Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Secrets to shaping knitted toys...

Like a good push up bra, it's all about the underpinnings. It takes my light bulb a while to come on but I have been racking my brain to come up with a way to maintain the shaping that I so carefully design & knit into a toy. This is especially important at necks. You need to stuff the piece firmly so the head won't flop around but in doing so you stretch stitches to the limit.

Wrapping & tying yarn around the outside of the neck is fine but sometimes the yarn on the outside won't look right as in the eye shaping on my Texture Bite bear.

So here's my simple remedy;

Here's a firmly stuff head. It's OK but is not the way I designed the pattern. Instead the imaginary line upon which the eyes will be embroidered should be cinched in.
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The red line marks the 2 areas that need a little shaping help.

Copy of texture bite shaping 1 Markup
Using the same yarn, insert the needle at the level where you want to add additional shaping. But rather than tie the yarn around the outside, which would be OK for the neck but not here, run the needle along the imaginary line along just under the knitted material, skimming across the outermost surface of the stuffing.
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Pull tightly and knot securely. Smooth out any puckers and add a bit more stuffing as needed.
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Repeat for neck.

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There now, doesn't that feel better?

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to Basics with Petite Purls...

Petite Purls, the adorable e-zine for baby and children's knit, crochet, sewing and general crafty ideas & inspirations has just released my Bib & Paci Tether in their "Back to Basics" section.

"Back to Basics" is a collection of relatively generic patterns designed with the idea that the user can take these basic "recipes" and customize them to their own tastes. I love this idea!! All of the projects are worked in yummy, scrumptious Spud & Chloe Sweater in the Ice Cream colorway, so that each project really is a blank canvas on which to let one's imagination soar.

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Per usual, the very talented Brandy Fortune, who is also co-editor, took the amazingly adorable photos, assisted by her super adorable baby girl. So CUTE!!
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Photographed by Brandy Fortune

Oh my goodness....would you look at that sweet face???
Does it get any cuter than this?


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Photographed by Brandy Fortune

TGIF y'all...
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Using the "Good Stuff"

(aka Sheepster Sneak Peak, Part 2)
Several weeks? months? years? ago I was babbling about giving myself permission to use the "good stuff". And went even further to say I was going to give myself permission to use the "good stuff" for toys, no less.

PERMISSION GRANTED. Sheepster is getting a posse and I'm using the good stuff.

One of Sheepsters' peeps is being worked in Desert Garden Farms handspun in the "Deep Blue Sea" colorway. Oh YEA!! I do love my blues and so does this sheep. He's chillin' to some smooth blues and keeping it kinda' old school-ish.
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Another bud is being worked in Noro Silk Garden. YUMMY! This guy is getting in touch with his artsy side.
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Then there's the blue faced leicester done up in Stitch Nation aquamarine and Rio De La Plata Yarns Fino Lana del Artista, which is sadly discontinued. Say it ain't so. I guess that makes him special and a little bit rare.
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Oh and just for fun, let's visit with Mr. Cray one more time...now THAT's what I'm talkin' about!! And so is THIS


I should re-name this post ...."and LISTENING to the good stuff".


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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sheepster

Here's a sneak peak at "Sheepster". He has been "in the works' for quite some time now and it's time he came out to say "hey". Sheepster is knit in the round on US 6 needles. The head, extremities and vest are all worked in Debbie Stoller's Stitch Nation "Full O'Sheep" by Red Heart, which I LOVE!!






The body and beret are worked in Desert Garden Farms hand-dyed in the "Tie-dye" colorway. Isn't it gorgeous yarn? I'm working some alternate sheep bodies and berets in Desert Garden hand spun (YUM!) and another in Noro Silk Garden.


At any rate, once the background tasks are completed & glamour shots are taken I will be adding "Sheepster" to my Ravelry pattern store. Should take a couple more weeks at the most.


Until then "keep it cool...."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I WON!!

THIS! It's a pattern called "Kouyou Shawl" by one of my favorite bloggers & designers, Angela Tong of Oiyi's Crafts. The shawl is knit in worsted or sportweight so that is right up my alley as I have such a hard time manipulating the gorgeous but teeny-tiny lace weight yarns. AND the best and weirdest part of  this is that I have been eyeballing this pattern lately and was just about to purchase it, I kid you not! And I have some stash yarn that would LOVE to become this shawl so it's all good.

