Tag Archives: knitted toy

Elephants!

ellephant1

Nothing happens for ages and then something big comes along. Something as big as an elephant!

I am working on a submission for Knitty, which is very hush hush, but which might make it into their First Fall edition (keep your fingers crossed.) In the meantime, I am also working on this elephant. It’s slow going. But I’ll get there. Now where did I leave my design notebook?

elephant2

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The Ghosts Are Free!

Bigghost1

I love Halloween and as the kids are back in school and the weather starts to turn cooler, it’s the perfect time for knitting up some spooky treats and decorations.

This little ghost is  only 3″ high if you knit him in DK weight yarn, although you could use heavier yarn and larger needles. He’s a quick knit and easy too, knitted all on straight needles with some short rows that are fully explained in the pattern. The Ghost was one of the first knitting patterns I ever wrote and because it’s now so old and such an easy knit I’ve decided to make it a free pattern. The pattern can be found here on this blog in the side bar on the right, you can also download it directly from Ravelry or Craftsy.

And the Halloween knitting pattern bargains keep on coming. There’s a 3 Pattern Deal on Etsy, just $6 for the snake, spider and large pumpkin head patterns.

pumpkin, spider snake pattern deal 2013

So, don’t be scared about the ghosts being free, it’s good news!

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Owl Surprise

PJ Owl1Big Owl is back, although this guy looks a bit lumpy…

pj owl2

A quick turn there…

pj owl3Hang on a minute, he has buttons, this is new…

pj owl4

Open the buttons and, wow, this owl is stuffed with pajamas (snuggly red pajamas with pictures of scottie dogs on them).

pj owl5

Well done owl! You are cute and useful.

OK, I know I’ve been going on about this guy for ages, but he’s finally finished and now I can confidently write out the pattern. It will be a two-owls-in-one pattern, you can either make him as a cuddly toy, or as a PJ case.

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Big Owl

big owl1

This is Big Owl. He is nine inches tall and quite a character. He’s knitted in Cascade Yarns Bulky Eco Wool (Natural/Ash). The pattern for this owl has been kicking around in my brain for about two years but I finally knitted one up this week.

Regular readers of this blog will know that it takes me a long time to do anything. Mostly this is a symptom of having too many other things to do. I have a day job, a small business, a six year old, no nanny and no cleaner (Most Mums function like this, that’s because we are all awesome).

Which is why I am surprised that I started working on Big Owl last week and here he is, almost finished except for his eyes, which aren’t sewn on yet.

The secret to my speediness this week is simply a throwback to when I started Natty Knits and my then two year old son was with me all the time. Before he was in school, I would knit while he was napping, or when he was fully engaged in lining matchbox cars up on the carpet, I would knit while I read to him or while he played in the sandbox at the playground. All that time I was knitting up new designs for toys, then usually unraveling them and starting again. This is exactly why I design toys, because they are small and can fit in an over-sized Mum bag.

This week has been the first week of my son’s Summer vacation and once again, I’ve been with him all the time. Of course, he needs a lot less attention now than he did when he was two, but that just means more knitting time. So, this week I was knitting Big Owl while my son perfected his lego pyramid with a windmill on it, while he read to me from a Nate the Great book or while he rode his bike around the playground with a classmate (a classmate who said “are you knitting again?!!”).

The pattern for Big Owl will be tested in the next few weeks and will be available for sale within a month. I may have more time to knit, but pattern making is still something that requires my full concentration.

big owl2

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Whale Pattern – Hints and Tips

whale hints and tips

The Natty Knits Whale pattern is now finished and available to buy from EtsyRavelry and will soon be on Knit Picks too. The Whale is good knit for an intermediate knitter and has lots of fun and interesting techniques like Kitchener Stitch, Provisional Cast On, 3 Needle Bind Off and of course Short Row Shaping.

Here are some hints and tips to help you get the best from your pattern.

A Note on Gauge

When I knit toys I always use needles that are one or two sizes smaller than recommended for the yarn. You don’t have to get the gauge exactly right, but you can check it by knitting a garter stitch swatch and holding it up to the light. If the gauge is tight enough you should only see pinpricks of light through your knitting.

Yarn Suggestions

The Whale pictured above is knitted in Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Twilight, I also thinks this pattern works well with Patons Canadiana.  My first whales were knitted in gray, but I think the blue looks better.

Provisional Cast On

Just as there are many ways to cast on, there are many ways to provisionally cast on. You can find some provisional cast on methods here on the excellent knittinghelp.com. I use a long tail provisional cast on, this is how it’s done. Hold the provisional and working yarn ends in the right hand against the needle. Loop the provisional yarn around your thumb and working yarn around your finger, as shown below where the black yarn is provisional. Then cast on as you would for an ordinary long tail cast on.

prov CO for blog

When you unpick the provisional cast on, turn the tail upside down, pick up the stitches starting from the cast on tail and go right. Pick up each st from front to back, unpicking the provisional yarn as you go. When you start to knit, your first stitch will actually be the last stitch you picked up.

