PlanetJune Craft Blog

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crocheted Reepicheep the mouse

I was inspired to make this by a crochet challenge on Craftster. The challenge theme was fantasy, and Narnia sprang to mind immediately. When I was younger, I loved the Chronicles of Narnia series, especially The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I spent my pocket money on a lovely boxset of the paperbacks that included the original illustrations. And then I was given a book written about Narnia that explained all the Christian symbolism C.S. Lewis had built into the stories, and I was horrified: I felt like I’d been cheated into reading religious propaganda, and Narnia lost its appeal. It took me many years, but I eventually decided to ignore all the Christian subtext and re-read them, and I discovered that the stories are still charming and wonderful (except The Last Battle, but that’s another story) and I returned to the magic of Narnia. If you haven’t read these books, you really should!

Anyway, back to my design. I thought Aslan was too obvious a choice, but I wanted to make a very recognisable character, so who better than the fearless and valiant mouse Reepicheep? The scene from the end of The Voyage of The Dawn Treader has always stuck with me, and the prophetic verse:

Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter East.

So, without further ado, I present… Sir Reepicheep! (Please click the pic to see the full size version – you can’t appreciate it properly at this scale.)

Reepicheep by planetjune
Reepicheep paddles in his coracle, through a sea of lilies, to the end of the world

Reepicheep was very educational to me: without him, I wouldn’t know what a coracle is (a small, round, lightweight, one-man boat made from woven wooden strips) or the meaning of the word poltroon (a coward). In fact, I think ‘poltroon’ is such a great word, we should all start using it in daily conversation!

Reepicheep and accessories took 11 types and colours of yarn and 4 sizes of crochet hook. It’s very important to me to make as much as possible from crochet, so everything you can see is crocheted. I used fiberfill stuffing, 3 different types of wire (pipe cleaners, floral wire and beading wire) to provide internal structure, and a piece of plastic canvas inside the paddle blade to keep it flat. And every single item came from my stash, so the entire project cost me nothing!

Reepicheep by planetjune

Reepicheep stands at 9 inches (23 cm) tall. His arms and legs have a floral wire skeleton to make him poseable; his tail is crocheted over pipe cleaners, and his fingers and toes are stabilised with beading wire so they are also poseable. He wears a red feather behind one ear, tucked into a gold band. The gold band gave me problems – every yarn I tried looked too bulky and ridiculous. After 3 useless attempts, I thought I’d try crocheting an i-cord with gold-coloured embroidery thread – something I’ve never tried before (i-cords are usually knitted) but had been meaning to try. It worked really well and made a neat square tube that I stitched together at the ends to form the band.

Reepicheep by planetjune

I crocheted Reep’s rapier over a length of floral wire so it would be rigid. I found some crewel wool in my stash that I thought would make an interesting texture for his sword belt. Unfortunately, you’d have to touch them to appreciate the contrast between the soft yarns I used for Reep and the coarser texture of the belt – so you’ll have to just believe me on this one 🙂

Reepicheep's Coracle by planetjune

The coracle took a lot of figuring out! I decided to make a basket-weave texture using front- and back-post stitches, to give the coracle a realistic woven look, but because the sides are sloped, I had to figure out how to make increases without interrupting the pattern of the basket-weave. I eventually made every ‘woven strip’ 2 stitches wide at the base of the coracle, and, over 8 rounds, gradually increased the width of each strip so that they are all 3 stitches wide by the top edge. I crocheted tightly so that it’s very sturdy and hold its shape pretty well, and I wet-blocked it over a bowl to help it to stay perfectly round. The paddle has a floral wire handle and plastic canvas blade so it’s strong and rigid.

waterlily by planetjune

And finally, I love the sea of waterlilies that Reep paddles through, so I couldn’t resist making a pretty little waterlily to complete the scene! I can’t make a pattern for Reepicheep: for starters I crocheted him freeform so there is no pattern, and, of course, profiting from other people’s copyrighted characters is not legal! But I will be writing up the pattern for the waterlily flower and leaves – it should be finished later this week if you’re interested.

