Thursday, January 4, 2018

Netflix and Knitting perfect pairing: Stranger Things 2 and Sirdar Baby Crofter Cardigan

So Stranger Things season 2 was out a while back.  My best mate Heather (who lives in New Zealand) wanted me to wait so we could binge watch the series together then we can bitch/fan-girl about the show together afterwards. A perfect plan except I can no longer sit and watch TV without doing something with my hands... I get fidgety.

I needed a knitting project. One that's so easy I wouldn't need to look at it much. One without a complicated pattern, preferably just knit and purl all the way with minimal increase/decrease. So I dug out my baby cardigan patterns and decided on the Sirdar Baby Crofter wrap:

I LOVE the Baby Crofter series.  The yarns are pre-printed with a Fair Isle effect so all you have to do is a stocking stitch and the finished product will come out like it's been intricately patterned. Plus its base is the Sirdar Snuggly series so it's super soft with a bit of elasticity in it so it's a pleasure to knit. (I know I sound like a Sirdar brand promoter but I'm not. I just super like this yarn).

And because it self-patterns, the best way to show off this yarn is to do stocking stitch. Thus it's made its way to my 'lazy-knit' category. That's especially so with this wrap cardigan pattern.

Border: few rows of Moss stitch, then it's Stocking Stitch all the way with decreases on neck edge to create the slope. That's it! The back was just Stocking Stitch all the way to arm hole then decrease for shoulders.

Post finishing Season 2 (amazing series!!!) I added a button on the inside, ribbon to fasten to side on the outside and a super cute make-your-own button which opens so you can put anything you like inside.  My girl loves her beads and sparkly sequences so I put a couple of flowers and beads in there.


You'd think with all the effort I put into watching Netflix... I mean knitting her cardigan she'd put some effort into modelling the thing for me. No such luck.

For a quick and simple knit, don't think the results were too shabby.  Pattern and yarns highly recommended for beginners too. Difficulty is easy, knitting time plus trimmings (minus the Netflix Binge) shouldn't take more than a week or so of leisurely knitting. Specs below:

Pattern:Baby Snuggly Crofter DK No. 1931
Difficulty: Easy
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Crofter Fair Isle effect Dk, Shade 0165 Cara x2, size 4-5
Needles: 3.25mm and
Extras: DIY buttons and ribbons

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Mini Minion Keyring Crochet Pattern

I say minion though he really is just an elongated yellow and blue pill plus eye!

This is a relatively simple pattern as I've cheated and used felt for the fiddly bits.  The only difficulty is with the legs since they're formed from a tight 4 stitches into a magic ring.  Other than that this is a quick pattern to stitch up as presents if you've minion crazy friends (or kids in my case!).

For the prototype I used Patons Regal 4 ply cotton and a 2.2mm hook but I've used embroidery thread before when I've nothing else to hand.  The pattern will still work so long as you adjust the size of the felt eye and the google. 

You'll need: 
Small amounts of crochet cotton in yellow, blue, black and grey;
Felt in black and white;
Tapestry and sewing needles;
Black sewing thread;
Polyester stuffing; and
A key ring (optional).

Start first with the body:
It's worked from the bum up ;) and is worked in joined rounds (i.e. each round begins with a chain stitch and ends with a slip stitch joining the last and first stitches together). 

R1: [In blue] Magic ring, 6sc into ring (6)
R2: inc x 6 (12)
R3: *(sc, inc)* x 6 (18)
R4: *(2sc, inc)* x 6 (24)
R6: 24sc (24)

R7: [Change to yellow] (see vid if you need help with changing colours) 24sc (24)
R15: 24sc (24)
R16: *(2sc, dec)* x 6 (18)
R17: *(sc, dec)* x 6 (12)
Stuff body with filling before closing up in next row.
R18: 6dec (6), leave a long yarn tail, thread through front loops to close up. (See vid if you need help with closing up).

For the arms, you can work out where you want them to be on the body, then sticking pins in to mark the positions. For my minion I decided to work the arms between rows 11 and 12, 11 sts apart.


R1: [In yellow] 8ch (8)
Hook onto body using sl st (as shown in vid)

R2: sl st into second ch from hook, then work another 7sl sts along the ch back to starting st, cut off yarn tail.

For the hands we switch to felt. Cut 2 thin strip of black felt to wrap over the end of the arm as gloves.  For me, my arm measures around 4mm wide so my black strip was around 7mm wide and 1cm long.  Measure your arms to make sure the strip fits your minion.