More About Short Row Shaping

This pattern uses two rows of short row shaping. A short row is made when you turn your knitting before the end of a row. This means that some sections of your work will have more rows than others. The sections with more rows will arch, creating a three-dimensional shape. Each time you turn your knitting before the end of a row you create a loop of yarn under a stitch and a small hole in the fabric. So, when you knit back over a stitch that has a loop under it, you must knit into the loop at the same time as the stitch above it to close the hole. There’s a special blog post on how to close the holes and get a smoother finish just here. In that last tail bind off row, I would suggest picking the loop up onto the needle to make it easier to purl it together with the stitch above it and the corresponding stitch on the other needle.

3 Needle Bind Off

The 3 Needle Bind Off is a great way of making a secure and neat seam, it works very well as a seaming method for the shoulders for sweaters, although it does create a ridge on the side of the fabric facing you. Unusually, the ridge is on the outside of the Whale’s tail at the end of the fin.

Take the two needles with stitches on them and hold them next to one another in your left hand, knit together two stitches, one from each needle and then when you have two stitches on the right hand needle cast off as you would normally by leapfrogging the first stitch over the second.

Here‘s a really clear video tutorial from knittinghelp.com, scroll down to the bottom for the video of the 3 needle bind off.

Kitchener Stitch

Kitchener stitch is most often used to sew the toes of top down socks. It’s an invisible sewing technique which creates a fake row of stitches between the two pieces being sewn together. I’ve written a tutorial about Kitchener Stitch, you’ll find it here.

Mouth Seam

There is only one sewn seam in this pattern, but it is a tricky one. You will need to use mattress stitch for the top lip and fake grafting for the bottom lip. There are 15 sideways top lip stitches and 16 bound off bottom lip stitches and to be sewn together. I’ve sewn one row per stitch, that means one “ladder rung” per stitch, except for the middle Kitchener stitch row which I sewed through both ladder rungs.

If you have any questions or comments which are not covered either in the pattern or here, please contact me through the NattyKnits Etsy shop and I’ll do my best to help you.

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The Continuing Appeal of the (Finished) Knit Chick

eggwins wide shot

When I first opened the Natty Knits Etsy shop, the first thing I listed were some small knitted birds. I called them Eggwins, because they were egg shaped and funny looking. Eventually, I worked out that the cute name was making it difficult for shoppers to find my knitted chicks, so I renamed them Knit Chicks. They were part of the Natty Knits logo for a long time and I have now knitted so many of them, that I’ve lost count.

I’ve knitted Knit Chicks in big batches for a wedding in Vietnam and for a baby mobile here in America. They were sold on consignment in a few San Francisco stores around Easter 2009 and every time I list Knit Chicks in the Etsy shop, they sell to someone, somewhere in the world.

This year, I have less time to knit, so I am concentrating on knitting up new designs and the occasional pair of socks. Right now, there is only one pink Knit Chick in the Etsy shop. She seems a bit lonely.

A week ago, someone volunteered to test knit a pattern for me and she showed me photos of a Knit Chick she’d knitted before. It’s nice to know that someone else is knitting my Knit Chicks Pattern. I would like to encourage more Knit Chick knitting, so the new 3 Pattern Deal in the Etsy shop includes the Knit Chick, the Heart with Wings and the Mouse.

When I first made Knit Chicks, my then two year old son liked to line them up, take them for a walk and then tuck them up in bed. A few weeks ago, my now six year old son made a Lego house with a flip top roof for his Knit Chicks. That’s the continuing appeal of the Knit Chick.

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Hedgehog Schematics

flickr8

I don’t usually add schematics to my knitting patterns, because three dimensional schematics are often complex and take up a lot of space. However, my Hedgehog Family pattern is being knitted a lot at the moment and two knitters have asked me the same question about how the body is sewn together. So, I’ve made some schematics and a short explanation, which should help anyone else who is scratching their head about hedgehogs.

When the body has been knitted it looks like the first schematic below:

Hedgehog Schematic 1

The gathering for the underside of the hedgehog is actually done along the sides of the knitted piece. The underside of the hedgehog is the side with what looks like a tail on it.

The little flap at the Bind Off edge of the work does look, like a tail, but it’s actually the front part of the hedgehog where the pick ups in white are made. As shown below, the end loops are gathered together first and then the “tail” is folded back to be sewn to the Cast On edge.

Hedgehog Schematic 2

And that’s all there is to it!

As usual, if you have any questions about this pattern or any other pattern I’ve written, please feel free to contact me, I’m always happy to help.

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