Category Archives: Knitted Wonders

Dougal the Dog

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Dougal the Dog

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.

Flat dog

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.

Big ‘Barry’ Bear

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Big ‘Barry’ Bear

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

Close up

With his new owner

Morning Campers

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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 side

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

Twin Teds

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Twin Teds

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. 

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Bear skins

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.

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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.

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Twins

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Non identical twin teddys

Mini knitted Bride and Groom

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Mini knitted Bride and Groom

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.

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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.

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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!

 

Handmade Christmas

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Handmade Christmas

Christmas is literally here when I am writing this it is 6 days away! This year I feel like Christmas is on steroids with the amount of shopping and markets and festivities but I do love me a bit of Christmas. I like decorating the tree and then turning on the lights and sitting and staring at it. Nothing warms the soul like it. I also like to make Christmas mementoes to keep and to give away as gifts and as a crafty person there are a lot of crafts you can dabble in at Christmas. I wanted to show you my four faves from this year and yes they are mostly knitting crafts but when that’s your fave?!

1) Nordic Bunting
I’m cheating a bit as I made these last year for our first Christmas in our house. I’m counting them this year as I had to fix them and show them off a bit. I really like bunting I have some hanging all year round but I needed to make Christmas bunting as well. I used my favourite Christmas Book Mini Christmas Knits by Susan Stratford and this design is right at the back. You use Intarsia to stitch in the designs I did one of each a snowflake a reindeer a tree and a heart. The border is moss stitch and they are surprisingly easy and the most satisfying as they look very festive. I also like the traditional shape. I stitched them to a ribbon and there they make any area festive! They are hung in my kitchen this year which is a room that can be forgotten at Christmas.

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Nordic Bunting

2) Arctic Friends
As some may know Alan Dart is my favourite knitted toy designer. I buy Simply Knitting when I can see his designs on the front they are so full of character and I just love them. This year I knitted the Polar Bear from a free mini kit. It comes with all the wool you need and it is  bear with a red white hooded coat. Who could resist that? Also when clearing out some of my yarn stash I came across another kit from Simply Knitting which must have been the year before. It was a tiny penguin along with all the yarn and so I made both. They look very cute and can sit together with the Christmas Cards.

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Arctic Friends

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Polar bear

3) Merry Christmas Garland
For my birthday my Mother – in – Law bought me a sewing felt kit from John Lewis. It was their Christmas Garland kit. I kept it ready all year and in October I was off work and my husband was away so I sat down one afternoon and tackled the felt. It was a challenge for me as I struggle with cutting out. But I cut out each letter in different coloured felt, sewed them together and decorated with ribbon and buttons. I really enjoyed it it was very therapeutic and nice to really focus on something. It only took me 2 days on and off to finish and I have a really nice colourful handmade garland that brightens the room I hung it in my bedroom window.

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4) Christmas Stockings
Each year I like to give my best friends a decoration for their tree. It is a tradition I have copied from my Mum and I really enjoy doing it. (I don’t know if they always do!). This year I made them a decoration again from my Mini Christmas Knits book by Susan Stratford I made 6 tiny Stockings in red and green. It is such a lovely design and they are really quick to make up. You knit the body in stocking stitch, the white cuff in garter and then finish with a picot edge in gold. The gold edge really makes them festive. To finish them all I bought tiny stick on holly leaves with a bell which really make them festive and a chain stitched a loop with my crochet needle for the hanger. I hope they liked them. I did. I kept one for my own tree!

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Stockings

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So these are my hand made Christmas items this year. I think the lovely thing about Christmas is the memories you create that year that you can relive the next year and making your own decorations gives you that memory and a unique Christmas….thing!

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Merry Christmas xx

Koalas say I Do

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One of my very good friends got married on Sunday. She had it in Ireland in County Mayo at Ballintubber Abbey and The Breaffy House Hotel. I decided to make her and her new husband a present to mark the day.  As they are planning on going to Australia for a 6 month travelling honeymoon I decided to make them a Koala Bride and Groom. I turned to my favourite knitting designer Alan Dart and his pattern for an Outback Koala in Simply Knitting Magazine.

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All the pieces ready to be stitched

To make the Koalas took a little bit of effort I made double of everything in the pattern and used long needles so I could knit 2 legs at a time and 2 bodies at time to make them quickly. I used Sirdar DK wool in silver grey for the body. The nose and chin are knitted as separate pieces in black and white.

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Koalas with head and face attached

For their eyes instead of embroidering them I used safety eyes used for teddy bears that I got from John Lewis. The best part of making them was using Sirdar Funky Fur to make the ears it was hard to use at first but worked so well on the finished koalas. I spent a lot of time stitching them up using mattress stitch so they wouldn’t have visible seams which worked really well.

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With their funky fur ears

To create the Bride and Groom effect I bought some lace to make a veil for the bride and used some silk a diamanté flowers also all from John Lewis to make a headband and a bouquet.

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Bride

For the Groom I used the Alan Dart pattern for the Outback outfit and knitted a black waistcoat. Made a ribbon rose for his buttonhole and my Dad made me a paper top hat and a suitcase so they can go on their travels.

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Finished Koalas ready for I Do

I gave them to my friend the night before her wedding when we all got together with her family to have a very emotional present giving. Her reaction was caught on this photo and I think she liked them. Haha

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I absolutely loved making them they have been all over with me the past 6 weeks even to Italy and the pattern itself although looks complicated is relatively simple there is just a lot to do for two koalas. I really liked the safety eyes they were so simple and really brought them to life and Alan Dart ‘ s way of knitting fingers and toes is genius!

My friends are extremely important to me and I always like to do something special for them so I have another wedding in January so we shall see what I make then! The best parts of the whole day was seeing my beautiful friend get married to the person she loves most, spending time with my friends and dancing with my husband. But also seeing my Koalas up by the cake on their own little table. It makes it all worth while to make someone smile at something you have made.

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On the top table

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Me and my good friends