May 172012
 

Confession: I really just design toys as a vehicle to house oh-so-cute feet.  And toes! Don’t you just want to eat these up??

The green one in the center is for a toy pattern coming at the end of the month.  It uses Fancy Tiger’s new Heirloom Romney which I’m totally loving.  When I saw the colors I knew that this was what needed to be paired with this toy pattern!   It’s going to be a great, sturdy yarn for a toy which I’m sure will be usurped by my rough and tumble two year old as soon as it’s off the needles.   I’ve got high hopes for the durability of this yarn!

Back to toes and wool.  Check back for the pattern in a week or two!!

 

 

 

 May 17, 2012  WIP Tagged with: , , ,  2 Responses »
Apr 302012
 

It should be obvious to everyone by now that I love making toys.  There is a moment that occurs in toy making that is so satisfying when you take this limp, two dimensional piece, stuff it full of guts and let it’s final shape bloom.  It’s like the moment of birth for a toy!  One of my biggest pet peeves about knit toys are when they aren’t stuffed properly.  I get so disproportionally annoyed by it, I can’t even fully express it.  I thought I’d show how I go about giving a toy its innards in case anyone is curious.

Here is the beginning of a toy.  Eventually this will be part of a new pattern, but for now I’ll leave it as an abstract.  Anyway, I depending on how large the toy is, I usually like to stuff as I go.  My general rule of thumb is that I always want to be able to stuff with my fingers, so I never leave the to-be-stuffed part deeper than my fingers can reach in.  In the photo below the part of the toy before the bend has already been stuffed.  The stuffing to the right is the amount that will fill in the rest.


Here is all the stuffing pressed into the toy.  I pushed the stuffing down firmly, really compacting it.  See how it made ladders?  Eek!


Here you can see how much it’s pressed down.  You want a well stuffed toy but this is too much.  If you had a dark yarn you’d have little spots of the light stuffing showing through.  To me this is worse than someone chewing tinfoil while dragging their nails on a chalkboard.  Chills up my spine, I tell you!


I have never personally milked a cow but I’ve seen it done plenty.  For those of you who know the motion I’m talking about, this is about what I do with my toys to get the stuffing situated properly.  Starting at the bottom, squeeze and stretch the toy, pressing the stuffing upward.  Roll the object back and forth between your fingers to move the stuffing up.  When you see no more ladders, you’re good!


See how much better that looks!  Nice and smooth with even stitches.  Ahh, I love it.


Here you can see how much the stuffing was pushed up.  It may not look like that much of a change from here but it makes a ton of difference in the feel of the finished product.


So, people, don’t overstuff!  When in doubt, too little stuffing is way better than too much.  We neurotic toy people thank you.

 

 

 April 30, 2012  knitting, tutorial Tagged with: , , ,  2 Responses »
Apr 032012
 

I’m on a dog kick, apparently!

I had such a blast designing and knitting Sputnik the Magnificent that I was a bit sad when the pattern was posted and it was all done with.  Obviously I still had some stranded toys in me.

Strelka had many inspirations, most of which came from childhood favorite dogs.  In Strelka is a little of both Droopy Dog and George P. Dog, plus a large heaping of the Fisher Price Little People dog.  Although as an adult I am not much of a dog person, I adored them as a child due to these wacky cartoon versions.  I hope Strelka carries along some of these same characteristics well!

 

The Details:

Yarn: fingering weight wool, shown here in Knit Picks Palette
Yardage: approximately 125yds in MC (shown here in light gray) and 100yds CC (shown here in dark gray)
Gauge: 34sts and 38 rows = 4 inches / 10cm in stockinette stitch
Suggested needle size: US size 1, either 4 DPNs or one long circular
Finished measurements:  approximately 13.5″ tall
Price: $5


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 April 3, 2012  patterns Tagged with: , , , ,  3 Responses »
Mar 122012
 

Some patterns, it seems, have a mind of their own.  I had a really cute sketch for this dog.  It was a sweet little beagle with floppy ears and spots.  Somehow the prototype took on a life of it’s own and decided at some point that it wanted to be a dachshund instead.  I obliged because, really, how can you say no to a face like that??  I love that it became what it did.  The long body is a prefect size for grasping and the floppy legs give it a real goofy quality.

The pattern comes in two sizes.  The above example is in sport weight while a worsted version will give you a bit larger of a dog.

The Details:

Yarn: sport weight yarn for the small (shown) or worsted for the large
Yardage: approximately  150yds of either weight
Gauge: 24sts/4″ with sport weight for small, 20sts/4″ with worsted weight for large
Suggested needle size: US size 4 for small and US size 6 for large, either 4 DPNs or one long circular
Finished measurements:  approximately 15″ long for small, 20″ long for large
Price: $4

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 March 12, 2012  patterns Tagged with: , ,  3 Responses »
Feb 012012
 

I am so, so in love with stranded colorwork.  I would knit stranded mittens constantly if I could.  But, really, how many mittens does one need?  I was thinking a few weeks back on how else to employ the colorwork that I enjoy knitting and designing.  What an obvious thing it was to combine it with my love for toy design!


