Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vintage Lingerie Patterns to Delight and Confound.

This time of year, thoughts turn to woolen undies. Which will you make?
Assorted Magazines and Modern Knitwear Illustrated, 1940-45.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Twinkle BFC and I: Fs but not BFFs

I have a lot to say about this pattern.
If you fancy a Twinkle Garment yourself, I think you should read this.

I tried to knit Wenlan Chia's Best Friend Cardigan once before, with the wrong yarn. Wrong as wrong can be. I fell in love with the idea of undersized sweaters of oversized yarn and I ordered the book. I was in Kingston at the time and couldn't find any yarn like what the book seemed to be calling for. After a wild goose chase for gauge, I bought a faux-bulky acrylic yarn knowing that I was being a bit silly.
What I ended up with was interesting in a neo-grunge, I still have all my posters of Eddie Vedder kind of way, but it wasn’t really ‘Twinkle’. I have posted the project anyways, for educational purposes and will post about it here at the blog soon.
The moral is; get Soft Chunky.
Now, to Soft Chunky.

It is like knitting cotton candy. Soft, exciting and quick. It will fuzz and pick up anything lying around, so work in a clear area and don’t leave it on the couch.

The yarn is so thick that everything shows. Ends pop out and seams that have stress put on them (like shoulders) will pull. More about that later.

To my surprise, I could not get gauge. I ended up using the 12.75mm circ (mine was Susan Bates) throughout; for the body and ribbing. This way I got a bit better than gauge, but when I measured it out, the cardigan would not have fit me otherwise. It would have fit, but not with the negative ease I wanted.
I worked 10.5 st and 16 rows=6”, or 1.75st-1”.
As I progressed I realized that the cardigan would also be too long. I took out a pattern repeat. At 4’11 the cardi now hits me at the waist.

I made the shoulder shaping fully fashioned so that working the arms would go easier.
I left all the back and all the front stitches on the needle after neck shaping so that I could use 3 Needle Bind Off to attach the back to the fronts, and keep the outstanding stitches live for the neck band.
I didn’t count neck edge stitches; I just picked up and then checked to make sure the R and L were even.
The Sleeves!
Why oh why are they worked flat?!?!!? Anything you seam with this yarn will be ugly. Is that harsh? I don’t care. I thought a great big seam up my arms would make me look like Frankenstein, so I worked them circularly.
Because they are in Reverse Stockinette, I worked them inside out. It is worth seeing if you can find big dpns because I spent most of my time on this project wrestling with my 12.75 circs in a magic loopish maneuver.
I picked up my stitches from the arm (inside out) without worrying about the number. I ended up with 19. I worked until the elbow, trying on as I went, and then decreased 5. I used skp for an even result, but really, any dec is going to look like a major event. Don’t worry about it; surrender.
My arms worked out to 15” plus 3 rows rib.

I did no “Cap Shaping”. I guess at this point I had given up even looking at the pattern. I think I should have included this shaping somehow. If my sleeve had had an allowance at the head-like a flap, they would not pull as much as they do.
Which brings me back to the yarn.
I have gaps. I guess this is inevitable. I have taken left over yarn and have woven them closed, or at least disguised the spaces. This will not hold forever. I have also stitched a few things closed with matching thread.

My number one top tip??? Get the errata and write it into your pattern. For the love of God.
I wish you luck.
I love my BFC and hope my adventure helps you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Early Tawashi

mmmmm? The term "à La" always warrants a recipe even if it is just for Hot Dogs. Hot dogs with very American cheese.

