Back in January I made a pair of leg warmers that had increases in the leg section and were a complete failure. There was no way they would fit a child. I got some more yarn and attempted again.
The pattern is Ballerina Bloom which I found on Ravelry. This time I used the magic loop method and knit them in the round that way. I am a big magic loop fan, it was much easier to knit the leg warmers this way. For the first leg warmer I used a row counter to count how much ribbing I did on the bottom cuff, noted this down on a piece of paper and was aiming to do the same amount on the top cuff. When I came to actually doing the top cuff I was away for the weekend, I grabbed my project but forgot to check if this vital piece of paper was in it. I had to guesstimate by measuring how long to make the cuff. A cuff doesn’t take long so once I finished it and started on the second leg warmers I had to once again guess how many rows to do.
This time I only did 2 sets of increases per leg warmer. I increased on the 12th and 24th row. This gave you some extra room but it didn’t make them too baggy. With magic loop you don’t have a seam running up the side of them so they were smoother on the inside too, this also allowed them to stretch more as there wasn’t a tight seam. I would make this pattern again with the increases but once again I wouldn’t add as many increases as the pattern calls for, after a couple of increases I think you need to make a judgement call if they are big enough for your child or if you have to add another couple.
Last year a very clever person came up with the idea of making a crocheted water balloon and as soon as I saw the idea I thought these are brilliant one day I will make them for sure. Well I have decided this year I am going to make them as my Christmas gift to the majority of the kids that I make for.
Now I know you are thinking a crocheted water balloon what the heck??? How does that work? So with a traditional water balloon you fill it up with water, tie it up and then toss it at someone. With a crocheted water balloon or water bomb you don’t fill it up instead you soak it in water for a few minutes to plump up then you can toss it at someone, you can keep doing this until all the water is out then place it in some water to plump back up. They are made from a really thick yarn that will absorb all the water, similar concept to how a microfibre cloth absorbs water. The pattern calls for Bernat Baby Blanket. The ball is a big 300g ball which is like the size of a football. It is thick and squishy.
The pattern says to use a 9mm hook. I have made them using a mixture of both 9mm and 8mm and to be honest there isn’t much difference in the size once you are finished. I can’t tell the difference between the ones I have made with the different hooks. I’m using Clover Amour hooks. They are comfortable on my hands, I invested in all the larger size hooks just after Christmas once I decided I was making these.
I know at the start I was putting an extra row in them by accident so I do have a few taller ones but the majority of the ones I am now making are about 6″ tall. To be honest it doesn’t matter what size they turn out they are still going to be played with. The reality is you can make these any size you like.
In Australia it isn’t the easiest to get the particular yarn the pattern is calling for. During the post Christmas sales I noticed Spotlight sold it so I stocked up on the yarn to make these but I could only get 2 plain colours that I thought would look fun. I purchased online 4 balls of each colour and they arrived in a big box that luckily Mr StitchNSew was able to bring home from the post office for me as there was no way I could carry it. I underestimated how many I would get from each ball, I basically calculated 1 ball per child thinking I would get about 5 balloons each. It turns out I am getting between 13-14 out of each ball. I’m happy with that it just means that each child will get more making it a nice Christmas gift.
There are many great things I love about these water balloons
- Environmentally friendly – No rubber balloons you need collect all the tiny pieces and toss in the bin.
- Reusable – Toss them in the washing machine to wash again for next time again better for the environment
- Great for any age – Under supervision of course a child of any age can fill these up and toss them about (even adults)
- Can be used in the pool – Who doesn’t like a water fight in the pool
- Super quick to make – These don’t involve a lot of counting so super easy to make
- Perfect to make in bulk
To give myself a break I decided I would start making these in January and work on them slowly. For 2 maybe 3 families of kids I make for these are the only toy they will get this year for Christmas. It is a pretty fun gift and I know they will enjoy them. These are really simple to hook up. I can sit in front of the tv and whip up 2 -3 in no time. I’m just doing a ball of yarn at a time placing the finished ones in a box. By starting to make them so early I’m taking the pressure off myself to finish them by a set deadline. I don’t want my gift making to stress me out this year. This is the perfect Christmas gift project.
Introducing Poop Dude!
