Meet Silas

Silas

I have been drawing long legged cats in the margins of my notebook for over a year now. Always telling myself they would make a great toy. I am sure my coworkers thought I was crazy.

Silas

But I am very happy with the way this drawing translated into yarn. At 22 inches tall he is by far my tallest toy to date but because he is so skinny it only took 380 yards of yarn to make him.

Silas

Honesty the skinny legs are what kept me from making him for so long. But when I finally started knitting them they flew by. I really think the stripe pattern on the pants took a lot of the stress away. After all it is much easier to count 99 rows when you know it is only 33 stripes.

Silas

Craft: Knitting
Type: Toys
Published: June 2011

Yarn weight: Worsted
Gauge: 22 stitches and 32 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch
Needle size: US 5 – 3.75 mm

Available for $6.00

Summer is for Toys

Today is the unofficial start of summer in the US but here in Atlanta we have already had several days over 90 degrees. It is far to hot too think about making anything piratical to keep us warm this winter. Right now it is starting to be hard to believe winter will ever come. So this summer I decided to make toys. Just toys. It should be fun.

Silas

Care to join me? I have two fresh toy patterns coming out in the next few weeks and I already have a few more in the works for later this summer.

Pattern: Chompers

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Back in January of last year my little dude was learning to crawl and kept getting his toes stuck in the hem of his pants legs. I started to dream up pants for the spring for him, ones that I could fold up for extra cushioning at the knees and fold back down when he was sitting still.

Chompers

Now that we are quickly approaching his second birthday and I wonder what sitting still is I finally made the pants. And to my amazement the roll up, button up pants idea works even better on an older child who is likely to run through mud puddles and then be upset his pants are wet.

Chompers

The pants are made with Rowan Denim a very unique yarn in many respects. The yarn is somewhat stiff when worked but washes to something more soft to the touch. What really makes it different is the fact that the purposefully shrinks in the wash – just like real jeans. This added an extra challenge for designing and hours of more math in the long run. But you guys will not have to do that math. Don’t worry if you want to substitute yarn either – directions are given for yarns that do not shrink in the pattern.

Chompers

Oh and the best part? It is 100% free. Just visit the Petite Purls website.

Oh the Chunk!

Last weekend an old friend of my was kind enough to let me photograph her twins in matching baby shells. These super chunky babes were just too cute and tons of fun to work with.

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Miss Lu was very interested in her sweater.
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But what is a photo shoot without a little tears right?
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As cute as they are in the sweaters I think they were even cuter without them.
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The Most Redonkulous Photo Shoot Ever

So Brandy (PixiePurls and co editor of Petite Purls) and I had a “simple” mission. We wanted to photograph two babies together wearing hats. No problem right? What could possibly go wrong?

Lets start the list of signs this shoot would not bode well:
1. My boy did not get a good nap in that morning, most of his nap was on the 45min car ride over to Brandy’s place.
2. Brandy’s AC broke and the temperature was in the mid 90s that day.
3. Brandy’s eldest was just not having a good day. It is tough being a toddler.
4. I am still getting used to my new camera. I packed my 50mm lens because it is fast but it only had manual focus on my camera body.

Well the first thing you might need to know is that at least my half of the baby duo does not wear hats. Ever. That is why I developed my Harper’s Hood pattern after all. Brandy’s LG was more willing by a hair. So I did manage to get a single shot of LG in the hat. It was ripped off about .4 seconds later.

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So we gave up on acutely having pictures of the kids wearing hats. Maybe it would be okay if we had them sitting near the hats or playing with them. Sounds good right? Well it would have been great if there were not much more interesting things in the room like say curtains and electrical outlets.

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awww look how nicely they play.

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Still playing nicely ignoring the hats until my son wanted to put his fingers in the same outlet as LG. Sigh. A loud smack followed by a crying LG later I am apologizing to Brandy while putting my kid in time out.

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Brandy stayed cool the whole time despite the fact I think all 3 kids were crying at this point. Putting the hats on her older daughter stopped one set of tears.

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And I even got brandy to put on a hat herself.

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Maybe we would have better luck outside on a picnic blanket? Oh wait they can both crawl.

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Brandy went all out and got a cake in Petite Purls colors for the kids to eat with the hats near by. Sounds nice right? While my kid did not appreciate the cake LG did. Wow.

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So I do not think we got a good photo in the bunch. But it was fun, or at least funny, in a frustrating way.

Celebrate – Knitted and Crocheted Party Hats

Happy Birthday Petite Purls! You are a great magazine and your first birthday issue is fantastic.

A few months ago I sent co-editors Brandy and Allegra a goofy tweet saying they should knit party hats to celebrate. I almost immediately got an e-mail asking me if I would be willing to design the hat in Petite Purls colors. No problem!