PS à la what?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Max of the Wild Rumpus

Max, from Maurice Sendak's beloved Where the Wild Things Are is an archetypal rule-breaker. His circular journey is a microcosm of tantrum and resolution typical of little boys his age, but the way he tackles his frustration is quite mature. Max experiments with adulthood and leadership among the wild things of his own making, at once setting the rules and then trying his hand at breaking them. That Max channels his anger into a fantasy where the entire world is on his terms as he luxuriates and rumpuses, but also draws pragmatic conclusions shows a maturity I for one still aspire to.
He craves authority but rebels against it, choosing in the end to return to parental authority. And he does it all wearing a wolf suit!
This duality makes the character a perfect fit for an Adult Toy.
What makes this Amigurumi pattern adult? It's tiny size and loving detail, as well as its spiky claws. This isn't one to give the kids, although a sized up version, using worsted weight would make a very cuddly friend. Amigurumi Max comes in his famous pj's, a removable crown and wired royal scepter. If you embark on this project, I recommend that you dig out your copy of Where The Wild Things Are to refer to, and that you keep your desired shape and look in mind at all times.
Will your Max go to see the Movie on the 16th?

Add him to your Ravelry queue now!


1.9mm hook (used for almost everything)
3.5mm hook (crown)
5.5mm hook (tail)
Lucy Neatby's Celestial Merino Dream (Face)
Paton's Kroy (Body)
Paton's Grace (Crown Brim)
Paton's Brilliance (Crown)
Cascade 220 (Hair)
DMC Embroidery floss in
Pads colour
Fishing Line
Wire for Claws
Wire Cutters
Seed Beads
Long Sewing/Embroidery Needles

Mise en Place.

Abbreviations & Terms:
st= stitch
ch= chain stitch
sc= single crochet
sc 2= 1 single crochet in each of the next two stitches (2 is used as an example)
dc= double crochet
sl st= slip stitch
inc= work 2 single crochets into one stitch
dec= 2sctog

Magic Loop: technique link
Hairpin Lace Hair: tutorial to follow here at

All sc rounds are worked continuously unless written otherwise.
Stuffing is tightly packed.


With Fleshy colour,
Magic loop 6
inc in each stitch
*inc, 1 sc*
*inc, 2sc*
sc in each stitch
work 6 more rows plain
*dec, 2sc*
Stuff head
*dec, 2sc*
Weave tail through to pull closed, and finish.
This finish will be hidden.

Sculpt Max's features (and big nose) by inserting a threaded needle either side of his nose and pulling very tightly. Take a small stitch pushing the needle to the back of the head. Keeping stitch taut, come back out the base of his nose and aim diagonally tying off at the back of Max's head.

Sculpting Max's Nose

Pinch his nose here.

Hood & Neck:
With Body Colour,
Magic Loop 6
inc in each stitch
*inc, 1 sc*
*inc, 2 sc*
*inc, 3 sc*
sc in each stitch
*inc, 4 sc*
ch 9, skip 9 sts, sc in each stitch to end
sc in each sc and each ch st, ch 1, turn
1sc in each sc to 3sts before neck, ch 1, turn
Continue working rounds in sc, working 3sts less at the end of each row until 9 stitches remain at the top of the hood.
Slip stitch to neck, ch 1, turn
Slip stitch to neck.

This is the back of the hood, with some of the torso worked.


Working down from neck opening, sc in each stitch around.
Work til body measures 3.5" from neck opening.
*dec, 2 sc*
*dec, 2 sc*, finish
Thread tail back and forth through opening and pull tight to close.
Finish off.

Ears (Make Two):
*sc to last stitch, inc in last st, ch 1 turn*
Repeat twice
sc in each st, ch 1, turn
Make 2

You could wire Max's ears if you like.

Arms (Make Two):
Magic Loop 6
inc in each st
1 sc in each st
sc3tog, 1 sc in each st to end
1 sc in each st
continue working sc in continuous rounds until arm measures 1.5"
Using the magic loop's tail, pull through the centre of the paw and back down again, making the paw flat. Weave in end.
Stuff arm, keeping paw floppy.

Upper Paw Pads (Make Two):
ch 3
Work 8 sc into 2nd chain from hook
Finish and weave in ends.

Pads are optional, but look really great!

Feet & Legs (Make Two):
With Body Colour,
Magic Loop 5
inc in each st
*inc, 1 sc* rep to end
16 sc, ch 1, turn
5 sc, ch 1, turn
repeat 3 times

The middle row of this rectangular flap will actually form toes when the flap is folded over.

