When my youngest son was just a toddler, he got a very bad flu. While his older brother was off at preschool, he cuddled up with me on the sofa and I turned on Netflix, looking for something – anything – to distract him. There were a few of his favorites that he just wasn’t interested in watching anymore, and I knew they wouldn’t be new enough to distract him from how awful he felt. But as a child of the 80s and 90s, there wasn’t a lot on that I recognized. Until I saw it… My Little Pony! I had a couple of My Little Pony toys of my own back in the 80s, but I had never really watched the show, and I didn’t know who any of the ponies were. But after assuring him that it wasn’t a scary show, I cuddled up to him, happy that now we could at least both be well distracted.
My, what I started that day!
My Little Pony has become beloved in our home. Both the boys and I finally have one show that we can all agree upon, and actually enjoy watching. To heck with stereotypes, too! Even before I learned what a brony was, I was happy to indulge my boys when they wanted to stop and browse the MLP section at the local toy store, or to honor my youngest’s wishes to be Pinkie Pie for Halloween (though he later changed his mind).
Anyway, the new version of My Little Pony is just fun. The songs stick in my head for days, and the ponies are just so cute. Ahem, anyway, besides all my gushing, my boys took a particular liking to the littles fillies of the show, a group of younger siblings to the main ponies. They refer to themselves as the “Cutie Mark Crusaders” (more on this soon, if you’re unfamiliar). There are three – Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo. With no offense to Apple Bloom, my boys love Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo.
Unfortunately, as these two aren’t main characters on the show, their toys are not so easily found in stores. My little children begged me to make them crochet My Little Pony toys – Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle to be exact. And wouldn’t you know it, there was a MLP pony available on Ravelry. And so my work began.
First, I have to say that this pattern was extremely well written. I’m not great when it comes to amigarumi, and somehow I always mess something up, but these instructions were quite easy to follow. I made the legs and the bodies before becoming distracted with some other work to be done. My kids didn’t care, though! For almost a week, they got up and played with their headless horses. It was a little disconcerting to me, but I had to admit, it was cute as could be, their anticipation.
Finally, I got the heads made; drew some eyes onto muslin and then sewed that onto white felt, which then was sewn onto the body. The hair was added. But it was the Cutie Marks that I improvised on. Now, if you’re not familiar as to what a cutie mark is, in the MLP world, a cutie mark is a special symbol that appears on a pony after it has found its calling. The joke with the “Cutie Mark Crusaders” is that they’re waiting – and desperate – to have theirs. With this in mind, the audience doesn’t know what their Cuties Marks will end up being. But my boys have some very definite ideas! And a lot of them, too!
So what I decided to do was instead of sewing on a Cutie Mark, I attached a piece of velcro to the pony’s body. The remaining velcro I have on hand. This way, my children can have tons of fun drawing up and cutting out their own ideas of Cutie Marks out of felt, which can then be swapped out whenever they come up with something new. Right now, we have a whole stack of Cutie Marks on the dining room table, and I love watching their creativity coincide with mine. “We made it together!” my youngest one exclaims to me. We certainly did, my love.
As you can tell from these photos, Sweetie Belle barely made it into any photos at all. I had to sneak her away in the middle of the night for a photo shoot in the bedroom. Shhh, don’t tell!
One another thing that I just loved about this whole process is the unabashed happiness my boys have from these ponies. They’re not deterred in the least, playing with a supposed “girl” toy. In fact, a couple little boys in the neighborhood came running up to them, asking “Is that Rarity? She’s my favorite pony!” “I like Twilight Sparkle!”… and so on. (And ironically, to add to the lack of gender stereotyping, I crocheted the bulk of these ponies while watching The Avengers on Netflix. Superheros, hooray!)