UPDATE: The water lily crochet pattern is now available in my shop.

I hope you like my Reepicheep! I’m very happy with him 🙂

Reepicheep by planetjune

Don’t forget to enter my anniversary contests, if you haven’t yet – they are open until Friday!

42 Comments »

  1. futuregirl said

    OK, first of all, I’m stunned … are you kidding me!?!?! How long did this take you? That is the most realistic crochet mouse – ever! And then you add all those accessories … boat, paddle, belt, feather, sword, water lilies?! You really went above and beyond, here. 🙂 Amazing and wonderful, June!

    Those little fingers are creeping me out, just like a real mouses. Gah! It’s so awesome!

    p.s. I realize you don’t have the pattern for the mouse and even if you did it would be super complicated with all the floral wire and such … but if you did, you could release it as just a mouse and not as Reepicheep. Just sayin’. 🙂

    • June said

      True, but without the sword, feather etc he’d lose all his personality! Anyway, I purposely save projects that are so yarn-dependent (I did mention I used 11 different yarns and 4 hooks for this, right?) for things that aren’t going to be patterns. I wouldn’t be so cruel as to design a pattern that called for all those things. Plus, you’d probably go mad trying to replicate my method for creating those tiny poseable fingers and toes – each hand alone has 3 types of wire hidden inside.

      Yeah, I’ll save the trademarked characters for my ‘fan art’ and stick with 100% original designs for my patterns – it’s safer and less controversial that way!

  2. Heather Duffin said

    stunned….you never cease to amaze, June!

  3. Jennifer said

    Amazing. Perfect in every way.

  4. Anita said

    This has got to be one of the most amazing crochet works I have ever seen!
    I absolutely love it!
    You are so so talented & one of my crochet heros!

    Hugs & Blessings,
    (¯`v´¯)
    `*.¸.*´
    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`?Anita

    http://aseknc.blogspot.com/
    aseknc(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. Else said

    simply stupendous, June! And I can’t wait for your water lily pattern.

  6. Jana said

    ABSOLUTELY. TOTALLY. AMAZING!!!! Dare I say it? I think this is the absolute best thing you have ever made!! And THAT, my dear, takes some doing!! He is beyond words! I love the lily and pads! That is also the most pretty crocheted flower I have ever seen! I hate to say it, but Reepicheep has just topped your orangutan!

    • June said

      Oh, thank you! Sometimes I worry that one day I’ll make something so good that nothing else I could make will ever live up to it. (That’s not vanity speaking – I just mean I’d reach the limits of my own ability, not that nobody could ever make anything better!) Anyway, I’m glad to know I haven’t reached that point yet!

  7. Lynne said

    OMGosh that is just so darn cute. You are so talented!

  8. futuregirl said

    p.s. I felt the same way when I found out (in my 30s) that all of U2s music is basically bible verses. No joke. Still love them, though.

  9. Tracy said

    I love the Narnia series, too, and adore Reepicheep, he was kind of comic relief in valiant sort of way. I love your crocheted version of him! What now? Mr. Tumnus? 🙂

    • June said

      Oh! Now I’m thinking of a little diorama with Mr Tumnus and his umbrella under the lamppost… Wouldn’t that be lovely?!

      But no, no time. I’m trying to limit myself to one of these ‘art’ pieces per year – I just can’t justify the time to do any more (unless anyone would like to commission me to make one?! They take around 50-100 hours each… Dear wealthy benefactors, pay me for my time and I would looove to make these all day long!)

  10. Carina said

    Oh June – I knew it was going to be good. And it is. But it’s better than I could have ever imagined.

    ‘Nuff said. (-:

    PS. I think you just set a whole new standard for crochet.

