Check out these cute and other wonderful knitted toy creations at Mochimochi Land
I love knitting toys, and I hate knitting toys. As you know, I just finished working on some “Sackboy” dolls recently. Knitted toys are cleverly shaped, charming and cuddly, but it seems to me that there’s an inordinate amount of shaping involved in the construction of them. Each time I make a knitted toy I balk at the instructions, but once they toy is finished I almost always am pleased with the outcome. This #knitchat is all about creating knitted toys. What toys have you made or attempted to make? Do you have favorites you want to share? We may not be Gepetto or we may run a close second, but that’s the wonderful thing about being a fiber-crafter: “We can always make our own!” And about those Mochimochi Land bunnies in the photo above. I’ll bet you’d be able to crank out a few just in time for the Easter basket. Think of them as no-calorie peeps, but just don’t eat them. That’s a different kind of fiber 😉
4/21/2011 #knitchat questions
Q1) Share some knitted toys or patterns you’ve made? Share some toys that you’d like to try. Links if you have them.
Q2) If you made a toy, was the pattern you chose easy/hard? What were some challenges you faced if any? What techniques would you like to master
Q3) Any additional tips or coping skills you have to share?
DETAILS… DETAILS… If you want to know more about what #knitchat is and how it works
- Where: Twitter (follow the #knitchat hashtag)
- When: Thursdays on the date listed above at 6:30 PM PST/9:30 PM EST (1 hour)
- Who: Me you and other Twitter Knitters/Crocheters & Fiber-crafters
- How: Need a primer on Twitter Chat… check this out: What does this Twitter chat thing look like?
- How: to post photos – 5 ways to share photos on Twitter
- How: to shorten your links. Simply paste your link into the field in http://bit.ly/ and shorten it. Copy and paste this link into the twitter feed.
I came away from the Sock Summit with a respectable but not an extravagant haul. Some of my favorite finds were two skeins of yarn from “Creatively Dyed Yarns.” I apologize for the graininess of the photos, I will try to take photos in daylight soon and post them here. I’ve become a big fan of the speckled dye job. I was just imagining really pretty socks coming from both of these yarns, but there’s over 500 yards of fiber so either skein can become just about anything including a crocheted scarf.
Creatively Dyed Yarns in Luxury & Calypso
Check out the "character" of the dye/coloring
Sorry he looks sort of sad here trapped in a plastic bag, but I found the most adorable pattern for a “bendy” bunny. I actually did a better job photographing his monkey friend. The title of the pattern is actually called “Harry Rabbit.” He looked very alive in a muppet-like way… staring at me from inside the bad. Okay, that’s kindof creepy, but I couldn’t resist. The pattern comes fromCiD Hancom Designs with two pink eyes, bendable wires for arms and legs and a square of pink felt. I purchased this from the “The Fold’s” booth. I almost bought the monkey, but stopped myself when I realized I’d never have the time to make him.
I also purchased some tussah silk & dyed pre-drafted roving both for spinning, and two sets of circular square needles (no that’s not an Oxymoron. They’re from Kollage. I plan to knit with them and hopefully write a brief review soon.
I didn’t purchase these from the Sock Summit but instead at the Naked Sheep during their “Sock Summit” promotion. During the entire Sock Summit weekend if you mention the code word “Sock Summit” you get 15% your entire purchase. I was able to purchase the slate gray and plum colored colorways. Bob and Meghan kindly named the plum or mauve after me (blushing). I’d actually begged Meghan to make a mauvish color which has become one of my favorite shades. I’m sorry I’ve been Anglicised and I call it “Mohhhh-ve” instead of “Mahhhh-ve.” 🙂
New additions to my library
I forgot to mention I bought a few more Amigurumi books during my San Francisco trip. Actually, I really need to write about and post some pictures from the trip but maybe in the near future.
I shelled out a bunch of dough for crochet books in general. I’ve been finding myself more and more drawn to crochet as a craft.
I met some very nice folks at one of my classes during the Knit and Crochet show who were really interested in learning more about interpreting Japanese books.
I know I’ve posted these in an earlier link but I”ll do so again. I’ve also found a another great resource here http://craftlog.org/craftingjapanese/
I really adore the lamb from the Amigurumi book volume 6.
After avoiding having to use GoDaddy to get my site hosted, I’ve finally created a place for my patterns. OMG GoDaddy has got to be one of the sleaziest sites out there with all the additional crud they sneak into your cart. ” No thanks!” I said. Their site makes me feel like I’m being bamboozled into paying for a bunch of extra junk I don’t need.
Instead I opted for using Dreamhost.
Right now the Amigurumi pattern is available for free via this link and at Ravelry (Pattern name: Sentimental Froggie).
