I tend to prefer the more traditional sock animals that were made years ago. Maybe it's because I am older than dirt and I remember them as a kid? I like to use the original Rockford red heeled socks or boot socks for the majority of my sock animal projects. I have friends that use bright and colorful socks with strips and designs. You can use the whatever type of socks, colors, yarn, and materials that you prefer. These are fast and fairly easy to make and take between 1 - 2 hours to complete, depending on how much yarn you use for the mane. Attaching the mane is what took me the longest. The rest of the sock horse goes together very quickly.
For my stick horse I used:
1 Original Rockford Red Heel Sock (You can make 2 stick horse heads with a pair of socks)
Brown felt for the ears
2 black buttons for the eyes
beige or off white thread to sew horse together
Brick colored embroidery floss for the mouth
Black permanent marker for the nostrils (or you can glue on felt nose)
1/2 skein of white yard for the mane (more or less will be used depending on thickness desired)
Polyfil craft/doll/pillow stuffing
Jute (leather, ribbon) for the bridle and reins
Note: Because I wanted a traditional look I used a sanded and varnished tree branch for the stick but you can use a wooden dowel.
I took pics as I completed the steps so that anyone can easily follow and make your own to give as Christmas, Birthday or any day gifts for kids, Grand kids, loved ones.
Putting it together:
1. Stuff the sock with polyfil stuffing and place rubberband around the bottom to keep the stuffing from falling out. Push the nose of the horse towards the neck until the head and neck are at about a 45 degree angle. Hand stitch sock at the newly created bend so the head stays at this angle (similar to what mine looks like in the first picture.) You can click on the 2nd photo to enlarge it and see the stitching that I am referring to if you need more detailed instructions.
2. Cut ears from felt in the shape as shown in my picture, fold in half at the bottom and attach by stitching the bottom of the ears to the horse using thread or glue gun. I prefer thread myself. If you are using red heel socks they attach at the bottom front of the white around the red heel.
3. Take the embroidery floss and tie a knot in one end and attach it to the end of the sock outwards and slightly below center at the outter edge of the white toe on red heeled socks. Pull the embroidery thread across the front to form a mouth and pull slightly taut so the sides pucker a bit. Secure the embroidery thread and trim off.
5. Sew on your button eyes (or embroider, make felt eyes.) Draw (permanent marker) or paste on felt nostrils.
6. Attach a yarn or rag mane. I used white yarn. The mane is about 2 1/2 - 3" long in the front and 4 - 4/12 " on the sides that come down the horses neck. I stop about 2" before the b0ttom of the sock and before the ribbing. Now I am sure that there are lots of ways to attach a yarn mane, but the easiest and most secure method for me is to take the yarn (on a darning needle) and draw the needle and yarn through the sock. Leave the desired length hanging out on one side of the neck, come through the sock and out the other side, form a loop (making sure it is the loop hanging is the same size as the piece of yarn that you have left hanging out on the other side. Repeat and again, come out the other side, coming back and forth and leaving loops until I have about a half dozen or so. I then snip the loops at the end, bring up two pieces of yarn at a time and tie a square knot. This keeps the yarn secure and it will not pull out. I do repeat this process until I have knotted all of my trimmed loops, and then I repeat this process until I have the desired length and thickness of mane.
A second method is to take a group of 10-12 pieces of yarn that have been cut the same length. Tightly wrap a piece of matching yarn around the center of the bundle, then tie a tight knot to secure. Attach your thread bundle (where you have tied the knot) to the neck of the horse. Start at the top of the head and continue adding additional yarn bundles down the neck until you have the desired amount. This method is faster and works better if you want a thicker mane.
7. Attach a bridle and reins made out of ribbon, leather, jute, rope, or whatever you want to use for rein/bridle materials.
8. Slip your horse head over a piece of wooden dowel (I use 2 3/4 - 3' stick) You can secure the head with a glue gun, rope, yarn or leather strip. If you use yarn or a leather strip cut a notch in the wooden stick or dowel for the yarn/leather strip to fit into. This will keep your horse head from falling off of the stick.
There you have it. Your completed stick horse. I hope you had fun making it. If you have any questions please feel free to email me.