  11. Wow. I’m totally blown away. Your creativity and ingenuity never fail to amaze me, June.

    And I’m so glad you will at least be releasing the lotus as a pattern. That’s more my speed. 🙂

  12. tiffany said

    wow june he looks wonderful. are you going to be posting the pattern? did you use the magic circle?

  13. becky said

    Oh my gosh…
    he is the cutest thing i mean seriously adorable. and so life like almost as if he was going to paddle out of my screen. I do enjoy your one of a kind artsy pieces. Again you have shown that crochet is more than a craft and it is indeed an art.
    thank you, for making my day.
    Becky

  14. Robyn said

    Brilliant June! Love the realism! Wonderful! A+++

  15. Johanna said

    Reepicheep is my favourite Narnia character. I read the Chronicles in my mid twenties and remember crying my eyes out when…well, you know. Great job! “To battle!”

  16. Coracle Mod said

    Hi, what a wonderful ensemble of Reep and his sword, coracle and lilies!
    I take off my hat to you!

    (I’ve used the name coracle all over the internet for the last ten years – most notably on Narniaweb.com, where our members will be sighing over this beautiful creation!)

  17. Bill Birdbittle said

    *Narniaweb member sighing over creation*
    Wow, that is truly amazing. Definitely sets a standard for crocheting. And as a Narnia fan myself, I can especially appreciate it. Love your use of the word Poltroon, too.

  18. FishRockette/FairIsleFish said

    NO! I was SO looking forward to a pattern! *sob* Now I don’t know how I’ll console myself… You could always release a pattern for free… And I’d make a very generous donation on another one of your patterns! ;P

    • June said

      It would be really difficult to explain how I did all the wiring etc that lets him be so poseable and stable, and the crocheting is not worked in neat even rounds with regular increases like a good pattern is. Part of my style is to make things look deceptively simple, and that’s why I don’t keep notes when I make the ‘art’ pieces – a pattern for Reep or my orangutan would be really annoying and hard to follow, with all the shaping and extra pieces that go into it. If I did make a pattern, you’d be cursing me because it’s so complicated – I promise.

      I’m so sorry to disappoint you though!

  19. TezzaD said

    June he is absolutely adorable! Reepicheep was always one of my favourite characters from the Narnia series since I was a little girl and first read the books… which later lead to me owning many mice and rats of my own. I love all his accessories and the personality showing through in the way you’ve made him. Give him a wee kiss and hug from me. Totally gorgeous!

  20. Jessica said

    Fantastic work – so very detailed and inspiring. Reepicheep seems to have come alive and looks ready to take on anything. I’m stunned by the obvious amount of work you must have put in to get him so perfect.

  21. J L said

    Wow, Reepicheep is just AWESOME and the water lily & pads – beautiful. You are truly talented and I am truly envious. 🙂 I need practice tons and tons of practice (& patience). Again, AMAZING. I love it.

  22. Hi, what a beautiful piece of artwork! I love Reepicheep dearly– he’s one of the reasons I’m waiting so eagerly for Voyage of the Dawn treader, if they ever finish the new Narnia movies.

    Speaking as one who’s read the books, please don’t believe EVERYTHING the book about Christian symbolism in Narnia might have said about Narnia and take it with a grain of salt. Many Christians want to *make* it an analogy, like “Pilgrim’s Progress,” and it’s not . . . . C.S. Lewis never meant for Aslan to be a direct kind of Christ-figure. He certainly used many Christian aspects IN the Narnia series, but they’re more of a “type.” The stories have a beautiful symbology even if one doesn’t wish to accept their Christian background, but at the same time if one understands the meaning behind them they become even more beautiful. To me, certainly, anyway, although I can understand your dismay as a child.