4 sc, sc3tog, 3 sc, 2sctog (one st from toe flap, one st from leg)

1 sc in each st
Repeat working 1 sc in each stitch in continuous rounds until leg measures 2"
The finished foot.

Lower Paw Pads (Make Two):
With Embroidery Floss,
Ch 3
8 sc in 2nd st from hook
sl st closed
4 sc, ch 1 turn
Repeat last row 2 or 3 times, finish.

With Novelty Tail Yarn,
ch 3 with 5.5mm hook
sc 2 in 2nd st from hook
ch1, sc, inc in last st
ch 3, dc in 1st st, skip 1 st, dc
ch 3, dc 2
ch1, dec, ch 1, finish
These instructions are not set in stone; the novelty yarn is very forgiving, and I feel confident in your ability to make up a pattern for a tail that suits your yarn choice!

Have fun with the tail.

With Gold Yarn,
ch10 with 3.5mm hook
*slip 5 stitches, sc 4, ch 1, turn ch 4, ch 1, turn ch 4, ch 1, turn ch 4, ch 6, turn* Repeat *to* (4 row repeat) 7 times for 7 points. Slip stitch to 1st row to join.
With brown yarn, working down, sc in each end and side of gold stitches.
Slip stitch to join. Finish.

The crown may seem big, but this is so that Max can go with or without.


With Yellow Embroidery Floss,
Magic loop 8
inc in each st
sc in each st
dec, 1 sc, dec, 1 sc, dec
Change to grey in the last dec, and stuff with back of hook.
1 sc, dec, 1 sc
ch 10, or enough to reach around yellow.
Small but vital.

sl st to join to base

sl st 2, or 25degrees.

The crossed bars sit on top of the yellow globe.

Ch 10, sl st to base, dec, sc, dec
Ch 15, sc in 2nd st from in each st back to base, working over a length of wire.
Use the last stitch to close any gaps at the base.
Finish, and trim wire.

Work over the Wire and crochet shut.


Use your copy of Where The Wild Things Are as reference, and keep the shape you want to create in your mind at all times.

With Sewing Thread sew ears in place.
Stuff torso from opening in hood down.
Embroider Max's Face on with Embroidery floss. I used a dark gray.
Make hair for Max from brown worsted weight yarn. A tutorial will be at this blog shortly.
Use the book as a guide to embroider Max's face.

Sew Hair to Max's head and place head inside of hood.
Take a few stitches from the back to secure.
Cut 6 long lengths of fishing wire to be Max's whiskers. Tie knots at one end of each length and draw through the sides of Max's suit. These should stay in place by themselves.
Attach 4 little buttons or beads to the front of Max's torso. These should be evenly spaced, but favoring the bottom rather than his neck.
Apologize to Max as you do this; he is looking like a person now.

With the embroidery floss you used for the paw pads, cut a length for sewing. If you are using a 6 ply like DMC, split to a single strand. Sew the pads to Max's paws, avoiding the toes.
Pin the limbs in place before stitching. The placement of Max's arms and legs really say a lot about him.

With a long needle (you may choose a needle designed for doll making) strand the yarn you used for Max's suit. Tie a biggish knot.
All limbs should be stuffed, not to heavily at the paws, and fairly sparsly at the tops, particularly the tops of Max's legs.
Start your stitch at the top of Max's left arm and stitch straight through him and through the right arm. Tie off firmly. This will make Max's arms pose able.
Repeat the process for the legs, taking into account the pose you want Max to be best at; sitting or standing/walking.
Attach Max's tail loosely, so that it can flop about a bit.
Max's tail could be sleek, fuzzy, or hairy.
Now cut lengths of wire for claws. You could also use beads if your toy will be around kids, or skip the claws altogether.
Stick wire through paws between stitches and bend in half.

Go back over nails with a wire cutter and give Max an even ManiPedi.

I think you are done now! Go start a Wild Rumpus!!!

Some of Max's Adventures.....
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