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 anyways...here 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.

1 comment:

  1. I've never seen that brushed technique before. It's really neat. I'm going to have to try it now. Also, Bamboo yarn is tough to find in the states too. There are only a couple of brands that are carried in major craft stores, so it's usually easier to find it online.