So as you know I an having a baby and I love knitting toys. This has resulted in a search for knitted toys to go in the baby’s woodland theme nursery.
I have a beautiful book by Susie John’s called Knitted Woodland Creatures. It’s a book full of beautiful detailed knitted toys all inspired by the woods. I have made one of these before Philip the Pheasant so I went through the knitting stash and I had all the ingredients for a grey knitted squirrel! So that is what I have made!
I have to say the pattern is beautiful to follow and you end up making what looks like a dead squirrel by knitting the main back and then marking and picking up stitches to add legs and arm pieces. You end up with a very neat and tidy toy with only one main seam to stitch up.
The tail is the show stopper part of the knit. Using some silver fuzzy fur by Sirdar that I had in my stash you knit a long bushy tail and it looks amazing! It’s so fluffy!
Here is the finished squirrel with his other toy friends in the baby’s cot. I loved making it and I love the finished squirrel and how it will look in the woodland nursery.
So I knit toys. It’s what I enjoy making the most and whenever anyone I know announces their baby or even their wedding I start flicking through books, Ravelry or magazines to find a toy to knit.
For my baby my husband asked me to make a classic teddy bear and he even chose the pattern he wanted which I was quite impressed at. It is The Three Bears pattern by Laura Long. I love this pattern too it’s simple and it creates a lovely bear with a good face. Which is important for any bear or child’s toy.
I luckily had some beige/gold yarn in my stash so I could cast on really quickly and I knitted up the Mummy Bear from the pattern. This is the medium sized bear and it’s a good size for babies as it’s easy to carry but still big enough for cuddles. What was interesting is that because I have made this bear before a few times I found it very relaxing and easy to make for my baby and I really enjoyed it.
The only down side was the ears. For some reason the ears just became too large and they looked silly. So I re-made them using the ear size for baby bear. I knitted 4 of these two slightly smaller to make a brown inner ear. The pattern asks for fabric liners but I like cosy knitted ones. I finished the face by embroidering the eyes nose and mouth with the same brown yarn.
Now a bear needs some item of clothing or to quote Rihanna it is ‘naked, naked, naked’. So I used some of the Sirdar Crofter yarn I had used for Dougal the Dog. It’s a yarn in blue and browns and made a simple stocking stitch scarf with a garter border. So he is snug too.
Its odd. I have always knitted toys for other people’s babies and I always have lots of inspiration that I take from their parents. But for my baby I want to knit things for him he will like or that will look ‘right’ when the ears came out wrong I was sad as I thought that suddenly my knitting wasn’t good enough. Luckily my husband helped me pull myself together from my emotional hormonal rampage and I finished the bear and did the ears again. Now I love it and I can’t wait to give it to my baby boy when he is born. Hopefully he will like it too and it’s something he can keep. Now onto more knitting but I can’t think what else…
So one of my friends is having a baby in August. So I could not resist knitting a present for her and her baby boy to give to her at her Baby Shower. I love knitting toys, it is my all time favourite knit. They are just so fun to knit the little pieces and then build them together to make a 3D cuddly thing. So for my friend I used a Sirdar pattern from Hobbycraft. This was great as I could download the pattern then and there for £3.00 and print it out. The pattern is called ‘Dog’ (original I know) and is knitted in Sirdar Snuggly DK and Sirdar Crofter DK.
I love Sirdar Snuggly for babies it is so soft and the colour range is amazing it’s perfect for toys and for little hats and boots. The Crofter range is very clever it’s Baby Fair Isle design builds colour in stripes and patterns. I chose the colour way ‘Dougal’ which is blues oranges browns and whites for my dog. (Thus the name Dougal the Dog.) You need 100g of Crofter and 50g of Snuggly to make the perfect the dog and it is knitted on 3.25mm needles.
I really like the pattern it was pretty simple to follow and I loved seeing the colours come out in the yarn. I knitted it up in about 2 weeks in the evenings after work.
The build was ok, I had to reattach the legs twice as I couldn’t get them to line up with the seams but I got there in the end. I used chocolate brown acrylic for the eyes, nose and mouth. Faces are usually the worst part of knitting toys for me but this came together nicely and he has a good character face.