    You might like to read someday “Letters to Children” by C.S. Lewis as a way to set your mind at rest after all these years. Many of them deal with your reactions as a child to the Narnia series; or of concerned parents writing to C.S. Lewis about their children and wondering if it’s okay that their kids love Aslan almost “too much.” There’s a whole parcel of letters in a section directly for Narnia, so you can see for yourself what C.S. Lewis had to say about the Narnia books. 🙂

  23. *another NarniaWebber checking in*

    To quote the recent movie, “He’s so cute!” 😀

    I love all the little details. (I am particularly impressed by the basketweave in the coracle, though I’m sure Reep was more difficult!)

    • June said

      Thank you! Reep himself was more difficult at the crocheting stage because I had to think about the shape I was looking for every time I formed a stitch, so there was more creativity involved – the coracle was mostly a mathematical problem, and once I’d figured out how to do it, it was easy.

  24. Miriam said

    An amazing character. I loved the idea of the utter east that Reepicheep sails to so bravely. One of my favorite characters of all time, definitely.

    I’m more than impressed with the care and detail that makes this so true to character! But then, that seems to be your hallmark!

  25. tony said

    Just wonderful: obviously a labor of love. Clearly you understand how Lewis wanted us to see Reepicheep. I completely agree with Miriam’s comment.

  26. Trigly said

    I stumbled upon this while looking for reference for a knit Reepicheep… and this is AWESOME. If there was a pattern, I would learn to crochet just for that. Since there isn’t, I’ll have to forever search for the perfect knit mouse.

    But I just wanted to extend my amazement at this piece. You’ve done spectacularly!

  27. Clare said

    We just finished reading the Voyage of the Dawn Treader to tears… my 9 year old son adores Reepicheep and the tears just flooded down his face when Reepicheep went to Aslans country. He couldn’t believe that Reepicheep wasn’t going to be in the next story because he is his favourite character ever and he felt as though nothing was ever going to right in his life again….
    I felt so sorry for him and then I remembered that I had seen your crocheted Reep when I was looking for a little Reep figure for Xmas present… (Reep is top of the Xmas list)
    Anyway you will be pleased to hear that your Reep brought a smile to his face and he went to bed dreaming of a book he may write one day… featuring you know who….

    Thanks for making the world a better place…

  28. Jaime said

    I would so love to see that waterlily pattern!!! Where can I find it! ?? You are super talented and I came on looking for a pattern, you popped right up!

    • June said

      Thanks for the reminder, Jaime – I’ve updated the post with a link to the water lily pattern 🙂

  29. marion said

    I love this mouse ,would love to try and make one. can I purchuse the pattern?
    marion

    • June said

      I’m afraid that Reepicheep is a one-of-a-kind art piece, Marion, so there is no pattern. Please see my FAQ on my art pieces for the reasons.

  30. Katherine Michael said

    hi! I love this! We are doing a narnia themed nursery for our first baby due in January. Would you be willing to make another reepicheep doll for purchase? If so, how much would it cost for just the mouse with sword and feather? Thanks!

    • June said

      Hi Katherine, I’m so glad you like my Reepicheep, but I’m afraid I can’t help you. He was made as a one-of-a-kind art piece, which means I have no notes or anything that would help me make a second one. To make another one I’d have to go through the entire creative process again, which would take about a week of full-time work – that’d put it a little over your budget, I’d imagine!

  31. Melanie said

    your amazing. I think this is my favorite from all of them. Are you selling him ? and how lone did it take you to make it ?

    • June said

      I’m afraid not, Melanie – I make my crocheted art for my own enjoyment (and, as typically 50-100 hours work go into each piece, I doubt anyone would be able to afford my prices if I did sell them!)

  32. Diana said

    amazing-simply amazing-I am green over such a talent that can create-I would venture to crochet such a project-but I can’t create my own

  33. Shas Cho said

    I just ran onto this on craftster.com.
    I’m sure I commented on it earlier,
    but being bounced here to see it a second time
    I find that I am impressed all over again.
    What a wonderful realization
    of an artist’s mental picture
    of an author’s description of a concept… !

    You’re simply the best.

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