Photo by  Brandy Fortune

Photo by Brandy Fortune

I had no problem envisioning how to make a crocheted hats – spots and a shell edge seemed like a must. But they wanted a knit hat too. So I spent far too much time trying to make the same crocheted hat into knit. Nothing looked right. I must have swatched 5-6 times. Then I remembered something I already knew. Knit and crochet are different. Trying to design the same way for both crafts just will not work.

Photo by Brandy Fortune

Photo by Brandy Fortune

So out went the shells and spots and in came a ruffled edge and french knots to quilt the layers together (a step that the stiffer crocheted fabric did not need). The knit hat was also worked differently. For the crocheted hat you started at the tip of the hat and increased while for the knit it made more sense to start at the base of the hat and decrease on the way up.

Photo by Brandy Fortune

Photo by Brandy Fortune

It was a fun challenge. I hope you guys enjoy the patterns. And they are free!

Celebrate – Knit | Celebrate – Crochet

Later I will share how this was the most redonkulous photo shoot ever.

Pattern – Baby Shell

Baby Shell
While pregnant I spent a lot of time looking at baby sweaters. There were several fantastic sweaters out there but I found most to feel a little more formal. After having the baby I knew that what I really wanted was something simple, easy to clean and most importantly easy to get on and off.

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Nature Rattle Set

Another edition of the ongoing series I am now calling “knocked up knitting.” That being said this project is crochet. Yeah I know, it is a sin to call crochet knitting but knocked up knitting just sounds cute. So what did I make? Why toys – what else?

A set of rattles with a nature theme seemed like just the right finishing touch to the boy’s forest nursery. Since then I have made a few for friend’s babies. If you would liek to make your own I have made the pattern available for download on Ravelry.

Craft: Crochet
Type: Toys
Yarns suggested: Rowan Handknit Cotton
Yarn weight: Worsted / 10 ply (9 wpi) [Information on yarn weights]
Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches in single crochet
Hook size: 3.5 mm (E)
Yardage: 40 – 60 yards
Description: Make these fun forest-inspired rattles for all the little sprites in your life. Whether your little one is just starting to get a handle on things or your child loves pretend-play, this whimsical toy set will accompany your children throughout their development. Soft yet sturdy cotton soaks up drool and holds shape after washing.
This pattern is available for $5.00 USD.

Quick Sew Funky Christmas Stockings

My husband and I for the first time are in a house this Christmas. We have hardly any Christmas decorations and have not had the time or energy to go shopping for them this year. So on my day off today, I whipped up some stockings. Want to make some last minute decorations for your place? Good, because I got a tutorial for you.

MATERIALS
1. Two types of contrasting fabric. I used recycled fabric from an old pair of pants and about half a fat quarter of quilter’s cotton.
2. Sewing machine or hand sewing supplies
3. Freezer paper & pencil or erasable fabric marker
4. Loop turner and knitting needle (optional)
5. Adobe acrobat reader
6. Printer and Paper
7. Scissors
8. Iron

STEP ONE – The Pattern
Download pattern and print. Cut out pattern pieces along the outside of the thick gray line. The gray represents the seam allowance. Tape piece A & B together to form stocking shape.

STEP TWO – Cutting
Tip: Iron on freezer paper to fabric to mark your pattern. Then cut shape out. Peel off paper before sewing.
Trace the A&B shape on to fabric, then repeat making sure to flip the shape over.
Trace the A&B shape on to fabric
In contrasting fabric, trace shape C four times and shape D once. Cut all pieces out of the fabric.trace shape C four times

STEP TRHEE – Loop
Fold shape D in half long ways right side in. Sew along long edge. Turn inside out (with loop turner if you have it). Press flat. Fold in half horizontally and press flat again. Set aside.
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Click on image to enlarge

STEP FOUR – Cuff
fulloffluff_stockings_8.jpg Take two of shapes C and pin them together, right sides in. Sew along all edges except the longest side. Make relief cuts at the points and valleys. Turn inside out. Use knitting needle to help get crisp points. Press flat. Repeat with the other two shapes C.fulloffluff_stockings_9.jpg

STEP FIVE – Attaching the cuff
Pin the long, raw edge of one cuff to the top of the wrong side of one A&B shape.

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Sew along edge. Press flat making sure the edges of seam are on the side of the AB shape. Repeat with other cuff and AB shape.fulloffluff_stockings_12.jpg

STEP SIX – Sewing the Stocking
Place one stocking half down, right side up. Take loop and place in just under the cuff fold to the inside. Place other stocking half on top. Pin the layers together making sure you put one pin in loop.

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Sew along the bottom part of the sticking, do not sew on cuff. Make relief cuts along the curves.fulloffluff_stockings_14.jpg

Turn inside out, and then press flat. Turn cuff over. Clean up and cut loose ends.