I wanted to make a Christmas present for an 8 year old boy who wasn’t into little kids things anymore. I knew he had seen the Emoji movie so I wanted to make something with an emoji theme. On Ravelry I found the pattern Emoji Dudes by Adonia Neona Emerson which was perfect. It is a crochet pattern written in US terms. I used Stylecraft Special DK yarn which I had in my stash.
This toy was fairly quick to make. At first I started using a crochet hook with a metal grip but found my hand was really aching. With amigurmui toys you pulls the stitches tight so not to leave gaps between the stitches and I was really gripping the hook and putting strain through my hand. After I finished the head I had to order a 3.75mm clover amour hook before I could finish the rest of the body and the limbs. Once I started with the new hook it was a breeze to finish as the hook was so comfortable.
For me amigurmui toys are not something I can do in front of the tv, they involve so much counting that I need to concentrate on that only. Poop Dude was fun to make. Did I ever think I would crochet sh#%^ no but now I have 🙂 This is a great little pattern for your stash, it has 3 toys in the set which are all easy to make up.
After my success of knitting socks in October I thought I might carry on the theme and make leg warmers for my nieces for Christmas.
Leg warmers are essentially socks without toes or heals. I had a look for patterns because I don’t know what size I needed for kids. On Ravelry I found this pattern which I used to cast on the number of stitches for each leg warmer and do the length. The pattern has you increase your stitches as you go along. I didn’t do this. I knitted the ribbing of the cuff (1½” for longer ones, 1″ for smaller) then I just did a tube all the way and then knitted the cuff the same length to match. I used a stretchy bind off that Very Pink Knits has on YouTube. I tried on the first one I made and these do stretch so they should fit.
The yarn used is Rosarios Bambino. It is a very soft and squishy acrylic. It was lovely yarn to work with except for one section that had a knot in it which came undone and I had to rip back my work to fix it. I started these Oct 28th and finished weaving the ends in on Dec 9th. These were a lot of mindless knitting. I was going to make 2 at time but these were knitting so quickly that I think 2 at a time may of slowed me down.
I will make these again and follow the actual pattern but I think with making the amount that I did have to make a simple tube was the way to go for these.
I have made more Butterfly wings as Christmas gifts.
The pattern is Butterfly Wings Wifemade. It is a pattern that once you have it in your stash you can make it numerous times you just change the fabric and applique, the possibilities are really endless.
Photo courtesy of a screen shot of my Instagram account
This year I cut all my fabric pieces out of unbleached calico and hand painted them with liquid radiance. I painted a set of wings each time so I kept the colours consistent using the same combination of colours for that one pair. I love painting fabric with liquid radiance. If you are not familiar with the product it is a fabric paint rather than a dye. It isn’t a messy product so it is perfect to use in doors and providing your not doing sun printing where you need sunlight it isn’t weather dependent so you can use it any time.
After the success of using glitter felt on the pair I made last year Christmas I once again used it. This year I was a little more free hand with my shapes. I folded a felt piece in half and cut as many shapes out of it as I could so I would get 2 of each shape. I put all the pieces in a bag and just randomly selected shapes for each wing based on the colours. I deliberately chose felt colours that would go with the painted fabric.
I did have a minor construction element detour shall we call it with some (ok half) of these wings. When I did pattern magic to create the centre seam I must have had excess fabric that didn’t get enclosed in the seam so I was left with some raw edges. Unfortunately the area is very hard to than machine sew over so I couldn’t use glitter felt to cover it, the glitter coating makes glitter felt a little tougher to hand sew through. I raided my felt stash and found suitable regular wool felt so I hand stitched that in place to cover it. As these are hand painted each wing is an individual and the extra centre spine of wool felt just adds to that.
I am really glad I thought of using a nappy pin to turn the tubes. It made the job of turning the tubes and later threading the elastic through a breeze. Just before it came to doing the elastic I found a box of similar size pins at the shop, they call them large safety pins. I am glad I purchased them as I was using 4 per set of wing straps when I did the elastic. I found the pins at what in Sydney we call a $2 shop, a small independent shop that sells the most random things from gift wrapping to sink plungers very cheap. Sometimes you come a cross little gems and my large sewing pins were gems.