Fold strip in half and sew onto arm as shown.

The legs can be a bit fiddly but they give the best effect. You have to make sure you're crocheting up vertically from a magic ring of 4 stitches. It gets cramped in there but so long as you make sure you're going upwards properly you're fine!

Magic ring, 4sc in ring.
R1: magic ring, 4sc in ring (4)
R4: 4sc (4), end leaving a long yarn tail to sew legs onto body.
The feet are also made with felt.  Cut a long piece of black felt 7mm wide.  Use strip to wrap around the foot. Sew the strip closed around leg and onto leg by passing the needle through the leg a couple of times too then cut off excess as shown.

Wrap black strip around leg, then sew closed.

Pass the needle through the leg too to secure the strip onto leg.

Now you're ready for the eye.  Once you're stuffed your body you should have a fair idea how big the eye should be. These measurements worked for me but yours will depend on your minion's finished size.

Cut a circle 1.5cm in diameter in white felt and a circle 5mm in diameter in black felt.

For the eye goggle strap, cut another strip of black felt 7mm wide and 12cm long.

The goggle itself will again depend on the size of your eye. Work the first row of ch sts first, then measure it around the eye to make sure it wraps exactly the circumference of your white eye piece. For my minion I needed 14 scs.

R1: 15ch (15)
R2: starting from second ch from hook, 14sc (14). Eng leaving long yarn tail.

Measure the goggle piece to make sure it goes around the eye.  Sew the end to the beginning of the row to make it into a circle.

Make sure your goggle row 1 goes around the white of the eye just so.
You'll need 2 bibs with straps: 

You'll need 2 of these, bibs with one strap each.

R1: [In blue] ch7 (7)
R2: starting from second ch from hook, 6sc (6)
R3: ch 1, turn, 6sc (6), then 10ch leaving a long yarn tail for sewing onto body. 


Sew legs to body.  For my minion I positioned them between rows 3 and 4, 3 sts apart.

Wrap eye goggle strap around the head above the arms. Sew closed (you can also glue it on if you liked).

Sew or glue black felt eye piece onto white eye piece, then glue or sew white eye piece onto eye strap on body.  Sew the goggle piece (now circular) onto the eye.

Sew bib onto body between rows 6 and 7.
Sew first bib piece onto front of body between rows 6 and 7, fasten off.  Then sew second bib piece onto back of body also between rows 6 and 7, fasten off too.  Then using the yarn tail from the line of ch sts from the front bib piece, sew the strap to the back piece at the corner, then take your needle through the body and sew the strap securely to the minion's shoulder, just above the arm.  Do the same for the strap from the back piece.

Sewing strap from back piece to corner of front bib.

Passing needle through the body, to secure strap onto shoulder.

See stitch on shoulder securing strap.

Using black cotton yarn (or embroidery thread), sew on mouth.

And you're done!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Gudetama - Sunny-side Up Crochet Pattern

So a lot of you liked my pattern for Gudetama under Bacon Blanket.  And some of you even made your own super cute versions like this one from Kiploca:
Kiploca Instagram

Love it!  I'm now a fully converted fan of Gudetama and no longer think he's weird.  In fact, I love him that much I put a load of Eggy stuff on my X'mas list.  Including this comic with lots of cute pics of Gudetama explaining his philosophy on life as a lazy egg.

It has inspired me to start a project.  I'm going to do Gudetama crochet patterns for as many of these pictures as I can.  But since I have a full-time job I shall do this in the way Gudetama would have done it...  Lazily, slowly and possibly never actually finishing.  I have done the easier one though - Gudetama Sunny-side Up!  Enjoy!

Gudetama Sunny-side Up Crochet Pattern

Side view of Eggy-tama (what my daughter calls him)
What you’ll need:
You can use any type of yarn you like since slight variation in size won’t matter.  I used a very soft acrylic yarn similar to a 4ply. The yarn manufacturer's hook size recommendation is 3.5 but I used a 2.5mm hook for a tighter finish.  I always use a smaller hook than recommended for amigurumis to make my work tighter to better keep in the filling.  