STEP SEVEN – Decorate

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Yay!

Happy Cat Candy

A week or so ago my lovely kitten Rogetts reminded me that every once in a while kitties need a new toy. Or they might riffle through your purse, steal you headphones out and pull the insulation off while leaving a big mess in at least 3 rooms of your house. Oh well I reward the little brat with a new set of toys made that day before she could find anything else to destroy.

cat toys

I had been thinking about making toys for a while now and had been doing some research on the way the cats see and interact with the world. Cats do not see colors the same as people. Contrast and pattern are more important so I picked colors that contrasted with each other. I read that acrylic yarn taste bad to cats from some website of unknown credentials. But the idea stuck in my head and I have noticed that the cats only run off with wool and cotton. So they get cotton toys because it is so durable. Oh and the cats love to move there toys around so I topped it all off some monk cords on each end. The cats seem to love them. I am sure that catnip stuffing has something to do with it too

Want to make your kitty a set of toys and save your headphones? Here is a free pattern to help out.

Materials
• Small amount of two colors of cotton sport weight yarn (the photos is show with saucy sport yarn and sinfonia)
• size c crochet hook, or the smallest size hook you can use with your yarn (you want the stitches to be very tight so the cat nip does not fall out)
• yarn needle
• cotton balls
• catnip

cat toy ball chart

Ball
Rnd 1. In MC tie a split knot around your crochet hook leaving a 10-inch tail. Wrap the tail end of the yarn around 2 fingers directly below the hook to form two large loops. SC 6 times through both loops placing a marker in the last ST. Pull both loops tight. These 6 stitches are your first round. (Need a picture tutorial?)
Rnd 2. Join with cc, sc twice in each st replace maker in last stitch throughout the pattern (12 sts).
Rnd 3. Pick up mc again and *sc, sc twice in same st rep from * to end (18 sts).
Rnd 4. Pick up cc again and *sc in next 2 sts, sc twice in same st rep from * to end (24 sts).
Rnd 5. Pick up mc again and *sc in next 3 sts, sc twice in same st repeat from * to end (30 sts).
Rnd 6. Pick up cc, sc around (30 sts).
Rnd 7. Pick up mc, sc around (30 sts).
Rnd 8. Pick up cc, sc around (30 sts).
Rnd 9. Pick up mc, *sc in next 3 sts, dec 1 rep from * to end (24 sts).
Rnd 10. Pick up cc, *sc in next 2 sts, dec 1 rep from * to end (18 sts).
Rnd 11. Pick up mc, *sc in next st, dec 1 rep from * to end (12 sts). At this point stuff the toy with a 50/50 mix of cotton balls and catnip.
Rnd 12. Pick up cc, *dec 1 rep from * to end (6 sts). Break yarn leaving a 6 inch tail. With yarn needle weave in tail trough tops of the sts twice, pull tight to close ball.

pill cat toy chart
Pill
Rnd 1. In MC tie a split knot around your crochet hook leaving a 10-inch tail. Wrap the tail end of the yarn around 2 fingers directly below the hook to form two large loops. SC 6 times through both loops placing a marker in the last ST. Pull both loops tight. These 6 stitches are your first round. (Need a picture tutorial?)
Rnd 2. Join with cc, sc twice in each st replace maker in last stitch throughout the pattern (12 sts).
Rnd 3. Pick up mc again and *sc, sc twice in same st rep from * to end (18 sts).
Rnd 4-13. Alternating cc and mc, sc around (18 sts).
Rnd 14. Pick up mc, *sc in next st, dec 1 rep from * to end (12 sts). At this point stuff the toy with a 50/50 mix of cotton balls and catnip.
Rnd 15. Pick up cc, *dec 1 rep from * to end (6 sts). Break yarn leaving a 6 inch tail. With yarn needle weave in tail trough tops of the sts twice, pull tight to close ball.

Monk’s Cord Ends
Cut off 2 8” pieces of yarn in mc and cc for each toy. Take 1 piece of each color, hold them together and fold in half to form loop. With crochet hook pull loop trough a stitch on ending row of toy. Hold one end of the yarn loop and twist the other end until it begins to fold in on itself. Not letting go of the twist, fold yarn so the ends touch. You yarn should wrap around itself and make a pretty cord, if not try again this time twist more. Tie the ends together so the twist stays then cut so the ends are even. If necessary move the body of the toy around on the cord so it is at the end. Repeat the process for the other side of the cat toy.

he loves his toy

Marshal would like you to know he endorses this toy. Oh and that he is much cutter than Rogetts. And that is why it is ok for him to jump in front of the camera while I am taking pictures of Rogetts.

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