Friday, May 28, 2010


I always think it's fun to see how people stash their yarn. currently littered throughout the house. Some in boxes, some real wool is in my 'dresser' upstairs (think I have 2 drawers out of the 6 with actual clothes in them), and the majority here, in my old dresser.

The pic on the right is some yarn I just bought a couple days ago. I'm currently in love with the Bernat Satin. And no, I still do NOT have enough. :D Most of this is plain acrylic yarn. Good quality yarn is difficult to find here and very pricey unfortunately. I will continue to hunt for it though!  It's strong and soft enough to make cute toys from. Especially dreamy bamboo.....*sighs and daydreams of lil brushed furry creatures*

*ahem* Sorry. So....a couple days ago when I was going back and posting prior projects I also went back to the websites certain patterns were from to link them for you. One of those was for the cute little penguins. While there to get the link, I noticed the adorable little sheep. As I had just bought, the very day before, the coolest funkiest yarn with the express thought that "hey! This would make an awesome lamb!"

I thought making one of her lil sheep would be the perfect way to test it out. Behold! A cute and fuzzy lambkins! Nekkie and with his warm woolie coat! He's so cute and I do love the way the new wool worked out, although it was a bit of a pain to knit with.

I'm not the only one that likes him either! My cutie-pie nephew thinks he's soft and cuddly too! I'm off to go play with this lil sweetpea. Until tomorrow, happy crafting!  *huggles*

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Greetings and Salutations!

Yay! It's a nice day out today! Sunny but only 20 degrees at 9am. Finally cooled off a bit last night so it isn't the sweltering-can-barely-breath-want-to-rip-off-my-skin-so-hot weather we've had the last few days!  Funny how a little thing like temperature can drastically alter your mood. I slept about 4 hrs last night, which is actually more than I'd slept for the 3 days previous combined, so you'd think I'd feel well rested, but I'm actually feeling extra-exhausted. lol. However I'm in a fantastic mood because It isn't SO hot! :)
Ooooh! Also, since I finally caught the blog up to current times yesterday, I can finally share my current projects with you! Double Yay!

So I've been working on a piggy. I found a site that shows how to knit circles. Something I'd been trying to figure out on my own without the best results. So, I knitted a pink circle to try it out. This made me want to make a piggy. Only problem is the circle was quite large (about the size of a cap from a bottle of water) meaning I'd have to make a much bigger toy than usual. Remember that boredom with the tiny baby hat? It was nothing compared to a giant pig of plain purl 1 row knit 1 row. I admit I was naughty and have done some other tiny projects while working on it. I finally finished the body and head. I knit a little chain of 2 stitches and sewed it to the edge of the circle to make a snout and sewed it onto the head and added safety eyes and stuffed the whole thing. Then I knit a couple ears and attached them as well.  

I've completed one leg thus far.
More to come later. :) Off to take the baby to his checkup. Until next time, happy crafting!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Catching Up #2

Yay! I've almost got this blog caught up to my current projects now. Let's see. Since the seahorse was a bit of a success I started playing around and making my own patterns up. I'm not sure if my method for this is traditional...but it seems to be working. First I'll pick whatever sort of creature I want to make. This may be inspired by the colours of yarn on hand, or from suggestions by friends and family. Then I'll try and picture how I want it to look and how big I want it to be and figure out what sort of knitting methods to use. A few have been inspired by wanting to learn new stitches.

This gecko for example, was inspired by a cute lizard at the pet store my mom works at. 
It was knit in the round on my new bamboo DPNs, but I made him because I wanted to learn two things. How to pick up stitches and how to knit an i-cord. I-cords are very basic and I was ashamed that I hadn't learned how to do them before now. I figured the legs on a gecko would be a good way to knock out 2 birds with one stone since they're so thin.

I used this picture I found on the internet as my guide.

This itty bitty baby panda was knit because...well because I was bored of the project I was currently working on. I'd love to try and make another in bamboo yarn and brush it like the koala.

I'd been making a pair of baby booties and a hat. They turned out pretty cute, but the hat was exceedingly boring to knit. Perhaps I've become spoiled with the instant gratification of tiny toys.