Here’s what I worked with:

  • -          Yellow and white yarn (gauge 22sts x 28rows for 10cm swatch)  
  • -          2.5mm crochet hook; 
  • -          Black and white felt;
  • -          Tapestry needle;
  • -          Polyester filling; and
  • -         Permanent black marker.

sc                     single crochet
sc inc               single crochet increase, i.e. work 2 single crochets into the same stitch
dc                    double crochet
tc                     triple crochet
tc inc               triple crochet increase, i.e. work 2 triple crochets into the same stitch
st                     stitche(s)

( )                     numbers in brackets denote total stitches for that row
*                      when a stitch pattern is repeated several times, it is enclosed by asterisks.  E.g. *2sc, sc dec* x2 - means single crochet twice, decrease, single crochet twice, decrease.
The yolk and egg white are worked in joined rounds, so remember to start the pieces with a ch st at the beginning of every row AND end each row by joining the ends with a sl st.
Yolk: (in yellow)
R1: Magic ring, 5sc into ring, tighten ring, join round with sl st. (5) [If you find magic ring difficult or a hassle to do, just make a slip knot and ch2] 
R2: *sc inc* x5 (10)
R3: *sc, sc inc* x5 (15)
R4: 15sc. End, leaving long yarn tail for sewing yolk onto egg white.
Egg White: (in white)
R1: Magic ring, 6sc into ring, tighten ring, join round with sl st. (6) [If you find magic ring difficult or a hassle to do, just make a slip knot and ch2] 
R2: *sc inc* x6 (12)
R3: *sc, sc inc* x6 (18)
R4: *2sc, sc inc* x6 (24)
R5: *3sc, sc inc* x6 (30)
R6: [irregular egg white edging] 2sc, dc, tc, tc inc, tc, dc, 2sc, sc inc, 3sc, dc, tc inc, 2tc, dc, sc, sc inc, 3dc, sc, sc inc, dc, 3tc, dc (35). Eng, weave in yarn tail.  
Making up: 
Sew yolk onto egg white using yarn tail.  Stuff yolk with a little bit of polyester filling. 

Eyes and mouth: 
Using black felt, cut two tiny, long ovals for Gudetama's eyes. 
Using white felt cut a rough semi-circle oval and using black permanent marker, rim edge in black.  Glue onto yolk. 

Tip: You may find cutting such small bits of felt difficult.  It will help to use a super sharp pair of scissors, e.g. sharp nail scissors for very well.  If it's still too difficult, try dabbing clear nail varnish onto the felt.  This stiffens the felt and allows better control.  


Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Obsession - Tsum Tusm Origami!

Messing about with paper has got to be my cheapest craft obsession so far.

Original seed of obsession: Book - $20.

Tools: Pens, ruler, scissors, glue - $Can't remember (had them all lying around the house).

Materials: Proper origami paper - $4 x 3 packs = $12.

Tsum Tsum Origami Book from Kinokuniya
To be honest though, the trip to Kino wasn't cheap as I bought two other books as well.  Sanrio and Star Wars Origami.  Both are great but those characters are more difficult to make.  The Disney Tsum Tsum version is easier, great for short attention spans, requires less paper AND it has this project idea which pretty much sold me on the spot.

Instructions are relatively easy.  The head is made with one piece of green.  The little hands need a 1/4 piece of green, plus 3 white circles for eyes with black pupils drawn on.  This would have been more difficult except I have a fab circles stencil ruler.

Only this close-up do I realise how battered my desk is! 
The instructions suggested the sharper angle on the chin, so I made some like this and some with the 'plumper' face shape.

Then it was folding... folding... folding...

Big papa alien is a kind and hands-on father

Closest thing I have to a single colour backdrop was blue.  So eye-glaring green on blue it was!

I had an IKEA frame lying around so into that the aliens went.  The hardest part of the whole assembly was fixing the little aliens in some semblance of disorder so the effect would be little aliens tumbling onto the big one.  Not sure I did that very well since I got anal and put them all in neatly non-overlapping positions.  If I make another one of these (with a difference character of course), I might actually throw them together for a more natural effect.

Cat wasn't too sure about it but then relaxed and rubbed his face all over it and claimed it as Cat-owned. 
 This was kinda addictive.  I'm tempted to try him next:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hokkien Mee play purse

So we're half way into my collaboration with the National Library Board to provide free sewing lessons and this month's theme is food, useful and playable food!

Last week we made tissue holders that looked like packets of pasta:

And this week we'll be making a coin purse with playable food:

First course is a Singaporean favourite, Hokkien Mee.

Second is Japanese Ramen.

Third is a neat platter of sushis.

Finally with biscuits to end.

If you want to make one of these joins us for classes!  More info on the GoLibrary website search for threaded tales.