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I have found it so hard to write about how I made a Neep, mainly because everything I wrote made it sound like I live in a Martha Stewart-esque bubble of domestic bliss where nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is my crafting is powered by impatience and sheer blind luck.

If however, like Alfie, your children are fans of the series Abney and Teal, you might be surprised to know how easy it is to make them a Neep out of an old jumper. Also there are no nice Neep dolls to be bought, so it's either make your own, or draw a face on a real life turnip and hope your child doesn't notice.

I chose an old Christmas gift that just happened to be pure wool and put it through the washing machine on a hot wash to felt it so that it would be easier to work.

I went online and printed out a photo of Neep A3 size. Nothing special, just a pose I thought would work well as an outline.

Neep from Abney and Teal

I cut out my template, placed it on my jumper and drew round it. I wanted a rustic look to my Neep so I decided to cut out the jumper and sew it with the seams on the outside. It also means that the finer detail (like the end of the limbs) aren’t lost by the bulk of the wool.

I used a simple assembly stitch on the seams and then a decorative stitch to sew the outline of the nose. The eyes were buttons and the mouth I hand stitched with the thickest thread I could find.

Homemade Neep from Abney and Teal - Face Detail

One word about the dye: I used Dylon hand dye made up as concentrated as I could and sat my Neep in it for 2 hours in total. Wool is justifiably known for not accepting dye easily! The nose I coloured by ‘painting’ the dye with a cotton bud. If I had more patience, I would have given Neep several more sittings. But I don't.

Homemade Neep from Abney and Teal - Graduation Dye

After he was coloured it was a simple case of stuffing and closing and waiting for Alfie's birthday to role around. For my own sanity I asked Keith to hide him somewhere even I couldn't find him - just in case I caved and gave it to him early.

Homemade Neep from Abney and Teal - Finished Face

Not that it would matter because it turns out (after the fact) that Alfie's favourite character is actually Bop. In this house, that name now comes with several swear words attached.

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