Tag Archives: toys

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: Knitted Food

This post is inspired by a friend of mine, Wendy.  Wendy is a fantastic knitter, but she has a little quirk.  She almost exclusively knits toy food.

I know!  How fantastic is that?

She makes big picnic baskets of food, cornucopias of food, full Thanksgiving dinners, and an array of “fresh” fruits and vegetables that would make a greengrocer (ahem) green with envy.

Let’s spend today talking about knit food, in Wendy’s honor.  (And because knit food is ridiculously cute!)

You could always go the healthy route, and knit up some lovely produce:

Pears…

Pear-fecto! by Susan B. Anderson5334391790_5a3c048656_z[1]Mushrooms…

Knitted ‘Shrooms by Abby Kroken

mushrooms_medium[1]Carrots…

Heirloom Carrot by Sara Hills

carrots3_medium2[1]And peas.

Peas in a Pod by Hansi Singh3937321083_af8cc2990c_z[1]But sometimes you’re in the mood for something a little fancier.  A nice plate of sushi perhaps?

Sushi by Joanna Rankin

group1_medium2[1]And, of course, there’s always room for milk and cookies after a delicious (knit) meal.

Milk and Cookie by Raynor Gellatly

2668565040_c301b7640c_z[1]Have you ever knit food?  Are you going to now?  (I might- these projects are just too cute to ignore.)

And The Winner Is…

Woo!  Hello new folks!  And hello not-so-new folks!  Thanks for entering the  drawing for a copy of “Cute, Cuter, Cutest: Knit Toys to Love in 3 Sizes.”  I loved reading about your favorite childhood toys.  Such sweet stories and lovely memories!  If you haven’t read everyone’s comments on last Friday’s post, you should definitely take a look.

But, enough sentimentality!  You’re all here for the giveaway!32673[1]More than fifty people entered, but only one can win.  I wrote down everyone’s names, and picked one at random.

*Drum roll*

And, Jan!  You’re the big winner!  Congratulations!  I’ll be emailing you later this afternoon.

32673101[1]And, if you’re not Jan, you still want the book, right? (Of course you do.  Because it’s stupidly cute.)  Head on over to Knit Picks and pick up a copy for yourself.

Pattern: Human Beans (And a giveaway!)

Hello Knitters!  I’ve got exciting news!

Another of my patterns was just published in the newest KnitPicks toys collection!

I love tiny things, and this collection really scratched that itch.  All the patterns come in Large, Medium, and Itty-Bitty.  So, of course the book is called Cute, Cuter, Cutest: Knit Toys to Love in 3 Sizes!

32673[1]There are some fantastic patterns in the book.  I love the raccoons, especially.  And the dinosaurs are too freaking cute!  (I mean, come on.  Who doesn’t like multi-colored dinosaurs?)

32673103[1]But, I have to toot my own horn a bit, here.  I am just in love with my little Human Beans!

32673101[1]They’re a family of fully-customizable little dolls in three sizes.  The pattern gives instructions on making any outfit you like- long sleeves, short sleeves, pants, skirts, or shorts.  And the tops can be stripey or decorated with a heart or star emblem.  I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out!

32673102[1]Do you want a copy of Cute, Cuter, Cutest: Knit Toys to Love in 3 Sizes? (Yes, you do.)  Post below and tell me about your favorite childhood toy to enter a drawing for a free copy of the book!  (I’ll pick a winner next Friday, so don’t wait!)

Inspiration: Puppy Party!

I’ll be honest.  I haven’t had much time for knitting the last few days.  But, honestly, I’m OK with that.  I’ve been busy running around after Ollie!

So, let’s do some puppy-inspired knitting and crochet!

Ollie’s a big fan of Tug of War (and so is my husband).  I might need to make him one of these when his weasel toy finally gets torn to shreds.

Tug of War dog toy by Maz Kwok1-DSC015501_medium[1]What dog doesn’t want a bone?

Dog Bone Toy by Jessica Suzanne

2886225557_92d3d1320f_z[1]And, for that matter, I bet dogs all want a lovely turkey leg, too.

Crochet Giant Turkey Leg Dog Toy by Christine Johnson

Turkey_Leg_Dog_Toy_medium2[1]But, of course, the classic knitted item for a dog is a little sweater.  Unfortunately (fortunately?), Ollie has nice long hair, so he doesn’t need a sweater.  (He does have a little yellow rain slicker, though, because we live in Seattle.  It’s pretty much the cutest.)  If he did need a sweater, I would have to make him this one.

Dog Sweater – Signature Turtleneck by Cute Little Cuddlies

Sign_Patt_3_medium2[1]Have you ever knit anything for your pets?

Merry Christmas!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hope you’re having a fantastic Christmas, and I hope that Santa brought you everything that was on your Christmas list.

I’ve got one more extra-special present just for you, dear readers! A little bitty knit doll of your very own.  And, she comes with a little bitty storybook of her very own.   She has long flowing hair and a removable dress, and she is just as ready to play house as she is to go adventuring with her friends.

The Little Knit Doll’s construction is very simple.  She is knit in the round with minimal sewing.  All shaping is done with simple increases and decreases, except for the feet, which are worked like tiny socks.  Her luxurious long hair is applied with a crochet hook, just like adding fringe to a scarf.  She is totally safe for children of all ages, with her embroidered face.  And, her adorable green dress is knit in the round with virtually no finishing.

The Little Knit Doll is now available through Ravelry for $5.00.

Get the pattern here

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m posting The Little Knit Doll here exclusively for about a week.  But starting next week, the pattern will be available through Ravelry for $5, so download it now, if you want it for free.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHo Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!

Inspiration: Tiny Stuff!

I’m a fiend for tiny things.  It’s been that way since I was a little kid.  (Mom loves tiny stuff, too.  So maybe it’s genetic?)  But, basically, the smaller, the better, and the more useless the better.

Here are a couple fun (and tiny) little projects for you to try out.  They’re great for using up little bits of extra yarn you might have laying around.

Adorable!

Teeny Tiny Knitted Toys by Little Cotton Rabbits

2456725646_6de7080305_z[1]

Chichester the Pig by Helen Apocalypse (FYI, this little piglet is knit in the round
with no seaming!  No arms or legs to sew on!  That means you have
time to make a whole drift (Drift is the technical term for a group of pigs.  Now you know!).)

IMG_8632_medium2[1]

Mini Christmas Stocking Ornaments by Little Cotton Rabbits

IMG_8107_medium[1]Wee Twee Tiny Acorn Tutorial by Pamela Wynne

4177653240_0a5bbc77e0_b

Christmas Knitting: Kiddos

Kids are great.  You can make all sorts of ridiculous stuff for them to wear, and they’ll do it!  If you made a hat shaped like a fish and gave it to your sister-in-law to wear, she’d probably look like you were a tiny bit insane.  If you gave the same fish hat to your kid brother, you might just win Christmas.  Here are some fun knits for kids’ Christmas gifts:

Fish Hat [Dead or Alive?] by Thelma Egberts

fish

Pocket Ted by Frankie Brown

ted

Owlet by Kate Davies

owlet

Baby Alligator Scarf by Morehouse Designs

aligator

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.

Oblong:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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