Thursday, 17 March 2011

My Creative Space - little animals

I've been making more little teeny animals, it's just addictive.







See more creative spaces on Kirsty's blog

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Easter Chicks - Tutorial

My urge to knit small furry animals has continued... as has my urge to share it!



Here is a pattern for these cute little baby chicks. They can be used either as babies in a nest with chocolate eggs, or as hanging decorations for some easter branches.

Tools
Yarn: yellow and thin (4ply, dk); small amount of orange yarn for feet and beak; small amount of black or brown yarn for eyes; 3.25mm needles; darning needle; stuffing.

Skills
cast on, cast off, moss stitch, seam sewing

Abbreviations 
k - knit; p - purl; st - stitch; inc.1 - increase 1(knit into front and back of same stitch); dec - decrease; k2tog - knit 2 stitches together; psso - slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, pass slipped stitch over the knitted stitch

Explanations
Moss stitch - *k1, p1* repeat from * to * across row. Next row, *p1, k1* repeat from * to * across row.



Cast on 3
K 2 rows
Next row: inc. 1, k1, inc. 1 (5 sts)
K 4 rows
Next row: k2tog, k1, k2tog (3 sts)
k6 rows
Next row: inc.1, k1, inc.1 (5 sts) 
K 4 rows
Next row: k2tog, k1, k2tog (3 sts)
K2 rows
Cast off


Sew side seams, and turn inside out. Stuffing this small tube is quite fiddly! But at least it's small. When it is stuffed, sew the bottom seam.
Then, to make the head, tie a piece of yellow yarn around the middle of the chick where the decreases are, and pull it tight. Tie into a double knot, and thread the ends through the middle of the body to hide them before cutting.


Wings (make 2)
Cast on 3
K 1 rows
Next row: k1, k2tog
K 1 row
Cast off


The wing tips will be pointing slightly in one direction. Position the wing onto the body so that the cast on edge is lined up with the neck of the chick, and the wing tip is pointing backwards (you have to decide which is the front of your chick first). Sew the wing firmly onto the body across the cast on edge, and thread the cast off yarn through the wing up to the neck. Then pull the ends through the body and cut.


Face and Feet
Stitch the feet using a long piece of orange yarn. It only takes a couple of vertical stitches at the bottom of the bird. Then thread the yarn through the body to where the beak will be. A couple of horizontal stitches will make a beak. Then thread the yarn through the body again, and cut it.
Use black or brown thread for the eyes, and make just one stitch, pulled tight. Thread the ends through the body and cut.


To use as a hanging decoration, simply thread some cotton or embroidery silk through the top of the chick's head (it's ok, it doesn't hurt!)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tutorial - Knitting a mini Easter Bunny

Here is the pattern for my mini Easter bunnies. I find them very easy, but of course I would, as it came out of my head. As they contain short rows, however, I expect they are at an intermediate - advanced level of knitting ability (which of course means knitting-pattern-reading-ability!).

I've tried to explain short rows here, and I'd love feedback on how well I've done it! If it's just too complicated, then ignore the insertion of short rows for the bottom, and knit a straight standing bunny :-)






I haven't put any demonstration photos into this pattern, but it is very similar to this teddy pattern, and you can see some photos there.


Tools
Yarn: 4 ply, double knit, sport weight, sock - anything fairly thin!; small amount of contrast yarn for features; small amount of pink yarn for a flower; small amount of white yarn for tail; 3.25mm needles; darning needle; stuffing.


Skills
cast on, cast off, knit, purl, stocking stitch,moss stitch, seam sewing, short rows


Abbreviations 
k - knit; p - purl; st - stitch; inc.1 - increase 1(knit into front and back of same stitch); dec - decrease; k2tog - knit 2 stitches together; psso - slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, pass slipped stitch over the knitted stitch


Explanations
stocking stitch - *knit 1 row, purl 1 row* repeat. All of the body of this bunny is in stocking stitch, so "k x rows" means "k x rows in stocking stitch"


Moss stitch - *k1, p1* repeat from * to * across row. Next row, *p1, k1* repeat from * to * across row.


Short rows - a short row is formed of two rows inserted into a row of knitting without knitting to the end of the row. Turning before the row is finished leaves a hole, so to avoid this you wrap the stitch: on a knit row, bring yarn forward, slip next st onto right hand needle, turn work, slip the st you just slipped back onto the right hand needle, bring yarn forward again, continue the purl row. On a purl row, take yarn back, slip next st onto right hand needle, turn work, slip the st you just slipped back onto the right hand needle, take yarn back again, continue the knit row.






