Archive for the “toys” Category

The pattern for Sheep Etu suggests first pinning the stuffed feet to the body of the sheep to get the right balance before sewing them on. I didn't bother doing that, since Wee Sheepie is going to ride in the car and won't need to stand up on its own - and I saved myself the effort, as none of the feet ended up exactly where I thought they would go, anyway. Perhaps my sewing-together skills could use some improvement, but the feet were so tiny and awkward, and moved around a bit as I worked.

Anyway, once I'd crocheted the fluff on, it didn't much matter...


I started at the top of Wee Sheepie's back with just single crochet, but it wasn't fluffy enough, so I soon switched to mostly double crochet - "mostly" because I added in some extra stitches here and there, as needed, to round out the sheep's shape. The Buttercup yarn is really tricky to work with! I dropped the hook a few times and had a hard time picking up a loop, as the floofy fibres completely obscure the stitches. But without too much cursing, I worked my way around and around until Wee Sheepie was no longer naked.

There's enough Buttercup left over for a second sheep. The first one is so cute, I'm more than a little tempted to make another!

Taking a good picture of a fluffy white sheep is another challenge altogether. It's much cuter in person than most of my photos showed! So instead of more sheep shots, here's a picture of Sparkplug, the cargoyle I mentioned on Monday, which inspired my brother to request a sheep in the first place.


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In my car I have a small stuffed gargoyle - a CARgoyle - named Sparkplug, who comes along on all my drives. Sparky was given to me as a good-luck companion when I got my very first car, and he's ridden along with me in every car I've owned since then. My brother asked me if I could knit or crochet a companion for his drives, but not a cargoyle - no, he wanted a sheep.

I was reminded of the scene from the beginning of Le Petit Prince:


"If you please--draw me a sheep!"


"Draw me a sheep!"

I found the Sheep Etu pattern on Ravelry and bought some Red Heart Buttercup, which practically looked like a fluffy sheep already. But when I tried to start crocheting the little sheep, I was quickly frustrated - the fluff of the yarn made it impossible to do a magic ring, never mind being able to see the stitches.

What to do, what to do... a-ha! Another Raveler suggested using a smoother yarn to make the body of the sheep, and then surface-crocheting the fluff onto it. The smoother yarn turned out to be some of the leftover Jacob I'd spun for the Winterlude Hat a few years ago. What's more fitting than making a sheep out of sheep's wool? The face and feet are also made from a small amount of leftover KnitPicks Andean Treasure.

In an afternoon of watching football (how 'bout dem Cowboys?), I made the components of a sheep:


Crocheting the sheep parts took a surprisingly long time. The dark face and feet were particularly challenging, as I was working with a smaller hook than the yarn called for so that the stuffing won't peek out. But now the sheep is ready for me to sew on its little feet... and then, the floofifying can begin.

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In the spring when I was two years old, my dad came home one day with a stuffed rabbit for me. I named her "Bunny" - creative, no? - and she became my all-time favourite stuffed animal. Bunny was strictly an indoor rabbit, except when we traveled on airplanes. She's accompanied me on most of my flights, sitting in my hands and looking out of the plane window whenever possible. All these years later, she still sits in a place of pride on my dresser. Much loved, a little worn, but still my Bunny. Amusingly, my nieceling also has a stuffed rabbit - whose name is also "Bunny" - her constant companion without whom she cannot eat, sleep, or play.

I started thinking about making little toys for friends' babies instead of sweaters or blankets. Who knows, the toy I make could become a kid's absolute favourite toy ever! That would be something that lasts a lot longer than a sweater.

I'm partial to rabbits, so maybe this One Skein Bunny would be fun to work up. Then I started considering the other things I liked when I was a kid. Dragons, definitely. I loved dragons. And unicorns - maybe it was just because it was the 1980s, but do little girls still love unicorns? Snoopy and Woodstock have always been favourites, and of course Hobbes.

In my pattern searching, I even found one that would be perfect for my sister the Ninja... a lemur!

The really cool thing is that almost all of these patterns, except Woodstock, are available for free. (There actually were a couple of free Woodstock patterns, but I liked the shape of this one best.) I think the ease of sharing patterns, and the willingness to share them for free, is a wonderful development for the crafting community. I can't imagine being able to find so many free designs so easily without a site like Ravelry. Whatever did people do before the internet?

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I have a problem with Ravelry.

No, no, wait - before you run me out of town, hear me out! This is my problem: There are so many awesome patterns available that I'd never have known about, if it weren't for Ravelry. And if I didn't know about them, I wouldn't want to knit them all. But now I do know about them, and I do want to knit them all.

For example, the Oktoberfest sock. I mean, really, it's a sock kit with a pattern that makes your socks look like glasses of beer. The kit comes with beer-coloured yarn in three different flavours, and it even has a foamy white head. How absolutely awesome is this sock? Of course I want to knit this (psst, anyone who buys me gifts, I like the "Irish Red" colourway and I'd need the large size) but even if I got it now, it might be Oktoberfest 2013 before I get to wear the socks. That doesn't stop me from wanting it every time I see the pattern come up in one of the banner ads. (Picture is from the Holiday Yarns website.)

Here's one I just found today: a twelve inch doll, knitted in the round, with adorable foofy hair and even a little belly button. I bet I know a three and a half year old nieceling who might like a little doll so that she can play Mommy when her twin siblings are born next spring. But I also bet I know that I can't take on any more time-based knitting commitments in the foreseeable future. Arrgh, if only I could take a month off work to sequester myself with yarn.

So much to knit... so little time!

I did not knit at all last night. Instead I had a good conversation with Pirate-Husband while we dragged a string around on the floor for the kittens to play with. It was 100%, absolutely, incredibly worth it. They are adorable little monsters. I hope they won't be too mad at us next weekend when we drop them off at the vet's to be fixed. They'll be gone from Saturday through Monday, and the house will seem so empty without them!

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