Or you can get it here: http://threadmouse.com/patterns/free/AmigurumiFrog.pdf
Slouchy bit of frog
I’ve been having issues with my camera fuzzing up. User error obviously. I actually was able to whip up “Frog” in about an evening. I took some time the next day during lunch to construct him, and I added the scarf later. He’s got sort of a soulful and sentimental air about him. As he sits on my desk next to my key board his eyes direct themselves toward the ceiling as if to ask “why?” If I was eight years old, he’d be my best friend and quite a listener.
I used Glaciar del Cielo for the body and parts. I really enjoy using this yarn as it doesn’t feel as harsh or rough as other cotton yarns. Strange but I prefer to make my creatures out of cotton vs. acryllic or even wool yarns because of the way they feel to the touch. The scarf was knit from some unidentifiable scrap of acrylic blend yarn, probably Encore.
I tried to make this toy fairly kid-friendly: no wire construction, no buttons or beads. Just stuffing and embroidered features.
I’m actually drafting a pattern of this little guy right now, and I”ll probably make it available for free on Ravelry.com.
Not your average crochet (Amazing aran cardigan by JRoKnits
Edit 1/25/09 – Please note I linked to the wrong pattern book for the Dusty Miller sweater pictured above. The correct book is Crochet Aran Sweaters by the same author. Sadly it looks like Amazon doesn’t have this book. It may be out of print.
Let me confess here. I once had a very low opinion of crochet. Crochet was for Christmas themed toilet roll cozies and Grandma crafts that included walnut critters with googly eyes. Don’t get me wrong I wax nostalgic for anything with googly eyes, but about 10 years ago when I re-discovered knitting, I was determined to pick up knitting again because I didn’t want to crochet. Crochet reminded me of orthopedic shoes and support hose.*
Gorgeous Crochet Gown by OutsaPop Trashion
Crochet wasn’t sexy.
Now let me apologize to all the crochetiers and crochet afficionados out there by saying “I WAS WRONG.” More than a year ago I was introduced to the idea of Crochet being for all sorts of gorgeous garments in one of Brenda Dayne’s Cast On podcasts. This podcast along with the work in Interweave Crochet magazine gradually transformed my opinion of crochet.
I discovered that crochet can be used to make aesthetically pleasing garments of not just lace but well structured and sturdy articles of clothing. It can be used to make stylish and fashionable accessories and household objects. I ran a quick search on Flickr and I found many wonderful examples.
But crochet also sparks the imagination and fancy in a way that knitting does not. In the Flickr search I found wonderful objects and creatures that are not easy to find among knitted toys. I’ve made knitted objects before. I’ve knit and shaped the muzzle of a bear and the steps you take (increases, decreases and short rows) felt more like following a mystery puzzle than a pattern. A while back I took a class on how to make Amigurumi, and a sparks shot off in my head. Crochet made more sense to me ‘geometrically’ than knitting. There are different possibilities with crochet because you can structure and shape three dimensional objects easily with strategic increases and decreases. You can build spheres, cylinders, tubes, even cubical objects easily and these structures are pretty sturdy and can stand up on their own when crocheted with certain fibers.
This year I’m teaching a few crochet classes at the Naked Sheep Knit Shop. My first class “Learn to Crochet” starts next week. I’m incredibly excited to share my new found love of this fiber art with others. Through swatching, and experimentation with stitches and textures, I’m hoping to guide my students through the basics and help each of them pick a beginner project . I think there are three people currently in the course and there is more space left.
If you’re interested (and live in the Portland Metro Area) I”m also teaching a course on Amigurumi toys. All the information is listed in the link below.
*Please note… I didn’t hate crochet back then… I just had some erroneous preconceptions based me associating it with senior ladies. Like most youth… I didn’t want to be associated with ‘older people’ and their sense of style. Though this doesn’t explain my love of Big Band as an adolescent. To be truthful, I do also have some very fond memories of crochet. The woman who was our babysitter and caregiver was an avid crocheter… she taught me how to make my first object… a hat that looked more like a sausage.
The View - Cove at Cape Disappointment
As I write this, the day after our beach trip, storm clouds are forming above us. So my pleas for relief have been heard. There’s something completely unnatural about living in a hot climate. But I suppose someone who grew up in the Arizona desert might beg to differ. The overly moisturized environment of the Pacific Northwest might seem a bit soggy to them.
How does one escape 104 degree weather? We do what any normal Portlander does… flee to the coast. This time we made our way up to Astoria and the Long Beach area up to Cape Disappointment. Ahhhh… it was a cool 65 degrees, and you could see the mist rolling over the tree tops.