Knitting the Body of the Bunny
The bunny is knitted in one piece in stocking stitch, then folded in half and sewn together.
Legs
Cast on 5 sts 
K 5 rows. Cut the yarn and leave the leg on one needle.
on the other needle, cast on 5 sts
K 5 rows: the two legs will now be on the same needle
Bottom and Back

K across 10 leg sts (use cut end as well as working yarn for two sts at join) 
Next row: (increase for bottom and insert short rows) k3, inc. 1 in each of next 4 sts (14 sts), k1, wrap next st and turn, k to 2nd st from end, wrap and turn.This makes 1 short row: repeat procedure, inserting short rows up to 3rd stitch from end, 4th stitch from end etc, until you have reached 6th stitch from end. Once you have inserted a short row at the 6th st from the end, k to the end of the row.
Next row: k3, k2tog across next 4 sts, k3 (10sts)
k 1 row 
Arms
Turn, cast on 3 sts. 
K 1 row, turn, cast on 3 sts (16 sts)
K 1 more row
Turn, cast off 3 sts.
K to the end of the row, turn, cast off 3 sts (10 sts)





Head
K 16 rows (8 for the back of the head, 8 for the face)
Arms
Turn, cast on 3 sts. 
K 1 row, turn, cast on 3 sts (16 sts) 
K 1 more row
Turn, cast off 3 sts. 
K to the end of the row, turn, cast off 3 sts (10 sts)
Tummy
Next row: k 4, inc.1 in next st, k to end of row
K 2 rows
Next row: k4, k2tog, k to end of row
Legs
K 5 rows on first 5 sts, leaving remaining 5 sts on needle. Cast off.
K 5 rows on remaining 5 sts. Cast off.





Making up the Bunny
Fold the bunny in half lengthways.

Sew the side seams from the corners of the foot around the arm and to the ear. Then sew the inside leg edges together, leaving a hole to stuff the bunny through his crotch.

Turn the bunny inside out, making sure that the ends of the yarn at the inside leg are on the outside - so that you can sew the hole up when the bunny is stuffed. First fill the head with enough stuffing so that the head is round. Thread a piece of yarn through a middle stitch on the the same level as the shoulders. 





Thread the yarn all the way around the neck and pull tight, until the head is round and the arms lift up slightly.
Tie a double knot.





Next stuff the arms, then the tummy and finally the legs. When the bunny is nice and fat (especially his nice round bottom), sew up the hole and tie a double knot. Hide the ends by threading them through the body.

Moss Stitch Ears
Knitted completely in moss stitch. Make two.
Cast on 5 sts,
K 14 rows
Next row: psso, k 1, k2tog (3 sts)
K 1 row
K1, k2tog
Cast off

Sew the ears together at the bottom, then sew them onto the head. Hide the ends by threading them through the body. The ears will slant slightly in one direction at the top, due to the decreases. This is intentional, make sure they are slanting outwards when you sew them to the head.

Tail
Cast on 2 sts
Next row: inc. 1 in each st (4 sts)
Next row: inc. 1 in each st (8 sts)
K1 row
Next row: k2tog across row (4 sts)
Next row: k2tof across row (2 sts)
Next row: cast off
Sew the four sides of this little piece of knitting together, and it will form a little ball. Sew it firmly to the bunny's bottom. Hide the ends by threading them through the body.

Face
Using the contrast yarn, sew a nose and some eyes. The nose should be halfway across the face widthways, and a little lower than halfway down lengthways.

Flower
Using pink yarn, sew several stitches beside one ear, leaving a short loop each time you pull the yarn through. These loops form the petals. When you have sewn enough, hide the ends by threading them through the body.




Monday, 7 March 2011

Spring is on its way...

Today is Rosentmontag, my German husband assures me. This means little to me  - I don't remember anything about Rose Monday in my English upbringing - but I do know that tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, and that loomed large in my childhood. Pancakes!!!!!


Last week saw Fat Thursday, which I also didn't know about (but I do know now, thanks to this Etsy in Poland blog post!) Anyway, all this deep fried liturgical stuff means that we're all beginning to think hard about fluffy animals, and chocolate :-)


I'm planning to call a stop on the latter for lent, but I haven't been able to resist the former, and here are the first couple who have hopped off my needles :-)



Here are some more blog posts about this time of year

cute designs

Vilt a la Kim

Comment with your links about pancakes, carnival, and cute animals!


Thursday, 3 March 2011

My creative space - Spinning a yarn...

I have been spinning some yarn to put into some teeny teddy kits. I'm using Shetland combed tops from Jamieson and Smith. The wool is lovely to spin with a fantastic texture.


But the best thing about it is the colours and the names. Each natural shade has its own special Shetland name - which sounds exotic and arcane to a southerner like me. This one is called Whiss - and the more I spin it the more I love it, it's gorgeous. Words like coffee, latte, beige - they're all completely inadequate. Whiss it is.

Check out more creative spaces on Kirsty's blog