stitch along the collar just above one sleeve. Single crochet in each stitch around the back of the jacket until you reach the other arm. Now chain enough stitches to loosely fit over the top of the head – you are making the front edge of the hood, and it’s better if it doesn’t fit snugly because it will be harder to pull up and down if it’s tight. When your chain is long enough, slip stitch in to the first stitch you made on the collar. Work in the round now, filling in the hood toward the crown of the head. I worked around about three times without increasing or decreasing, to give enough volume to accommodate the ears and curvature of the head, then began decreasing every tenth stitch or so. You’ll likely just have to experiment to find out what rate of decreasing works for you – I redid this several times before coming upon the number that gave me a smooth rounded shape. Keep working until the hole left is small, just a couple of stitches, then finish off and stitch it shut with the tail.
– The goggles are black half circles crocheted together with white yarn. Start with a magic ring in black yarn, single crochet four stitches in to it and finish off. Start another magic ring, single crochet four stitches in to it, chain one and slip stitch in to the end of the other piece you just made. Finish off. Make sure to pull the magic rings tight and push the stitches together to make more of a half circle shape rather than distributing them around the ring, as is more usual. Switch to white yarn and slip stitch in to top corner. Single crochet across the flat top, then single crochet two white stitches in each black stitch around the round bottoms of the glasses. Sew them to the hood above the eyes.
– The flap that covers Luke’s face when it’s windy, for lack of a better name for it, is just a long rectangle, essentially a scarf. Chain seven stitches, turn and double crochet five stitches in to those chains. Continue rows of double crochet until the piece is long enough to span across Timmy’s face. At this point the sides will be a little messy, so turn and single crochet down one, across the bottom, and up the other side to make it nice and neat. Finish off and use the tail to sew to the hood, to one side of the goggles.
– Using a different brown color from the jacket, chain enough stitches to go around Timmy’s waist (the same length as the bottom of the jacket, if you want to use that to measure), plus about a half inch. Turn and work a row of double crochet in to the chains. Finish off.
– Sew this along the bottom edge of the jacket, leaving the extra length sticking out one side. Sew one side of a snap fastener to the extra bit of tail sticking out, facing inward toward Timmy’s body, then attach the other half of the fastener to the belt where it overlaps so they line up.
– To make the buckle, I used one half of another snap fastener in black, sewn facing outward.
– Using white yarn, make a chain long enough to go around Timmy’s waist. This part is most easily done on the actual stuffed animal, working around the waist. Slip stitch to the starting end and work in the round. To make a hole for the tail to fit through, chain two stitches, skip two in the regular series, then continue with double crochets. It’s just like the arm holes in the jacket, just smaller.
– Double crochet enough rounds until your waist is wide enough that you can pinch it together between his legs and have the sides meet in the middle.
– Work stitches until you are lined up with the middle of Timmy’s legs. Slip stitch in to the stitch directly opposite the one you are in. You have divided the legs, and now will work each independently. The first can just be continued from where you are, around one side of the waist and continuing between the legs rather than around the other side.
– Once the first leg is long enough, finish it off and repeat on the other side.
– This whole piece, from the neck down to the tip of the tail, is essentially a tube worked in a sandy brown (as are the rest of the body components). You just shape it through increasing and decreasing stitches, and open up the stomach by working in rows for a while instead of rounds. It is done in a sandy gray tan color. For this part (and the rest of the body, really anything that will be stuffed) it is more important to use single crochet, as it’s a small tight stitch that won’t let stuffing leak or show through.
– Start at the top of the neck. Chain as many stitches as needed to make the neck as thick as you want – I used 30 (using worsted weight yarn and a size G hook, adjust as needed to get the size you want and to account for your own stitch size). Slip stitch in to the first stitch to make a loop. Single crochet around several rounds, until you get to a good neck length. Mine was around two inches.
– Increase every 10 stitches for six rounds.
– Now you are switching to working in rows. Whenever you’ve got the neck to a good length and the beginning of the chest expanding outward, chain one and turn. Single crochet two in to the first stitch, then single crochet one stitch in each following stitch until the last, in which you will single crochet two again. Continue in this manner until you’ve reached the maximum belly size you want for your tauntaun. To measure this out, I wrapped it around Timmy to make sure he would fit easily, then gave myself a little extra wiggle room for positioning and to fit the guts.
– At this point you don’t want to start decreasing immediately, or the belly will have a sharp point. To make the curve more gradual, work several rows without increasing or decreasing, then start gradually decreasing at about the same rate you increased – single crocheting two together at the beginning and end of each row, and so on.
– Eventually you’ll want to switch back to working in rounds, so as to transition from the body to the tail. I waited until the circumference of the opening was about the same as the other end of the opening, then instead of turning to start a new row, joined the other end with a slip stitch. Work in the round, still decreasing at the ends of each round, for several rounds, then finish off.
