Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pachy the Pachyderm

This is Pachy the Pachyderm... I made him for my nephew who is celebrating his first birthday today. He was rather easy to knit up. You just knit two "gingerbread man" bodies from the feet up and stitch then together. All you need to know for this project is how to knit...there are no purl stitches in this project. You also need to know how to increase by knitting into the front and back of a stitch. Knowing how to do a single cast on is important so that you can add stitches onto the needle for the arms....other than that you just knit each row. This is a true beginner project and the kids love it. As far as materials go you just need some grey worsted weight yarn and whatever eyes you wish to use. I also made a little red scarf for him in garter stitch by casting on 5 and knitting until it tied nicely around his neck.

Here are the basic instructions... but you can easily make him bigger or smaller by changing the original width of his legs:

I started by casting on 10 stitches and knitting until I felt that the leg was the proper length. I then left it on the needle and cast on 10 more for leg number two. When the legs were of equal length I knit across both to make the body (20 stitches). After knitting several inches the lower boy looked right and I started on the arms by casting on 12 stitches... knitting across the whole thing and casting on 12 more for a total of 44 stitches. Once again I knit until the arms looked to be about as thick as the legs. You then bind off 17 stitches... knit across the rest and bind off 17 more and knit across the last 10. You now have 10 on the needles and are ready to make the head. Increase a stitch at the beginning of each row until you have 18 on... then knit about 10 rows... and begin your decreases until you only have 10. Bind off. You make two of these.

To make the trunk I simply made a rectangle in garter stitch. I cast on 6 and knit until I thought it looked good for his body size. Instead of binding off I just threaded the yarn onto a needle and put it through the stitches to form a tube. I sewed up the tube and stitched it to the center of the face along with two googly eyes.

The ears probably could have been a bit bigger... but I like the mousy look. I cast on 5... knit the first row and then increased until I had 12 stitches on the needle. I knit 2 more rows of 12 and then decreased at the beginning of each row until I had 7 left. Bind off and after making two you are ready to sew them onto the head. I like a bit of an asymmetrical look when I make toys so I don't fret too much about how evenly placed they are.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Newborn Soaker

A friend of mine is having a baby in June and is planning on using cloth diapers. A few months ago she asked me if I'd ever heard of woolies or soakers... and if I knew how to make them. I didn't know at the time... but after a little research and some good information from one of my knitting lists I learned what I needed to know. Soakers are wool diaper covers that go on the outside of the diaper to help draw moisture away while staying dry on the outside. Wool has some pretty amazing properties and I'm really interested to hear how well they work. I just finished my first attempt... I plan on trying out several different styles and making them in a few different sizes so that she can figure out which ones work the best. I thought this one came out a little crudely... but cute all the same. I had forgotten how small a new born butt was...

I got my pattern here. I will post other attempts in the future.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wheat Washcloth

After all the spring color I decided I wanted to knit something a bit more natural. This washcloth knit using the seed stitch for a border and a wheat cable and bamboo stitch for the body is what I came up with. This washcloth along with my spring washcloth knit in honey colors (it does after all look like a honeycomb) would make an excellent gift with some oatmeal and honey bath products.

Wheat Washcloth Instructions
It was pointed out to me that Rows 1 & 3 should end PKPK, Rows 2 & 4 should start KPKP... if you do it as the pattern instructs there will be a slight glitch in how the top and side boarders match up and it won't be a true seed pattern. I will rewrite the pattern after I've done another test knit to see if there are any other things I missed.

yo- yarn over
Sl-slip stitch from one needle to the other

You need size 7 or similar size knitting needle, a cable needle or DPN and any natural looking cotton worsted weight yarn.

Cast on 37 stitches
First 4 rows K1 *P1,K1 repeat from * across the row
1. (K,P,K,P) *yo, K2, pass the yo over both knit stitches repeat from * 2 more times, P2, K13, P2, *yo, K2 pass the yo over both knit stitches repeat from * 2 more times (K,P,K,P)
2. (P,K,P,K) P6, K2, P13, K2, P6 (P,K,P,K)
3. (K,P,K,P) *yo, K2 pass the yo over both knit stitches repeat from * 2 more times, P2, Sl 3 onto cable needle hold to back, K3, K3 off needle, K1, Sl 3 onto cable needle hold to front, K3, K3 off needle, P2,*yo, K2, pass the yo over both knit stitches repeat from * 2 more times (K,P,K,P)
4. (P,K,P,K) P6, K2, P13, K2, P6 (P,K,P,K)
Repeat pattern 8 times for a total of 9
Last 4 rows - K1 *P1,K1 repeat from * across the row.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Eggs au naturale


I just finished writing a blog entry for my foodlore blog about dying eggs with natural dyes. I thought I'd share it here as well since it fits in well with the craft theme of this blog. This was the first time I've used natural dyes for Easter eggs... In the past I've used a similar process when coloring basket weaving materials. I've read about using it to make beautifully colored wools for knitting or spinning... but I've yet to try it.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Peter Rabbit Finger Puppet

I love making little toys especially finger puppets. It is so easy to come up with cute variations on a simple pattern. I knit this one up in less than an hour...so if you hurry you can make a few just in time for Easter. It would also be cute to knit the whole body in a chocolate brown...kind of like a guilt free chocolate bunny! The cool thing about this is that you don't need any specific yarn...any worsted yarn will work. It is a perfect way to use up all those little scraps of yarn in your stash.

Peter Rabbit Finger Puppet
K- Knit
P- Purl
K2tog - Knit 2 together as one stitch

For this project I just used scrap yarn in blue for the shirt (like peter rabbits jacket in the Potter stories) and brown for the head and ears. I used the same blue as the shirt to make the eyes and a scrap of pink yarn to stitch the nose.
I made this puppet using size 3 double pointed needles… but if you don’t have that size any similar size would probably produce similar results. You can also knit the whole body instead of doing the shirt in seed stitch.

In color 1 (light blue) cast 18 stitches and spread them out onto 3 double pointed needles (6 on each)
1 knit the first row
2 *K,P* repeat until the end of the round
3 *P,K* repeat until the end of the round
4-11 alternate rows 2 and 3 (this will produce a seed stitch)
Switch to color 2 (brown)
12-21 Knit in color 2
22 *K2tog, K4* repeat on other needles until there are 5 stitches left on each.
23 *K2tog, K3* repeat on other needles until there are 4 stitches left on each.
24 *K2tog, K4* repeat on other needles until there are 3 stitches left on each.
Cut yarn and with a needle string it through the remain 9 stitches left on the needles. Pull to close hole.

Ears- Make 2
Cast on 3 in color 2
K, P, K for 6 rows
K2tog K1
K2tog and pull the end of the yarn through the remaining stitch.

To finish use pink embroidery thread or scrap yarn to sew an x in the center of the face for a nose and make 2 French knots using the light blue (used for the body) to make the eyes. Sew on the ears and then weave in any ends.
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