Sandy Pug Butt
The dogs (Otto, Kirby and Pono – Pono is Kirby’s brother) had a glorious time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Otto most ecstatic and content. The cove by the lighthouse was pretty secluded and there was a steep trek down. Consequently, it’s not visited by too many people. So we felt pretty good about just letting the dogs run about. It’s quite problematic having chihuahuas on the beach with other dogs, because they’re so tiny and uppity. We worry about them getting into a deadly tussle with a much larger dog.
I was still feeling out of sorts from the heat from the last few days. The night before our beach trip, I got absolutely no sleep. I awoke feeling hungover, without having experienced the booze fun the night before, so I didn’t get much knitting done on the beach. On the way there, I did work on my Lace Ribbon Scarf (ala Knitty.com) with the very delicious Tantra silk from Art Fibers. If I was sharp enough, I would have taken a picture of the scarf on the driftwood. Art Fibers just does an absolutely amazing job with their coloring and variegation in their dye jobs. It’s worth, not being able to predict the colors exactly from their website photos. Each time I get a color I’m more than pleasantly surprised. As I look over the beach photos, the colors from this scarf seem very reminiscent of the colors I experienced on the coast that day. What a lovely coincidence.
Lace Ribbon Scarf in Art Fibers Tantra
As I lay on the beach trying to rehydrate my body and being, I did work on another Amigurumi creature, a mischievous monkey. Simple crochet in a spiral seemed to be soothing to work on. I’ll post the photos up on this item later.
Our friend, Emily experimented with some stop-action animation with her camera. She, Chad and Ryan worked together to shoot a short, short feature starring various beach paraphernalia and dead creatures (crab shells and Jelly fish). It was quite interesting to watch all of them get involved in the creative process, each of them contributing ideas and direction. You can see the results here: Mysterious Beach.
Collecting materials for the movie set
Chihuahua brothers enjoy the beach
Filed under Amigurumi, Colors, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Knit, Knitting, Lace, Project, Stuff I made, Yarn
Happy little guys on the couch
I’ve been making Amigurumi (Japanese Crochet Dolls) animals lately. I was able to crank out two over the week-end. Actually, I’m scheduled to teach a course on the subject at the Naked Sheep Knit Shop, so I’ve been busily crocheting away. In the process, I’ve discovered that I really like the fact that you can sculpt so many shapes with single crochet. All of the dolls, I’m sharing here are based on a common design from a Japanese pamphlet book. However, I adjusted the body parts and to create different animals.
Alfie the Amigurumi Chihuahua
Amigurumi Rabbit - Mortimer (named by Jeremy)
I’m currently finishing up a third doll, an elephant. The ears were an interesting little sub project. I realize now that I should take better notes while I’m designing these things. I’ve discovered that with crochet, I need to actually work the design out by hand before I can start writing things down. For the ears on this elephant, I experimented with adding two flaps to a short chain of single crochet… the first attempt looked too much like butterfly wing that I ended up frogging it.
I’ve also discovered that I like working with mercerized cotton yarn better than 100% wool to make these toys. I suspect that a good sturdy acrylic yarn would also make a good choice for these types of project.
Amigurumi Elephant without the eyes
Whooo Whoo… not that I have the time to knit it right now.
Though I still love gargoyles. They’re so cute and menacing at the same time.
Oh, oh, oh… I found this funny post on Red Hart yarn. Apparently items knit in it can survive horrific disasters unscathed.
Can you imagine? I wonder if enduring a flood can at least render the stuff less itchy. Though honestly, if you want to make crochet toys or amigurumi the stuff is pretty good because it’s durable and washable though still not very cuddly.
I actually made a teddy bear out of it once.
The photo is from a Japanese book I found at Uwajimaya.
I was at Twisted yesterday for another PDX knitters gathering (see Fiberqat posting for photos). Naturally, I decided to check out their class offerings. If you haven’t noticed, I have a weakness for cute little toys.
Yes, it’s a class for crochet not knitting, but I’m in sore need of building my skills in this area. Plus I would like to pursue my interest in toy design. My husband has noted that he has an interest in designing monsters and having me crochet or knit them. When he saw what we would be making in the class he actually was tempted to join.
(Larger Image: esmonster.jpg from PDX Blender.org)
Maybe I won’t pick and octopus for my first project. It’s probably better to start with something that doesn’t have any arms or legs, like a tadpole or… worm. Well, maybe not.
Here’s the description of the workshop. It’s on September 12. For more information check out the class listing at Twisted.
Crocheted Amigurumi Workshop
Amigurumi is a Japanese craft of crocheting stuffed toys. From wikipedia, “The pervading aesthetic of Amigurumi is cuteness, or ‘kawaii.’ To this end, typical amigurumi animals have an over-sized spherical head on a cylindrical body with undersized extremities.”