I love the crazy patterns and change in colours from the Crofter yarn. I think it’s a great toy for babies as it is so soft, so colourful and just so damned cute. It’s also a great size for cuddles but it is very light so is portable. I finished Dougal the Dog off with a yellow ribbon and gave it to my friend at her Baby Shower. I hope her new baby will like his doggy friend Dougal.
There are two things I love in this life. One is babies and the other is knitting toys for presents for babies. (Well all people really)
For this particular baby I wanted to make something quite big and just for him. So I thought what is the one thing that every child needs? The answer is a teddy of course. So I searched the Internet for a pattern as I have made all the other bear patterns I own and I do get bored. I came across the Big Berry Bear Teddy pattern by Lorraine Leathem on Ravelry. It’s such a cute and proper bear. With a big fat tummy and head.
Just the head and body
The pattern uses a self striping wool but I went for a classic beige and I got stuck in. It’s such a lovely pattern, it’s very clear and lovely to just follow along in the evenings. I changed the face a bit as I believe every toy has its own face that comes through as you start to embroider it on. And I used some orange glass beads for eyes that I found at the bottom of my knitting bag. For its ears and paws I needle felted some brown felt into the yarn for furriness and it worked really well.
Finished but naked Big Barry
When the bear was finished it looked a bit naked so I knitted a scarf in the colours of the baby’s Daddy’s rugby club that he plays for. Bright blue and canary yellow. It really finished the bear and he was renamed Big Barry. I hope he will be a good companion for Baby Callum as he grows. I was even more thrilled as I was asked to be Baby’s Godmother! Must have been because of Big Barry!
With his rugby colours
With his new owner
You may wonder if you do read my blog why there has not been many crafty posts of late. As crafty things are one of my favourite things! This is because I have been working on a monster challenge which has taken me a lot longer than expected and I am so glad it is over! I made a knitted camper van for my In-laws Ruby Wedding.
My In-laws got married in at 19 and 20 years old in 1976. They are such an inspiration for a loving marriage and family working so well. I wanted to make a camper as they are campervan conisseurs and also were married in the flower power decade.
So I found a pattern on Ravelry made by Slightly Sheepish. I’ll link the page below. I think the pattern was like £3.75 and its written really well and clearly.
Slightly Sheepish Knitted Campervan Pattern
Just like any other knitted pattern I made all the flat pieces first. I am not always sure of what they will make when they are ready but it’s nice to follow them and choose the yarn. I went to Hobbycraft and chose two 4ply acrylic yarns in red and cream. I wanted red as it was their Ruby Wedding. The inside is made from a creamy beige yarn I already had the underside in grey and the wheels black.
The crafty mess!
Each side is a sandwich. Which sounds odd but what you do is knit the outer layer the inner layer and then cut out the side template used tapestry plastic. This makes a sturdy 3D structure. I also blocked each section to make them flat and easier to work with as after 6 weeks in a knitting bag they were a little curly and worse for wear.
The pieces ready for blocking
Once I had finished the four sides (8 sections in total) two sides of the floor and the wheels I also made the inner seats. These were the hardest to do! The pattern is fine for knitting but the templates challenged my poor non logical brain so my hubby helped me with these.
Before building the sides I actually wanted to embroider them with flowers for a nod to the seventies flower power. However as I am yet to master embroidery ( next on my craft to learn list!) I used duplicate stitch to go over certain stitches in the side with green to make a vine. I then used buttons as flowers. I also used duplicate stitch to put a B and a C on the back of the van which are my parents in laws initials.
Finished duplicate stitch side built
Once built I finished the whole thing with licence plates saying Pye 40, the VW badge for the front, the headlights and a bumper sticker and heart on the back using fabric glue. The bumper sticker is their wedding date 13/08/1976
Back of the van
This camper van was such a challenge and the last few days of it were pretty tough. Although the pieces travelled with me to Corfu and around in a bag this last 6 weeks when it came to the actual building of the van it scared me to death. It really was mind over matter. I know it’s not a perfectly knitted and made thing. But for my first 3d knitted structure and for the romance behind it I think it worked out well. And I think they liked it too!
The finished Camper Van
From the top
As you will probably know I love knitting toys. I suppose because I am still a bit of a big kid but there is something nice about knitting a toy and adding character and personality. I love seeing it go from odd knitted shapes to become a fully fledged animal, person or ‘thing’.