I do like these wings. They will be fun for the girls who get them this Christmas. They were also fun to make. I loved painting the fabric and thinking about each item I was creating. I loved the process of picking what felt shapes to use on each one. Even the process of overcoming the seam debacle got my brain thinking of what skills do I have and resources available to fix the issue. I honestly think I get more out of the items I make than the person receiving them does.
Another Christmas gift completed.
I was planning on making a dinosaur tail earlier this year for a gift for this child but the fabric I had chosen wasn’t suitable, it was a stretchy knit type fabric and I thought it was going to end it tears if I tried to use it. The pattern I used was a free pattern by Running With Scissors, it is a great little tutorial to follow. I think I pinned this on Pinterest years ago and hadn’t got around to making it until this year.
I did do a couple of modifications to the original tutorial. Instead of doing straps that go around the waist to hold it in place I used cross grain ribbon. I wasn’t sure the size of the child so I didn’t know if the straps in the pattern would fit him. I thought by using ribbons it can be tied around him no matter what he was wearing or how he wants to wear it (he could even wear it on his head if he wants) The other modification I did was inside the spikes I used a fusible interfacing to stiffen them. I’m not sure the exact one I used but it like a heavy Vilene, I have used this before in bag making and fabric buckets. The spikes are still flexible but hold their shape. The easiest way I thought to add this was iron a flat rectangle piece of interfacing to the spike fabric first and the follow the rest of the tutorial. I used pinking shears to cut the spikes once they were stitched. My spikes are a little bit shorter than the pattern and that was due to the size of the scrap of interfacing I had. When your making something you make the rules and this dinosaur has spikes that don’t go to the end of his tail. The fabric is regular homespun I brought at the local shop, I was happy to find these colours as I had it my mind to be something like this. The ribbon I found in my stash that happened to match perfectly, I did seal the ends of it with a match to stop them fraying. I also had a to add a touch of fray stops to one of the spines as it didn’t fully catch in the seam but it should be ok.
So who says you can’t make these for adults. Ok so this one doesn’t exactly fit me but if the ribbons were longer I think it would. The finished size of this one is around 23″ long (it will be fun trying to find a bag big enough to post it off at Christmas) You could make it any size you wanted by following the directions in the pattern and adjusting your fabric. This was really quick to make so perfect for those last minute gifts or for a kids sleepover or when the kids are board and want to make something.
The first of my 2017 Christmas gifts have been finished.
For a pair of siblings I decided to make matching Hipster Teddies. One of the testers who made this toy prior to its release in issue 15 of One Thimble magazine made the teddy in a check print fabric and it looked good. Recently I was able to find check fabric in 2 colourways at my local shop and I thought it would be perfect for these bears. It really was a case of buy the fabric, prep it in the washing machine as soon as you get home, cut out the pieces the next day with these bears. In my felt scrap stash I was able to find all the facial features so they matched too.
The fabric isn’t a quilting cotton it is more like muslin or a linen perhaps. It is a lighter fabric and the weave isn’t as dense as a quilting cotton. It wasn’t so open weave that I needed to use double layers on all the pieces but I was worried it would fray as I stitched it so I cut out all my pieces with my pinking shears. This ended up serving 2 purposes.
- The fabric didn’t fray as I worked with it so I didn’t have hundreds of little fabric fibres on the floor
- I didn’t need to go around and clip all my seams after I stitched them.
I’m going to cut my pieces out with pinking shears again I think as it was a big timesaver. I did have to clip into a few inner curves and cut away excess fabric from my seam line when I stitched in the limbs but that is only a couple of snips.
I added pellon inside the ears again to make them squishy. If I am not stuffing the limbs or the ears I like having the pellon or wadding in that section just to plump the area up. Toys are meant to be cuddled and I like them to have that inviting feel that makes you want to snuggle up to them.
These bears were a really easy project to make multiples of. I cut each bear out at once. Where possible if the fabric is non directional I fold the fabric so I have 4 layers and cut out any pieces that way, if your fabric isn’t thick as you long as you have enough pins it is easy to do. On these bears I used black thread and chain pieces all the ears and limbs. I knew the machine would eat the fabric so at the start and end of each seam I placed tearaway stabliser underneath it. None of my pieces got caught in the feed dogs and it only took seconds to remove all the tiny bits of paper from the stitching when I was done.
2 gifts down more to go!