 I won the pattern by commenting on an interview with Angela Tong on the Sexy Knitter's blog. This is a very COOL blog and I am loving her "getting to know you" series. She is an inspired designer in her own rite. So check it out. Her style is definitely not "your granny's knitting". I love it!

And while you're hanging out on the net, check out Angela' blog as well, (Oiyi's Crafts). She takes the happiest photos of her amazingly cute daughter. They make me smile. And her designs are amazing!

Now since this is a knitting/crochet blog here's a gratuitous yarn picture or two of some yummy yarn. The shawl would look mighty pretty in this;
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Or this;

Manos Silk Blend1

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday FO ....

It seems that lately, no matter how I plod along I just can't/don't finish anything. Well here's one FO anyway.

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I know, it's awfully bright but not as bright as it is in real life, ha,ha. I had trouble photographing this project as the hot pink was messing with the color balance and I don't have time to play around with this so here you go.
Perhaps photographing it outside in natural light would have worked better. Will try that next time. But this is a baby gift that must be delivered now.

Oh yea, here's one more "finished object"...yep I finished this all in one sitting and it was GOOD!!
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TGIF y'all!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Recess time...

My current assignments were starting to get frustrating so I gave myself some yarn-play time. By stepping away from the problem project for a bit and working on a super easy, fun & quick project (or rather projects), I am able to work out the problem at hand by not thinking so hard about it.

Here's what I am doing for fun...
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Scribble scarf from the Mason Dixon knitting book.
I LOVE this pattern. It's fun and easy and pretty. This one is being worked in Cascade Kid Seta in Lilac # 19 and Tilli Tomas silk on US 17 needles.

And here is the other scarf. I am using some stash Malabrigo lace held doubled and a newly purchased skein of Cascade Rustic in a gorgeous blue colorway # 13. LOVE it! I am using US 15 needles and plan to block the scarf severely so as to open up the stitches for lightness.
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Either one of these scarves would be appropriate for year round use here in the DEEP south as they are light but warm. But I am especially interested in summer use as some places around town have their air conditioners set on what feels like 32 degrees Fahrenheit. And while I could comfortably wear a more wintry scarf it just wouldn't look right, ha,ha.


Friday, August 5, 2011

WIP's & FWIP's...

What's an FWIP? A "future work in progress". That's what you see here with this yummy cake of green Shepherd's Wool.

What's it going to be? A frog. Yea, I know, there are fifty-eleven frog patterns in the world. But this one has a back story which is really quite funny and he HAS to be included in the mix. Plus he will be part of a duo of sorts and that's all I can say. I am designing him for Desert Garden Farms. Along with a farm animal. Should be fun.
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Here's something fun, fast & super easy...
Pinky the zebra
I am crocheting this for a friend, whose nursery is going to be pink zebras. It's from a pattern called "Zeb the Zebra" by Janice Cyr of Madison's Craft Nook. I love it and all of her patterns!! So CUTE!!

Next is something I am really tickled about. It is a robot and is for no one in particular so it will most likely go to charity.  I am having so much FUN with this one, using the brightest of the bright colors. Pink and orange? Lime Green & Turquoise? Bring it on!! The more bright color  the merrier with this one. The pattern is called My Favorite Stuffie Rockin' Robots by Deb Richey of  Craftydeb.com.
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Here's another FWIP...
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It's going to be part of a toy, which is being tested as we speak. The main part of the pattern is worked in Stitch Nation Full O'Sheep, which I LOVE, (have I mentioned that single ply is my favorite ? Yep, I think I may have. If you haven't tried any Full O'Sheep, please do!! You won't be sorry).
At any rate, the accent part of the toy was originally knit in some beautiful tie-dye yarn by Jennifer at Desert Garden Farms. Because she is an indy dyer I wanted to find an alternate for the multi-colored yarn in the project. So here you have it.

Oh and here's an FO to share. It's a gator and was crocheted on the fly by me for my Dad. I wrote it down though so I may publish it after some testing &tweaking.
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TGIF y'all!



Monday, August 1, 2011

One neglected, forgotten WIP saved...

All he needed was arms and legs and a face. Not much work really. He was originally the 1st draft when I was just beginning to think about Texture Bite last year.

The yarn is pretty but I just didn't like the bulkier texture for this particular application. However, now that he's finished he looks fine to me and will join a grouping of toys that are going to charity.

You know it's a relief to finally finish a partially worked project that has been languishing in a project bag for so many months, (or even years perhaps?), especially when it is an animal or a doll.
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