Little Teddy Bear

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and I just had to give it a try. This cutie is the Little Teddy Bear from the book Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts! Amigurumi by Tomoko Takamori.

There were a couple of aspects with the book worth noting (I didn't buy it, I borrowed it from my library). The patterns are written using an interesting mix of words and symbols that I hadn't seen before but they were explained well in the book and I found this method easy to read and follow. The biggest problem was missing instructions. Both the arms and legs were incomplete -- an additional 8 rows had to be added for each. A search on the internet for the answer found that other patterns in the book had errors too and for many people it was a frustrating aspect of the book. The assembly instructions were VERY clear and precise and I appreciated that because it's not my favorite part of making stuffed animals.

  • I used scraps of Red Heart Super Saver Yarn. Other people report successfully using Lion Brand Wool-Ease and Caron Simply Soft.
  • Because Super Saver is stiff, I threw all the parts into a laundry bag and washed them before assembly.
  • I used a H hook and it turned out fine but a G hook would work too (producing a slightly smaller bear)
  • The eyes are 9mm solid black eyes with a washer back from Darice.
  • He measure 8" (stretched out) from the tip of his ears to the bottom of his feet and 6" high when sitting.

    I think he's just the cutest and he joins "the boys" who sit on the bookshelf overlooking my desk!

    My Ravelry project page for Little Teddy Bear.

  • Grrlfriend Market Bag

    Thursday, January 22, 2009
    I've been busy making things ... I promise! I have quite a few small projects to blog about and one HUGE one that I haven't figured out how to write about so I'll start with the little ones.

    I love making bags and this one intrigued me by the way it was started using the Emily Ocker's Circular Cast On, which is another knitting technique from Elizabeth Zimmerman's book Knitting Workshop.

    I learned about a technique when knitting a lacy pattern that would save a LOT of heartache and prevent a headache if you have to rip out rows: After the last row of a repeat (or whenever you want, just remember to write down the row number) using a yarn needle with a piece of waste yarn, thread it through the stitches on the needle. If you ever have to ripe back then these stitches will be held in place and can easily be put back on the needle.

    The lace pattern of this bag is very simple and when I did have to rip back I didn't have too much of a problem, but if I was working a more complicated pattern I would want to use this technique!

    I stash bushed my Bernat's Organic Cotton:
    1) The bottom portion was knit using yarn which was dyed in my Fabric Structures class using just yellow onion skins!
    2) The body of the bag is the color Hemp
    3) The top band and strap uses the color Mineral Spring

    I forget which size needles I used. The pattern lists ranges of needle sizes for the various parts of the bag and is not specific (that's the beauty of the pattern, wing it for any size and a one-of-a-kind bag!) I think I used 6's for the bottom, cuff and strap and 8's for the body. I wanted a small netting for the body so I did not go up to suggested size 10's for the body.

    The pattern for Grrlfriend Market Bag is available for free over at Ravelry.