Tag Archives: stuffed animals

Back to School

It’s September, and that means one thing (in the US, anyway). It’s back to school time!

I don’t have kids, and I’m not a schoolteacher, but I am excited to get back to my after school teaching job!

I think I’ve mentioned before, but my “day job” involves bringing sewing machines to local elementary schools, teaching kids how to use them, and working with them to make awesome (and adorable) projects. You don’t know what pride is until you see a first grader finally finish the teddy bear he spent the last three weeks on, or the third grader doing a happy dance while wearing the PJ pants she just finished hemming. My job is kind of the best (apart from schlepping those sewing machines), and even on days when the kids are being pains in my butt, I still love it.

Now, I don’t teach the kids to knit, but here are knit versions of some of the kids’ favorite sewing projects:

Headbands are always popular (I’ve had kids make dozens of headbands, for themselves and as gifts for their entire families.)

wishbraid by Erika Neitzke

IMG_3444rav_medium2[1]Hackey-sacks and beanbags are fun, too. The only problem is keeping the kids from throwing them around the class and exploding popcorn everywhere.

The All Good Hacky Sack by Gillian Kratzer

100_3889_medium2_medium[1]And, of course stuffed animals of every kind are always crazy popular. (Do you know that kids (in Seattle, at least) call stuffed animals “stuffies”? I’m not sure why, but I find that term vaguely off-putting.)

Pookies by Barbara Prime

pookies_medium2[1]Have you ever done arts and crafts with kids? What do your kids like to make?

Inspiration: Halloween

I absolutely love Halloween.  It’s one of my favorite holidays.  I love just about everything about it.  Making my own costume is always my favorite part (and always has been.  Once, when I was a kid, I was a fly.  Because why not?).   On this most spooky of holidays, let’s get some spooky knitting going!

How about some adorable (yet terrifying) little monsters?

Adopt a Blob Monster/Ghost by Jenna Kruparblob15_medium2[1]Or what about some evil little witches?  They’re clearly up to no good!

Tiny Halloween Witch by Mrs Lettice Weasel

DSCF0706_medium2[1]Halloween night can get a little bit chilly, so bundle up in this awesome spider sweater.  (I wish that the pattern went up to adult sizes, because I totally would wear this sweater.  Not even kidding.)

Halloween Sweaters – Spiderwebbed, Ghostly and Pumpkinhead by Jessica Henshaw

2877023912_68d0280c57_z[1]And, of course.  What would Halloween be without that most excellent source of high fructose corn syrup?  I love me some candy corn.

Candy Corn Stranded Mittens by emilyelizabeth

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Spheroid and Oblong

So, now you know about the Toy Society, eyeballs and I-cord.  What to do with your new knowledge?  How about making a cute, round(ish) little creature to brighten someone’s day?

I like making these little guys with sock yarn on tiny little needles.  That way they can ride around in a pocket or purse.  But, using bulky yarn and larger needles, you’ll end up with a bigger, more huggable critter.

Feel free to play around with the shape of your Spheroid, too.  Adding more even knit rows between the increase and decrease rows will make your guy more oblong.  Removing the knit rows will make him more UFO-shaped.

Remember, if you’re making this little guy for a kid under the age of 3 (or anyone who is dumb enough to eat buttons) forgo button or beaded eyes.  Safety eyes, while they’re safer than buttons, are still not 100% for little kids.

Materials:

A few yards of scrap sock yarn.  A ball about the size of a Ping-Pong ball should be plenty.

Size 2 double-pointed needles

Polyfill or wool roving for stuffing

Safety eyes, buttons, beads, or contrasting-color thread for the face

Scissors and a tapestry needle

Gauge:

7 sts/inch, but it really really doesn’t matter

Instructions:

Spheroid:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cast on 8 stitches, and join to work in the round

1. k

2. [k1, inc 1] around(16 stitches)

3. k

4. [k2, inc 1] around(24 stitches)

5 and 6.  k

7. [k3, inc 1] around(32 stitches)

8-10. k

11. [k4, inc 1] around(40 stitches)

12-15. k

16. [k3 k2tog] around(32 stitches)

17-19. k

20. [k2 k2tog] around (24 stitches)

21-22. k

23. [k1, k2tog] around(16 stitches)

24. k

25. [k2tog] around (8 stitches)

Cut a 1 foot long tail.   Using the tapestry needle, pull the tail through the loops.  If you’re using safety eyes, add them now.  Stuff the body, and close up the top.

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Complete rows 1-7 of Spheroid.

Knit 20 rows even.

Complete rows 20-25 of Spheroid.

Cut a 1 foot long tail.   Using the tapestry needle, pull the tail through the loops.  If you’re using safety eyes, add them now.  Stuff the body, and close up the top.

Limbs:

Using double-pointed needles, cast on 3 stitches, leaving a 1-foot tail.  Work as an I-cord for 8 rows.  Cut a 1 foot tail, and use your tapestry needle to pull the tail through the loops, and tie a knot so the leg doesn’t unravel.  Hide the end of the tail in the middle of the limb and trim.  Leave the cast-on tail to use to sew the limb to the body.

Repeat until you have enough limbs.  (Usually this is 4.  But, if you want to make an octopus, 8 would be more appropriate.  Or of you wanted to add antennae, you should make 6)

When you have enough limbs, carefully sew them onto the body, using the remaining cast-on tails.  Weave in the ends and trim.  Hide the ends in the body of your little guy.

If you haven’t already added a face, do so now.

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Eyeballs

Maybe you’re not too good with a needle and thread… Maybe you prefer your knit toys to have big old buggy eyes… Maybe you just aren’t a fan of how embroidered faces look.  No sweat.  Try safety eyes!

They’re super easy to use, and (in my opinion) the most professional-looking than buttons or beads.  Technically they are safe (hence the name) for younger children, but I’d still be careful if you give them to itty bitty kids  who like to chew on things.

They come in two parts: the eye, and the backing.

 

 

Figure out where you want your eye, and push the eye shaft through your knitting.  (Make sure you do this before you close up and stuff your critter.)

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Slide the backing on to the post, and use your muscles to push it all the way down.  They’re sometimes hard to get all the way on, but they’ll go eventually.  Be really really sure that you like where your eyes are placed before putting on the backing, because they are almost impossible to remove once they are attached.

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Safety eyes are carried at most chain craft stores, but you can find a more extensive selection on Etsy and other online retailers.

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Now, go fourth and give things eyeballs.  I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m being watched or something.  Eep!

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Inspiration: The Toy Society

The Toy Society

Imagine you’re walking down the street, and you spot a little package hanging from a tree, or sitting on a bench.  “How odd,” you think, going over to investigate.  You pick up the package, and notice it’s a precious little hand-made stuffed animal.  “Oh no!” you think, “Some little kid’s lost their toy!”  But then you read the note attached to the package, and you realize that someone’s put this toy here so that it can be found and adopted into a loving home.

How cool is that?  Very cool, in my opinion.  The Toy Society is a loose association of crafters across the world that does just that.  Visit their website and take a look at what they do.  I’ve made several plushies and dolls for the Toy Society and left them around here and there for people to find them.

Want to try your hand at a random act of toy?  Try one of these delightfully simple projects:

Gnome Baby by Tonya Gunn

Elefante by Susan B. Anderson

Anything Animals by Rachel Borello Carroll