– Count how many stitches around the end of your body is. Conveniently, mine was 30, like the neck. Using the same yarn, make a magic ring and single crochet five stitches in to it. Pull the loop tight and continue in rounds, making a flat disc. To do that, single crochet two in each stitch around, then two in every other stitch around, then in every third, and so on until you get to 30 stitches. Note – if you wind up with another number of stitches at this point, use the same basic concept of making a flat disc, but start with as many stitches as you need to evenly get to the appropriate number of stitches to match the circumference of your tauntaun body.
– Next you’re going to connect this disc, the beginning of the tail, to the body. To do so, put your hook in to the next stitch around and also in to any one stitch along the end of the body piece. Yarn over and work a single crochet in to both of those stitches. Continue around the circle this way until it is closed off.
– Where on the round you decrease is going to change the way the tail curves. Imagine your tauntaun is standing up – if you want the tail to curve downward, toward the ground (which is how I did it, it’s most true to how the creature is built) you should move the position where you’re working two stitches together to the top of the tail. Until now, you’ve been decreasing at the bottom, along the belly, so we’re basically reversing that. To make this switch, just work around the circle until you get to the top of the tail, decrease, and continue to do so each round. Keep working smaller and smaller rounds until you run out of stitches, bringing the tail to a point. Before you completely close it up, stuff the tail with fiberfill.
– Start with a magic ring. Single crochet 6 stitches in to it and pull tight. Connect to the first stitch to start the second row, and single crochet two in each stitch around. For the next row, single crochet two in one stitch, then one in the next, alternating all the way around. In the next row after that, single crochet two stitches in one, then one in each of the next two, and for the row after that put three stitches between the two-in-one increases, until you get to 32 stitches. Single crochet around 3-4 rows without increasing or decreasing.
– Remember the tail, and the part about placing your decreases to affect the direction a tube turns? For the leg, you’re going to decrease one stitch per round, and choose a consistent position on the round (for convenience’s sake the beginning is probably a good place) to decrease. This is going to be the back of the thigh. The length of the thigh is about five inches, give or take, or roughly half as long as you want the leg to be overall.
– If you find that decreasing once per round is giving you a longer leg than you want, then decrease two each round for a while. Conversely, if the leg isn’t coming out as long as you’d like, alternate rounds without decreases with rounds that have single decreases.
– To make the knee bend, you want to slip stitch the stitches at the back of the knee and double crochet the front of the knee. At this point I had around 20 stitches per round, so at the beginning of the round I single crocheted 6 to get to the front of the knee, where the double crochets begin. From there, double crochet seven, single crochet three, slip stitch seven. At this point you will have gone all the way around the knee, but you will NOT be at the beginning of the round as it’s been marked before. At this point, single crochet three, double crochet seven, single crochet three and slip stitch seven.
– From here, you’re working on the calf, which means going back to only single crochet stitches all around. But you want this to bend opposite from how the thigh does, so your decreases should be directly opposite from where they were before. To get to this, single crochet to the middle of the front of the knee, what would have been the exact middle of your round before, and decrease one stitch. Then work all the way around to that point again and decrease again. Treat that point as the beginning of your rounds from now on.
– Before the opening gets too tiny, start to stuff the leg as you go.
– The turn of the foot is done the same way the knee is. I had about eight stitches left in a round at this point, so I slip stitched three at the front of the leg, single crocheted one, double crocheted three then single crochet one. Because the round is so small, the turn appears more dramatic and you only need to do one round like this before going back to single crochet.
– Continue single crocheting and decreasing one per round until you get down to three stitches. Finish off and use your tail to neatly stitch the opening closed.
– Repeat to make the other leg.
– The arms are essentially small versions of the legs, except that you won’t be decreasing much because they’re really skinny to begin with. Oh, and there are fingers.
– Start with a magic ring and single crochet five stitches into it, then pull tight. Single crochet two in each of those stitches, making a round of ten. Single crochet around a bunch of times, until the tube is about half as long as you want the arm.
– Now to make the elbow bend, just like the knee and foot. Slip stitch three, single crochet two, double crochet three, single crochet two. Putting in just one row of this will make a gradual bend, two rows of it will make a more dramatic shift. You can do it either way, or have one arm more bent than the other by putting a second row of elbow stitches into one and not the other. Both ways work just fine.
– Return to single crochet stitches all around. When you get to the middle of the inner elbow, below the slip stitches, decrease twice. This makes the forearm a bit thinner than the upper arm. Continue single crocheting around until the arm is the desired length, making this section roughly the same length as the upper arm. Stuff the arm before proceeding with the fingers. Something thin like a pencil helps with pushing stuffing all the way up to the top of the arm.
– To make the fingers, chain four, turn and single crochet in to the second stitch from the hook and the remaining two after it. Slip stitch in to the next stitch on the round. Repeat this two more times, then slip stitch in to the last stitch and finish off.
– Repeat to make the second arm.
– Start with a magic ring and single crochet 6 in to it. Pull the ring tight. This is looking like it’s becoming a pattern, isn’t it?
– Single crochet two in each of those stitches. For the next round, single crochet two in the first stitch, then one in the next, alternating all around. The round after that, single crochet two in one stitch then one each in two stitches after that. Keep adding like this until you get to 32 stitches.
