Amigurumi Knits

About two weeks ago I discovered a book at my local library and I’ve been working on small projects ever since. First of all, Amigurumi is:

  • Amigurumi (編みぐるみ?, lit. knitted stuffed toy) is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.[1] Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amigurumi

The book Amigurumi Knits by Hansi Singh includes everything from fruits and vegetables to sea creatures to backyard bugs. The first pattern is of an aubergine (eggplant) which is good for beginners. The patterns are complex, but I didn’t have a problem following them as long as no one around began a complicated conversation while I was counting (two. . . three. . . four. . . five . . . what did you say?)

The beginning of the book has good step by step instructions for the different styles of increases and decreases, the wrap and turn that the author describes as a way of creating short rows without leaving wholes, and other knitting techniques used in the patterns. It’s a great way to learn more about knitting, creating fun and adorable objects that everyone will coo over. Don’t be surprised if you get a few requests as well.

I finished the spider and keep in by my desk at work. I get at least one comment a day on it. The tomato came out great and I’m working on the carrot now. I can’t wait to make myself a Jelly Fish with the tentacles hanging down. I think it would even make a good baby mobile. Anyone else agree?

I also use Caron Simply Soft yarn because it is inexpensive and comes in so many colors. I look forward to eventually using Cascade 220 or another fancier yarn, but for now acrylic it is!

Florida Fiber In 2010

This weekend was the seventh annual Florida Fiber In which took place in Orlando this year. It began Friday night with knitting, spinning, crocheting and socializing. We arrived Saturday at around eleven am and sadly I got there just after the spindling demo had already begun. I had two main objectives for the weekend.

1- I was determined to learn how to use a spindle. A spindle is generally a long thin cylindrical object that looks similar to a top. It is used to create yarn from fibers such as wool, alpaca, linen or if you are really talented silk. A website that I like to visit is http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/HowToDropspin.shtml

2- Find someone who would let me use their spinning wheel.

Both missions were accomplished. I practiced with the drop spindle. I was warned that it takes a lot of practice before you can create anything resembling yarn. I did enjoy using the spinning wheel, although I couldn’t really control the twist. I hope to be able to practice more at some point in my life, with my own wheel of course. It is not as easy as it looks though.

All in all, it was great to go and hang out with people who like the same things. There were many people, women especially, knitting, crocheting, spinning and spindling. I got to see a lot of different devices, fibers and people. It’s always great to learn new things and to meet new friends.

Knitted Toys & Flat Ted

With so many babies around, expected, and imagined, I’ve decided to adventure into knitting toys. I’ve had the book Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor for quite some time, but never tried to knit anything from there. I love the book because it is bright, colorful and has great ideas. The directions are easy to follow and it doesn’t look like any of the projects are above an intermediate knitting level. There are charts for some of the projects included.

I knit up the Flat Ted (see picture above). I used Lion Brand Baby Soft which was a mistake. I probably would have been better off doubling up the yarn or using a smaller needle. The size six needle created two large of a gauge. It still is cute but could have looked much better and was hard to embroider. After two attempts at creating the face, I gave up and decided to create icords out of Caron Simply Soft Orange and Black that I had lying around. I think it looks okay, but it could certainly look better.

Many of the patterns included in the book call for Jaeger Baby Merino. One such pattern was the Squeaky Pig which I desperately want to make if I can find the right yarn. I have searched online but can’t find this yarn anywhere. I have a feeling it either no longer exists or is only available in Germany.

This is a fun book with great ideas. Maybe I’ll use scrap yarn to make the snake next. I need more stuffing!

Etsy Heaven

It’s a week before my mother’s birthday and once again, I have no idea what to give her. First thought, Amazon gift card! But, is a gift card, even one from amazon with those billions of books to choose from, tacky to give your very own mother? Second thought, something to do with socks. Until recently, she only knit socks. Yes, this is one of those rare cases where I taught Mom (from a distance for the most part) how to knit because she saw me wandering around my apartment with my red and green homemade socks at Chirstmas time. She decided, I want socks.

Three months later, she realized that I wasn’t about to make them for her like I said I might, and she went on her own journey to learn how to make them. In my defense, I learned how to make gloves for her. Yes, I sent her hand-made gloves (two right-handed gloves but a pair nonetheless!) Then, for years, she only made socks. Now she’s onto hats but she’s not the diversifying type. I went on to knitpicks and looked up sockblockers. But, a women who likes to collect so much probably already has a set. Do I ask? That will ruin the surprise. I remember last year I went onto Etsy.com and found sock shaped stitch markers and she loved them. I won’t post what I found this time (although I did make her swear she wouldn’t read my blog. . . but that’s a story for another day!)

Etsy is a great site to visit if you are out of ideas and need a gift. These are handmade or vintage items that have a unique flair to them. They don’t scream ‘I ran into Walmart at the last minute and got you this lint-remover.’ It’s a great website to just browse around as long as you haven’t had three glasses of wine and a paypal account linked to your credit card. Then it is a bad, bad, bad site. Go to the Etsy Showcase and browse around. I found the flowers for my hairdo on my wedding day off there and they were absolutely perfect. The picture is of the three plumeria hairpins created by Butterfly Enchantress on Etsy. I’ve also bought beautiful unique earrings from Lowcountry Beadworks. They have everything from jewelry, to fabric, to toys, to pet collars. Take a look and don’t blame me if you charge up that visa bill.

2010-08 Cabled Pillow #3

I love cables and decided to make a few little things with yarn I already have in stock. These pillows make great gifts and are a lovely simple adornment to any home.

I used Caron Simply Soft yarn and size 5 needles. The gauge is 5 stitches and 6 rows = 1 inch in stockinette stitch, creating a pillow that is about 10 x 10 inches in size stuffed.

Cast on 48 stitches.

Row 1: Knit

Row 2 Purl

Row 3: K2 P2 K9 C6B C6F K9 P4 K10

Row 4: P10 K4 P30 K2 P2

Row 5: K2 P2 K6 C6B K12 C6F K6 P4 K10

Row 6: P10 K4 P30 K2 P2

Row 7: K2 P2 K3 C6B K12 C6F K3 P4 K10

Row 8: P10 K4 K2 P30 K2 P2

Row 9: K2 P2 C6B K18 C6F P4 K10

Row 10: P10 K4 P30 K2 P2

Repeat Rows 3-10 4 times

Knit 1 Row

Purl 1 Row

Bind off.

Cast on 48 stitches

Row 1-24: K24 P24

Row 25-48: P24 K24

Bind off

With right sides together, sew together the edges of the pillow. Leave about a 2-3 inch opening. Turn pillow so that right sides are facing out, stuff with fiber fill of your choice and seam together 2-3 inch opening. Using Caron Simply Soft yarn and size five needles, this creates a 10×10 inch pillow.

C6B: Cable 6 Back Slip 3 stitches onto cable needle, hold at back of work. Knit 3 stitches from left needle. Knit 3 stitches from cable needle.

C6F: Cable 6 Front Slip 3 stitches onto cable needle, hold at front of work. Knit 3 stitches from left needle. Knit 3 stitches from cable needle.