Category Archives: Toys

#knitchat 4-21 on Knitted Toys

Tiny knitted bunnies

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.
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Filed under #knitchat, Amigurumi, Crochet, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Toys

I’ve discovered felting

Right, when the last thing I needed was another needle & fiber-craft. I took a two hour course on felting. I went in completely ignorant of how to shape wool fiber or roving into all sorts of forms, came out being able to put together cute little animals and creatures.

The ingredients needed for a successful felting are the following:

1.) Felting mat (usually made of a thick piece of foam or a wide flat brush with thick bristles).

2.) Wool roving or fiber (that is washed, combed and processed).

3.) Felting needle.

That’s it… no glue, no wires unless you’re creating an armature or skeleton to make your felted creation bendable and pose-able… though this sounds tricky & fiddly and perhaps a bit dangerous. Because essentially when you’re needle felting you’re taking the felting needle and jabbing it over and over again into the roving bits to shape them. For example in both the owl and the Totoro figures below, the body is simply just a rolled up wad of roving that has been poked and shaped into a body form. The ears on Totoro and the owls’ wings are smaller clumps of roving shaped into the appropriate form. I didn’t cut those pieces out. I basically poked and prodded at them until the wool took the shape I desired.

This is such a simple yet rewarding craft… even children (who are responsible and responsive to safety instructions) can master this skill within an hour or two.  It’s a great introduction into fiber-craft.  Looks like I may not have to knit or crochet everyone a present this year.

Want more ideas for felted cutestuff?

My 2nd Totoro - completed in less than 1 hour

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Filed under Craft, Creativity, Dolls, Felting, Fibers, Gifts, Kitsch, Needle Felting, Toys

Crafting an amigurumi menagerie

Happy little guys on the couch

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

Alfie the Amigurumi Chihuahua

Amigurumi Rabbit - unnamed as of 8/12/08

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

Amigurumi Elephant without the eyes

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Filed under Amigurumi, Crochet, Patterns, Techniques, Toys, Yarn

Dr. Who Dolls in Crochet

Say what you want of my infatuation with Dr. Who, but I just absolutely adore the dolls created by this wonderfully creative and inventive individual. She’s basically crocheted and knit a version of all of the Doctor’s incarnations. Each complete with a detailed outfit. I have to say my favorite is the Peter Davidson Doctor. I believe that you can order the dolls. Here’s a link to photos :http://www.geocities.com/drwhonace/homemade/bathroombuddies.html.

Excellent work. I heart and I covet! I’m still amazed at the details in the costumes. Especially Sylvester McCoy’s.

K-9 Tissue holder is adorable!

Peter Davidson’s Doctor aka. the Fifth Doctor

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Filed under Crochet, Dolls, Knit, Knitting, Science Fiction, Toys

More Dr. Who Knitting Trivia and Daleks

I’m a sci-fi geek. At lunch I spent some time working on my husband’s Dr. Who Scarf. I just found out today that Lalla Ward who played Romana, a companion to the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) actually has a line of knitting books out there. Here’s an example: Beastly Knits by Lalla Ward.

Lalla Ward as Romana

romana2.jpg

I’m a history buff, so it was also neat to know that she’s a descendant of the Plantagenet family known for their part in the War of the Roses.

If you’re interested in viewing the first series of episodes Lalla Ward appeared in “Destiny of the Daleks.” Here you go:

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT1d9uB0pZE]

Speaking of Daleks I did an image search and found a number of neat links.


Beautiful Dalek Cakes:

dalekcake.jpg
Image found here.

dalek_cake2.jpg

Image found here. This person actually has quite a nice website dedicated to Fiber Arts.


Building a Dalek:

http://www.thinkythings.org/dalek/

dalek-complete5.jpg


How to Make Your Own Knitted Dalek:

http://www.entropyhouse.com/penwiper/who/extermaknit.html

knitteddaleks.jpg

And finally…

The Top 10 Geekiest Yarn Creations on the Web:

My favorites are the Atari with TV Set and the Katamari Hat.

katamari.jpg

http://www.threadbanger.com/post/433/the-top-10-geekiest-yarn-creations-on-t

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Filed under Craft, Crochet, Fun Stuff, History, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Patterns, Pop culture, Robots, Science Fiction, Toys

I’ve been dreaming of sock knitting machines

sockmachine4.jpg

Not literally… though I have been fascinated with the motion and mechanics behind machines that craft. The irony is we can teach or design machines to do the things that we do but they can never master our ability to change how something is produced. Machines may be able to produce things far more quickly, but we lowly humans are still required to invent new machines, figure out how to use the machines in new and different ways, or figure out what to do when the machines break.

I really don’t think I’m going to spend $300+ on a sock knitting machine, I’d put that money toward a spinning wheel or beginner’s loom (or even more yarn). Besides after looking at the complexity of the machinery and reading about how many needles are needed for your average automatic sock knitting machine, my instinct tells me that the sock machine might be a little too high maintenance a gadget for me. Still, it’s nice to read and learn about the machines and how they work and appreciate the quaintness of the form and packaging the sock machines come in. From the photos the mechanism of the machines reminds me of those old fashioned hand crank beaters. When I was a child we had an electric one, but every time we stayed at some vacation condo or summer cabin, I’d rummage through the kitchen drawers looking for the hand beater. Even as a child I enjoyed machines. My parents actually bought me an erector set at one point and one of my favorite activities was finding out how many ways I could use the tiny motor to move or do things. I suppose even as a child I wanted to build robots.*

I think after next week, I’m going to buy this book, Knitting Technology. Yes it looks very geeky and far too technical. In fact, the table of contents holds a few topics that would drive most readers away. Who else but me would get really into a chapter titled “The manufacture of hosiery on small-diameter circular machines.”

loops.gif

*Lego Factory Software: All this talk of toys and machinery reminds me of this great sitelegobunny.jpg I found the other day on Lego that allows you to create (and then order) your own customized Lego sets. Check it out: Lego Factory. I also quickly put together my own Lego bunny. What I love about this tool is how well designed it is and how I can zoom in/out and flip the views of the object that I’m building.  Also, I can select from all the fancy new Lego pieces that didn’t exist when I was a kid (hubs, gears, intersections, more complex sockets). Remember being pissed that your mother clipped your fingernails so short your stubby little hands couldn’t pry the bricks apart? (Yes, I am aware that I am perpetuating Lego’s viral marketing campaign).


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Filed under Fashion, Fibers, Gadgets, Robots, Science, Techie, Toys, Uncategorized

I signed up for the Amigurumi class at Twisted

japanesecutetoys.jpg

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.

esmonster.gif

(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.”

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Filed under Amigurumi, Community, Craft, Crochet, Curiousity, Fun Stuff, Toys