– Single crochet a full round in the back layer only. Crochet two more rounds without any increases or decreases. In the next round, single crochet two in the first stitch, continue around with one stitch in each. Continue crocheting two rounds with no increases, then one with an added stitch, until the head is at a length that you like. I wound up with around 15 rounds.
– Snap two safety eyes in place, positioning them about 2/3 of the way up the head or wherever takes your fancy.
– Assess how many stitches you have in your round and start adding in decreases throughout the round to have it shrink evenly. For example, if you’re at 40 stitches in the round, decrease every 8 (and then in the next round, every 7, then every 6, and so on, like making a flat disc). Basically you want to start to close up the back of the head. Keep decreasing evenly until the hole is just about closed up (don’t forget to add stuffing before it gets too small!), then finish off and use your tail to stitch the last bit shut. Sew to the neck.
– These are subtle little bumps that the tauntaun has on its forehead in addition to the big horns, and while they’re tiny they add a lot to the character of the face.
– For each one, leave a long enough starting tail to sew it in place, chain three and finish off. Use a tapestry needle to attach one end to the head right where you want the horn to sit, tie off. Then use the needle to attach the other end right about the same spot as the first – this will make it a little bump, rather than having the two ends spaced apart making a line – and finish off.
– Repeat three more times.
– These are made almost the same way the little horns are, they’re just attached differently.
– Start with a fairly long tail again and chain five, finish off. Repeat to make the second nostril. The row that you crocheted in the back loop only while making the head leaves a convenient circle guide for placing the nostrils, I just positioned them along that line. Use a tapestry needle to attach one end of the first nostril to the head where you want the nostril to begin, tie off, then attach the other end a few stitches away on the snout. Repeat with the other.
– Chain six, turn and work one single crochet, three double crochet and one single crochet. Turn again (do not chain) and work one single crochet, two double crochet and one single crochet. Turn one more time and work one single crochet, one double and another single. Finish off.
– Repeat for the second ear, then use tails to attach to the head.
– Start with a magic ring in a light brown that is slightly different from the body color and single crochet five in to it. Single crochet two in each of those to make 10. For the next round crochet two in one, one in the next all around to make 15. Continue increasing like this until you get to 25 stitches. Crochet once around without increasing or decreasing.
– Slip stitch five, single crochet eight, half double crochet four, single crochet eight. Repeat this round one more time.
– Slip stitch two together, then slip stitch three, single crochet eight, half double crochet four, single crochet eight. Repeat this round, slip stitching two of the first stitches together each time, two more times so you have 22 stitches. In the next round, slip stitch three, slip stitch two together, slip stitch three, single crochet five, half double crochet four, single crochet five – you will have 21 stitches left.
– Slip stitch eight, single crochet two, half double crochet nine, single crochet two. Now you are going to begin decreasing at the end and halfway point of each round – so slip stitch seven, single crochet two together, single crochet one, half double crochet eight, single crochet two together, single crochet one. Continue to decrease like this, removing two per round at the middle and end, until you get down to about six stitches, then stuff the horn firmly and decrease every stitch until you close it up. Finish off and use the tail to stitch any remaining hole closed.
– Repeat for the other horn and sew both to the sides of the head.
Saddle and Reins
– Chain 15 using a darker brown than the body or horns, turn and single crochet down the row, 14 stitches. Chain one, then instead of turning over, turn the piece 90 degrees and single crochet in to the side edge, making this in to a round. Chain one, turn 90 degrees and single crochet down the side, then turn 90 degrees, chain one, single crochet one in the side and chain one. Continue single crocheting all around in a continuous spiral until the oval is big enough to wrap over the tauntaun’s back.
– Sew the saddle to the tauntaun’s back.
– Chain a piece long enough to reach from the edge of the saddle to the edge of the stomach opening on the tauntaun, finish off, and sew it to the tauntaun’s stomach. Repeat on the other side.
– The reins are just a long chain with the ends attached on either side of the face, about where the mouth would be.
– Each piece of guts is made by slip stitching a piece of yarn in the color of the body (or something closer to white, depending on your interpretation of the coloring in the movie and how much you want to differentiate it from the body) somewhere on the inside of the stomach. It doesn’t matter where you attach, you’ll be making enough of these to mostly fill it in, but I recommend putting most of them within an inch of two of the opening, as that’s where they’re seen and fill in the gap best.
– Once you’ve slip stitched to the body, chain somewhere between 12 and 20 – vary the number from piece to piece to make more random, realistic guts. Turn and single crochet back to the end where it meets the body, slip stitch in the same stitch you attached the other end to and finish off. The piece will curl up as you work, and if it doesn’t, just urge it into that shape with your fingers.
– Every once in a while instead of single crocheting down the edge, do a piece with slip stitches. These don’t curl as much as the others, so they’ll change up the character of the guts some.
Once all the relevant pieces are stitched together and ends sewn in, clothe your stuffed animal and swaddle it in its new gut filled home. Et voila, you are done!