A friend of mine is having twins. Which is very exciting. And to mark the momentous event I made two twin teddy bears. I keep patterns I like in a file and when an occasion calls I go through the file for inspiration. I came across a teddy called Henry Bear. I’ve kept it as it is so simple but so cute and I’ve been waiting for an excuse to make it.
It’s knitted on size 4 mm needles which is my favourite for some reason and is knitted in garter stitch which gives a lovely ruffled effect to its body. The wool I chose was a lovely cream beige colour by King Cole and is Recycled Cotton Aran and it is so soft but is also very hard wearing so the bears can be squeezed and carried around to the twins hearts content and can also be washed in the washing machine.
The bears knitted up in no time and were so lovely to knit in the evening. The only downside was the ears, I had to fold them in on themselves a few times as they were looking a bit like mice at one point! I should probably have made them on smaller needles.
Finish bear one
What is interesting is how the two bears are not identical. It’s strange that two bears from the same pattern made by the same knitter and at the same time have completely different faces. But hopefully they will suit the individuaity of the twins that will get to cuddle them. To finish the bears one got a pink bow and the other a blue. One for a girl and one for a boy.
Non identical twin teddys
So today is the 30th January and one if my best friends is getting married! I am so excited and nervous and happy and all that stuff. It’s so nice to see someone you love, who you have known since High School be a beautiful bride and marry the man she loves. And she has also been with him for 10 years! It is time!
So a wedding would not be complete for one of my friends without a knitted wedding keepsake. I made koalas for my friend from the same group last summer but for Hannah and Sean I have made a mini me knitted Bride and Groom! I bought Fiona Gobles book she published a few years ago now for the Royal Wedding. When I got married (1000 years ago) my Mum’s friend made us a mini me bride and groom from the same book so I knew it would work. (Side note I really like Fiona Gobles books I now have three Noahs Ark, Knitivity and Royal Wedding and they are all brilliant, really easy to follow and great results every time. In this one you can knit the whole royal family and it has outfit choices for each one as well as little corgis and Royal Guards!)
So for the Groom I sneakily asked Hannah about her Grooms suit and after making the body in a very pale pink (as I have struggled to find thin enough flesh tones?!) I knitted him a navy lounge suit, a clever white shirt which is like a bib you attach to the trousers with a separate collar and then a green tie. The suit was lovely to knit the jacket even has lapela and I finished the groom in about a week.
The hair was tricky. The pattern asks for 2 crochet chains of different lengths I ended up having to make a lot more. It could be because the colour I used wasn’t the right weight but I made about 5 chains in the end and wrapped them round his head. I loved that the pattern asks you to make tiny ears separately. And I worked really hard on the faces as this is where I struggle the most. I knitted onto the face to make the nose 3D and made french knots with chain stitch eyes. (Well kind of…I need to work on that!)
Well the Bride took longer than the Groom. One of the little details I liked in the book was that the Bride’s body is smaller formed and with clever increase and decrease she has a perfectly formed waist! I couldn’t find a dress I liked in the book. It needs a fuller skirt. So I made one up. It’s annoying as I didn’t write it down. But I basically started from the bottom up decreasing to the waist size using the body as a guide. And then knitted the top from one of the dress patterns and stitched them together. It did finish quite well I think. I made the top into a sweetheart neck and made a thin strap to attach it to the body like a halterneck. For her hair I cut long strands of hair and fed 2 strands each into each individual knit stitch on the head. I wanted the hair to be long and thick like my friends. So yes that took all evening and some patience.
Finished Bride and Groom
To add final details I finished the bride with a lace veil that I stitched to some silk flowers as a headband and some diamantes to add a bit of sparkle. Then made a bouquet for her to hold and used abother flower to make a button hole for the groom. The Grooms tie was made by casting on 25 stitches then casting off and I had to have my husband tie the tie as I cannot tie them even in miniature.
I gave them to my friend at a little bridal shower party we threw for her as part of a few gifts she got for the big day. I think she liked them and I love making presents like that. It makes me happy to see their reactions and to think that they get to keep another part of their day in miniature knitted form.
It is now 7:48 Am in Manchester I have to wait seven more hours to see my friends say their vows and so obviously I am raring to go. I am so happy to see my friend get married today. Full of love and obviously knitted joy!