The shaping of the cat is similar to that of shaping of a mitten.  Anyone who has knit a colorwork mitten will have no problem making the leap to toy knitting.  Really!

 

 

 

 

The Details:

Yarn: fingering weight wool, shown here in Knit Picks Palette
Yardage: approximately 115yds in MC (shown here in yellow) and 60yds CC (shown here in orange)
Gauge: 34sts and 38 rows = 4 inches / 10cm in stockinette stitch
Suggested needle size: US size 1, either 4 DPNs or one long circular
Finished measurements:  approximately 15″ tall
Price: $5


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 February 1, 2012  patterns Tagged with: , , , , ,  3 Responses »
Dec 082011
 

How cute are these three together??!  This here is my very first ebook and I’m so happy to finally share it with everyone.  You can buy each of the patterns separately or as the ebook at a discounted price.  Click on the photos below to see the individual patterns!

Click below to buy the three as a set for $8!  $2 off!


See the set on Ravelry!

 December 8, 2011  knitting, patterns Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »
Dec 082011
 

This right here is the one that started it all.  My friend Jane is currently growing her third child, due to be released some time next month.  Jane is an fellow knitter and I wanted to design something special just for her.  One night the chant “First is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with the hairy chest” popped in my head and I knew that third baby would need a hairy chested doll.

 

 

This guy’s large feet and wide hands allow him to stand on his own.  Half a skein of Cascade 220 will do you for this, plus a bit of extra contrasting yarn for the embellishments.

 

 

 

The Details:

Yarn: worsted weight wool or blend of your choice
Yardage: approximately 110yds, plus small bits for the hair and teeth
Gauge: 5sts/ inch in stockinette
Suggested needle size: US size 6, either 4 DPNs or one long circular
Finished measurements:  approximately 9″ tall
Price: $4

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Buy the trio as a set!

 December 8, 2011  knitting, patterns Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Dec 082011
 

Who doesn’t need a sweet little pixie in their life?  I want to make a slew of these and turn them into ornaments.  Or maybe just leave them places.  Hide them in trees in the park perhaps.

This is easy peasy.  I wrote the pattern to be pain free for those who have never knit toys before.  Can you knit an icord?  Decrease?  Work a yarn over?  You can make this!!  For those who are more advanced knitters or experienced toy makers, this pattern would be a quick gift idea. 

The Details:

Yarn: worsted weight wool or blend of your choice
Yardage: very small amounts of yard in 4 different colors (skin, dress, tights, hair)
Gauge: 6sts/ inch in stockinette
Suggested needle size: US size 5, either 4 DPNs or one long circular
Finished measurements:  approximately 6″ tall
Price: $3

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Buy the trio as a set!

 

 December 8, 2011  knitting, patterns Tagged with: , , , , ,  No Responses »
Dec 082011
 

Grumpy troll or misunderstood old man?  No one knows with this guy.  I am so pleased with this one.  This turned out exactly like my original sketch, so much so that I even surprised myself!

The shaping of the body is pretty simple.  What makes this guy stand out is his features: the long nose, the stubby fingers, and the lumpy boots.  Single ply yarn makes for dready locks.  You’ll be surprised how fast this one knits up. 

 

The Details:

Yarn: worsted weight wool or blend of your choice
Yardage: less than 50yds of skin color, a bot less for pants and boots, plus small bits for embellishments
Gauge: 6sts/ inch in stockinette
Suggested needle size: US size 5, either 4 DPNs or one long circular
Finished measurements:  approximately 7.5″ tall
Price: $3

Find this pattern on Ravelry

Buy the trio as a set!

 December 8, 2011  knitting, patterns Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Jul 062011
 
topfull

There is so much love in this monster.  The original image for this pattern came from a drawing that my husband did.  A doodle, really.  But, as a friend once said, “he is a Norse god of doodling”, meaning his quick drawings are usually much better than us mere mortals can do if we sat down and concentrated all day.  Indeed.  In the years we’ve been married (nearly 8!) we’ve occasionally collaborated on art projects but this just may be my favorite so far.

Short rows create most of the shaping.  The ears and jaw are knit separately and sewn on, but otherwise there is no seaming.

Yarn: sport weight wool or blend of your choice
Yardage: approximately 110yds in cream, plus a bit in gray for embellishments
Gauge: 7sts/ inch in stockinette
Suggested needle size: US size 2, either 4 DPNs or one long circular
Finished measurements:  approximately 7″ tall
Price: $5

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 July 6, 2011  knitting, patterns Tagged with: , , , , ,  5 Responses »