Before this I'd knit a gazillion scarves and blankets, without being bored. Most of which knitted a lot more slowly. I'm not kidding about the gazillion either. :D I used to work in a call center. We weren't allowed any paper on the floor for security reasons. So I knitted. A lot. It was a great stress outlet and I enjoyed it. I ended up teaching a few people there to knit as well. It was catching. There must have been at least 20 of us knitting or crocheting in between calls. This was a few years ago when the fuzzy scarves were all the rage. I must have knit at least 100 or so scarves in one year. I gave a good number of them to a woman's shelter. Some were given with gifts. I just recently found a bag of them, so I can show you too!

I also knit a beaded shawl back then. It's a very simple garter stitch shawl but with the beads sparkling gently in the sunligh, it is quite pretty. Sadly it was hidden away in the same bag as the scarves.

And that about catches us up. The only other recent crafting has been envelope bags. I found an article about them here while randomly clicking links from other crafting sites. Once I saw them I just had to try it out. They're quite easy and turned out well. My old stubborn printer refuses to print envelopes, so I decorated these by hand. I definitely plan to make more (with a bit more care in the decorating) to use as gift bags.  

Now that we're all caught up, tomorrow I'll share my current craft projects. Until then, happy crafting!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An intro to brushed knitting (catching up #1)

Hi again!

So now that I've posted about how it all started, I figured I may as well post some pics of the projects that have come since.

Yesterday I mentioned Raynor's site and how her little turtles got me addicted to toy-knitting (known as amigurumi - the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals/creatures/toys). I've done a few more of her free patterns. Including a tiny whale and a koala.

The Koala was my first attempt at brushing a knitted item. More common on crocheted items brushing is an old technique that involves making the pieces of the item and then brushing them with a wire pet brush (like these ones from petsmart).

For example, here is the knitted body of the koala with all the seaming done except for the bottom seam where it'll be stuffed later.

Then I started brushing it. You want to brush in a variety of directions. This pulls more fibers out. You can brush them gently after to smooth them in the direction you want.

Here's the body after it's been brushed and stuffed. You then repeat the process for all the parts of the amigurumi. If you're adding safety eyes, you want to brush that area first. For embroidery if you want it solid (like this guys nose), wait until after you've brushed it to do your embroidering.

Sew all the pieces together and you have a cute lil furry friend, without having to use actual fur material or the hard-to-knit with furry/feathery yarns. This koala was done in fairly cheap acrylic yarn. As you can see his fur isn't as smooth and fur-like as it could be, and you can still see the knit stitches behind it in some spots. I have read that 'natural' fiber yarns work much better for this process. Real wool, alpaca, or bamboo are supposed to be the best. I've been trying to find some bamboo yarn to try but haven't had any luck yet. When I do I'll be sure to post a comparison.

Another hobby of mine is painting acrylics. I'm not nearly as good as I'd like but I find it relaxing and fun. I thought I'd paint a little underwater painting for my nephew's room (once he's old enough and my sister moves into her own place and he actually has a room....). It isn't done yet. I've been procrastinating. Ok. Ok. I've been obsessed with knitting fun little things instead of painting. But is how it's looking so far.

I'd already started this painting by the time I saw the little whale pattern. I thought: Hey! What about some knit water friends to go with the painting! Cute (and a great excuse to knit more tiny creatures!) So far I have 2 turtles (pics in prior post. I gave the blue one to my mother), a whale, and this little seahorse. I made up his pattern as I went based on some pics of RL seahorses, including this one. It was the first time I'd knitted on DPNs in a long while. BTW, DPNs = Double Pointed Needles. You use 3-4 small needles with points on each end instead of the 2 long knitting needles used in most patterns. I personally prefer using the 2 straight needles and having to seam up pieces after. But sometimes you just can't beat them. Especially for small 'tubes' of knitting like this lil guys tail and snout. I don't think he turned out too badly, though I wish I'd made his tail longer.

In between all of these projects I was working on the mobile from my first post, including making 'branches' and a big pile of leaves. Here's a closeup of one 'branch'. I knit a long flat panel of brown and then sewed it around a wooden dowel. Then I could just sew the leaves to the branch and sew the 2 branches together to make a sturdy (and aesthetically pleasing) base for the mobile to hang from.

By this time Easter was approaching and I was very strapped for cash. So I dug into my stash and went Internet searching for bunny patterns or inspiration. I found this site with great step by step instructions for making an adorable mini bunny. I used safety eyes again instead of embroidering. My mother cooed over this lil guy sitting on top of her Easter basket.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where it all began....

Ahh, I'm back. Baby is fed and sleeping. Now where were we? Ah yes. Knitting toys. First, my deepest thanks to my Aunt Jennifer who taught me to knit, several times, as I was growing up. Always patient and encouraging, even when my scarves ended up with whopping holes in them. I do believe both of my grandmothers also attempted to teach me when I was quite little. Now, onto the more recent past....

Well, it all started when I stumbled onto the Jelly Bums site. I can't quite remember just how I stumbled on it, only that it was the start of something amazing. The author, Raynor, is an amazing knitter who makes her own patterns and sells them. She also has a number of free patterns. I saw this turtle and just had to try it. My first one had me in love, even though my 'legs' turned out much pointier. I actually like them. They look like sea turtle flippers.

Two more swiftly followed and an attempt at Raynor's Sugar Bunny, into which I stuffed a rattle (a tiny plastic container of beads) for a baby toy.
After that I was hooked. I modified her bunny a bit (adding longer arms/legs, and a fluffy tail) in my second attempt which was given as a gift to a friend of mine.

It was during the crafting of the second bunny that I discovered safety eyes. These miraculous inventions are plastic eyes that look like pegs and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and styles. They fasten with plastic or metal washers to keep them safely on the toys. Absolutely fantastic for those of us that can't embroider. Unfortunately they are very very hard to find up here in Canada. I've found a fantastic supplier via etsy though that I've ordered from twice now and have so many eyes and so many ideas to craft that I'll never be done. :D

So, one creation led to another, and another and another....

I made this tiny whale, also from Raynor's site.

I had the crazy idea of making knitted baby blocks...because I couldn't afford the pattern I wanted to make the knit ring stacker I wanted. However one was enough, and it's HUGE. I may still go back and make a couple smaller ones for my nephew to stack.

In between all these fun creations, I was working on 3 baby blankets for gifts. Here's 2 of them. I don't have a picture of the third. I gave it to my sister though (it's huge and fuzzy soft in green/yellow) so I'll try and get her to dig it out so I can snap a shot later.

By this time I was head-over-heels in love with the most amazing man. Unfortunately he lives quite a distance away. So, I got the goofy idea to knit him a surprise gift to send with some goodies in the mail. He happens to love penguins. So I went hunting for penguin patterns. This site is what I found, and it has opened a whole world of new possibilities for me. I made a sample of the tiny penguin on the site. While cute (and about the size of my thumb), it just wasn't quite what I wanted.

So, using the knit-a-swatch-and-sew-and-drawstring-a-head-method (official technical term ;)) that the designer from Flutterby Patch had used, I created my own penguin pattern. I changed the feet and beak, added wings and a tail, and voila! Off it went and I believe he liked him. At least I know for sure he liked the candy and dates that went with it. ;)

I think this post is getting rather long, so I'll continue tomorrow with another picture packed post of past projects (say that 10 times fast!). So, until tomorrow, be safe and happy crafting.



Hello There! Welcome! Come in! Come in! Pull up a seat, gather your mats if you care to join in, and visit my world of crafting for a while.

I am currently addicted to knitting small toys. It began with my sisters announcement last fall that she was expecting. I love knitting baby items and recently discovered the joy of knitting toys, and it just sort of snowballed when I decided I'd knit him a mobile.
It turned out pretty well and I've found a new aspect of an old hobby to occupy my free time. Here are some closeups of some of the critters hanging from it:

These were all made up as I went along, using pretty basic knitting skills. Since knitting only really involves 2 stitches (knit and purl) any creation in knitting is simple manipulation of those stitches and putting them together in various ways to get the item to look how you want.


Ah dear, remember that baby my sister was having? He's now 6 weeks old and demanding attention. More to come later!